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The 10 Obsolete Technologies People Won't Let Die

by G_Shakespeare   November 09, 2010 at 10:00AM  |  Views: 1,434

For most people, obsolete technology is a lot like an empty beer can. Sure, we had a lot of fun emptying it, but once it’s served its purpose, we don’t think twice about chucking it in the recycling box and moving on to the next one. But for some folks, saying goodbye to their favorite gadgets isn’t so easy when the next generation of technology comes along. Here are ten obsolete examples that enthusiasts refuse to let go of.

By: Geoff Shakespeare

Photo: George Rose/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images


10. Telegrams

Photo: Retofile/Getty Images

Why are there still such a thing as telegrams? In the time it takes to send one you could have an entire e-mail conversation, book the hotel room for your next vacation, download the first season of Charles in Charge, and still have time left over to level up your Blood Elf rogue. When you absolutely have to get a message to someone, there are a million better ways to do it. But in 2010, it’s still possible to send one. Although the main telegram companies like Western Union stopped offering the service years ago, several smaller companies still do, regardless of how antiquated the service may seem. Luckily, no one has ever discussed discontinuing strippergrams. The Internet may be the premier communication service of our generation, but some things are just better in person.

9. Laser Disc Players

Photo: Photodisc/Getty Images

One of the great ‘also-ran’ technologies, Laser Disc (LD) Players had two major strikes against them. First, they were about the size of a medium pizza and were awkward to store and use. Second, and most seriously, they cost way, way too much. Even though they had superior visual and audio quality to VCRs and offered special features years before DVDs were even invented, the expensive and clunky LDs never caught on except for with rich cinephiles. As VHS put a chokehold on the home video market, LDs faded from public notice. But like everything else on this list, the superfans didn’t let go. To this day there are LD enthusiasts who trade an ever dwindling supply of movies (many from Japan and Hong Kong where the LD was more popular) and try to convince themselves that the picture and sound on a $99 DVD player isn’t as good as their aging systems. While it is true that a few films that have never been released on DVD are available on LD and some special features have never appeared anywhere else, it’s still a lot of work for very little return. Especially considering we’re about ten years away from getting movies beamed directly into our skulls.

8. Rotary phones

Photo: Photodisc/Getty Images

A lot of people hang on to old tech because they genuinely feel it is a superior product compared to the replacement. But no one in the world is still using a rotary phone because it’s the best. For those of you under the age of 50, rotary phones worked just like regular ones, except they had a huge dial (hence ‘dial a number’) instead of a keypad to enter the numbers. This was fine if the number you were calling had a lot of ones or twos in it, but if it was all nines and zeros, you’d start to find excuses not to call somebody back. Well, other than that you’re a jerk who can’t be bothered returning phone calls. Today, rotary phones are almost entirely kept by hipsters for their retro fashion look. Besides the hassle in dialling them, rotary phones also used a different kind of signal, meaning that you can’t use them for automated call services. You can’t even redial! Nevertheless, there are still some people who hang on to them as a symbol of how cool the past was. Good luck using one to be the 77th caller and win Aerosmith tickets, though.

 

 


7. CB Radios

Photo: Midland

No one knows if it was mass hysteria, something in the water supply, or just the general lameness of the decade overall, but for some reason, trucking and truckers were really popular in the 1970s. All across the country, people idolized dudes who sat on their behinds hauling cargo across the country. The most enduring part of the legend was the CB radio. Truckers used them to communicate with other truckers. They shared traffic info, their favorite short cuts, and which truckstops had the best hookers. Once normal citizens got their hands on them, CB radios were primarily used by guys in their basements asking each other where they were. Since there are now approximately seven billion other ways for people to communicate, CBs have largely returned to their trucker origins. But some hobbyists have kept the dream alive and calls of “what’s your 20?” can still be heard across the airwaves. If only there was somebody other than that weird guy who lives down the street to hear them.


6. CRT (not flat screen) TVs

Photo: AFP/Getty Images

As anyone who’s ever had to carry a non flatscreen TV down a flight of stairs will tell you, flatscreen TV’s are a substantial improvement on the old school Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) models. Despite the fact that high end CRT TVs have pretty good pictures, they are heavy, bulky, and far less easy to move around than a flatscreen. Even still, this, and the large amounts of radiation they emit and that the tubes are extremely dangerous to dispose of, there are some people who swear by them. Retro gamers especially love them because the older console games don’t look that great on new widescreen TVs. Retro gaming message boards are full of people looking for just the right CRT TV to hook their Atari and SNES up to. Now, before you go running to put your old clunker on eBay, remember that even though there are people who prefer CRT TVs, there are also a zillion of them collecting dust in garages around the world.

 

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