Daily necessities are vanishing one by one, thanks to new and efficient technology. Stamps, maps, and cookbooks still exist, but we hardly ever need them. Why place a personals ad when you can just “swipe left?”
The standard electronics, gear, and ways of yesteryear have vanished as if it was never invented at all. As old formats disappear, that leaves us with the task of what to do with our memories. Tap or click here for the steps you need to bring your old videos, photos, and music into today's digital age.
Even services that seem new are vanishing in the name of progress; Apple is killing off iTunes and here’s what it means to your music and movies.
Here are some rituals that are no longer required in many households. If you’re 40 years or older, you’ll probably smile with nostalgia. Share this list on social media. Others will enjoy this trip down memory lane too!
1. Memorize a phone number
Pop quiz: How many phone numbers do you know by heart? Some people don’t even know their spouse’s numbers. How times have changed. Now, you tell your smart assistant to call someone in your contacts, or you touch their name on your phone.
The earliest cell phones required you to transfer your entire directory by hand, from the old unit to the new one; now, with cloud technology, your contacts are automatically downloaded.
What happens if you lose your phone, say at a Disney theme park? This couple got separated and turned to Facebook for help.
2. Use a phone book to find a company to do work around your house
Generation Z may not even know what “Yellow Pages” refers to. They may not have ever seen a phone book.
Online consumer services like Angie’s List and Yelp have made finding service people easy, plus you can read other users’ ratings. One of the newer ways to find ultra-local services is Nextdoor, which has a special section for “recommendations,” along with crime watches and other local info.
3. Sell your car with a cardboard sign stuck on the windshield
Unless you’re selling your vehicle to someone you know and trust, these transactions can get sticky and even a little dangerous, especially with all the trolls. Craigslist started more than 20 years ago, and it's still going strong, although it still suffers from trolls and weirdos. If you want to sell your car, here are three sites that may be better than Craigslist.
4. Figure out math in your head
Few of us ever carried calculators with us to the grocery store. In contrast, pretty much everyone with a smartphone uses it to do basic calculations, no matter where or when you need it. In fact, you don’t even have to jab numbers anymore, physical or virtual: Tell Siri to solve a math problem, or command Alexa to do that pesky long division for you, along with countless other handy skills.
5. Call and ask a family member, “Where are you?”
Find My Friends changed the family-safety landscape by geographically connecting iPhone users. This app was a life-saver for parents with kids, adults taking care of aging parents, and countless others. Phone Tracker is a free app for iPhone and Android-powered phones that not only tracks location but also messaging and web activity.
6. Tell time by hands on a clock
Like cursive writing, analog clocks may be teetering on extinction. Few people with smartphones bother with watches anymore, unless they’re fashion statements or fitness trackers. With digital clocks dominating our computers and hardware, those 12-numeral timepieces may become pure novelties.
Even your trusted alarm clock has received a tech makeover. Click or tap for three apps that monitor your sleep cycle, and wake you up when you’ll feel the most rested.
7. Make photo albums
It’s hard to imagine printing an image at a one-hour photo store, taking back your packet of four-by-six snapshots, and then meticulously pasting them into a faux-leather photo album. Given the ease of digital photography, and the innumerable images you could produce on a regular day, you’d fill up entire shelves in no time.
Photo-sharing services like Flickr and Amazon Cloud and have existed for some years, and now some apps will help you organize your photos and keepsakes, some of them from well-known companies like CVS and Walgreen’s.
8. Have a CD or record collection
Wasn’t it cool back in the day to walk into a shabby-chic apartment and see those shelves of CDs? Wasn’t it a joy to flip through boxes of vinyl records? Napster was the first sign that music could exist as a tiny, virtual MP3 file, and then iPods basically dealt the death blow.
Today, music exists as a digital index on a screen. Purists may love their turntables, but CDs have probably gone the way of the wax cylinder. Click or tap to legally download music for free.
9. Make mixtapes
There was something so special about a mixtape. We spent hours finding the right song, then lining up two cassettes to copy a song. So many lovers cemented their relationships using a blank tape and a few dozen favorite albums.
Now, you can drag and drop a digital playlist in seconds. Tap or click to compare music streaming services (and create and share playlists).
10. Call a theater to get movie times
Back in the day, you’d dial a theater and listen to its endless-loop recording of movies and times. Sometimes, you’d catch it mid-loop and have to wait for it to start at the beginning to get all the movie.
With Google, type “movie times,” and the search engine will list films based on your location. You can also ask your personal assistant, such as Google Home, what films are playing at the cineplex and what time they're on, along with tons of other tricks and Easter eggs.
11. Record your favorite programs on tape
All year, we’d wait for “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “The Wizard of Oz” to pop up on TV. When they did, we’d push a VHS tape into the machine and wait until the proper moment to press “record.”
When TiVo emerged, it streamlined this process by making scheduled recordings even simpler. Now, with streaming services, web archives, and easy-to-purchase downloads, the timing of a broadcast barely matters anymore. But as you cut on the cord on traditional cable television, make sure you pick the services that best meet your interests and budget.
12. Watch shows when they are broadcast live
In the same vein, we rarely have to sit in front of the television, eagerly waiting for a “major network event.” Services like Hulu and YouTube convert a huge amount of national television into a digital format, and local news stations log most of their important segments onto their websites. Tap or click for 5 sites to stream live TV for free.
13. Run to the store for a last-minute gift
Curses! You forgot a Mother’s Day gift! Should you change your whole schedule so you can rush to the store and hurriedly pick something out? If you have Amazon Prime and live in an Amazon hub, there’s no need. You can order same-day delivery and have that gift couriered to your front door.
It’s just one of the many benefits you probably didn’t know Amazon offers. Click here for more than 20 lesser-known perks that come with your Amazon Prime membership.
14. Cut things out of the newspaper
When I was a kid, my dad used to cut out articles from the newspaper and put them in my lunchbox. I miss those days. If Dad were still alive today, he’d do what most of us do, tap or click a button to share content by text or email. Speaking of sharing information, do you get my newsletters? Click or tap to subscribe today. Dad would like that!
15. Send a handwritten letter
Don’t get me wrong: It’s still wonderful to receive a postcard from faraway places. You might say that email, texting, and video conversations have made handwritten letters even more special. But no one is forced to transcribe their thoughts by hand and drop those letters in a mailbox. Heck, nowadays, we use voice dictation to write messages.
16. Looking up the spelling of words in the dictionary
Spellcheck is nearly as old as word processors, and many of us have grown up expecting Microsoft Word to underline our mistakes in red squiggles. But autocorrect takes this concept a step further, guessing what we intended to write and correcting our errors.
This can be handy for clumsy thumbs, but it can be embarrassing when autocorrect guesses wrong. Click here for five ways to take control of autocorrect.
17. Use a phone booth to make a call
Phone booths are making a comeback in open floorplan offices where there is no privacy. But rare is the phone booth where you handle a dirty phone and put in a coin to make a call.
The last holdout may be an airport or a particular part of town, but even international travelers can usually nab a SIM card the moment they step off the plane. Did you know you can use your cellphone as a walkie-talkie? Tap or click to learn how.
18. Carry cash
I remember my dad telling me, “Always carry a $10 dollar bill because you never know when you’ll need it.” In a world of debit cards and P2P apps (person-to-person), we rarely have to carry cash anymore. So what happens when your phone is dead, there’s no one around and all you have is a phone booth? Luckily, most public phones in the U.S. are outfitted with credit card strips.
19. Use a travel agent
Travel agents can be essential for elaborate vacations, but for general flights, services like Kayak and CheapFlights have completely transformed how we book our passage. You can compare hundreds of airlines and agencies in seconds for the best deal.
If you’d like to save even more, use Google Flights to find the cheapest airfare. Here are five ways Google Flights can really help you save as long as you’re flexible with your travel schedule.
20. Getting your old checks back from the bank every month
Oh, people still write checks, and physical paychecks are still routine methods of payment, but I doubt this antiquated practice will last much longer. Even depositing checks has become digitized, thanks to ATMs that scan the piece of paper and print a facsimile on your receipt.
That said, online banking does open a whole universe of security risks. If you’re not sure whether your phone’s banking app is secure, there are three critical steps you can take.
Any long lost tech you’d like to add to this list? Drop your ideas to me on Twitter, at Twitter.com/KimKomando.
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or, tap or click here for Kim's free podcasts.
5 ways to protect your child online
Modern gadgets are so easy to use, so powerful, and so attractive to young eyes, that it’s difficult to police a child’s digital life. Good parenting becomes twice as hard when you yourself are glued to your phone. Kids imitate their parents, and their bad tech habits mirror our own. To keep your child truly safe – from both questionable material and active online predators – here is some sage advice for the conscientious parent, as well as the overly curious minor. These may seem like superfluous steps to some, but it’s no exaggeration that these measures have saved lives.