Obsolete technology: 40 big losers

CRT monitors, DOS prompts, video cassettes... giving someone your undivided attention during a social interaction next?

11. Waiting to Get Photos Developed

Status: Showing signs of illness

Though film-based cameras aren't completely gone, the advantages of digital snapshots --namely, that you can view a picture immediately after taking it and that you can discard bad shots at no cost--have certainly made traditional cameras far less common.

12. Typing on a Typewriter

Status: Nearly deceased

The clickity-clackity sound of the standard typewriter has quieted over the years. Unless you work in the New York City Police Department, which reportedly just signed a $1 million typewriter-purchasing contract.

13. Removing the Perforated Leader Strips From Continuous-Feed Paper Printouts

Status: Nearly deceased

Born in the 1970s, the dot matrix printer delivered low-quality printouts for nearly two full decades before inkjet technology offered an alternative that was slightly less hard on the eyes. The dot matrix printer will be remembered for its frequent paper jams; for its slow, noisy operation; and for the thin strips of perforated paper that you had to tear (carefully, so you didn't end up with a document that looked as though a tiny but voracious shrew had been sampling it) off the left and right sides of a printout once their work of keeping the paper properly aligned in the printer was done.

14. Having Easy-to-Remember TV Channel Numbers

Status: Nearly deceased

Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on? More like 557 channels (and still nothin' on). Try writing a catchy tune to that, Springsteen.

15. Checking Your Answering Machine

Status: Seriously ill

"Hi, you've reached the answering machine. I'm still around, but most people are now using dial-in voicemail instead of me. What a bunch of ungrateful little...BEEP!"

16. Enjoying Complete Privacy

Status: On life support

In the face of constant monitoring by Google and the many forms of GPS tracking in our lives (social networking shoe, anyone?), privacy has become a rare and precious commodity within the connected world. Speaking of which, that's a nice shirt you're wearing today.

17. Making Someone a Real Mix Tape

Status: Deceased

Web sites like Mixtape.com and Songza may attempt to fill the void, but the art of laboring over a custom-made mix tape tailored for a special occasion or a special person--as romanticized by John Cusack's character in High Fidelity--seems to have gone the way of electrical appliance repair and blacksmithing. It's a damn shame, too, because mix tapes made great gifts for dates (and by "great" I mean "potentially highly prized by the recipient and yet incredibly cheap and easy to assemble").

18. Wearing a Calculator Watch

Status: Deceased

Affectionately dubbed "the nerd watch," the calculator watch once served as a proud badge of a person's abiding amusement with mathematics--as diagnostic as a pocket protector or membership in the high school Slide Rule Club. Nowadays, the only sure way to ascertain an individual's true geek quotient is to test their Star Trek knowledge.

19. Seeing Pages and Pages of Phone Sex Ads in the Back of Free City Weeklies

Status: Showing signs of illness

Those naughty 900 numbers may still exist, but cybersex and the scandal-du-jour phenomenon of sexting have stolen most of the spotlight from landline lovin' these days. Not to mention that Craigslist and online events calendars have left free city weeklies looking pretty anorexic themselves. It's true that lying about yourself and your various physical characteristics is just as easy when you're talking on the phone as when you're typing on a keyboard--unless the lie is "I don't sound like Donald Duck"--but online the person you're communicating with can't hear that repellant note of desperation in your voice.

20. Using a Public Phone Booth

Status: On life support

Now that everyone and his cockatiel has a cell phone, public phone booths are getting tougher to track down. Translation: Superman is screwed.

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JR Raphael

PC World (US online)
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