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Things that have become obsolete in our lifetime
Old 03-18-2013, 09:08 PM   #1
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Things that have become obsolete in our lifetime

Hi Folks

Was listening to the radio this morning and there was a segment called " You know you are old when...."

This caller rang up and said that her kids stared her dumbfounded when she asked them to turn down the "wireless" when she was on the phone.
They could not understand how you could turn down their wireless broadband.

This got me thinking about all those things (technology, occupations etc) that have become obsolete just in my lifetime, such as:

1. Telex machines
2. Typewriters
3. Polaroid Cameras
4. VCR's

and some occupations

1. Telephone switchboard operator
2. Telex operators
3. Tea ladies

So I thought I'd start this thread (apologies if one already exists) and see what other jobs and technology have become obsolete in our collective lifetimes.
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:22 PM   #2
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Rotary phones.
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:25 PM   #3
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Milkman
Bus conductor
Telephone Repairman
Secretary who takes dictation
Party line phone
Typing Pool
Answering service
Diaper pails
Outhouse
Glass baby bottles
CRT televisions
Rabbit ear antennas
Station wagon
Fire alarm on the telephone pole down the street
Dartmouth Time Sharing System
BASIC
Loran
Celestial Navigation (Sextant)
Tube Tester in the hardware store
Cigarette commercials on TV
Smallpox vaccination scar
Polio vaccine sugar cube
Encyclopedia Brittanica
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:27 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
Milkman
Bus conductor
Telephone Repairman
Secretary who takes dictation
Party line phone
Typing Pool
Answering service
Diaper pails
Outhouse
Glass baby bottles
CRT televisions
Rabbit ear antennas
Station wagon
Fire alarm on the telephone pole down the street
Dartmouth Time Sharing System
BASIC
Loran
Celestial Navigation (Sextant)
Tube Tester in the hardware store
Cigarette commercials on TV
Smallpox vaccination scar
Polio vaccine sugar cube
Encyclopedia Brittanica
LOL - now that's a list. Careful Gumby, folks might start to guess your age
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:28 PM   #5
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Mimeograph machines
Keypunch machines and operators
Microfiche machines
Library card catalogs
Typewriters

All the jobs where I used these things!
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:35 PM   #6
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Telephone Repairman
Pretty much any sort of household appliance repairman is a dying breed now. Most currently-produced stuff is not made to last more than two or three years, and is typically more expensive to repair than it is to replace

Celestial navigation and sextants may be obsolescent, but they are far from obsolete. While there are newer, easier and arguably better alternatives (viz., GPS), the old techniques and tools still work as well as they ever did, and remain supported (i.e., the heavenly bodies continue to do their thing, and current nautical almanacs are readily available).
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
Milkman
Bus conductor
Telephone Repairman
Secretary who takes dictation
Party line phone
Typing Pool
Answering service
Diaper pails
Outhouse
Glass baby bottles
CRT televisions
Rabbit ear antennas
Station wagon
Fire alarm on the telephone pole down the street
Dartmouth Time Sharing System
BASIC
Loran
Celestial Navigation (Sextant)
Tube Tester in the hardware store
Cigarette commercials on TV
Smallpox vaccination scar
Polio vaccine sugar cube
Encyclopedia Brittanica
I would beg to differ about the station wagon.... look at the Honda Venza and a few other whatever they are called now.... that is a station wagon if I ever saw one.... just raising it up a bit does not change what it is...
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:43 PM   #8
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Celestial navigation and sextants may be obsolescent, but they are far from obsolete. While there are newer, easier and arguably better alternatives (viz., GPS), the old techniques and tools still work as well as they ever did, and remain supported (i.e., the heavenly bodies continue to do their thing, and current nautical almanacs are readily available).
Long ago, I learned to fix my position from the stars. I was quite accomplished in my day, and, given a sextant, a stopwatch and a nautical almanac, I think I could still do it. But I daresay the modern mariner eschews such antiquities.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:04 PM   #9
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Sorry but BASIC is very much alive and well. I just sold a company that supplies a point of sale program written in Microsoft Visual Basic that still serves the needs of hundreds of customers.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:07 PM   #10
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Sorry but BASIC is very much alive and well. I just sold a company that supplies a point of sale program written in Microsoft Visual Basic that still serves the needs of hundreds of customers.
And 4 of the 5 phones in my house are rotary phones; they are still obsolete.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:09 PM   #11
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Sorry but BASIC is very much alive and well. I just sold a company that supplies a point of sale program written in Microsoft Visual Basic that still serves the needs of hundreds of customers.
CoBoL

I remember learning it at University as part of my finance major. Never used it in the real world.
It was such a pain having to punch holes on the cards, only to have the computer spit out a huge report with all my errors. That put me off computer programming for good
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:11 PM   #12
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I daresay the modern mariner eschews such antiquities.
Although no longer in daily use In most ships, celestial is still required for professional certification in most countries (whether it should be is debatable). My point is that it remains workable and (this is key) fully supported for those who like it.

Quote:
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I was quite accomplished in my day, and, given a sextant, a stopwatch and a nautical almanac, I think I could still do it.
Most people find that their skill soon disappears when not used. The good news is that it comes back fairly quickly when required: following one of the cookbook forms is not difficult. Don't forget your sight reduction tables (or Norie's).
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:13 PM   #13
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CoBoL

I remember learning it at University as part of my finance major. Never used it in the real world.
It was such a pain having to punch holes on the cards, only to have the computer spit out a huge report with all my errors. That put me off computer programming for good
The modern versions of Basic no longer use punch cards. The one I used runs on Windows and looks like any other user interface once it is compiled.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:14 PM   #14
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I still have a milkman, and the milk is in glass bottles to boot!! He's not obsolete! Just uncommon.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:20 PM   #15
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I still have a milkman, and the milk is in glass bottles to boot!! He's not obsolete! Just uncommon.
The young wife and I were at an antique store recently, and I was pointing out to her the insulated tin box that held the milk bottles on the porch. I remember that our milk was not homogenized, so the cream was on top. I'm happy to hear that at least some people can still enjoy home milk deliveries.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:35 PM   #16
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The young wife and I were at an antique store recently, and I was pointing out to her the insulated tin box that held the milk bottles on the porch. I remember that our milk was not homogenized, so the cream was on top. I'm happy to hear that at least some people can still enjoy home milk deliveries.
I remember the cream on top also. But things have changed from then. The whole milk is homogenized now, but I get the fat free milk. Also, they have changed (probably with help from the health dept) from the little foil caps on the bottle that could easily be removed to plastic tops with pull strips. And instead of the old style box, they use ice chests now. which are better, actually. But the milk is awesome!
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:39 PM   #17
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Elevator operators ("Third floor, Ladies' lingerie")
Bread/bakery delivery man.
Scissors & knife sharpeners who toted their sharpening wheels thru the neighborhoods.
Fuller Brush men.
"Avon Calling".
Ice delivery. (And ice boxes in the kitchen.)
Pop (in a glass bottle) dispensing machines: there were at least 2 kinds - one had a little vertical door that you opened, then reached in and pulled out the bottle of pop, the other was a big rectangular waist high box with some sort of arm that you maneuvered to extract the desired bottle.
Soda fountains & soda jerks.
Glass milk bottles with the flat little cardboard lids.
Potato chip home delivery (Charles' Chips is one I remember), the chips and pretzels came in big (5 gal?) cans.
Drinking troughs for horses on the major streets of town.
Steno pools and steno writing skills.
Paper catalogs.
Paper grocery bags.
Small paper bags in the produce department, and those large rectanglar scales that the produce clerk would use to weight and price your produce selection.
Nut shops, candy shops, and bakery shops.
Plastic rain bonnets (that folded up into tiny purse packs) that ladies used to wear.
Ladies' white gloves.
Nylon stockings.
Adding machines.
Nuclear fallout shelters.
Fountain pens.
Cursive writing. (It's not being taught in school any more).
Steel roller skates and the "key" used to tighten them onto your shoes.
Playing marbles.
Books printed on dead trees.

omni
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Old 03-18-2013, 11:20 PM   #18
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$500 and $1000 U.S. paper currency
Soon, pennies.
Gym clothes (in high school, girls wore awful 'seafoam green' one-piece outfits)
Cigarette smoking in public places, restaurants, and office buildings.
Mending clothes, darning socks.
Wringer washing machines.
Console TVs.
Hi-Fi systems.
45s, LPs, cassette tapes, 8-track tapes.
Floppy disks.
CRT screens for computers.
Service stations that pump your gas, check your oil and clean the windshield.
Sitting on the front porch watching the world go by.
Candy cigarettes.
Toy guns that looked like real guns.
Pea shooters.
S&H Green Stamps (and the like). Gluing them in books and redeeming the books for merchandise in a catalog.
Mimeographed paper (and sniffing it if it was fresh).
Xerox copies that printed white on a black background.
Fax machines that spun one sheet of paper (attached to a drum) around and around...took 3-4 minutes to transmit one page.
Blueprints and draftsmen.
Transistor radios.
Crystal radios.
Carburators on car engines.
Leaded gasoline.

omni
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Old 03-18-2013, 11:52 PM   #19
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Slide rules
TV dials
Drive-In theaters
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Old 03-18-2013, 11:59 PM   #20
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Steno pools and steno writing skills.
While the pools may be gone, the steno writing skills are actually in demand. Someone who can generate transcripts live in a room with horrible acoustics (a typical courtroom) or live close caption a roundtable rapid-fire argument is a rare person these days. This is one of those "out of sight, out of mind" skills that still has some use. (The youngest daughter is a stenographer.)

Audio recordings? You really want to search through a few hundred hours of audio recorded on equipment supplied and installed by the lowest bidder to find that problematic question and response? Or maybe try to get a transcript from the recording after the fact, only to have a third of the responses come back as "Response: [inaudible]"? Appeals courts will refuse to accept anything but a written transcript (which is funny, as they are trying to use the audio recording equipment in Federal Appeals Courts and the Supreme Court. Maybe they have better acoustics...)

And live broadcast, or events that include captioning? A steno writer has to be able to record a sustained 225 words per minute from four people talking to get certification. A typist doing transcription runs around 35 words per minute. The Guinness Book of Records show the world record peak typing speed at 212, and short period sustained at 170 words per minute using a Dvorak layout keyboard.

Maybe when we get AI systems that can lipread, and flag a judge to slow down. Til then this is going to be a needed, if specialized skill. Like COBOL and BASIC programming, or automotive engine rebuilding...
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