11 Things That (Inexplicably) Continue To Exist

As technology advances, it can be a bit sad to say goodbye to some of the old things.  But there comes a time and place when you have to accept that your powdered wig is no longer cutting it.  Here’s 11 “things” that are refusing to go quietly into the night.  Oh, and I don’t have things like “world hunger” and “child slavery” on here, though certainly those things should not exist, either.

11) Beepers

Yes, you can still buy these dinosaurs.  Just ask Dennis Duffy (Liz Lemon’s on-again/off-again boyfriend on 30 Rock).  “Technology is cyclical” the so-called Beeper King tells a bemused Liz Lemon.  Umm, good luck with that buddy.  Th Barksdale crew tried using these things in the first season of The Wire, as well.  I personally never understood how the hell beepers worked, despite seeing them in countless movies over the years.  Somebody calls your beeper, which lets you know to go to the nearest phonebooth or whatever and call that person back?  That sounds practical.

10) Phone/Calling Cards

You know something is outdated and useless when Michael Scott is hawking them in the cold open of The Office.   I guess people use these things to make international calls or something, but really?  Phone cards?  I can’t imagine anyone walking into a one of those shady little conveince stores that still sells phone cards, handing the guy behind the counter money, and saying “One phone card, please.”  Come to think of it, they’re like the the Pogs of the communication world.

9) The United States Senate

I don’t want to go into a rant here, but the Senate is something that doesn’t make a lot of sense.  Originally put in place due to the small states bitching about lack of representation, we now have a situation where living in a smaller state like Wyoming gives you a hell of a lot more power to affect U.S. policy than someone living in California.  Think about this: the senators from the twenty-six smallest states, which represent about 18 percent of the total population of the U.S. have th ability to stop laws from happening.  And yet this is supposedly a government of, by, and for the people.  What it essentially means is that your opinions matter less if you live in a larger state.  Will this ever change, though?  Of course not, because in order to get it changed, those aforementioned senators from the smaller states would have to agree to it, and why would they want to give up power?

8. Phone Booths/Pay Phones

Unless you’re Clark Kent and you’re looking to change into your Superman suit, phone booths and pay phones are probably having zero impact on your life.  Yet I still see them on street corners every now and then.  Why?  I’m not even sure if these things are functioning anymore; maybe the phone companies want to keep them around as relics of a simpler time. 

7) classmates.com

I guess no one bothered to tell the founder of this outdated website about Facebook.  How else could you explain its continued existence.  What would the chain of events be that leads someone to use this site?  Say you really want to find one of your old high school buddies.  You check Facebook, no dice.  You ask all of your old acquaintances for contact information, yet none of them can help you.  What do you do now?  It’s easy, just sign up for classmates.com.  I’ll just pay them a small monthly fee, and hope and pray that my buddy is on here. 

6) VHS

I was at the store the other day and I saw some guy (a young guy too, he was probably like 21!) buying 15 blank VHS tapes.  Just a baffling experience.  I said to him “I didn’t know they still made these” which must have offended him.  But really, when was the last time you watched anything on VHS?  Occasionally during my job as a substitute teacher a teacher will leave behind an old VHS tape of something, and I’m always stunned by how inefficient they are, in particular the rewind/fast forward function.  And then there was the “tracking” button, which never, ever worked for me, yet supposedly existed to control the amount of static on the television, or something like that.  Bad times.

5) Pocket Calculators

Certainly there’s still a need for specialized calculators, if only for use in your Advanced Algebra and Trigonometry class or to play some pretty decent games (anyone remember that football game that used to come on graphing calculators?).  But why anyone would plot down money on a regular, pocket-sized calculator is beyond me.  Most phones have decent calculators, and if you don’t want to use that then why not use a computer?

4) Floppy Disks

Like phone booths, floppy disks are another relic from a simpler time.  As late as sophomore year of high school, I can, somewhat embarrassingly, using a floppy disk.  I remember the looks of scorn as I tried to save my paper onto it.  Then some snarky bastard says to me “You know you can just use a flash drive, right?”  That was kind of the death knell for floppys for me.  Yet they still sell these things right alongside flashdrives!

3) Home Phones

Every time I see my friend Lauren, we have the same basic conversation about home phones.  She is a staunch supporter of them, for some reason.  She says she likes to talk to her friend’s parents and stuff.  At any rate, I don’t see many people from my generation setting up a home phone in their apartment/house.  It’s just impractical.  On my phone at home, I don’t even answer the home phone most of the time: ninety percent of the calls are from telemarketers.  I doubt home phones will completely disapear for a while, as nostaligia will keep them going for years, but the industry is on the decline.

2) Phone Books

Compare the amount of time it takes to look up the listing for a business or company in a phone book with the amount of time it takes to just type in the name of the business into Google and that should give you a sense of how useless these giant yellow books are in today’s world.  Yeah, you could make a case that people without computers or internet access could use them, but that seems unlikely.  I wish we could calculate the amount of trees that have been destroyed to put these books, which mainly get thrown up, left in corners next to unused pay-phones, or ripped in half by musclemen in impressive feats of strength. 

1) The Electoral College

Like the U.S. Senate, hundreds of thousands of words have been written about the idiocy of the Electoral College.  I actually took a college class on the United States electoral system, and I wrote my final paper on why the system should be replaced with a more representative system of selecting a President.  It’s clear that something is wrong when a man can be elected president despite having garnered less votes than his opponent, which happened in 1876, 1888, and most memorably, during the 2000 election where George Bush essentially stole the win from Al Gore.  Imagine you’re back in high school, and you’re running for class president.  You make some speeches, hang some flyers up around school, and then there’s a vote.  The person who receives the most votes wins the election.  Completely logical, right?  It doesn’t even seem possible for there to be an alternative to that.  The electoral college casts logic aside though.  If you wanted to hold a class election and adhere to the tenets of the electoral college, each homeroom would be allotted a certain number of votes based on their size.  If a canidate wins even just 1 more vote than his or her opponent, they get all the votes for that classroom.  Absurd right?  Well, that’s how the president of the United States, arguably the most powerful leader in the entire world, gets chosen.

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~ by fc13 on June 15, 2010.

170 Responses to “11 Things That (Inexplicably) Continue To Exist”

  1. naturally like your web-site but you have to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling issues and I to find it very troublesome to tell the reality on the other hand I will definitely come again again.

  2. Too funny. I just heard that the white pages won’t be made anymore. No more kids looking up names and making phony phone calls. Do kids even do that anymore? I have such fond memories of that.

  3. I just had to tell you that I really couldn’t stand reading this list. You sound like a 15 year old whining because you can’t believe that *groan* they still have all those crappy old technologies hanging around. You don’t speak for everyone. You don’t even have a basic understanding of why some of these are still practical for some people, but you can’t conceive of anyone outside of your tiny frame of reference who has an opinion that matters. Of course, you will hate these comments because everyone from your generation gets by on feel-good feedback. Don’t say anything negative, it might offend somebody. Come back in ten years when you have an opinion we actually want to hear.

    • “You don’t even have a basic understanding of why some of these are still practical for some people, but you can’t conceive of anyone outside your tiny frame of reference who has an opinion that matters.” I don’t think you have a basic understanding of what this list is: an attempt at a humorous catalogue of technologies that are hopelessly outdated. You write as if you have some great emotional connection to phone books or beepers. Do you have specific aspects that you “couldn’t stand” reading? Let me know and I’ll be happy to address them.
      -The Author

  4. […] to go downhill and called it a day.  Not my most elequont work, certainly.  But other than the “11 Things That (Inexplicably)  Continue To Exist”  post, this is by far my most popular blog post.  Today I’ve already gotten 15 views on […]

  5. put consumer desktops on the list. with more and more mobile computer platforms, desktops only appeal to specialized professionals that require above-average computer power

  6. […] 26, 2010 I stumbled across the maps of the problematic blog last week, which claimed the U.S. Senate was no longer necessary. It was part of a list […]

  7. Good list.
    Cassette tapes still around.
    Truth is I still have a gorgeous rotary phone on my landline that I will loath to see fall to the wayside.

  8. I find a lot in the world press com. But I am wondering the whole world is moving for the betterment of the people of the world.But where is the status of the disabled persons in the development process. Why all the scientist, philosopher,leader not meaning the world is for all but slogan is there in reality nothing I can see in the inclusive development there is the touch of realization of the existing of the disabled person. Does it too costly or it is only to understand properly, does it too unrealistic or it is only due to lack of initiative. Till I do not understand properly. I do hope from this is there is any one who can tell me that will be great.

  9. […] As technology advances, it can be a bit sad to say goodbye to some of the old things.  But there comes a time and place when you have to accept that your powdered wig is no longer cutting it.  Here's 11 "things" that are refusing to go quietly into the night.  Oh, and I don't have things like "world hunger" and "child slavery" on here, though certainly those things should not exist, either. 11) Beepers Yes, you can still buy these dinosaurs.  Jus … Read More […]

  10. This is a really cool blog. Well said…

  11. […] 2010/06/17 · Laisser un commentaire Discovery of the day.   As technology advances, it can be a bit sad to say goodbye to some of the old things.  But there comes a time and place when you have to accept that your powdered wig is no longer cutting it.  Here’s 11 « things » that are refusing to go quietly into the night.  Oh, and I don’t have things like « world hunger » and « child slavery » on here, though certainly those things should not exist, either. 11) Beepers Yes, you can still buy these dinosaurs.  J … Read More […]

  12. Beepers are definitely a waste of time. I’m a nurse at a hospital and I always giggle when I see Doctors who have beepers. They literally carry them around and read the info on the little teeny screen. NUTS!

  13. “I guess people use these things to make international calls or something, but really? Phone cards? I can’t imagine anyone walking into a one of those shady little conveince stores that still sells phone cards, handing the guy behind the counter money, and saying “One phone card, please.”

    I’m with you on all fronts except for calling cards. You just threw out your rant by establishing the primary reason for phone cards. International cards are vastly cheaper with phone cards than with global phones or dialing direct. And, not everyone can afford a computer overseas let alone be proficient enough to use one since I’m sure you’ll bring up skype or webcamming. Unless you don’t have the majority of your family living outside the U.S., you wouldn’t understand that. Shady little convenience stores? You mean like 7-11, the one that’s practically everywhere? That’s like saying Starbucks is shady. Then again……….

    • Yeah, I always thought phoen cards were useless until I did a bit of research and found out how many people use them for international calls. I included them, though, because there has to be a more efficient system of making an international phone call than phone cards…Thanks for the comment, though, savereyes, I appreciate it.

  14. This is GREAT! You’ve got to add Fax Machines though! Technology that still exists (even though it’s so easy to just send a PDF?) but also hasn’t evolved AT ALL since it’s been invented. What?!

    • Thanks for reading, etau, I checked out your blog and it looks really cool. I agree, fax machines are pretty useless these days, not sure that many companies would bother buying them when you can just scan and email…

  15. […] I happened upon the Freshly-Pressed list of 11 Things that (Inexplicably) Continue to Exist, and I thought, “Wow. I still use almost half of those things.” So, without further ado […]

  16. In 1789, in the nation’s first election, the people had no vote for President in most states, Only men who owned a substantial amount of property could vote. Later, state laws gave the people the right to vote for President in all 50 states.

    The National Popular Vote bill would end the disproportionate attention and influence of the “mob” in a handful of closely divided battleground states, such as Florida, while the “mobs” of the vast majority of states are ignored. 98% of the 2008 campaign events involving a presidential or vice-presidential candidate occurred in just 15 closely divided “battleground” states. Over half (57%) of the events were in just four states (Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia). Similarly, 98% of ad spending took place in these 15 “battleground” states.

    The current system does not provide some kind of check on the “mobs.” There have been 22,000 electoral votes cast since presidential elections became competitive (in 1796), and only 10 have been cast for someone other than the candidate nominated by the elector’s own political party. The electors are dedicated party activists of the winning party who meet briefly in mid-December to cast their totally predictable votes in accordance with their pre-announced pledges.

  17. The powers of state governments are neither increased nor decreased based on whether presidential electors are selected along the state boundary lines, along district lines (as has been the case in Maine and Nebraska), or national lines.

    A “republican” form of government means that the voters do not make laws themselves but, instead, delegate the job to periodically elected officials (Congressmen, Senators, and the President). The United States has a “republican” form of government regardless of whether popular votes for presidential electors are tallied at the state-level (as has been the case in 48 states) or at district-level (as has been the case in Maine and Nebraska) or at 50-state-level (as under the National Popular Vote bill).

  18. The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

    The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes–that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president.

    The bill has been endorsed or voted for by 1,922 state legislators (in 50 states) who have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. Support for a national popular vote is strong in virtually every state, partisan, and demographic group surveyed in recent polls in closely divided battleground states: Colorado– 68%, Iowa –75%, Michigan– 73%, Missouri– 70%, New Hampshire– 69%, Nevada– 72%, New Mexico– 76%, North Carolina– 74%, Ohio– 70%, Pennsylvania — 78%, Virginia — 74%, and Wisconsin — 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Alaska — 70%, DC — 76%, Delaware –75%, Maine — 77%, Nebraska — 74%, New Hampshire –69%, Nevada — 72%, New Mexico — 76%, Rhode Island — 74%, and Vermont — 75%; in Southern and border states: Arkansas –80%, Kentucky — 80%, Mississippi –77%, Missouri — 70%, North Carolina — 74%, and Virginia — 74%; and in other states polled: California — 70%, Connecticut — 74% , Massachusetts — 73%, Minnesota — 75%, New York — 79%, Washington — 77%, and West Virginia- 81%.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 30 state legislative chambers, in 20 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, and Oregon, and both houses in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington. These five states possess 61 electoral votes — 23% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

    • Mvymvy, thanks for the info. I wasn’t aware of the National Popular Voting Act, but it sounds great. Let’s pray this thing gets passed!

  19. Until the prices of the better cell phones with internet capabilities come down, we will still have phone books–as archaic as it may seem.

  20. I think that this list, clever as it is, is more revelatory of you and your status in society, than of society as a whole. People in the working class and down towards the poverty line regularly use phones in phone booths, for instance to call their families in other countries (because they’re working here to support a family over there). People use phone cards for the same reason (try calling Russia, or Taiwan, or Zimbabwe with your cell phone – you’ll be paying that off for years). Do you know how many millions of people living in the States are foreign nationals or those with families abroad? Perhaps you can’t imagine anyone walking into “one of those shady little convenience stores” to buy a calling card because that’s not *your* reality. But for millions of people, it is. That’s why these things are not extinct. If you’re looking at society, be sure to look at all of it, not just middle-class college degree America. Just saying.

  21. Just a tip for all my wordpress friends….a free 411 number is 1-800-FREE411 (1800-373-3411). Maybe if this number reaches the masses, there won’t be a need for phonebooks, lol!!!

  22. […] from mapsoftheproblematic.wordpress.com […]

  23. pay phones are still around, in part, because of the work of domestic violence groups since most domestic violence calls come from pay phones

  24. my parents still have their home phone, and I always call them on it. Why? Because their cells get terrible reception in the house (and my mom’s phone is never charged/on/anywhere near her). However, my brother doesn’t have a home phone, and I know my cell doesn’t work at his house. I don’t know how he gets calls.

  25. This is HILARIOUS. Great post! I often look at things (like the phone book I get every few months) and wonder why! It’s such a waste of paper.

  26. I only ever use my home phone if i’m trying to find my mobile.

  27. Haha this rules. I agree, although I do have a few old VHS tapes I watch now and then. I admit it.

  28. Good list.
    I thought you had Colin Farrell on it at first.
    Echoing the UK comment just before me – don’t get rid of phone boxes – at least not the red ones of the UK or the green ones of the Republic of Ireland. Where else can you go for shelter when the pubs are closed, or to experience that stuck in a urinal sensation.

    • That’s true, it would be quite a loss to lose those red phone booths in England. The ones in the US are not nearly as iconic, unfortunately. Anyway, thanks for reading my blog, blackwatertown.

  29. Here in England the number of phone booths has declined. I still use them! Once in a blue moon I actually use the phone, but more often I use them to get away from traffic noise or out of the wind/rain to use my mobile.

  30. Nice blog! I must disagree with you about the relevance of phone books, though. Many times I’ve looked a number up online, only to find that the number is wrong. The phone books are just more up-to-date, in that regard. But you make excellent points on all these. Enjoyed it!

  31. I was thinking about phone books the other day and how we used to dog ear pages we needed. I want a beeper and I enjoy phone booths. Great list overall, it def entertained me.

    Classmates.com charges a fee. Wow!

  32. You’re so right.. I’m so glad cassettes disappeared years ago. Or they might have made your list as well

  33. This is a really cool blog. Well said…

  34. Bravo!

  35. The reason why people are buying phonecards is because it is cheaper to call with phonecards than with local cellphone. It’s not about practicality or impracticality. It’s about how much money do you want to spend to call your friends or family outside your country.

  36. I have a freakin’ library of VHS tapes that I’ve been meaning to watch again before finally retiring them. Hard to even find a VCR for sale these days, too. Awesome post.

  37. It is pretty much impossible to find Floppy disks in the UK now. I went on a search for one when i needed to make a bootable floopy for my home computer and i couldn’t find one anywhere.

  38. Sheer brilliance. Loved it.

  39. interesting blog — lots of stuff I didn’t know about your electoral system — sounds just as wonderful and arcane as ours here in Canada

  40. Pocket Calculators? Because they’re tactile, straightforward and less fiddly than those on mobile phones.

    Home Phones? Because batteries run out, chargers get lost, and because mobile phones get left in cars, offices, and anywhere else but home!

  41. How arrogant. Not everyone is a tech-savvy 20-something dying for the latest gadget.

    Older people prefer a landline and as someone pointed out above, in an emergency, having 911 connectivity can save your life. Besides, cell phones don’t always work and even if they do, not everyone can afford them. Why should I go out and buy all the movies I have on VHS on DVD? I can’t afford that either, and my tape player still works, so I don’t have to.

    • Cell phones are not unaffordable; they’re free. Fancy cell phones are unaffordable, but basic and perfectly adequate cell phones are given away free with a calling plan.

  42. Great list!

  43. nice blog an good writing. can upload another funny again, guys??
    visit back, please

  44. Nice read.
    I can live without all of them except the VHS and the senate. Some of us can’t afford tivo and cable/satelite or do not want all of its influence in our lives and that of our children. (read: husband would not get off the couch if sports were on).

    I dont know why businesses use beepers, but I think they think its less intrusive and sometimers hospital areas do not allow cell use. Trust Michael Scott.
    Maps are the next to go.
    That and talking to strangers – ie asking directions, etc. – who needs to with google onhand.

  45. You make some good points, but your Liberal bias has clouded
    some of your main points.

    1.) Calculators. I am 62 years old, and I graduated from college
    when I was 32. Got an Engineering Degree using a Good Old TI55.
    I use my cell phone all the time to calculate tips in restaurants.
    BUT when checking financial statements, or income tax returns,
    there is nothing like a pocket calculator WITH REAL BIG KEYS.
    It is obvious that you equate Seniors and Baby Boomers to
    tecchnological idiots. What you don’t take into account is
    one of the first things that go is the eyes. You made it through
    advanced Algebra and Trig., I made it through Calc II.

    2.The Senate Why do you compare California to Wyoming in your
    analysis? Are you talking about the State that is the Most
    bankrupt right now? I’ve never been to Wyoming, but I bet
    the people there are much more self reliant and less
    dependant on entitlements than California. Who knows?
    some day the element that replaces oil as our energy
    standard may be discovered there in abundance. Judging
    from your taste in TV shows, and perspecttive you have
    a good old fahioned case of urban eliism going
    for or against you.

    3.Finally the electoral college thing. I know you with
    your narrow view think that someone from a Jerry Springer
    Show watching trailer park should never be allowed
    to decide a presidential election, but here goes:
    If you didn’t think golf was such a borgeois sport
    you would understand the rules of “match” play versus
    “stroke” play. In match play the person that wins the
    most holes wins the match. Therefore it is possible to
    lose one hole 10-3, with 3 being the best score and still
    win the match by virtue of winning the most holes. This
    is the way the Ryder Cup is decided. In stroke play
    the person with the fewest strokes wins the match. These
    are the RULES for all the Major tournaments, ie Masters,
    US Open, Britsh and PGA. If you can use some priviously
    unused powers of reasoning, you can see that certain
    strategies must be employed to insure victory. Bush
    knew he wasn’t going to win in more populus states like
    California and New York, therefore he quit campaigning
    there early on because he knew the election would be decided
    in Battleground States like Ohio, and ultimately Florida.
    Surely a comopolitan, elitist, technocrat such as yourself
    can grasp this.

    • Interesting comparison with golf, Harry Elliot. However, I would think someone with your apparent intellect would understand the dangers of an electoral college system which gives certain swing states (Florida, Ohio, etc.) such a massive amount of sway in what is supposed to be a national election. Why would someone like George Bush even bother to campaign in Alabama? Or why would Barack Obama bother campaigning in New York? So instead of running a true national campaign, we have candidates focusing their efforts in a few specific battleground states. Another disastrous consequence of this system is the neutering effect it has. Those running for President end up walking on eggshells and doing their damndest to remain as moderate as possible so as to not offend anyone in the states where a sound bite can lead to a loss in the election. Certainly this would happen to a large extent anyway, but what it really encourages is candidates masking their true beliefs in order to appeal to on-the-fence voters in the swing states. Finally, the electoral college absolutely crushes third party candidates and further entrenches the two-party system that the Founding Fathers were wary of when formulating the Constitution.

      One last point: I think a more fair way to decide Presidential elections without completely abolishing the Electoral College would be the proportional voting idea. Basically, a candidate’s percentage of popular votes would equate to how many electoral votes they get in that particular state. So say Obama gets sixty percent of the popular votes in Massachusetts; rather than getting all of the state’s electoral votes, he would get 60% of the votes (about 7 of MA’s 12 votes). If McCain got 30% of the popular vote, he’d get 30% of the electoral votes, and so on. Something like this would allow candidates to run more of a national campaign; a liberal wouldn’t have to concede the Deep South, a conservative wouldn’t have to give up in the Northeast, etc. It could also give some momentum to third-party candidates; Perot, for instance, got 19% of the popular vote in 1992, yet did not win a single electoral vote.

      Just a few thoughts from a cosmopolitan, elitist, technocrat.

  46. Sooooo true. This really made me laugh.

    I, however, do see the point of pay phones on corners. I was mugged a couple of weeks ago. Barstewards took my mobile, and ever since then, I’ve been operating out of a phone booth, because whilst I have a home phone LINE I don’t have a home land line phone, since, as you rightly say, they are only ever called by cold callers. Bah.

    Unfortunately, whilst the phone companies that bundle broadband insist we have a land line, we’ll still have to have pointless land line phones : (

  47. I like all that old shit. Especially VHS.

  48. […]   As technology advances, it can be a bit sad to say goodbye to some of the old things.  But there comes a time and place when you have to accept that your powdered wig is no longer cutting it.  Here's 11 "things" that are refusing to go quietly into the night.  Oh, and I don't have things like "world hunger" and "child slavery" on here, though certainly those things should not exist, either. 11) Beepers Yes, you can still buy these dinosaurs.  J … Read More […]

  49. I lost my cell once, realized it on the train to NYC. Took me forever to find a pay phone at Grand Central. It was located in a completely inaccessible area, populated only by people doing drug deals.

  50. Haha good

  51. Great list, but I have to say, phone cards are essential if you are traveling and want to make international calls. Using your mobile costs a fortune. I always buy one when I go overseas.

  52. This is a funny list. Several of these things are virtually extinct. For example, I doubt even 5 % of westerners use VHS, pagers or floppy discs. My favorite were the Senate and Electoral College. I would consider the latter to be the most ridiculous.


  53. LOL! LOved your post!! I remeber a time when it was so cool to have beepers!! How did we EVER survive without mobile phones….lol…

  54. True ! Simple calculators are also obsolete. And sometimes I find CDs and DVDs not useful anymore, it’s all about downloading now…

  55. Cudos to you! Loved it,because it’s all so true!

  56. Home phones will be with us for as long as mobile providers continue to rip us all off for international calls. And don’t knock the phone book – makes great kindling for the fire!

  57. […] 15 06 2010 I was reading a blog called 11 Things That (Inexplicably) Continue to Exist. The author was say that things such as beepers, payphones, calling cards, pocket calculators, […]

  58. GREAT list! Fascinating read!
    By the way, phone cards are BIG business for overseas workers of course. Here in the Middle East, SO many people buy cards to call home as many cannot afford computers. They have even banned programs like skype in Oman so the phone companies can make a killing! Different countries have different rates so they’ll be around forever.

  59. Unfortunately they don’t produce vhs or floppy disks anymore. 😦

  60. Christian coalition.

  61. haha how old are you…twelve? (I know, I know, you are a substitute teacher so you must be at least 19-20, joking)

    Actually a lot of these items still have practical uses, depending on what field you work in. I work at a university where these items are continuously employed in different areas of research and art, for various reasons.

    Reasons might include pricing/cost matters, compatibility with various machinery (i.e. no interference, need for picking up signals etc) and the fact that some of these older products can work in ways their new digital descendants cannot. For example, digital will never be the same as film or be able to do all the tasks that film can.

    Anyways, don’t want to bore with details, but just thought I would point out that although they may not be practical for the average man on the street, many of these products continue to be useful to society.

    Methods of American government on the other hand…

  62. […] 11 Things That (Inexplicably) Continue To Exist « Maps of the Problematic. This entry was written by The RSVP Network, posted on June 16, 2010 at 1:29 AM, filed under […]

  63. many countries still require a damn phone line to sign-up for the guess what – internet. you should be talking about that, instead of home phones.

  64. You know what else could go away?
    Popcorn you cook on the stove.

    HELLO? Yes, mhhm ahuhu yes.

  65. We need a home phone in the apartment in case we’re gonna let someone in from downstairs. But we don’t because we hate people.

  66. Phone cards, landlines and calculators, yes still need em because in a big city there is a chance of roaming outages by accident or by design or by security reasons and you would not be able to use cellular technologies nor mobile. Landlines and phone cards comes in handy. Once again, everything can just shut down all the sudden. We can’t just say good bye to old tech.

  67. Awesome post! As for the thing about beepers, I don’t understand how they work either, but I’m sure they have some sort of practical use.

  68. Someday disappear the internet. That We’ll do?

  69. I drove past the classmates.com Seattle campus/headquarters, the parking lot looked pretty empty = I asked myself the same question. Loved the post 🙂

  70. Fun read, but I emphatically disagree with your denunciation of the Senate. Moreover, it’s terrifying to see only 3, out of 70, comments opposing that view.

    The power given to rural areas through the Senate gives weight to the values that are generally dearer to rural citizens. I’m not from a rural background but it is evident that rural citizens tend to hold to more traditional values than do urbanites. Jefferson certainly wasn’t a champion of Christianity but he did value the disposition of men attached to the land and viewed that disposition as the mark of a good citizen. We Americans no longer take time to consider what goes into the making of good political community because the responsibility of governing, both ourselves and our respective localities, is increasingly in the hands of an ever expanding central bureaucracy.

    “let us not flatter ourselves that we shall preserve our liberty in renouncing the morals that acquired it.” J.J. Rousseau

  71. the monogramming and embroidery business actually still uses floppy’s quite a bit. most of the embroidery machines made in the 80s and 90s were floppy-exclusive, so companies (like mine) that can’t afford to upgrade machines with every twist of technology are stuck with floppies. we recently had to buy floppies in bulk because we found out about the Sony thing. 5000 floppies sitting around in boxes! HOORAY!

  72. Lol. Very interesting. Catchy topic.

    Cheers from Brazil… \o/

    And, argh!, even here most of these things are outdated… lol

    I still see lots of calculators at shop displays though, so they must sell them a lot (I think students buy them and maybe small shop owners). Oh, home phones are still owned by quite a lot of people, too. =P

  73. great post!

  74. Good choices, but I have to disagree on the phone books! The other day…I had just turned off the computer, and realized I needed to find a local specialist of sorts, so I immediately grabbed the phone book to find the number 🙂

  75. WOW! An awesome collection of all the weird things, we really despise them but they are inexplicable

  76. […] more here: 11 Things That (Inexplicably) Continue To Exist Share and […]

  77. VHS and Floppies are the ones I found quite surprising. hardly anybody uses them in India now a days. I still have a VHS player and loads of VHS collected over the years. I cant recollect the last time I played one of them. One of my uncles converted all the home videos into DVD a few months back.

    Home phones, are still a rage here. It will continue to exist for a long long time to come and so do phone booths.

  78. Truly wonderful. Nice post.

  79. Incidentally, NYC is considering not automatically distributing phonebooks for free anymore–they calculated it would save some unspeakable number of tons of paper.

  80. You’re rather condescending aren’t you? This blog is an example of someone living in their own little world, oblivious to anyone outside of it. If you don’t need any of these things then they MUST be useless, right?

    • Oh, pipe down. It’s a humorous list, it’s meant to be thought provoking and funny, not taken that seriously. And I’m speaking as someone who still uses floppy disks, pocket calculators, and VHS.

  81. Re: floppy disks. There is actually still a reason for these. Theatrical lighting consoles use them to save show cues. I once had an assistant find a box of them in the tech booth and start laughing, incredulous that these are still for sale and why is there a box of them sitting in the booth? Yep, we still need them.

    Likewise pocket calculators–yes, my phone has one, but I also use my phone for a stopwatch, so if I’m timing a scene or something, and need to calculate, I reach for the pocket calculator in my toolkit.

    Great blog, btw.

  82. […]   As technology advances, it can be a bit sad to say goodbye to some of the old things.  But there comes a time and place when you have to accept that your powdered wig is no longer cutting it.  Here's 11 "things" that are refusing to go quietly into the night.  Oh, and I don't have things like "world hunger" and "child slavery" on here, though certainly those things should not exist, either. 11) Beepers Yes, you can still buy these dinosaurs.  J … Read More […]

  83. I love my home phone. I don’t have to take it everywhere I go. I don’t have to recharge it. I don’t have to try not to leave it anywhere. I don’t have to sit down and try to figure out what the teeny buttons are for. I don’t have to put more money down on it or buy a card for it, or whatever my husband does to keep his going. I’m going to be really sad if they cease to exist.

    Hey, you were just on Freshly Pressed, you lucky dog, you! That’s why you got 2,000 hits!

  84. some of these things should exist–especially if you’re living in a third world country. 😛

  85. Beepers? Yes. The Senate, Electoral College, & Classmates.com? Absolutely. As for the Home Phone, Phone Cards, & Phone Booths, however, I must disagree.

    Home Phone: Not everyone has a mobile phone and, even if you do, they can run out of credit, power, or just randomly die. In an emergency, how would you call 911?

    Phone Booth: If you were lost somewhere, with no mobile and/or no reception, what’s your back up plan? Spend enough time traveling and you’ll thank God when a payphone is nearby.

    Phone Cards: If you don’t need long distance service, that’s fine, but if you do and you don’t have a long distance package, any long distance calls you make will end up costing you a fortune. In my case, to keep in touch with friends/family Internationally (and to save money), I use phone cards. The rates are far better than anything you’d get from a carrier and some can be topped up.

    Just my 2 cents. 🙂



  86. Hey folks, as the author of this blog, I just wanted to say thank you much for reading and/or commenting. I’m used to getting around 30/40 views a day, so I was pretty overwhelmed to log on just now and see 2,000 views and 60 comments. I’ll throw another post up addressing some of the issues people have brought up with the article itself, but again, thank you for reading!

  87. Very entertaining read! Actually, I use phone cards all the time to make international calls. They’re really cheap with them.

  88. Great list

  89. I can explain 2 of these for you: Phone cards still exist because making international phone calls, say, from a military base in Iraq or Afghanistan, is expensive/hard as many guys do not have cell phones there. As for pocket calculators… have you ever been at/worked at a store when the power goes out? Have you ever watched/been a clerk trying to do math in their/your head? Unfortunately our educational system leaves us woefully unprepared to do simple arithmetic quickly in our heads, so small, cheap 4-function calculators are good for situations like this, when you/the clerk cannot have your/their cell phone on-hand to do these calculations.

  90. […] 11 Things That (Inexplicably) Continue To Exist (via Maps of the Problematic) Posted on June 15, 2010 by wilderside   As technology advances, it can be a bit sad to say goodbye to some of the old things.  But there comes a time and place when you have to accept that your powdered wig is no longer cutting it.  Here's 11 "things" that are refusing to go quietly into the night.  Oh, and I don't have things like "world hunger" and "child slavery" on here, though certainly those things should not exist, either. 11) Beepers Yes, you can still buy these dinosaurs.  J … Read More […]

  91. Great article! I think you missed mentioning the fax machine.

  92. very interesting

  93. Ironically enough, a Senator from Florida, Bill Nelson, introduced a bill amending the Constitution to end the Electoral College. Obviously it went nowhere, but one can dream. Interesting post, and congrats on being featured on Freshly Pressed!

  94. I’m old, so for years I carried a beeper. It was just a way of letting you know you should call someone at your convenience. Eventually, you’d develop certain codes among your friends and family to let you know the information you needed to know without having to call them (a page with the 888 meant dinner was ready, etc.). It seems odd, but they were a huge advance.

    Calling cards are still huge for international calls, especially for immigrants calling back home.

    And I agree on home phones. I work from home, so I still need one for outgoing faxes – but I never give out my home phone number anymore.

    Good post. And extra props for the Dennis Duffy reference.

  95. Pocket calculators are definitely useful. A lot of finance calculators are just that size.

    Also, I find using it on my phone really cumbersome (do you want to whip it out every time you want to use a calculator?) and opening up Excel or Windows Calculator to do a simple math problem is pretty annoying as well. And you certainly won’t be lugging your computer with you if you are meeting with other people.

    Having a small calculator in your cube to take care of all this stuff definitely comes in handy.

    But yea, I agree with most of the other stuff. Although you’d be surprised how much floppy disks are still used:


    A lot of old hardware/software systems rely on them.

  96. When you live out in rural rural land, cell phone reception is iffy at best. Certain times during the year, one can get reception from one corner of the laundry room; other times, it’s available on the table next to the rocking chair; other times, you have to walk down the gravel driveway and up to the stop sign at the top of the road that runs into the highway — although during the mysterious bad reception times (does it have something to do with sunspots?), you have to drive two miles down to the BigTown, population 2,000, to get reception.
    So that’s why we still have a landline. But at least it’s not a rotary phone, like the ones my parents have.

  97. You need to become educated on the concept of checks and balances. For example, the point of the electoral college is a) not to elect the president by legislature, as parliamentary systems do it, and b) to safeguard the presidential election from being a national, money-based popularity contest (oops!)

    The 2000 election is the very *reason* the electoral college exists. Anyone with modicum of knowledge of history knows democracy fails when the people elect themselves a demagogue who promises to solve all their problems by throwing money at them, makes up money tha doesn’t exist, drives up inflation, and then bankrupts the government with huge debts (uh, oh!)

    The Founding Fathers knew this, and they wanted elections to be based more upon a candidate’s character than his or her promises.

    I’m not likely to meet Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Al Gore, or John McCain personally. But I do know my Elector.

    The Founders intended for an involved citizenry who wouldn’t just walk to a voting booth but would actually be active in their local political parties (which, originally, were literally parties). They would go to these events and get to know their state legislators, their US Representatives, and their Electors personally.

    Then, they could trust *those* people to make the right decisiosn representing them, *because they knew them*.

    As for the Senate, this is still a federation of states, as the Supreme Court itself ruled when it said the Confederates were not guilty of treason. We precisely need to safeguard the rest of the country from tyranny by the rich potheads in California and New York.

  98. This is a great list and your 11 things are spot-on! Okay, the relic that bugs me is outdated traffic lights. It just kills me to sit at an empty intersection with my car idling at a red light for no reason. Think how much collective time we could save, and how much pollution would be eliminated, with a more high tech solution.

  99. i must be old . . . i know way too much about all of these things. i even remember when having a beeper meant you were cool. thanks for the walk down memory lane.

  100. Ahhh, I want to read this further, but have to go tend to my boiling dinner…I’ll be back, looks like a great post!

  101. […] A list of things that should not longer exist, but somehow still do. I might quibble about some items (the U.S. Senate), but I’m amazed that this isn’t included. […]

  102. your bs about the senators makes sense, but it shows your lack of understanding. See thats what the house of representatives is for. The larger the state, the more representatives you have. They also pass laws, and have to agree on everything put through.

  103. You sound like a real pain!

    • LMAO (bagnidilucca)…. I was thinking the same thing.
      I mean, phone-booth? If you get attack coming out of the club; no car, no cell phone, no nothing. I wanna see whats gonna safe you then.

      Phone cards. People use mostly for international calls.

      VHS. Please, like everybody is able to record things on dvd straight from their tv. VHS can come in handy at times.

      Let me say one more thing. Just because you don’t use any of these things, doesn’t mean there is a world out there that uses them still. And Im not over 30, and Im not poor, and Im not technologically challenged. I say this, because you should know how shallow your post is.

      • Wow I think you guys need to lighten up. It’s supposed to be a humorous post about things that aren’t relevant to the writer and the people he knows. I for one agreed with everything on this list and I don’t think you even know the meaning shallow lalagreeneyesf21 because it clearly does not apply here.

  104. Haha, wow, I was having a crappy day….thanks for making me laugh!!!

  105. You are right on the money, dont know y some of these things are still with us……great site…….zman sends

  106. I think soon you could add the network hub I found in my closet to this list. It was a little bit of an “Oh. Before WIFI” moment there.

  107. Haha. I would add wrist watches to the list. You have time on the phone in your pocket; it is no more convenient to have it on your wrist. They are a total waste of time, in more ways than one.

  108. Interesting! I agree, the Electoral College needs to go.

  109. On my not-so-recent trip to Europe, I found myself scrounging (unsuccessfully) to find a payphone somewhere around Paris, since my international rates are, as everyone’s, sky high.

    Although I suppose I could’ve bought a phone card… 🙂

  110. Nice talk. Very interesting the stuff about the Electoral College.

    I hadn’t thought about those things that shouldn’t exist: pay phones…


  111. It’s humorous that Yellowbook has taken to dumping a second set of annual uselessness on my lawn. You are correct, phone books should not exist. I would propose that unrequested delivery of them should be outlawed all together. (I’ll hop right on that campaign as soon as I clean my garage.)

  112. Great post! I have two comments. One, I do find the structure of the Congress interesting and can actually understand why the Senate exists. (To encourage the development of leaders with integrity and character! Ha ha ha! Sorry — just entertaining myself…) The concerns that motivated the lower population states to want a Senate at the time the structure was created still seem valid, even more than 200 years later. It lessens the power of the majority for some country-wide decisions without truly removing it. It preserves a sense of “majority rule” while at the same time preventing the minority from being simply overrun without consideration. (Admittedly, people only seem to care about this when they are a part of the minority…)

    The other comment (less long-winded) about phone cards is that they seem to provide some anonymity for illegal phone activities, as some of our neighbors are sadly experiencing. Not saying that it’s an argument for keeping them around — in fact, maybe it’s the opposite. But it might explain why it’s a bigger market than one might otherwise think.

    Thanks, again, for the post.

  113. I always throw away the phone book as soon as it lands on my door step, but I will say for phone books, the other day, our internet service went down, and I was totally stuck. Without Google, who knows the number to the internet company by heart?

  114. I second that emotion with the electoral college! What a friggin’ crock.

  115. I can’t remember the last time I saw a phone booth or used a phone book, but what’s really funny is that Classmates.com continues to exist. The Onion had a great story a while back about how challenging it was for Classmates.com employees to keep the boss from finding out about Facebook.


  116. Stumbled on this on the WordPress front page. Good stuff! The electoral college is BS for sure. Home phones are a complete waste but it’s one of those things people still go to buy and when you ask them why they have no answer…..then they still proceed to buy it. At least they’ll be grandfathered out I’m sure.

  117. I still have no idea how beepers work

  118. Home phones (land lines) still have value. After Hurricane Charlie destroyed my town, we were out of power for months. The cell phones towers were down also. The only way to make any phone calls was to find someone old school enough to still have a home phone. (And hope and pray that their redneck neighbors wouldn’t drill into the earth behind the house and cut said line. Oh the fun times…)

  119. […] 11 Things That Continue To Exist (via Maps of the Problematic) Posted: June 15, 2010 by AA in WordPress 0   As technology advances, it can be a bit sad to say goodbye to some of the old things.  But there comes a time and place when you have to accept that your powdered wig is no longer cutting it.  Here's 11 "things" that are refusing to go quietly into the night.  Oh, and I don't have things like "world hunger" and "child slavery" on here, though certainly those things should not exist, either. 11) Beepers Yes, you can still buy these dinosaurs.  J … Read More […]

  120. Wow, either you’re really young, or I’m really old (I’m 39). Out of your list, there are quite a few things that I still use.

    1. Ok, Classmates.com isn’t something that I actually use, but I keep my FREE account there, for some inexplicable reason. Most everything else I do is on Facebook. But believe it or not, I have friends that joined CM some years ago, and have never joined FB. And even though I can’t email them with the FREE account, I can still post my FB info, just in case they come back and want to find me again.

    2. I use my VHS nearly every day. I can’t afford a DVR, so whatever I need to record, I do so with my VHS. And not every show I want to watch is available OnDemand or online. Try finding an episode of “The Mentalist” … impossible. 😦

    3. Floppy disks. Personally, I don’t use them any more. But my computer is still capable of using them. And my Husband’s ancient laptop will only take a floppy. It’s still a decent computer for his needs (he’s technologically challenged), so there’s no need to spend money we don’t have on a new one.

    4. Yep, still have my home phone, too. Sometimes I don’t get a cell signal where I live, and I have medical problems, so if I need to call 911 and my cell won’t work, at least I know I can use the landline. Plus, it’s the number I give out to people I don’t necessarily want to hear from, and it’s the ONLY place that telemarketers call.

    5. Lastly, we still keep our phone books to use to actually look up numbers. Especially local government numbers … you know, the blue pages part of the phone book. We keep one in the car, too, so we don’t have to pay for directory assistance on our cell phones.

    I’ll bet I’m not alone here. Can’t wait for others to weigh in.

    Great post, though! 🙂

  121. This is so cool, hehehe you called pagers dinosaurs. The last time I used one was in 1997 but I must admit my cell phone doesn’t allow me to call internationally. It’s NOT on my plan so I do purchase phone cards. My most recent purchase was actually this month June 2010! 😛

  122. I agree with you for the most part. Phone books? Those go straight into the recycling in my home. Perhaps I’ll regret it when “the big one” hits and my internet goes down. But at that point I guess the phone lines would be down, too, so it wouldn’t really matter…

    However…a couple of the phone options you belittle are actually necessary in some areas. We live in densely populated Southern California, but have terrible cell phone reception at home. Mine works just long enough for me to yell “I’ll call you back on the land line!” to whomever has called on the cell phone. My husband’s works really well…in the back yard; I’m sure our neighbors love listening to his business calls on the days he works from home. Honestly, it’s not “nostalgia” that makes us keep our land line.

    We also have to use phone cards when we travel to vacation areas that don’t have cell coverage. Despite cell phone carrier’s claims to the contrary – they don’t have the US completely covered yet.

  123. The phone thing, I guess it comes down to dialing 911, If you call 911 on a land line they cross-reference an address database (911 database) and send a cop out. So you don’t actually have to give them your address, which could save your life.

    You could also buy a weapon or run away

  124. i’m a fan of your analysis of classmates.com, very funny 😉

  125. I still use a home phone, and I do not have a mobile one and do not plan to get one. However, you might add encyclopedias to your list. I cannot imagine anyone needing a set of those any more.

  126. How about the portable, personal CD player? Um…iPod, anyone?
    They fit into my bra when I’m on the treadmill. The CD player, not so much.

    • Good point, I went to France my senior year of high school with my CD player and I had to lug around a massive CD case. My classmates were laughing at me as I hauled this thing (it must have weighed 15 pounds) all over the country as they listened to their IPods. I got home from that trip and immediately bought an IPod, lol. Anyway, thanks for reading! I appreciate the comment…

  127. Haha. I still use most of this stuff.

  128. Calculators? Because normal calculators kick the shit out of the one on your phone, it takes half the time on a normal calculator.
    Also, I’m pretty sure most of the people who use calculators are students – try taking your phone out in an exam!
    Production of floppy disks actually ceased this year, so they shouldn’t be around much longer.

  129. I’ll tell you what inexplicably continues to exist – people who don’t understand the TRUTH about REALITY.
    All my friends are just tryin’ to survive, while most of you are tryin’ to get ahead.
    Those of us just survivin’, HOPE for a little CHANGE in our pockets;
    But those of you gettin’ ahead, just leave us behind.
    Do you HOPE for CHANGE in this world? Or do you actively help to CHANGE what others HOPE for…
    putting more CHANGE in your pocket, at the expense of those just tryin’ to survive?
    My friends are gettin’ a bit impatient. They are starting to want theirs. I’m tryin’ to get them to slow down a bit. What are you tryin’ to do? Is your SOUL CHAOTIC, or is it just a marketing ploy?
    I’m doin’ just fine – so no need to worry ’bout me.
    Best regards,

  130. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Glenn H. Thompson, dale west. dale west said: 11 Things That (Inexplicably) Continue To Exist http://tinyurl.com/2evzln7 […]

  131. I would have to add government (centralized government at the very least) to that list.

  132. I would have to differ with your opinion on the Senate, my friend. The reason why it was created was to appease the smaller states, but it was also created with the idea of creating gridlock. Our Founding Fathers were smart. They knew that creating as many political entities with competing interests as possible would create a system of government where the least amount of bad legislation possible could get through. That’s also why we have the fillibuster. Also, do you really want a government where Texas, California, and New York dominate? Even the interests of medium sized states would get steamrolled in such a system. Rural districts would get none of their interests met. The Founding Fathers knew exactly what they were doing. The balance between small and large states ensures the possibility of all Americans having their interests being heard.

    • Jon, thanks for the comment. You make some good points about creating gridlock, but your point about creating as many political entitites with competing interests as possible seems a bit strange. In this country, we have two political parties that thoroughly dominate. Third party candidates have never, as far as I know, held a Senate seat and no third-party candidate (aside from Teddy Roosevelt’s Progressive Party) has ever won an electoral vote. I agree that we don’t want a government where a few large states control everything, but we also don’t want a situation where a group of elected officals put in power by a minority of the country’s population can have such a large impact on policy. Another thing to consider; how can two Senators possibly represent the interests of a state as diverse as say, California? Approximately 33 million people reside in CA, yet these two guys are supposed to represent all of them? I think the House of Representatives works very well; people elect those who will represent their interests and who can (in theory, anyway) get a good sense of what the people in their region need. Unfortunately, the Senate and/or President can pretty much run roughshod over the House.

      Anyway, thanks for the comment, stop by again sometime!

  133. you’ve got me laughing AND crying!

  134. Two good things about VHS tapes:

    1. They always work, unlike DVD-Rs, which sometimes refuse to copy.

    2. With DVRs, your cable company can track what you record for marketing purposes. Or for whatever reason. It doesn’t matter. With VHS only you know what you recorded.

    Yeah, I know that makes me sound like a pervert and an old guy.

  135. Great Blog, although I disagree with you concerning phone cards. I use my cell for everything, however, international calls (I make alot of them) are prohibatively expensive. Phone cards are great for international calls and are much better than the Skypes of the world in terms of call quality.
    BTW, I’m in my late 40’s and I have always disliked VHS, even when they were the only format around!

  136. #12 – the 11 o’clock news

    I like the teasers. “Find out what happened with BP’s latest attempt to stop the oil leak in the gulf… at 11!”

    Or, like, you can open your internet browser and find out right now.

  137. Good points and a fun read, thanks.

  138. Wow, what do you have against your elders?

    Some of the aforementioned items will continue to exist as long as people want them. For example:

    2) Phone booths. What if you cell phone is out of juice or you can’t get a decent signal — “Can you hear me now?” — or you forgot to bring it with you? Hey, here’s an idea. If a pay phone is nearby, use it. 911 calls don’t cost a thing.

    3) Home phones. Lots of people still use home phones. It gives them a measure of control and, admittedly, they’re nostalgic. Not everyone has or wants a cell phone. And they’re cheaper, too. Why should my mother, for example, spend $40-80 a month on a cell phone for TWO years if she doesn’t make or receive a lot of calls? Why not spend $29.99 a month with no two-year contract?

    Using your cell phone as your home phone is fraught with problems. Talking on them uses minutes and/or power. I know lots of people who didn’t get jobs because the potential employer called the cell number only to find that the person had either changed carriers or had run up a huge bill causing Verizon et al to cancel the service.

    4) VHS. I still have a VHS player because I still have VHS tapes. I’m not going to throw away the tapes and then spend thousands of dollars buying DVDs of the same titles.

    Eventually, technology will overtake me like it did my father when he could no longer find anyone to service his reel-to-reel tape player. But, I want to enjoy my tapes for as long as possible.

    5) Pocket calculators. At my company, I am a jack-of-all-trades. When I’m doing administrative or payroll work, I calculate on the compute. But, when I’m in the supply room, checking pallets of new materials, I can’t stop my inventory just to run over to the other side of the room to use a computer. I need to verify that the numbers delivered match what was ordered and I need to do it while I’m next to the items delivered.

    and, finally,

    6) Phone books. Yes, they still work. If you’re not on the computer (some people do turn them off when they’re not using them) or not close to the computer, why not grab the phone book? What if you’re in an office filling out a job application and you can’t remember the address of your last job?

    What if you’re out driving and you can’t find what you’re looking for? What if it’s a store and you don’t know the phone number or maybe a friend recommended it to you, but gave vague directions?

    I will agree with some aspects of this article, like with the Electoral College, Classmates.com, floppy disks and beepers, but the author (or authors) shouldn’t assume the entire country is Generation Y or Next nor should they think that everyone has the latest gadget.

  139. I think doctors still use beepers. The hospital pages what room they need to go to. Oh, pimps and drug dealers probably still use them too. Mexicans who can’t afford fancy cell phones buy phone cards to use at payphones to call their relatives back in Mexico. That’s why there are still lots of phone cards around. My mom, who is almost sixty, signed up for classmates.com like ten years ago and occasionally still has friends from high school find her on there who are not on Facebook. In fact, most of the things you list here are just targeted at a completely different demographic than yours. Let me guess, you’re 20-30 something, lower to mid middle class, do not have children, and are white or live in a mostly white neighborhood?

    The VHS tapes, a lot of small local businesses still use a VHS-based security camera system. Also a lot of people with small children still use VHS because they’re super cheap to replace and actually less easily damaged than DVDs.

    A lot of older people still prefer landlines. Also, people too poor for cell phones might get a land line instead. Are you somewhere other than America? If you’re American there’s this nifty thing called the Do Not Call List where you can register your number and… get this… not get called by telemarketers ever.

  140. love it. thanks for giving me a laugh this afternoon! 🙂

  141. Great Blog. Regarding floppy disks – Sony just announced they stopped making them the end of April – http://pradical.org/2010/06/10/rip-floppy-tha…for-the-memory/

  142. Heya. Great list. Floppy disks – wtf?

    Although I see your point about the Senate (and I’m not and American citizen, so take what I say with a grain of salt) it seems like a rather effective situation given that the US is a federation of states. They share certain federal services (an armed forces, for instance), but a federation really allows a devolution of authority to a lower level. IE: it’s about self determination, local people get to control local decisions.

    Your argument is sound: why should 18% of the US population be able to veto federal decisions. But consider the opposite too: why should an urban Californian get to decide policy for a rural Dakotan?



  143. I can help you with two of them.
    VHS exists because I have lots of movies on VHS and I’m not going to buy them again in a different format because that is just stupid. Think 8 track, album, cassette, cd – you get the idea? How many times can you purchase the same thing?

    Home phones exist because even in 2010, cell reception is spotty. If I had to rely on my cell phone and someone broke in to my house, I’d have to excuse myself, go outside to my backyard and point my phone around until I scraped up enough bars to call 911. Seriously.

    • “If I had to rely on my cell phone and someone broke in to my house, I’d have to excuse myself, go outside to my backyard and point my phone around until I scraped up enough bars to call 911”


  144. #7, you are right. What for! And about the whole “phone” atuff is also true. While I was living far from home those calling cards help me a lot, ‘coz is cheeper. If I had those extra super amazinly featured new iphones or so, of course what for I need I phone card; but once you are in another country that’s kind of cheep.
    ~Great Post!
    ~Great Love to you,
    Mirian from peelingtheorange.

  145. As this randomly came up on the WordPress frontpage, I felt like throwing in my two cents:

    #1. Yep.

    #2. Meh. I consider these in more or less the same category of obsolescence as paper junk mail.

    #3,8,10,11. These are basically the same item…non-mobile communications. The only one that maybe deserves its own category is phone cards, as they’re largely being edged out in international telephony by Skype, not cell phones. And with increasing numbers of smartphones supporting mobile VoIP, that will gradually change as well.

    #4. Sony is *finally* gonna stop selling these in March 2011.

    #5. These are more or less in the same category as cheap digital watches. There’ll always be a niche market for someone willing to plop down a few bucks for a cheaply manufactured item that’ll do the job (without any worry of losing or damaging it).

    #6. As a technophile, I occasionally have to remind myself that not everyone cares about the tech I do. VCRs are cheap, they last a long time, and not everyone gives a shit about HD. DVD recorders are notoriously unreliable (mostly due to the poor quality blank media available), and DVRs are expensive, both for the upfront investment and continued cost of service (unless you feel like building one yourself). 90% of the time, when I mention Hulu to anyone over 30, they greet me with a blank stare. Some people still like to tape things, and that’ll continue until the tech is obsolete and irreplaceable.

    #7. I pass by the corporate headquarters for this place a couple times a month. I keep waiting for it to be struck for demolition. Seems like the only business they’ve ever done is paying off class action lawsuits from jilted losers who thought an old flame was trying to contact them.

    #8. Not sure where you’re talking about, but these have all but disappeared in everywhere but airports and courthouses where I live. Also, your “colon-8” turned auto-emoticonned itself. Just sayin.

    #9. Yep, that US Senate thing is completely unfair. If only there were a second house of Congress that allocated representatives proportionally based on states’ populations…

  146. I have to admit, we still have an extensive VHS collection. But at least I am not as bad as my brother-in-law, who still owns a beta VCR. Great post!

  147. OMG this list rocks. Nice work!

  148. Nice list, though I happen to like my home phone. Of course that’s probably because I’m old enough to also have a bunch of VHS tapes–and audio cassettes! They do come in handy when I teach media history. Two things I’d add to your list: Fax machines and the first three quarters of any NBA game.

  149. Good post. Lol. Definitely agree with most of your points.

  150. […]   As technology advances, it can be a bit sad to say goodbye to some of the old things.  But there comes a time and place when you have to accept that your powdered wig is no longer cutting it.  Here's 11 "things" that are refusing to go quietly into the night.  Oh, and I don't have things like "world hunger" and "child slavery" on here, though certainly those things should not exist, either. 11) Beepers Yes, you can still buy these dinosaurs.  J … Read More […]

  151. This is a fantastic list.

  152. Home phones actually serve a good purpose – if you need to call 911, you don’t have to tell them your address, as your home phone is connected with it. If you were only able to dial the number but not give the dispatcher any information, they could still send help your way. On a cell phone…good luck.

  153. I actually found myself in a bind a few summers ago when it was about 2am, my car battery had died, I was alone and 3 hours from home, sitting in the parking lot of a gas station that had just closed for the night, and my cell phone refused to turn on despite having full battery. Thankfully there was a pay phone in the parking lot and some quarters in my cup holder.That was one moment when I was thankful pay phones were still around.

  154. hah. this is great. but i do love them home phones… i don’t have to pay the bill for THAT phone..

  155. Thumbs up. Good blog.

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