Out With The Old, In With The New


Our very own Dave’s Computer Tips (DCT) Contest Manager, Editor and Author, Jim Hillier, wrote an article back in March entitled, CDs, DVDs & Optical Drives Heading for Extinction?

I’d like to tackle the topic but take a different approach. It would be really neat if you can add to my article. I am sure I have left some things out.

Light-bulb-comparison-2Incandescent Light Bulbs replaced by LED Bulbs

I personally hate LED bulbs. They start off dim, then get brighter. You cannot get rid of them when they break the way you can with the old fashioned bulbs, and they are pricier as well.

CRT TVs replaced by LED TVs

I have a Samsung Smart TV as well as a Westinghouse 46″ LED TV. We also have two other TVs that are the old CRT-style that we use for gaming in our house. Those are terrible to have to lift when you need remove the dust. Therefore, if you come to my house, do not look to closely at them.

Pagers replaced by Cell Phones

pager-image2Ahhh, the good old pagers. The kind you wore on your belt that made you feel important. Up until about 8 years ago my husband had one and thought he was all that. I work as a volunteer in a hospital environment with my therapy dog and noticed how none of the doctors use them anymore. They all seem to have cellphones and either text/call one another, or once in a while, meet face to face to go over patients’ information.  Restaurant hostesses to drug dealers, to bird watchers and firefighters, often used these.  These days… not so much.


Pay Phones and Phone Booths replaced by Cell Phones

When was the last time you saw a pay phone? The rise and fall of the pay phones has affected many people who did not have a cellphone and used them as a lifeline. Often times, they were vandalized or beyond disgusting, as they were sticky, beat up and often didn’t even work at all due to lack of maintenance.

I am on the Zoning Board in our Township and, though it is rural, there are others on our Board who I directed this question to. No-one can recall seeing a pay phone or a phone booth in at least the last five years, no matter where their travels took them.

Telephone Answering Machines replaced by Voicemail

answering machine imageI still have two old answering machines in my basement that have not been used in years. I think it is time to eliminate them. Unless, of course, I want to start my own Technology Museum.

Today, I visited a customer who had one and she got a new Radio Shack portable handset/voicemail combination for me to set up. She said, with much enthusiasm, “You can have the old answering machine. Maybe you have a use for it.”

Bleh! It is going out with mine in the basement in tomorrow’s trash pickup.


Cassette Players replaced by MP3 Players

I have over 500 cassette tapes. Some were tapes I created of bands I have played in and some were original tapes from various musical artists that I am fond of. I am now in the process of converting them all to other media formats. My truck has a cassette deck, but my newer car does not.

Calculators replaced by Cell Phone Apps

Seriously, there are tip apps, and apps for everything under the sun. I am pretty sure there is a calculator built into every cellphone regardless of the price point. All those old Casio and Texas Instruments calculators I have are going to find a new home elsewhere very soon. They are just taking up real estate and not getting used at all.

tungsten-e-2Palm Pilots replaced by Smartphones 

I have a Palm Tungsten E Palm Pilot. I still have it but haven’t used it in years. It worked great with Windows XP but, enter Windows Vista, and it would no longer sync, and I had loads of other issues. Anyone want it?

VHS Tapes replaced by DVD/Blu-Ray Discs

My wedding videos are done in VHS format. Add this to my To-Do List of things to convert before I lose the memories that are recorded on them.

Dot Matrix Printers replaced by Laser Printers

I had 1 Dot Matrix printer in my lifetime.  RIP to that printer, it served us well, but I thought I died and went to Heaven when we replaced it many, many years ago with an Epson Action Laser 1500.

old_dot_matrix_printing

Fax Machines replaced by Email

I set up a Brother Fax machine this morning for a customer. Really?  How many people still use a stand-alone machine?  In 2017, I think it will be interesting to see how many people say, “Did you get my fax?”

Phone Books replaced by Internet Devices

We got a phone book delivered on our driveway this weekend. When my kids were growing up we would offer to deliver them for the extra cash and to do things together as a family. Funny, I cannot remember the last time I used one, though.

Future Obsolescence

Here are some of the things I think will become obsolete  over the next five years:

  • Fax Machines
  • Rolodex
  • Regular M-F 9-5 Business Working Hours
  • Tape Recorders
  • Desk Phones
  • Desktop Computers

  What can you add to this list?

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About the Author

Sherri Meinke

A long-standing Computer Geek with over 25 years of experience. Having owned her first Apple IIe and moving on up the ranks with a multitude of Windows-based pc’s to her latest toy, a Dell Venue 11 Pro tablet with Windows 10. Sherri repairs, upgrades, and recycles computers as well as consults, trains & designs Websites. She is a Former AOL Community Leader and loves forums as well as online training. She created the "Camp Wired" computer training program at the Medina County Library system, 8 years ago. It is a free computer education program teaching technology in a relaxed atmosphere where students at all levels get to mentor other students and grow in their knowledge and understanding of technology. This program runs year round with no signs of slowing down.

26 Comments

  1. Desktop PC’s are for PC lovers, all the other things are just gadgets. In other words don’t mess with my desktop PC’s. Good reading Sherri.

  2. Sherri, I’m intrigued by your prediction:

    “Regular M-F 9-5 Business Working Hours”.

    I think a workless (not work less, I mean not at all) future is coming – faster than most of us think – with the rise of the robots, etc, but such a massive change in the economy within five years would be amazing.

    I know people like to talk about telecommuting, virtual offices and all that but the jobs that people do now, the physical workplaces and the hours, don’t seem to be amenable to such quick technological change.

    For example, if people no longer work a regular/traditional workweek that means their hours are cut, and their pay/income. The consequences of that would be immense, and hugely negative, to families and the economy in general.

    • Mike,

      Not sure you’re correct. My understanding of that statement was that the same work would be done in a different place, and not based on a rigid concept of time.

      I suppose it depends on the pay structure. My monthly salary is not paid based on a measurement of hours worked, so if I was allowed to do my work at home in my own time and space it would not translate into a cut in hours or pay.

      • I understand what you are saying, Tony, but do you think we’ll all be working at home within 5 years?

        I was just grocery shopping today – are all those clerks, stockers, drivers etc going to do their jobs from home?

        In the same center or very nearby are fast food places, a SuperCuts type shop, a PetSmart, a credit union, fashion stores and many others.

        These stores/shops, their employees, and their hours (which are determined by customer demand) are not going away any time soon because you can’t get your hair cut at home via the internet, we can’t (yet) print our clothes or get a pizza from a 3D printer, etc.

        As I mentioned, all these amazing things are coming, just not within the time frame mentioned by Sherri.

        Also I think your employment situation is far from the norm. Virtually all the workers I saw today, all over town, are working more or less regular hours, outside their homes because those jobs have to be done in a centralized location, aka a business, store, or shop.

        I just think we need to be realistic about the coming technological wonders. In my latest AAA magazine, the author cited a prediction that driver-less vehicles would constitute 75% of the vehicles on the road in 20 years. Much as I would like to see that come to be at some point, to think it will happen in two decades is ludicrous.

        • Yes Mike, it is correct that shop jobs and factory jobs cannot be done away from the physical location, but I’ve never done that type of work. Many desk jobs done on a computer or telephone, would be likely candidates for “work at home” or “tele-commuting”. The geographical location of my phone or computer would make no difference to my ability to do most of what I do now.

        • Not just shop jobs and factory jobs, but also a lot of service jobs (where much/most f the growth in the US economy is).

        • Right, Tony, but like I said, your personal situation is far from the norm now and for the foreseeable future.

          I’m retired now but I was a mailman for 30 years, a job that by its nature is out in the real world all day long. There is no way to deliver the mail virtually and until robots and drones are perfected the several hundred thousand humans doing that work will be doing it just as our colonial forefathers did.

          Not within Sherri’s five year timeframe but probably within the two decades mentioned in the article I cited, we will see a huge transition not to driver-less cars but to driver-less delivery vehicles, long-haul trucks in particular. That makes economic sense and can be done, in contrast to the replacement of passenger vehicles which cannot be accomplished in any realistic scenario.

          However, those jobs won’t be ‘virtualized’, they will be eliminated and the million or more truckers will be out of work.

    • As a self-employed business owner I do not have M-F bankers hours. My Husband once had a job with hours like that. He is supposed to have that now as well but often can leave early on a Friday & put in more hours throughout the week. our neighbor works for Progressive Insurance and works from home. He has to go into work 2x a month. Not uncommon to see him out in the middle of the day mowing his lawn or washing his truck.
      My friends have various jobs, nurses, realtors….their work week is based on staffing needs…Even banks & libraries do not have regular hours as I recall as a child.

  3. I think you are confusing LED bulbs with CFL’s. LED’s do not start off dim. And you can just toss them away.

  4. I love my desktops to actually get some computer work done. I don’t own a tablet but have a smart phone. The android smart phone is ok for doing a little stuff but not nearly as familiar or easy as using my desktop.

    I have a stash of incandescent bulbs. Don’t know how long they will last but maybe by then the new bulbs will be cheaper.

    • Are you making a difference between a desktop and a laptop? Most laptops have increased power now and offer the flexibility of being portable while still able to perform the greatest tasks.

  5. Not likely to replace my landline phone until I am forced to. (The phone companies are trying to phase out landline phones). I recently had a power outage. Landline phone worked (it is powered by the phone company). Cell phone didn’t work (cell tower had no power). Cable phone didn’t work (no power).

  6. and I forgot to add this – I throw my LED bulbs into the trash. how do you get rid of yours?

  7. My answering machine doubles as Caller ID. (Yes I know that what shows on caller can be a spoof; but, use it to decide whether the call is from a source I know.) Even before I I had an answering machine / Caller ID combo, I used the the answering machine to screen calls, I just had to wait until the party calling spoke back then.

    Can today’s voice mail be used to screen calls? If it can’t I see a reason for it.

    BTW, the only reason I’ve retained a landline is because of my wife who is, to put it mildly, technology challenged and is barely able to use her dumb (cell) phone.

  8. For “Future Obsolescence” add watches and clocks. I no longer own a watch as I can easily see the time on my cellphone at any moment, or on my computer screen when I’m at my desk. Also can be seen on the screen of my Desk Phone but I note you’re predicting that will become obsolete too.

    • I like using my watch because it’s handier: all I have to look is look at the wrist wearing it. Any distraction while driving is negligible, if that much.

      As far as clocks go, I ceased using a clock’s alarm feature since I got my first smart phone and have been using it’s alarm feature ever since. The smart phone alarm let’s you set several alarm times.

  9. Desktops and answering machines will remain in homes for years to come, as long as landlines exist. Voice mail does NOT help one screen calls. As for 9-5 business hours, this went away years ago, with flex time to ease on the rush hour drive, Mindblower!

    • Interesting!! My home has never had a desktop nor answering machine.

      We went right in to laptops when we joined the “tech” world about 8 years ago. Now our cellphones are doing some of the stuff such as email and calendar as well. Then there’s also the Tablet. Usually bigger than a phone but smaller than a laptop.

      When our telephone company launched Voice Mail, we accepted the package. Recorded messages automatically include the date and time, and the phone number of the caller. To verify the name of the owner of that number, we check the phone screen for Caller ID if the person leaving the message did not include a name.

      • Is that when the the other person is calling you or after the fact? It would have to be the first one in order to screen calls.

        I hope you don’t call back those in the Caller ID that you are unfamiliar with.

        • We can check the Caller ID on incoming calls, as well as check after the fact. For those missed calls, we can make a decision which ones to call back and which ones to ignore.