Technology is advancing faster and faster by the second. Information platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram didn’t even exist ten years ago. With that said, it is important to slow down every once in a while and take a moment to remember the technology that once was. What was life like before smartphones, social media, live streaming, and search engines?
Millennials have a distinct advantage of a straddling two unique times in recent history: Life pre- and post- tech boom. Here is a list of ten tech things millennials can appreciate but won’t miss from their childhood.
1. VCR & VHS Tapes
Before streaming options, and even before DVDs, we watched our favorite movies using the good old VCR machine and VHS tapes (for those a little older, there was even Betamax). VHS tapes were bulky and took up a lot of shelf space, but they were simple and did the trick. Most Millennials will still have a soft spot for VHS tapes, but it is good to know that we have moved on to more lean, lighter and convenient options.
2. Floppy Disks
Can you believe that a standard 3.5 inch floppy disks held approximately 1.5 MBs of storage capacity? That is barely enough space for three high quality iPhone photos. Not to mention, the floppies would break, bend or snap if they were placed in a book bag the wrong way or accidentally stepped on. Thank goodness, we live in a world with cloud. And if you prefer a hardware option, there’s always USB chords.
3. Blowing Into Nintendo Cartridges
Millennials know exactly how hard to blow into Nintendo cartridges to clean the dust out and to get the game working again. We have all had that moment though where we have blown a little too hard and for too long, and light headedness and dizziness soon follow. The days of blowing maybe over, but they will never be forgotten.
4. The Yellow Pages
Technically, this isn’t a “tech” thing, but the Yellow pages are worth mentioning because they were the closest substitute to “search” before Google. Do you remember the days when finding the phone number for a local pet store …“P” section … took a good ten minutes? The only practical use for the Yellow Pages today is using the oversize, tree-killing book as a door stop.
5. Landline Phones
Do you remember living in a house where there was just one phone? One landline? And you had to take turns sharing? “Can you guys stay off for the next 15 minutes? Billy from history class is going to call me.” Goodbye to phone sharing.
6. Brick Phones
They are not much better than landlines. There is a reason why they are called “bricks.”
7. TVs (without remote controls)
Today, even our TVs are “smart.” But we used to live in a world where we actually had to get up from the couch to turn the channel. Not to mention, that there were only thirteen stations. Now, we can practically watch anything we want, anytime of the day, from any device we choose. Thank you, technology.
8. Type Writers
Many of us first learned how to type using a typewriter. We’ve come a long way since this mammoth of a machine first dominated. In the world of touch-screens and texting, it is crazy to think how much has changed in just a few decades. R.I.P. Typewriter.
9. Fax Machines
Before scanning and emailing documents or snapping a photo and sending it in under 5 seconds, there was faxing. The process for sending facsimiles always seemed more complicated than it had to be. Prep the paper. Check. Dial the number. Check. Press send. Check. Check. Why isn’t it working? Dang! There’s a paper jam, and the machine is eating my printed work. Oh wait! The phone line on the receiving end is turned off. So, even if the paper jam is fixed, it still won’t go through! FAIL.
10. Cassette Tapes
Cassette tapes were all the rage in the 1990s. You just popped the tape right into your Walkman, and you were now the coolest person ever. Cassettes were great, until they weren’t. We all remember having to fit our pinkie finger into the tape’s hole in order to wind up all the excess tape that mysteriously spit out of the cassette shell. If the tape got wrinkled, so did the sound of the singer’s voice you were listening too. And lastly, if you wanted to listen to a song from the beginning … well … you had to hit rewind on your cassette player and wait.
The next time you google something on your phone, Facebook a friend or even tweet out this article, you can appreciate how far we have come technologically. I wonder what will make the top 10 list ten years from now.