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20 Cool Things That Were Killed By Modern Technology

20 Cool Things That Were Killed By Modern Technology

Manual roll down windows, old school telephones, being unreachable for more than 10 hours and face to face interaction are among some of the cool things that have been ‘killed’ by modern technology.

Back in the old days, people used to print photos because it was so cool and the photos would be carefully taken and stored in colorful family albums. You could record your mixtapes on old cassette tapes or use public pay phones when your mobile phone was out of juice, and you were in urgent need; but all that changed. All of these awesome things died because of digital advancements.

Blockbuster video stores are now a thing of the past because people can sign up on Netflix or Hulu and stream movies right in the comfort of their homes. Activities like letter writing and handcrafting are becoming rare while it is almost impossible to go for a road trip without the use of GPS and Google Maps.

In 1992, raiding the raging waters of the Atlantic was so much fun because the idea to download illegal content had not crossed our mind. But today, we spend countless hours torrenting because we want all the good stuff for free.

We have been privileged to live at a time when there are hundreds of technologies, but care needs to be taken when handling these innovations. People need to be cautious because tech is taking too much of our time and denying us the chance to enjoy the simple things in life.

Modern technology has killed a number of cool things; they include the following.



Letter writing was one of the best ways to unleash imagination. If you wanted to communicate to a friend, you had to write her a letter, and it would take a few days before she responded.

You would buy a fountain pen at the local bookshop and note down your feelings and emotions on a piece of paper, ensuring your penmanship was top-notch because you wanted to win the heart of a young woman.

There was something personal and intimate about the whole process; especially because every person’s handwriting is unique.

Lovers would jot down love letters, and people wrote to their pen pals from all around the world.

Not very many people write letters these days. The number has declined significantly because we have computers to make the work easier. Only a handful see the need to look for postcards and letters because of the effort and time required.

The modern forms of communication are immediate, meaning there is no anticipation. Snail mail was great in building anticipation and any mails received were taken seriously.

However, today our mail boxes are mostly flooded with bills and marketing material; stuff that we don’t like but we have to deal with anyway. Terrible conversationalists especially loved snail mail because they had enough time to put their ideas together.



The gist of the blockbuster was how people lined up around the block because theaters were smaller. In most cases, it was never about the movie; it was the whole experience of strolling along the aisles and going through the different sections: comedy, drama, action, and sometimes having to get whatever you can because the new releases were out of stock.

You had the chance to hold each case and to read the descriptions, knowing well that you only had one shot with a film, and you had to do it right. There was some satisfaction when you walked or drove to the store and returned home with your favorite choice.

During those days, no one bothered about ratings, critics, or even awards. Every film started on an equal footing, and the viewer had more freedom to discern which movies were boring or intriguing. In fact, Blockbusters were just like bookstores: they allowed you to discover things you were unaware existed but you’d find interesting.

But Blockbusters are no more.

They have been replaced by online video streaming services that allow you to download or stream movies on an a la carte basis. Examples include Netflix, Hulu, and Redbox. Unlike Blockbusters, these services provide too many options and can be overwhelming.

Technology has also introduced platforms like IMDB and Roger Ebert that give movie buffs an idea about their next film. Such platforms have only taken the fun of discovering a film by yourself.



Some avid readers still buy physical newspapers and peruse them for an hour or two. However, the majority have found it easier to sign up for electronic copies.

Newspapers started receiving competition from radio, but when the World Wide Web materialized both forms of media were given a run for their money.

There was more satisfaction when flipping the pages and going through the opinions that had people’s real names under ‘Letters to the Editor.’ You could browse through the classifieds and underline your interests with a ballpoint pen.

Kids could get the comics weekly or bi-monthly. Holding those comics physically and keeping a stock of them made them more excited and also improved their reading habits. Some newspaper readers derived satisfaction from filling out the crosswords because it meant victory.

Without a doubt, the internet has made things easier, but wait until you are asked to ‘click to read more’ because the rest of the information is on another page, and to reach that page, you have to go through an advert. In addition, the internet plays host to varying opinions, and the popularity of an idea may sometimes overshadow the reality.

The other problem is that social media has overshadowed the news and almost everyone is trying to come up with their claims about sports, politics, business, and everything affecting the citizens.

Even the newspapers that exist today are not like the old ones; they are more biased because editors are constantly trying to manipulate readership.

Journalism has been compromised by modern technology.



If you fancy a face-to-face chat, then you must be having a difficult time living in this digital era.

The norms are emails, phone calls, texts, or online chats. People no longer see the need to sit together to talk about stuff, whether at home, at school, or at work. A Face-to-face meeting is no longer a staple of working life.

While people can advocate for the use these modern forms of communication, face-to-face communication has been effective for centuries. First, it allows for a much faster response and can save so much time. Second, it is always effective because it is often accompanied by other aspects like body language, tone, and mood, which make it more efficient in understanding what is being addressed.

The dinner table was once the center of family discussions, but things changed when portable devices and Wi-Fi were availed. Teenagers will be texting their friends while their parents will either be on a phone call or trying to reply emails.

At the end of the day, the entire family fails to initiate any meaningful conversation.

When people are sitting around a table, and a conversation wanes, the probability is always higher that everyone will try to reach for their phone because no one has anything interesting to say. Sometime back, this was considered rudeness; today it is the norm.

With the introduction of wearable technologies like Google Glass and the Samsung headsets, it is likely that things may get worse.



Long before the internet became a thing and Google turned popular, there were scary stories that teens and kids used to share and there was no way to confirm their authenticity.

They left an adrenaline rush and made the world more dangerous and exciting. But then Google came and ruined all the fun. The search-engine has enabled us to look up almost any information; especially when one is in doubt. Google is the 21st-century truth-teller who is unbiased.

It put an end to the long debates about the vanishing hitchhiker, Bloody Mary, the Hookman, and the killer in the back seat.

While the age of information is great, it was more fun when people did not have so many answers and had to figure out things by themselves. In fact, today it is impossible to ‘make up stuff’ because Google is always there for reference. Almost any information can be proven in just seconds.



It is no longer possible to be inaccessible for hours without people panicking. Initially, it was possible to go for a walk in the park and not be bothered by phone calls or text messages. It was much easier because there was no way to locate and contact someone.

But that is not possible in 2017.

Today, it is harder to sit at a restaurant and enjoy a meal when the phone keeps popping with notifications. Parents or friends will still try to reach you even though they know you are at work and you are not allowed to use your phone.

When you don’t respond to three texts or when you miss some five calls, you will be accused of being a bad friend or child. You may also be called a snob because you don’t respond to messages and calls on time.

Today, being unreachable is sinful because people assume you are ignoring them. If you accidentally forget your phone in the house, you will find it flooded with emojis, texts, and voicemails because you were unreachable for five hours and everyone is freaking out.

If you are planning to go for a hike, you have to let everyone know prior lest you be lambasted for failing to communicate promptly.



Before Google Maps and GPS, no one had an idea of what to expect on a road trip.

You had no clue what was waiting for you on the other end. Before a camping trip, you just piled your station wagon with the necessities because you wanted to have an adventure of a lifetime.

The whole idea was to drive aimlessly while exploring towns and roads with no computers or GPS. You only had to rely on your sense of direction and the clues from the passenger who was riding shotgun.

While it may be satisfying to watch a blue-dot version of yourself on a 5-inch screen or to receive a phone alert of an accident or traffic snarl up, these innovations have made road trips less fun.

In addition, these technologies are also not comprehensive and may exclude important routes or destinations that you may desire to visit. This kills the serendipity that is supposed to make a road trip come alive.

Occasionally, people used printed maps that required the passengers to work together. This brought an interpersonal feel and made the journeying more enjoyable. Maps meant that you engaged more with your surroundings. Those were the days when you would stop to look at a road sign or to observe a landscape more keenly.

You would pull over at a gas station and ask strangers for directions. It was so rewarding to arrive at your destination satellite-unassisted.



It used to be possible to roll down the window whenever you wanted without having to turn the vehicle on. It was easier and more convenient and much safer when you thought about your car submerging.

But today most cars have power windows.

These modern car windows require you switch your car on before they can move. Their biggest disadvantage is that they can easily malfunction; especially when the car motor dies or your regulator breaks. Most power windows can be a nightmare to fix and can often be costly.

Since when did car windows require a motor and electric wiring?

It is after dealerships discovered they could force people with power windows. Why? Because they want you to sit at the dealership for an entire day waiting for your window to get fixed; this is the easiest way to get money from you.

It was much better rolling a window down without worrying that the motor would malfunction.



The fun part was getting your photos back after they had been developed.

Some photographers had the equipment to develop their own film, and it was more satisfactory to wait and see how a picture would turn out.

If you took your film to a studio, you had to be patient knowing that someday your prints would be delivered.

Today, we have powerful digital cameras that can take quality photos. The biggest problem, however, is that we can get our pictures almost instantly, and that means we don’t take the process seriously. With digital cameras, there is no waiting, and there is no curiosity.

Film photography is the reason we kept photo albums. Some of those albums still exist, and they give us joy because they remind us of some of our most memorable and embarrassing moments.

Using film made us think twice about our photo-taking habits. It made us keener before we pressed the shutter. However, digital cameras came along, and today they allow us to snap 200-300 photos because they have a higher memory and are more efficient. But the photo-taking session is no longer as dear as it used to be because we know we can instantly delete all the images if they are unsatisfactory.



If you were a gardener, a sportsman, an accountant, or a fitness freak, you received so much joy from a monthly magazine related to your interest. The magazines were mostly filled with relevant information about your field of interest and were filled with colorful pictures that you could sometimes use to create a montage.

The thing is; even if you spent money on these magazines, you did it enviously because you were thirsty for information.

Unfortunately, technology brought digital media and today you can have 500 eBooks or magazines on your Amazon library because some of them were free at some point and you just had to get them. This leads to an information overload as it gets difficult to pick a single read from such a huge volume.

The thing about paperbacks is that you can hold and touch them. This means you can create a bond with them while their physicality and color lodges in your mind. But they have been trumped by phones, Kindles, and tablets.

The 21st-century millennial prefers to stare at the Super AMOLED display of his Samsung phone rather than open a physical book/magazine. The argument is that such a screen makes it possible to zoom in on the details and even search particular phrases in a text.

But we all know the distractions of using a smartphone or tablet. There is just so much content out there and little time to concentrate on a single book. The paperback is still a darling but is fighting a losing battle with the digital screen.



Cassette tapes were life savers when you wanted to create your customized mixtapes. They are the early incarnation of digital playlists.

Cassette tapes were not only about the music but the process of putting the music together. After spending time and effort trying to juggle between songs, it felt so great to finally complete a mixtape.

You had to pick songs and leave the correct size – on the tape – for them. You would see teens using ballpoint pens or their index fingers to twist the reels of cassette tapes because it meant you were serious about music. You were a trainspotter.

You would then use a marker pen to hand draw the surface or spine of the cassette tape. It was just so rewarding because it was more of an art.

You would then ensure all the tapes are labeled before stashing them in a drawer or inside a box underneath your bed. Once in a while, a teenager would haul a dusty box of Maxell C90s to show them off to a crush and get a snog in return. The cassette tapes would sometimes serve as ‘love letters’ if they had the right songs.

Today, you don’t see so many cassette tapes because they are outdated.



Around the 90s, it was okay for friends to randomly show up at your doorstep to ask if you wanted to hang out. Kids especially loved to visit one another when it was playtime. You would visit someone randomly without having to call them on their cell phone first.

Teenagers and even grownups had to seek each other out, and the trend was great in strengthening relationships. But that is the past.

In 2017, you cannot randomly show up at your friend’s without calling or texting to confirm if you are welcome. Unannounced drop-ins or a random knock at the door is no longer exciting. In fact, it is treated with suspicion because technology has changed the game.

If you want to visit someone, you have to let him or her know first that you are coming. Spontaneous drop-ins no longer exist, and people have become more private and secretive about their lives. In fact, the marketer who rings the bell randomly may be mistaken for a serial killer.

If we can’t talk on the phone, we can chat on email or via social media. The use of social networking sites like Facebook has made it possible to let others know what’s up with our lives. This is another reason we do not need to pay each other visits.

Not when we can log into a website and get all the updates about one’s life.



There are always people who are going to data mine or leak some aspects about a game and spoil the fun for everyone. This happens before gamers are given a chance to try out a new release. In the end, a public opinion ends up being formed, and this eliminates any surprises.

This trend has been mostly propagated by the internet.

Long before game review websites were established, gamers were supposed to discover cheat codes, game secrets, and several other aspects of a game by themselves. But today, you can just look up stuff on the Internet and bypass any level or task that is troublesome.

It was so much fun when you did not have to use any reference or even ask questions about a new release. Gamers solely relied on trial and error and gaming was so much fun. They experienced video games like they were supposed to be experienced: no walkthroughs, no cheats, and no special weapons or shortcuts. Games were more enjoyable because gamers never knew what was coming their way.

Kids had notebooks with cheats that they had discovered on their own, and most of the information that was out there was through word of mouth.

But what happens today: a game comes out; people get hyped and read articles about it; some even watch trailers. By the time people are ready to enjoy the game, there are too many spoilers.



When you bump into a 1950s rotary phone at the flea market, you are reminded that such classy telephones existed once.

These phones were mostly adored because of their design and overall uniqueness.

But they are not the only ones. There were also telephones that used to be attached to the kitchen wall. Most of the time, they’d be picked up and slammed when it was discovered that the caller was a telemarketer.

They had cords that would be wrapped around the hand when one was talking, and even though they seemed bulky, they were lovable. The 90s kids remember them because whenever they rang, and the caller was someone from overseas, that was the best time to sneak and watch cable movies because mom was going to talk for at least 40 minutes. Mothers had found a way to hold them while cooking.

They also provided excellent services and would not be disrupted by ‘poor network service.’ The kind that we have to deal with these days. The call quality was remarkable, and there was no voice lag.

Old school telephones are mostly remembered because they were the true definition of ‘hanging up.’ When you wanted to disconnect a call, you could simply slam the receiver and end a conversation. It was so sweet.

You cannot slam a smartphone because the screen will shatter.



What happened to real stalking?

The kind where you had to put in extra effort into your obsessions?

It meant being a pro at picking locks and identifying the best hiding places. If you had a girl that you had a crush on, this was the time you had to investigate her daily schedule by sneaking up behind her for an entire month and identifying her friends.

But today you can just log into Snapchat, Twitter, or Facebook to get personal details about your crush. The work is so much easier that it is almost unbelievable. It is no longer mysterious and adventurous like it used to be before technology became a thing.

The modern stalking is all about digital flirting, which mainly involves sending her digital signals like ‘sliding into her DMs’ or following her on Snapchat. It just involves days, weeks, or months of digital foreplay rather than trying to have a real conversation with the lady. In the end, you may get more frustrated when she sends you a bunch of emojis that you have to try and interpret.

Old-time stalkers, on the other hand, had to get out of the house and dig through the woman’s garbage or secretly follow her car. After you had gathered enough information and you were confident enough, it was time to let her know your mind.

Forget about the modern stalking where you browse through her profile for 72 hours at the comfort of your couch.



In all honesty, the modern concert-goer rarely enjoys a show because she is always busy trying to record videos or snap photos.

Photograph taking is a modern phenomenon that has become uncontrollable. People just feel like they need to take pictures of everything just because they have a decent camera. No one wants to leave the house without carrying the phone because of the fear of missing the opportunity to capture a great moment.

People know they have the ability to capture events and they do not want to pass it up.

The result: great shows and events are going unappreciated because we are busy trying to record instead of paying attention. When you attend a concert today, you will be surprised by the number of smartphones and tablets that will be up in the air.

The recorded videos are then uploaded to social media, probably to prove a point. Can’t people leave concert filming to professional camera operators who have better equipment?



Drawing, painting and woodworking are no longer fun without the help of technology and compute- aided programs. Most woodworkers today find it difficult to sketch rough drafts without the assistance of programs like CAD and Sketch. Most products lack the human touch that made them unique.

Holding a pencil and coming up with a rough draft was so much fun and so enjoyable, but people are better off sitting in front of screens. Modern technology has ultimately killed creativity and has reduced our attention spans. Very few want to engage in activities that take hours to get results, especially not when they can easily let technology do the work for them; or when they can just order the item at IKEA. People adore easy and quick success because it is instant.

In the past, seamstresses used to come up with embroidery designs by hand, and they looked great and unique. When one wanted to make a cabinet, it only involved taking some measurements and having the necessary materials. But today, you can order a cabinet from an online retailer and avoid the hassles of making it yourself.

Hand-crafters were able to construct boats from hand-drawn designs because it was possible and they took the time to improve the skill.



It used to be possible to walk the streets late at night or sneak into abandoned buildings without worrying that big brother was watching.

Today, engaging in any of these acts sounds suspicious because people have become more paranoid.

There is surveillance everywhere around us, and it is almost impossible to do anything without the fear that someone is watching. The fact that we know – at the back of our mind – we are in a high surveillance area has restricted the amount of fun we can have.

If you headstand walk down the street, there are around 30 to 40 cameras that will record this, and you may have to explain to law enforcement why you are somersaulting in the streets.

The lack of cameras in the old days did not mean that people had to engage in illegal activities, it just gave people piece of mind knowing that no one was monitoring their behavior. The thought of being recorded, watched, and monitored has killed the fun of even walking down the street in the middle of the night.

Technology has revolutionized surveillance to a point where some insurance companies have found it convenient to install GPS trackers on their clients’ cars. How are you going to visit the strip club when you know this?

There are no personal secrets when you are outside the house.



One of the reasons manual transmissions are missed is because they gave the driver more power to manipulate an engine. Sadly, it looks like manual transmission cars are fighting a losing battle.

Manual cars used to be so much fun because they provided a better sense of control and the gear stick made it possible to use less fuel. The driving involvement that the manual car offered is impossible to replicate.

Today, the number of cars that leave the dealership with three pedals has continued to reduce significantly. While it may have been demanding to learn how to use the gear stick, it was worthy when a learner figured it out.

The debate about automatic and manual transmissions has been going on for decades, but most car enthusiasts agree that the manual transmission was much better. This is why companies like Subaru and Porsche have tried as much as possible to maintain the three-pedal lifestyle.

Manual cars are still around, but their number is reducing significantly.



Photo albums are on the verge of extinction because most young families do not see their value.

A few decades ago, photo albums were treasured because they enabled us to go through old photographs as we felt the texture of each photo. It was fulfilling going through old pictures and trying to recall the story behind each photo.

What technology has done is made cameras available almost everywhere. This means that people are getting deluged with pictures. Today, we are taking more pictures than ever because there are cameras everywhere around us: on phones, tablets, computers, watches, and wristband just to name a few.

While it is simpler to take such photos, only a few of them are going to survive beyond one or two years. To many of us, most of these pictures are only relevant for the moment, and we don’t see the need to preserve them.

When you want to show off your new puppy or new whip, you can snap a selfie and send it to friends electronically.

After a week, the photo has no meaning and is probably deleted or mixes up with thousands of other photos in your library. Or it has to be deleted to make room for more photos. Digital images do not have as much significance as printed photos. That is why most of the pictures being taken today are likely to disappear into thin air.

During the film era, photographs meant serious business, and in some cases, they required one to practice a pose. People were affectionate with their print photos because they were mostly countable as the film was limited and needed to be used thoughtfully. Today, people have 120GB phones that can store more than 4,000 photos. While it may look like a good thing, the consequences are dire and will be felt a decade or two from now.


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