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10 outdated technologies our dads refuse to give up

Some dads can't wait to try the latest hi-tech gadgets. Then there are the other dads. The ones who say, 'I see no reason to part with my rotary phone. It does everything I need it to.'

My neighbor Harold remembers when his dad finally caved in and let the power company bring electricity onto his farm -- having held out until the 1940s. The guy was perfectly happy to rely on oil lamps, firewood, and draft horses to meet his power needs.

Well it turns out that the refusal to give up old ways actually spans generations of dads and persists unto this day.

In honor of Father's Day, TechRepublic editors and contributors recently swapped tales of the gadgets and tools our non-geeky dads have shunned (often to our amazement, puzzlement, and sometimes, frustration). Of course, we love our dads, even if we can't convince them to upgrade that Olivetti. Here are a few of the things our dads will not/would not part with.

1: Old-school cell phone

Despite being an early adopter of the cell phone, my father refuses to buy a smartphone. It's not that he's intimidated by the iOS or Android UI or particularly fond of his current flip phone. But he's convinced that he doesn't "need" a smartphone. He doesn't need to look up addresses or phone numbers when he's out. He calls and asks me to look them up. He doesn't need a keyboard to text. His phone's keypad works. It's a pain to use and horribly inefficient, but it works. He doesn't need a better camera on his phone. His flip phone has a camera. It takes horrible pictures, which are nearly impossible to share or even view on a device other than the phone. But it works. In all fairness to my father, his decision is also a personal cost-benefit analysis. In his eyes, a smartphone's benefits don't outweigh the required data plan's additional cost. I understand this logic, but I think he would quickly change his mind after using a smartphone for a week and seeing what he's missing. -- Bill Detwiler

2: Landline telephone

Cell phone, schmel-phone! My dad doesn't have one and doesn't want one. Heck, he doesn't even like talking on the relic that hangs on the wall in the kitchen. He is of the never-connected tribe. Sitting on the lake in his bass boat, about the last thing he would care for is someone ringing him up (or asking him when he's coming home). However, he will consider any tech that increases his chances of hooking the big one. -- Selena Frye

3: Daily newspaper and 6 o'clock newscasts

My father gets the local daily newspaper every single day and has for at least 60 years. It is his main source of news, and he reads front to back every day. It is the same with television news; you watch local news at 6:00 and national news at 6:30. The idea of getting unfiltered news from the Internet or personalized news from Twitter is unheard of and frankly, beyond his willingness to comprehend.

-- Mark Kaelin

4: Paper-based banking

My dad has been gone for 15 years now, so he missed out on the real Internet Takeover. When he died in the 1990s, I was still one of the only people he knew who was "connected." But I knew Dad well, and I know that he would have embraced and been excited by some of the new technologies, such as GPS, cell phones, and email (although he did love going to the post office).

But one thing I don't think he'd have ever warmed up to is online banking. He grew up during the Depression and didn't trust banks in the first place -- he always kept a large amount of cash in a safe by the bed. He would never have trusted them to keep his money safe in cyberspace. He would certainly have used the computer's calculator to check and double check the balance in his checkbook, and he might have liked the idea of being able to access information about that balance at any time of the day or night. But pay bills online? Never. He wanted a written, paper record. For that reason, he always insisted on using checks with the carbon paper so he would have a copy for his records. Having his financial records in a file that could be changed or deleted would have seriously messed with his peace of mind.

-- Deb Shinder

5: Black-and-white TV

Like Deb, I lost my dad before a lot of modern consumer technology was introduced, much less superseded by current tools and gadgets. But that doesn't mean that he didn't cling to some items that became outdated during his lifetime. The big one that comes to mind is black-and-white television. Cost was perhaps the driving factor for him; no way was he going to pony up for a cutting-edge TV -- which, at the time, would have meant UHF reception (giving us five channels!) and that crazy futuristic COLOR TV thing.

The irony is that he was a news anchor and a pioneer of the broadcast industry, so trading old technology for new -- like radio for television and kinescope for videotape -- was in his professional blood. It just wasn't in his house.

-- Jody Gilbert

6: Old cars

My dad refuses to buy a car made after the mid-80s because that's when manufacturers began to put computers in them, which made them hard for the average shade-tree mechanic to work on. Having a car he can work on himself is important, as is the fact that parts for it are cheaper (unless it's an import), they don't have all the unnecessary bells and whistles, they don't all look the same, and insurance is cheaper. Plus, old cars have a carburetor, which is apparently a good thing.

-- Toni Bowers

7: Film camera

About twice a year, my father comes to town for a visit. Until about a year ago, he always brought with him a film camera that was manufactured in 1982. The camera takes decent pictures, but it is almost 30 years old. About two years ago, my sister gave him a digital camera for Christmas, but he has no interest in using it and probably wouldn't have a clue how to get the pictures off the memory card. Since digital doesn't seem to be an acceptable option right now, I gave my father a high-end Pentax film camera I no longer use. It isn't digital, but it is way more advanced than the 30-year-old model he'd been using, and he seems to enjoy it.

-- Name withheld by request

8: Road atlas

My stepdad received a really nice GPS a couple years ago for Christmas because he does a lot of traveling for work (he sells fishing tackle and gear). But he still hasn't taken it out of the box. In fact, my mom told me that his favorite gift one year was a Rand McNally road atlas, and so every year, I buy him the newest one. While he prefers paper maps to the electronic equivalent, he owns more gadgets and gizmos for his boat and detecting fish than anyone I know. Growing up in Minnesota, fishing was about bobbers, sunflower seeds, and beer. Now, when I go fishing with my stepdad, all eyes are peeled on the electronic displays. Fish don't have a chance!

-- Sonja Thompson

9: Real-time TV

As far as I know, my father has never recorded a television program on a VHS tape or a DVR, even though he has a VCR and a DVR player (which my stepmother uses). He will often take a nap so he can watch a sporting event or a Western that is on later in the evening. I can understand about sports because I don't think it's as fun watching a sporting event (specifically, tennis) after it has aired, especially if I know the final score. If my father ever recorded a program that was on live television and watched it later, I bet he'd say it was awesome.

-- Mary Weilage

10: Sunday drives

Okay, this isn't really a technology as much as it is a pastime that flouts technology... but GPS? My father would never use that. We used to go for rides on Sundays after church. We'd pick a direction and drive, listen to Reds baseball, look at the scenery, and wonder if we were lost. I think mostly it was an excuse for my father to get out of the house and smoke his cigars. Mom wouldn't let him smoke those things in the house.

-- Mark Kaelin

An exception

My dad is pretty hip when it comes to gadgets. He has a GPS device and cell phone, neither of which I have. My brother and I talked him into getting his first computer instead of a memory typewriter, and computers have become his retirement hobby. We created a monster.

I am very proud of him and what he has accomplished in his golden years.

-- Alan Norton

Other reluctant dads?

How about your dad -- has he embraced the digital age or are there certain antiquated items he just won't let go of?

Additional reading

About

Jody Gilbert has been writing and editing technical articles for the past 25 years. She was part of the team that launched TechRepublic and is now senior editor for Tech Pro Research.

90 comments
myangeldust
myangeldust

Real men don't GPS. They glance at a map, scan the landscape, and recalculate... with their minds!

wogears
wogears

"Oh, the kids are computer whizzes!" No, they're not. SOME of them are, of course, but I've fixed computers for, and taught digital photography to plenty of them. I cannot see the need for a smartphone, except possibly GPS which is valuable. I use a Nikon DSLR and several Nikon film cameras. I can build a PC from scratch, and have it work the first time I boot it. But if it isn't useful to me I don't want it. Big-screen TV? Why? I have a good cell phone, but I do NOT 'text'. Leave a message; I'll get to you. Tell you all a secret: the only REAL progress in human history has been in medicine, public health and transportation.

janitorman
janitorman

all points. I'm a 50 year old geeky PC user, but I consider this a hobby, and not necessary. I see nothing wrong with keeping those ten items. TV was much better back in Black and White eras. You now have 1000 channels of High Definition that I can't stand to watch. The little square pixel things on these are awful.. and no, it's not our TV, or our provider, or or box, or anything like that. If you look closely (say from one inch away) these are not even pictures. The old black and white was much better. I've given up TV, as it's really not needed except for news, and that, you can listen to on the radio instead of watching on the TV. For that matter we don't NEED electricity, gas or electric heat, or ANYthing electronic. These are conveniences for the most part. The ten items, if you were to give them up, should not be replaced by more modern items, instead they should be done away with. I haven't read a newspaper in 15 years, not because I replaced it with news from the internet or TV or radio, but because I don't see the need to find out what everyone else in the world is doing. All this "data transmission" is quite unnecessary even in the modern world. I heard recently that more data is now stored and transmitted in TWO DAYS than in the entire year of...2003 (a scant 8 years ago) our society had gone insane. I'd be perfectly happy to go back to living in a cabin in the woods with oil lamps, a wood stove, and gravity fed water from a creek, and going to town for supplies with a horse and buggy once a month. Sorry, I'm just not a city person, who thinks they NEED these things.

cd613
cd613

you think technology is the in thing but the real technology is with in you rely on gadgets that are unreliable, at best they are stepping stones to the true technology these old folks would surprise you on what they can do

coridork
coridork

He's actually a gadget guy - cool phone, tablet, labtops, digital SLR, iPod, iPad, etc... But I can't get him to give him up his 8-track!!!

LeonBA
LeonBA

Whoa, I have to confess that I'M guilty on the phone items. I still have a land line, and my cell phone is even more basic than Bill's father's--it doesn't text and it doesn't have a camera; it just makes calls. 'Course, my lack of a smartphone is mainly because it's not worth the extra cost to me--I don't use it much, and it's hard to beat $10 a month for a phone that does what little you need it to do. Ironically (given the topic of this article), my father's actually ahead of me now in some ways. The guy who once asked "What is this attachment sh**?" now regularly emails me PowerPoint presentations. He also got a GPS before we did.

taleya
taleya

My dad's actually been pretty on the ball - while not at the cutting edge, he realised a long way before most exactly where the world was headed and was an early adopter of a lot of technologies. He's a mac user, but by no means a rampant fanboy - he started using macs back on System7 and has followed happily along the path, but has been tempered by a good chunk of common sense - does he need an iPhone or iPad? Will it do anything he's interested in? No. So why bother getting one? He's a fairly involved gamer for a man in his sixties - mostly worldbuilders and strategy (again, migrating from the original Ultima trilogy) - and sets his systems to handle what he wants to do. He only recently purchased a laptop after I lent him mine for an extended hospital stay, and uses it quite happily to fart about in the loungeroom keeping company. Anyone who knows him has absolutely no surprise whatsoever that one of his daughters is a highly sought sysadmin with equally in-depth skillsets in all three major OS' :)

indagarage
indagarage

As a Dad and a Granddad let me tell you youngsters there is a perfectly good reason why we wont give up some of those outdated technologies they work. 1. My old cell phone (we call them mobiles) works fine, it has an 8mp camera and sends and receives both voice and text. I dont need to receive email or login to Facebook at least once an hour. If something is that urgent or interesting my friends will call me; thats why I call them friends. 2. Landline? Well, perhaps youre right, I hardly use it (unless someone calls trying to sell me something). It's only there because it's part of the broadband package from British Telecom. 3. Daily newspapers actually seem to have have a lot more information in them than the online version - or is it just easier to find? 4. Paper based banking does it still exist? Not used this since I had hair. 5. My kids wouldnt allow one in the house - so how come they love all those old movies then? 6. I have three old cars, a 50s MG. a 60s Jaguar and a 70s Mini. They all have carburettors and apart from the peace and quiet I find in my garage, they are great conversation starters with ladies of a certain age in pub car parks. (I also have a modern car for getting about cheaply, safely and comfortably.) 7. Still have a film camera... somewhere. 8. A road atlas; essential as GPS is only useful 1.6km from your destination and an absolutely bloody liability in Paris, London or Amsterdam. 9. If it's not worth staying in for; it's not worth recording. 10. Take the old Jag out on a sunny Sunday afternoon, end up at some undiscovered, until then, riverside pub, read the sunday paper, watch the end of a local cricket match, a glass of Pimms and home. You kids havent lived!

Chriz-tian
Chriz-tian

Well, I'm not in with most things written here. My dad refused to stop using his turntable, and I thank him for it, the quality sound is just galaxy miles better than any iStuff with a station. Paper maps ? well, nothing better to get lost and then create magic memories of an adventurous trip to somewhere. Old cars ? Well, just go to Chrysler Museum and you will understand you dad. Today cars are almost boring to drive, and in many case, you can fix it by yourself.

ralph.gmx
ralph.gmx

Bill, your Dad is my hero! In my opinion it is very smart to still use a classic cell phone until the so-called providers deliver any reasonable price plan. The gadgets that all people now use to call 'smart' are nothing more than colourful noisy toys. They still have to mature (people _and_ gadgets). Sorry, Bill, your Dad is smart, not your smart phone! Cheers, Ralph. LOL

xcav8r369
xcav8r369

I agree with your Dad. My truck is a 1987 Chevy. Cheap and easy! No payments, cheap insurance. Cheap, readily available parts. Easy to work on, Easy to maintain. Requires no specialty tools or complicated diagnostics. Has a 350 V8 with throttle body injection (basically a fuel injected carb). Had it for 16 yrs, wouldn't trade it for anything.

Alan Henderson
Alan Henderson

I fix my children's computers, I fix my grand-children's computers. They get their IT info from my website. My new great-grandson will be pestering me in 10 years time to fix his 3D Windows XI 24" collapsible screen pocket rocket. There are thousands like me. Maybe millions. Check out who's doing the teaching at your local Seniornet. We invented this bloody stuff!

itadmin
itadmin

Personally I prefer analog watches, tachometers and speedometers to digital ones. That's just my taste. No doubt related in some way to my age. For some instruments I prefer digital ones. My wife, a teacher, tells me there are many high school kids who can't read an analog watch. I know many of them can't tie their shoelaces. I see that every day. I often wonder, were we that thick, as well? My wife says, no. And she should know.

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

1. Bill, I think your Dad knows what he needs and wants better than you do. Even if you show him what he's missing, those are just wants, not needs. And for older guys with restricted incomes, the wants don't cut it. 2. Selena, My Dad still uses a landline. And so do I. There's been too many times that a cell doesn't work. Or the cable is out and we can't Skype (and who knows if Microsoft with bugger the Skype system up now that they bought it?) NASA is big on multiple redundancy. Get the cheapest landline plan you can, and keep the thing. 3. I get 50% of my news from the internet. 25% from radio. 10 % from TV. 5% from magazines. 10% from newspapers. However, you don't have to turn a newspaper off for take off or landing, the batteries don't wear out, you can share pages with anyone, you don't have to worry about seeing the link disappear, or the content change before your eyes as the censors kill it or spin it. And the uses after you've read it are many. I don't need newspapers to start my fireplace anymore, junk mail took over that function. But newspapers work great for drop cloths, insulation, housebreaking the dog, pet rodent bedding, cleaning glass, paper mache' projects, packing christmas ornaments or other fragile objects - especially for sending via USPS or UPS, mulch for the garden, etc etc. 4. I bank in paper. My bank has instructions that if any transactions are attempted via internet, to disregard them and contact me immediately. If you bank on-line, you will eventually be hacked. 5. Yes, color beats black and white. I'm not even sure you can get parts for a B&W anymore. Of course the big thing is digital instead of analog signals nowadays. They say HD is better, but the difference in cost versus picture quality isn't. It was a marketing gimmick to force sales of more electronics, not filling a need. And anyone who buys a 3D TV is a SUCKER! 6. Toni, having worked in automotive maintenance for 20-some years, I side with your Dad on this. Modern cars are deliberately designed not to be fixable by the backyard mechanic. The automotive maintenance lobby has it's claws deeply and firmly into this. Plus, fuel economy really hasn't changed more than 30% in the past 100 years. 7. Digital cameras are nice, but the manufacturers missed the boat not providing for the ability to use the old lenses and filters. And let's not mention to loss of Kodachrome. 8. I'll take a road atlas over a GPS or other automated system. I've never had a road atlas direct me down a train track or into a lake. And I can write all over the atlas. 9. I rarely record programs. Of course I rarely watch the TV anyway. 10. Sunday drives are great. But only if going to a game, or fishing, or hiking, or horseback riding, or sailing, or .....

darije.djokic
darije.djokic

Being more or less the age of the dads in question I have worked with all of the ???outdated??? techs in the blog, but also with (almost) all of the new ones. I use regularly the new ones - some from their inception - but I have never relinquished the old ones, mostly for the reasons that were listed by the laughing kids that wrote the post. The airing offsprings seem to know the reasons but also seem to fail to understand all of the technological, sociological and psychological ramifications behind them. And, all of those ???outdated??? techs are splendid back-ups and fall-backs when the s... hits the fan. Let us put it this way: if the spy satellites, fighter drones and nuclear submarines do not do the job, You send in the rifleman; and what does he do when the rifle breaks or is left without ammo? He gets the bayonet. Guess what, it is just the modern rendering of the stone knife invented about 100 K years ago and it works charms in saving Your butt ... if You know how to use it.

darije.djokic
darije.djokic

Being more or less the age of the dads in question I have worked with all of the ???outdated??? techs in the blog, but also with (almost) all of the new ones. I use regularly the new ones - some from their inception - but I have never relinquished the old ones, mostly for the reasons that were listed by the laughing kids that wrote the post. The airing offsprings seem to know the reasons but also seem to fail to understand all of the technological, sociological and psychological ramifications behind them. And, all of those ???outdated??? techs are splendid back-ups and fall-backs when the s... hits the fan. Let us put it this way: if the spy satellites, fighter drones and nuclear submarines do not do the job, You send in the rifleman; and what does he do when the rifle breaks or is left without ammo? He gets the bayonet. Guess what, it is just the modern rendering of the stone knife invented about 100 K years ago and it works charms in saving Your butt ... if You know how to use it.

nikki1971
nikki1971

I'm only 40, but apparently I'm a fuddy-duddy already. I have a laptop, a smartphone, and quite a few of the other gadgets most people use. Each of them has their usages, and I do enjoy them. But I still have a landline POTS phone, basic cable, a VCR and tons of (gasp) PAPER books. I personally do not see the need to be connected 24/7, and I'm *really* not interested in the woman in the next public washroom stall's cellphone play-by-play of her elimination processes. Nor do I feel that I need to be aware of what's happening in Zboomafoo, Antarctalaysia at 3:15 AM PT. I'm sure we've all seen the emails about being a kid and playing outside, riding a bike without a helmet, etc. Here's my point in a nutshell: At the end of my workday, all the tech stuff gets turned OFF, and the old-school stuff gets the attention. (6452 HD channels don't mean anything to me, because I have no desire to watch about 98% of the current programming. And my 'ancient' VCR works well enough for my needs, thank you.) Honestly, it doesn't hurt to unplug, even if you only do so infrequently. If more people turned the tech off a little more often, we might see some semblance of intelligence return to our society.

jayohem
jayohem

That was a product of the depression, but some areas, perhaps even that where Harold's father lived, didn't have rural electrification til the 1940's. Rural electrification was one of Lyndon Baines Johnson's early achievements for his district in the late 1930's, a place and time where everybody was living with kerosene lamps, hand water pumps (in the kitchen if they were lucky), privvies, and plow horses or mules. I lived in a town in New York State that had electiricity, a sewer system, and central heating. Nevertheless in the early 40's I had neighbors who cooked on a coal stove, had a real ice box (ice no built-in refrigeration) and pumped water that they heated on the stove to wash dishes. :-)

Nebraska Jack
Nebraska Jack

I was visiting my 90 years plus father and was telling him about my new cell phone, explaining that I could take pictures with it. His response left me speechless for once: "Why would you want to take a picture of your ear?"

jim77kahn
jim77kahn

We need these sources of news. News web sites censor the news stories you see. The show you the stories they think you will be more likely to read. Newspapers and TV news while slanted will at least expose you to a variety of stories, not ones chosen especially for you. This gives us a better overall picture of what is going on. Heck most people even will read a news story that isn't in their mainline of interests.

DesertPete9
DesertPete9

Thanks for the collaborative anthology of comments about dads. It was fun to read, along with the comments. I'm 75, father of three, grandfather of 10, and I programmed my first computer (CDC 6400) in FORTRAN in 1966. As my years increase, I find it harder and harder to keep up with ever-changing technologies. That said, I've tried to retain some geekishness. Teaching English in China for 11 years helped keep me up to date with various flavors of Microsoft software (most legal), partly because I was de facto tech support not only for my wife and self, but also for many foreign teachers in our age bracket who (rightfully) didn't trust the young computer science students to help them out. I have no landline, but use a flip phone, which I upgrade every two years for (mostly) free. My iPad 1 has demonstrated some of the advantages and limitations of tablet and touch-screen technologies, but I'm not ready to plunge for a smart phone and associated subscriptions costs. Also, my incipient cataracts and macular degenerating eyes militate against the small fonts and screens. Perhaps some day.. My wife and I have never had a TV in 50 years of marriage, except for a few years intermittently when our own parents were living with us and brought their own. As a result, I embraced the internet eagerly to access the "unfiltered" news on it. As the internet was made available in China, we quickly learned key sites were blocked (NY Times, Washington Post, BBC, VOA, etc.) except when convenient for the Chinese government as when a high official visited the west. As for GPS, I hook a cheap receiver into my laptop's USB and use Microsoft Streets and Trips when planning and traveling. Works great -- most of the time. My wife pilots and I navigate. So, here's another voice heard from, basically a fading geek. :)

james.vandamme
james.vandamme

Who needs that? I get plenty of channels, in HD too. I pay to have garbage hauled away, why pay to have it piped in? And, get off my lawn, kids!

JamesRL
JamesRL

My father was born during the depression, on a farm. They still used horses to work the fields, didn't have electricty for a few of the early years. 1. What cell phone? My brother who lives with my dad, has one and even uses it to call me on it. But my dad has a landline, with one corded phone and one wireless one. 2. POTS line - thats all he can get in the country. My brother has a computer but they use the POTS line for dialup. Pretty slow. Cable hasn't made it to the house, and DSL is too expensive for their limited usage. They do have an answering machine. 3. Daily newspaper - check, one delivered, often he goes into town (10 minute drive) to get another one. Of course I still get my newspaper too. 4. Paper based banking. My dad can use an ATM, but anything complex he relies on branch banking and paper. He wouldn't even think of using a computer for anything, let alone banking. My mom was trained at IBM in the late 50s, my dad has never used one, and has no desire. 5. We have had colour TV since the mid 70s. My dad got satellite 14 years ago, he does like the selection. 6. Old cars. My dad grew up with big v8 rear wheel drive cars. He was sad to see the last one go about 10 years ago, he kept it running as long as he could. He also has a pickup - RWD V8 of course. He still doesn't appreciate front wheel drive, even though he lives in an area that gets an appreciabel amount of snow. 7. Film Camera. My dad doesn't do pictures. My mom had converted to digital before she passed away. I still have my made in 1976 Nikkormat camera and lenses. I can use the lenses on my Nikon digital camera. I bought a roll of film to have some fun a few months back, haven't loaded it yet. 8. Road Atlas. My mom bought my dad a GPS, he is getting forgetful and wasn't great at directions at the best of times. Its currently in my brothers truck. 9. Real Time TV. With saettlite, he could get a PVR, but hasn't bothered. To be fair since he gets channels in many time zones, he doesn't need it much. 10 Sunday Drives - used to do it alot, not anymore. 3.

ed
ed

My father watched my 1980s electronics (I was a college professor) with interest and when I swapped for an extra Commodore 64 and printer (roughly age 65), he started using it to type (one finger--never learned to type) letters and documents. Later came along a PC clone (he was early 70s) and finally one of the last generation of DOS machines, his late 70s), maybe a 486. He learned email and WordPerfect 5.1 (honest and honorable copy) and communicated occasionally with an ex-president who had some common interests and a few legislators, kept the family updated ("The Weakly Report") and enjoyed sending and receiving ("gotta send'em if you're going to get'em") emails. We lost him before we could start add to his misery with Windows, but we were impressed with what he'd do with what he had. Toward the end, he messed up his checkbook and liked the organization I did with my own copy of Quicken, though he didn't live to try it. Don't give up on your dads!

ScarF
ScarF

Fire is outdated. Try BBQing with microwave. I see this writing as just another marketing article to push down to our throats useless devices. What? Has Apple saturated his market of gulible-trendy-lowIQ individuals? Or, Android? As for now, I don't need a smartphone, so I don't buy one. And, btw, my "old style" cell phone has an address book - learn more about what these tools can and cannot do. It also has a 5 MP camera (what is your smartphone's camera resolution?) and a MP3 player (which I don't use because I prefer not to kill my listening experience, and to go home to listen music at my HiFi hi-performance stereo - STEREO, eh?). On the other hand, I don't send SMS. I want to communicate with somebody, I dial his number and talk - or leave a message. At extreme, honestly, I miss the times when you should go home for talking to phone, or just using a pay phone on the streets. There were very good times when I wasn't so available for any moron calling me with stupid problems. May I have a chocolate milkshake, please?

joeller
joeller

1. Smart phones versus plain phone. $30 dollars per month per phone for what? Internet access when I am out? When I leave work I have had enough of computers for the day. Phone numbers? My phone keeps the numbers I have called. If I haven't called it why would I want to? My battery lasts for a week and a half instead of a couple of hours. As for directions? Generally I find it better to know where you are going before you start. If there is a problem then pull out the map and finally stop and ask. (Which reminds of incident I had with google maps directions "Proceed on alpha street to yada street and make a left. Proceed on yada street 1200 ft and make a U turn. Proceed on yada street to Alpha street and make a left." It took an hour and a half after leaving the highway to reach a destintation which was actually only ten minutes from the highway. However we did get to see every two lane dirt road in the county. My sister had the same issue with her GPS despite me telling her that the directions it was giving were wrong. "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain") 2. Cell phones versus land lines. No dropped calls, no missed words due to bad reception, and the ability to call out in a power outage. Anyone getting electricity from PEPCO in the Washington Area has learned to appreciate that. 3. NewsPaper and broadcast news versus Internet news. I now know that if it is on the internet, half the time it is a lie, and another big percentage is from people who have no idea what they are talking about. Look how many people heard on the internet, the President was a) a muslim, b) not born in the US. Jackasses. Even if you just go to the sites of responsible news organizations you have to contend with pages that won't load or take forever to load, and video that does not run; and you don't the broad picture that you get by scanning the headlines. 6. Old Cars. I long for the days when I could do my own car repair. I used to be able to replace entire engines. Now I have to pay $60/hour just for a mechanic to tell me what wrong, even before he or she starts work, and half the time the work is done so poorly it has to be redone, again and again. 7. Film cameras. I find I get better, higher resolution pictures with my film SLR with a telephoto lens than I have gotten with my digital SLR. I believe military reconnaisance has found that to be true as well. But digitals alleiviate the development cost. But my main gripe is with gadgets that remove the necessity of thinking. How many times have you given the cashier $1.03 for a $.78 item and watched their inability to figure out they owe you a quarter? When people can no longer think without their gadgets it is time to get rid of the gadgets.

brad
brad

Some of these old school ways can be a lifesaver. Before the GUI there was the Command Line, and before the Command Line there was the Punch Card, etc... A healthy knowledge of "that which came before" can put "that which is now' in perspective.

craigkra
craigkra

What exactly is "unfiltered news"? News is always filtered! It is not something that you choose to have or not. You can, however, choose the filter but then you can do that by reading more than one newspaper. Neutrality doesn't exist

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

When I was young, we used to go on "Penny Rides." When we came to an intersection, both kids in the back seat flipped pennies. If they both came up Heads, we turned right; both tails, we turned left; one of each, continue straight on. Now it's much easier because we have the GPS to get us home when we're done.

pausonne
pausonne

I don't know how anyone else looks at photography but, so far, even as much as digital photography has advanced, 35 mm film still takes a FAR better picture that is clearer and has more detail than digital. Much the same as with digital vs. analog music. Digital has a brittle, sometimes almost painful, sound that is not yet improved upon beyond analog.

jmbrasfield
jmbrasfield

1: Old-school cell phone - I was an initial adopter of the smart phone, but after my two year agreement was up I dumped it for a flip phone. 95% of what I did was make phone calls. I believe I checked my e-mail twice in two years, I'm just not that self important, and I never took a picture or video with it. I just needed a phone for on the go, you know, to make a phone call. 2: Landline telephone - I kept mine, works even when my cell goes dead or no web access. The power/ISP/Wireless companies could learn much from the landline phone company. 6: Old cars - I have a late 60's muscle car, bought it brand new, has three carburetors, paid cash. Try and get it serviced at your local repair center. "Where's the computer plug thingy. How can I fix it if it ain't got a computer plug thingy." 8: Road atlas - TomTom, what else needs to be said.

Bogdan Peste
Bogdan Peste

Sure, I need a smartphone, and have an iPhone that makes my life a lot easier, being that I am a sysadmin and have all sorts of sensors and e-mail alerts. I need to know ASAP if something goes wrong...but, I would NEVER rely only on my smartphone if I was to, say, take a hiking trip into the mountains, or any long trip away from the city. The battery life is horrible. I trust the good old Nokia with 5-7 days of battery life if I actually want to talk on the phone anytime, anywhere and not constantly worry that my battery is drained after just one day. So, couldn't live without the smartphone, but wouldn't have it as my only phone.

Shadeburst
Shadeburst

Gee how I long for the "Good Old Days." No ring-pulls on beercans, no internet, no CD's or DVD's, no word-processors or spreadsheets, no email, no amazon.com... no dental floss bikinis. Cellphones? A mixed blessing. I still regard the telephone as the invention of the devil. Probably the rudest technology ever discovered.

stevethehawk
stevethehawk

It's ridiculous to believe that everyone needs a smartphone. My wife and I have cellphones that talk and text. Pretty much everything we need. The vast majority of the time, we are either at home or at work. Our total phone bill for BOTH phones is about $30 a month (a plan we have had for many years). If we had smartphones, the bill would be at least five times higher. So basically by avoiding tech that we don't need and would barely use, in 10 years I'll have at least $12,000 in my pocket that you won't have. And of course, if I collect the dividends on the ATT and Verizon stock that I buy with that money, I'll have even more than that. All in all, I'll appreciate those of you that "need" a smartphone.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

battery for my 6-year-old Samsung clamshell phone. It makes phone calls and sends and receives text messages. I'm almost as fast using the multiple-push text entry system on that phone as my son is on his touchscreen. B-)

JamesRL
JamesRL

I do know a lot more about computers than my teens, they in turn know way more than my father ever will. You may be a pioneer. But you may be atypical. My father is 78 and has no interest in giving up his old tech. I'm pretty sure no one was looking to slam you. I think this was an opportunity to open a discussion about old tech, and in the time frame of fathers day, it was something to relate to. Now my mom trained at IBM in the late 50s....

JamesRL
JamesRL

5. HD - its somewhat subjective, but I find HD picture quality much better than SD. I had digital picture from satellite for years, then I bought an HD TV and upgraded the receiver. My HD TV however is an old Toshiba HD CRT at a whopping 27inches. Its only 1080i. But its brighter and has better contrast than just about any LCD or Plasma I've seen. The backlight LED panels are now about the same brightness and contrast, but I'm not ready to buy a new TV yet. 6. I'm not sure its a deliberate conspiracy to stop backyard mechanics as much as the increasing computerization and demands on space utilization. When I bought an old Volvo 240 years back, I could almost stand between the engine block and the wheelwell, and I could easily reach everything. My more recent vans, you can only reach three of the six plugs, because the engine bays are small and everything is jammed in tight. I have my own scanner for trouble codes, and the internet helps me find out the possible causes for the codes. 7. My Nikon dSLR can mount my old lenses, some of which were made as early as 1977. And I do use them. Most of the filters will work with polarizers as an exception.

joeller
joeller

Use to be my computer did not get turned on after work unless there was overwhelming some pressing need. I have a life that I need to live which can't be done while tied to a machine. I need to attend public hearings, participate in demonstrations and attend meetings. However nowadays to publicize demonstrations, public hearings, and in order to build public support for a point a view, you have to utilize social networking and public comment. One can no longer be an activist without being connected.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

The nearest utility pole was almost a mile away. The two old bachelor brothers living on it had kerosene lamps, a wood stove, an actual icebox, and a root cellar. They canned or smoked much of what they ate. They had running water, but only because the well was on the hill above the house, and they could pump until they filled a 100-gallon tank. Bath water was heated on the stove, showers were cold. This was in western Schoharie County in the early 70s, less than four miles outside the village. It took 23 poles at $25 a pop to bring electricity to the house, and that only after my stepfather negotiated an easement with the neighbor. Now, the only thing keeping him from living there year-round is the extreme difficulty of getting a vehicle in or out between the first snow and spring thaw.

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

No problem...we serve them here at the drugstore!

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Calculate the total plus tax in your head and present exact change when she hits the total key. :0 is the response I usually get.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

to have a computer plug thingy free car.

myangeldust
myangeldust

My folks taught me it was bad manners to interrupt someone who is on the phone. But all single women on the street are talking on mobile phones. This is a case where my upbringing works against me.

brad
brad

For vanity's sake I purchased a personal (non-business) smartphone a few years ago. Like any new love, at first I was simultaneously cautious, doubtful, and hopeful. As the affair continued I became enamored with the nifty functions and features (albeit at an additional cost) the phone provided for my pleasure. It could sing, vibrate, and brighten darkened rooms with a brilliant display. I opined for each beep and chirp, every trill and whistle, my beloved smart phone made as it announced incoming e-mail, text, facebook status updates, twitter updates, low battery. Every chance I could get I would show off my new companion to passerby, flaunting the technology. Soon, the relationship turned dark. I no longer jumped for joy at every note and blurp the phone made. Anticipation changed into commitment, then finally irritation. Now, I rarely use the phone for anything other than phone calls. My phone no longer hums, twirps, blips, or tweets at every new message. Instead it silently gathers information and quietly stores the list of nearly endless (and mostly useless) communication from friends and family. I sometimes leave the phone at home, alone and silent, while I check my e-mail the old fashioned way... via computer.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

I surmise that he purchased a homestead, NOT "bought the farm" ... is that correct?

ScarF
ScarF

this is a line from The Murderer episode in Ray Bradbury's Theatre (the actual line is "Could I have a Chocolate milkshake, please"). Highly recommended for any user of (i)Devices.

DaveSlash
DaveSlash

Years ago, while purchasing a new car, the dealer did the financing math on his computer and told us "Your payment will be $this." My wife (a college math professor) whips out her calculator, does some calculations, and replies "No. Our payment will be THIS." Looking at the dealer???s face, I've never seen such incredulity. Math is power.

joeller
joeller

Better yet, give them A dollar bill and two quarters for a $1.30 item, then after they have punched in $1.50, change it to a dollar bill, a quarter and a dime. You will get the blankest stare you have ever seen.