Blog Feature

By: Jennifer Devitt on November 19th, 2013

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10 Everyday items that technology made useless.


Technology. It makes our lives simpler. It makes some everyday tasks quicker. It keeps us connected. It makes us impatient. It makes items that were once relevant irrelevant or obsolete. Today's post was inspired by something that greeted me on the floor next to my desk on Monday morning when I returned from vacation. Actually, this item also made me sigh a few days prior to vacation when it sat rudely in my front walkway at home on a rainy windy day. "What is it?", you may ask. phonebooks, YellowBooks, WhitePages, etc whatever you may call them.

The picture to the left is how I found the phonebooks on Monday morning. Sitting on the floor next to my desk, just inside the door. Mind you, not just 1, singular phonebook - no, we got 2. One was wrapped in a lovely blue bag. How can it still be profitable for the companies to print these in masses and deliver them door to door? I mean in two weeks time I have hurled three phone books straight in the trash without even cracking the cover (don't worry, I recycled them). If the one at the office in its fabulous blue bag had been left outside in the weather we had that bag would be a slimy mess I wouldn't want to touch (yeah I can be prissy at times, Ha).

Let me ask you this. When was the last time you actually utilized a phonebook for something other than a paperweight? I have not physically done anything with a phonebook short of tossing it in the trash in years. In fact, I am going to see if there is a way to opt out of receiving them all together. If I am in need of contact information for a business, I look it up online. And, no I don't use the phonebook websites either, those tend to be outdated. I look for the company website or find the Google listing. If I have to look further than that I typically give up and move onto a different business that offers the services or item I am in need of.

This minor annoyance made me think about how technology has really made phonebooks not only a waste of money but a waste of paper and resources. Bad for the environment. So, I started thinking what other things have either become obsolete or should definitely have an "opt out" due to a better option being available via technology? Here is a list of 10 things that I don't miss or wish I could opt out of:

1. Phonebooks. Waste of paper, ink and in my opinion advertising dollars of businesses.
2. Pay phones. Really does anyone still touch these germ infested ancient devices?
3. Film. How many people still have cameras (outside of collectors) that utilize film?
4. Video Stores/Movie Stores. We have seen a few, most recently in Michigan. With Netflix & on demand?
5. Newspapers. These random gifts in gross plastic bags annoy me every Saturday just like phonebooks.
6. Roadmaps. We always say how spoiled we are by GPS. I can't imagine having to take road
trips with a paper map.
7. VCRs, DVDs etc. I for one don't miss having stacks of those sitting around for the kids to dig through.
8. Fax machines. Really, I cannot scan and email you a document? You require it faxed?
9. CDs & Cassette Tapes. With digital music, my kids don't even remember what these are.
10. Dictionaries & Encyclopedias. With the surge in tablets and mobile devices we now have the information at our fingertips.

So, how about you? What physical items have you replaced with an app, or website, or do you now use a device to get the information you need versus a physical book? When was the last time you used a phone book or physical paper dictionary? How about road maps or CDs? Is there an item you wish you could make digital to save not only yourself the time or reduce paper? Tell me about the tech advances you embrace and the archaic items that make you nuts (so I know I am not the only neurotic one).