May 24, 2013

"What is your most outdated device? Why haven't you upgraded?"

"Are you proud of, embarrassed by or ambivalent about this outdated thing?"

Several answers at the link (which is via Metafilter), but this one got me:
Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: “The ‘device’ that feels most outdated to me is my blog,” says Carr. “When I started the thing, in 2005, the personal blog was the iconic expression of ‘new media’; having one put you in the oxymoronic category of journalist-hipster. But the action has moved away from blogs, to the more conversational social networks like Twitter and their bite-sized bulletins. To be a blogger today makes you feel a little like Norma Desmond after silent movies were replaced by talkies: ‘I'm still big; it's the internet that got small!’”
He forgot to answer the question Why haven't you upgraded?

And, I will note, that he wrote a book. I thought the idea was most outdated. But then, the oldest thing you use might not be outdated at all. What very old technology do you use that you wouldn't disparage by calling outdated? What makes something "outdated"? Carr refers to where the "action" is. (I don't know that I care about that since I am old enough to remember the TV show "Where the Action Is.")





74 comments:

Scott M said...

Hmm. I still have:

- a Walkman AM/FM Cassette player that gets some use, though only for the radio.

- a Sony Mini-CD player/recorder and about 30 mini-CD's which are recordings of my radio shows. Still haven't ported them over to anything.

- I have a 1992 Bloupunk car stereo, the kind you could actually pull out and hide under your seat, that's hooked up to speakers at my workbench in the garage...just can't seem to part with it.

Methadras said...

my iPhone 4 I would say is my most outdated device. I'm going to most likely upgrade to the Samsung 4S. We'll see. I just upgraded my PC to warp factor awesome so I'm done there.

MisterBuddwing said...

I was going to say my VCR, especially when I hear people complain about their DVRs cutting off the ends of the programs they'd set them to record. A VCR may be downright primitive in today's digital age, but there's a certain dependability about it that I cherish.

Except that I haven't used my VCR in months, possibly longer. Anytime I want to re-see something I've been on TV, I go online.

::shrug::

Brew Master said...

Fire

and/or

The Wheel

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chrisnavin.com said...

I'm never giving up my jet pack.

$9,000,000,000 Write Off said...

Are bicycles outdated? paper? writing reminders on the back of your hand?

carrie said...

We have a rotary landline telephone. We keep it because it works even if the power goes out. We still use our VCR too.

Unknown said...

My 1998 Acura CL - 180,000 miles

They don't make them as well anymore. My annual repairs run less than new cars depreciation.

Henry said...

Nicely done by Nicholas Carr. Take the outdated thing and make clear how much better it is than the hipper cooler thing.

As I've mentioned before, I really can't stand Twitter. The "bite-sized bulletins" only encourage stupidity. Trying to be witty, most people are only capable of dull-edged invective. Reading a Twitter thread is like catching Don Rickles on a Tonight Show rerun. Johnny Carson is cracking up and you wonder: how is it possible that anyone ever thought this schtick was funny?

A blog post that links to a Twitter page is pointless. Worse are those compendiums of Twitter exchanges in which everyone is a boor and the idiot introducing it is really really impressed for some reason.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Trimline touch tone phone in the master bathroom. Not going to upgrade since it is the only one that works when the power goes out.

gerry said...

Like carrie said, I have still have a rotary phone.

My cell phone is old. My wife (who uses an Android phone) jokingly tells me she's embarrassed when I use my cell phone ("Put that old thing away!")

Dante said...

My cellular phone. It is pretty much only good for voice. I haven't upgraded because:

a) It costs money (in commitments, etc.)
b) Almost everyone I know with one of the new phones is constantly distracted by them, and it screws up your brain.

Hopefully Althouse posting doesn't.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I just bought a cool aqua colored Royal typewriter in a case from St Vincent De Paul. Circa early 1960's. Paid 7.00 for it. I need to order some ribbons.

When I showed it to my nephew who is 10 yrs old, I told him to check out my Low Tech Word Processor. He had never seen a typewriter and was fascinated.

It will also work when the power goes out :-)

MadisonMan said...

I WISH I still had my parents' rotary phone. Best Phone ever.

And it had a super-long cord so you could talk from the closet in the next room.

Chris said...

Most outdated device: Motorola Razr flip phone.

"Old" tech, not outdated: double-edged safety razor, cast iron skillet.

bagoh20 said...

It seems modern, but I have a handheld aviation GPS unit that I bought around 2000 to help me find my way around when flying small planes. Back then it was very helpful and cutting edge, but today it's completely useless: can't be updated, impossible to see in use, non-color, and very hard to use compared to anything available today for 1/4th the price. I can't give it away, and I know lots of pilots.

The other outdated device would be my dick. Same issues: can't be updated, impossible to see in use, non-color, very hard to use compared to modern cheaper units with better batter life, can't give it away.

Lem said...

Carr (w/o the last r) is over 100 years old.

Henry said...

@DBQ -- My father-in-law just sold his PC repair business and retired. He started out repairing typewriters. For my daughter's 9th birthday he gave her a portable Royal Blue typewriter. She was absolutely thrilled.

John said...

Does software count?

I still use some old software:

I am on the 2000 version of Act for my contact management. I've looked at updates but they cost a lot and don't add anything. I used Outlook because I had to for my teaching and it lacks several key features of Act.

I still use Eudora for email. V7.1 from 2006. Tried Outlook, hated it. Tried Thunderbird, could not stand how it munged up my attachments.

Eudora may be a dead program but it still works better than anything else out there.

Until Monday I was using Skype 3.8 (2008 or so) for all my office phoning. Skype force upgraded me and I HATE the new interface. I now can't get 3.8 to work again.

I've been using LabLink since 1989 for transferring files between my lap and desktops. I last upgraded in 2008. Just keeps working and working.

I would still be using WordPerfect 2000 if it would run under Windows 7. MS-Word is just such a horribly crappy program compared to even 15 year out of date WP.

John Henry

SteveR said...

I have a clock radio from the late 1980s that I still use. It has two attributes that override it flaws. One-its dependable, never failed to work when set and two-it has a good tone for waking, not too loud or annoying but not wimpy either.

bagoh20 said...

Aaaw, I can remember typing up many resumes on a Royal Blue typewriter. That was a pain compared to a word processor. They would always have obvious mistakes, whiteout, hand written corrections. It was impossible for me to make a single perfect page. I often just let the errors ride.

I did eventually get a job though. I had to find a boss with low standards. The first step in the road to success.

Peter said...

A black-and-white TV (that is still in use, although not for watching TV). An AM-only radio- with tubes in it!

Both of these devices are solidly pre-21st century and could easily be understood by a time-traveler from 1950.

And, yes, the devices still work. And (occasionally) they get used.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ John Henery

Xywrite. I still have the program, but haven't used it in ages. I even still have some 5 inch floppys even though I have no machine capable of using them. Sentimental attachment I guess.

bagoh20 said...

We still use a 20 year old unsupported DOS database program at work for some functions. Despite numerous attempts, we have never found a modern replacement that is as easy and effective at what it does.

John said...

Dust bunny,

I still have 100 or so 3-1/2 in floppies. I hate to throw them away even though 1) much of what is on them was in software that no longer runs. Including a lot that was in DOS. I didn't use Windows untill Win 95.

2) I have no device that can read them.

I used to have a 2' stack of 5-1/4 floppies that I finally threw away a couple years ago.

John Henry

bagoh20 said...

In our work, we still use a number of metal-working machines from the 40's 50's and 60's. Even after daily use for generations, they work perfectly and in some ways are superior to newer versions. Definity better made and more reliable.

Henry said...

I had a hard time coming up with a candidate. I've spent the last few years either ridding myself of devices (no more VCR) or updating them in one peculiar way or another.

But I have kept my transistor radio. It is for listening to Red Sox games in the workshop. That may be a throwback trifecta.

Rabel said...

The X-Box I bought three effin months ago.

MisterBuddwing said...

Ha! Just remembered - I have a stack of half-inch industrial grade VTR tapes from high school. I do have a machine that could play them back, except the tapes have degraded over time and are a sticky mess that won't pass through the VTR.

Those old tapes from the 1970s - limited number of video fields, limited resolution, black and white. How I miss seeing them.

ricpic said...

Television was a terrible step backward from radio, and continues to be that.

traditionalguy said...

My York Barbells are still as good as ever.

At the Biltmore House last weekend we learned that the elevator uses the same Otis electric motor and parts that were installed in 1893-95. It was very smooth.

And oil remains the lifeblood of industrial and chemical civilization and its military might. That's why Sweet Old Barack wants our oil supplies stopped ASAP.







Darcy said...

We are all just prisoners here of our own device.

Coincidentally, I learned a new word on my recent trip: Desconnectado.

Broomhandle said...

Still have a VCR to watch the tapes we made of the kids when they were little.When the last one broke we had to go to Goodwill to find a replacement. No where else in town had one.

gerry said...

@John, you mentioned 5-1/4' floppies: Heh.

William said...

I'm most comfortable with the clothes and music that I came of age with. Perhaps something like that happens with technology. Sometimes the time and effort required to learn how to press the new buttons is not worth the effort.

BarrySanders20 said...

Still wear birkenstocks from 1990.

Same VCR from 1993 or so. Same cd player we won from a box of Corn Pops circa 1998.

My wife has the same husband she started dating in 1989. Old and outdated, but no signs of being updated. I appreciate that.

Anthony said...

I have a 1978 Mustang II (albeit with a 1990 5.0L engine) and my original amplifier, tuner, turntable, and speakers from around 1980. Plus my 1975-ish Schwinn.

You may call me Mr. Anachronism now.

David said...

2005 iPod Nano
A couple of 2006 iPod 160GB
2007 iPod Nano

Still use at least one of them daily.

I still use xcopy to back up my computer to portable drives.

Anthony said...

I have a 1978 Mustang II (albeit with a 1990 5.0L engine) and my original amplifier, tuner, turntable, and speakers from around 1980. Plus my 1975-ish Schwinn.

You may call me Mr. Anachronism now.

ad hoc said...

I still have a landline and an old rotary phone in case the power goes out. My cell phone is not smart, but I don't care and I like that it's smaller, and easier to pocket, than the current generation of phones.

I prefer to move at a snail's pace down the tech road, no smart phone, no facebook, no twitter.

john said...

John Henry.

Unless you still have 8" floppies, you are a piker.

(Those, and also the punch card deck you used for your thesis.)

Ululating Umlungu said...

We still have a party line which is used informally amongst the inhabitants of our valley. Other items of note include a Sanyo betamax VCR with a wired remote. Great for recording one of our 4 TV channels. Nokia 7650 with a still functioning 0.3 megapixel camera, and a Nokia 8210. A Litton Microwave from 82 and a Norge fridge from 80. Oh, and one of our cars is a Nissan Exa from 1985. Why haven't we upgraded? Well, why fix something which isn't broken.

gerry said...

But Anthony, you have anachronismo!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I have a 1978 Mustang II (albeit with a 1990 5.0L engine

Other than my car which is a 2002 Blazer. I also have a 72 K5 Blazer. We have work trucks: 72 Chevy service truck, 76 GMC truck for towing 454 big block, 78 diesel 4 x 4, 82 GMC 1 1/2 ton boom truck..... and hubby's hot rodded 67 Chevy Stepside.

Stepside and service truck have new V-8 crate motors. My 72 Blazer has a early 70's corvette engine. Flow master exhausts. Upgraded transmissions, paint jobs on two vehicles.

Not outdated at all. All paid for. All working. Easy to repair. Cheap to insure and register. No electronic components to go out on us. And we look cool.....well, except for the boom truck.

Chip Ahoy said...

Chia Pets in the shape of rams. I have forty of them and still use them. And WATCH THEM GROW 11!11!11They're totally awesome because because because they're sheeps! that are known for fur.

Newfangle Chia animals don't even have fur like Chia Hippopotamus and Chia Dinosaur and Chia Turtle, which doesn't make sense. Come on! Those are stupid, but a Chia Ram, the original thing, that's brilliant

Darcy said...

Chip, I believe you just gave the newfangled Chias a what fur.

Robert Cook said...

My most outdated "device" is, uh...well...let's leave that aside.

I have resumed using a stereo amplifier I bought in college (mid-70s) to power my cd-player (an outdated device), my stereo cassette deck, (even more outdated), and my turntable, (not as outdated...I bought it new only a couple of years ago, replacing one I had had since college. In fact, I bought it along with the stereo amplifier I'm using!)

My more recent "outdated" devices are my Mac Pro and Apple Flat Screen monitor, which I purchased together in 2007.

Robert Cook said...

"Still wear birkenstocks from 1990."

Birkenstocks from any year are a capital fashion crime!

Jim said...

Franklin Planner. It can go into the scif when nothing else can.

edutcher said...

My Borland C++ for Win 3.1.

Ann Althouse said...

I don't know that I care about that since I am old enough to remember the TV show "Where the Action Is."

You were a baby then.

Paddy O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

Windows XP.

If you don't upgrade, your programs keep working.

Hagar said...

1st Generation Colt SAA?

Hagar said...

Garrard turntable, Panasonic SA-70, large Advent speakers?

Astro said...

I've got a stereo system from the mid-80's. It was the first CD player I ever bought. It's got dual cassette player/recorders and a linear tracking turntable for vinyl records. I keep it for the turntable, so I can play my original Dave Clark 5 albums, Canned Heat, and other ancient records. I was never a big fan of Elvis, but I bought his last album - in blue vinyl - a few weeks before he left the building.

Oh, and I've still got a plain old 2-slice toaster.

B.S. philosopher said...

Coleman "Quicklite" 327 lantern manufactured in April, 1924. Still works great for camping. Many parts are still available from Coleman.

Western Electric metal cased 302 rotary telephone from 1938. Works great. Ring will wake the dead, or my wife. Suitable for use as a weapon.

IBM buckling spring PC/AT keyboard from 1982. Works great. Suitable for use as a weapon.

Hand cranked Singer model 99 sewing machine from 1917. Works great. Suitable for use as a boat anchor.

Springfield .45-70 Trapdoor Rifle from 1876. Works great. Suitable for use as a pike with 18" bayonet.

edutcher said...

Hagar said...

1st Generation Colt SAA?

1872?

Hagar said...

!st Generation runs from 1873 to WWII plus some assembled from pre-war parts and sold as commemoratives, etc. after the war.

Mine is from 1900 and good to go with standard smokeless loads. Has not been cared for, so it is very ugly, but shoots OK and feels just right. I love it.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Does my viola count? (I admit that I use a spiffy carbon-fiber bow, but it's still got horsehair.)

ken in sc said...

I still have a manual Royal typewriter. Don't use it but still have it. For years I had an 8-track player and recorder. My kids put pennies and peanut butter in the slots and I had to get rid of it.

ken in sc said...

Oh, I forgot, I still have a Polaroid Camera.

Sam L. said...

I have a dumb cell phone, a land line, a VCR, wooden matches, a cassette player, a record player, pictures on the wall, tents, pocket knives, I know knots,...

Anthony said...

Garrard turntable, Panasonic SA-70, large Advent speakers?

Oh yeah, I have a pair of Smaller Advents I bought a couple of years ago at an estate sale. Wonderful little things, I'm trying to find some big (walnut) ones, too.

Anthony said...

Oh, and I also shave with an old Gillette adjustable double-edge razor. It's not so much better than a modern multi-blade cartridge but it's way more comfortable and WAY cheaper (like 25 cents a blade).

ErnieG said...

I have a 3" "Concise" circular slide rule on the desk in front of me, and I use it all the time. It's better than a calculator at estimating and visualizing proportions, and a slide rule won't lie to you about the number of significant figures there are. For example, you can get 26.3 miles per gallon, not 26.3387546.

Kirk Parker said...

The oldest design, or the oldest instance? If the former, I was gonna say my hammer, though I think Brew Master has the best answer.

If the latter, how about my 1904 Carl Gustav Swedish Mauser? Into its second century, still beautiful, still works perfectly...

If we can veer of on a tangent, how about the oldest thing you wish you still had? For me, it would be my mother's electric alarm clock with genuine radium paint on the dial and hands.

Kirk Parker said...

bagoh20,

Well, when you *are* ready to upgrade, give me a call. :-)

Freeman Hunt said...

There's a turntable and an 8-track player installed in the wall of my kitchen. I have not upgraded because they are installed in the wall of my kitchen.

tiger said...

I have my grandfather's rotary phone - make out of Bakelite. And it still works!

Plus a Beta recorder - which also still works.

Do pencils count?

How about 10" records?

And whoever said 'fire' and 'the wheel' won the thread.

deborah said...

Darcy ftw.

Eric said...

Oh, I forgot, I still have a Polaroid Camera.

Can you even get film for that anymore?

Teri said...

My grandmother's vacuum cleaner from the late 70s (avocado). Get a tune-up every few years and it's more dependable than anything new. We went through a bunch of $100 vacuum cleaners before she closed up house and gave me hers - in 1992.

My bassoon purchased in 1976. Wins because it's almost 40 years old AND because the bassoon is the least technically advanced orchestral woodwind (see how I avoided recorders there?)A comparable new one (student level, wood) would cost ~$6000. My dad bought it for $600.

Teri said...

Oh, and I still use Eudora too. God help me if it ever crashes, I've got over a gig of messages.