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In late 2010, I wrote a post called ”30 Things Babies Born in 2011 Will Never Know.” It was one of my first successful online articles, appearing on the front page of Yahoo, along with a few other major sites.
The 2010 post included things like video tape, movie rental stores, adult bookstores, paper maps, encyclopedias, and newspaper classifieds. So far it’s looking like those are indeed fading away. But thanks to accelerating technology, just three years later I can produce a new list for those born in the upcoming year.
Here’s my list of things kids born in 2014 might never experience, or at least will see a whole lot less of as they reach their formative years. Check it out, then tell me whether you agree, disagree or, better yet, have something to add.
1. The post office. Instead of email, someone used to come all the way to your house just to drop a bunch of ads into a box on the front porch. This service was a big money loser.
2. Parking meters. There was a time when you had to pay for parking by putting coins into a little steel box on a pole.
3. Bank tellers. People used to visit a bank branch to make deposits and withdrawals. What a lot of effort expended on something that can be done digitally in mere seconds with no travel involved.
4. Paper statements. Trees used to give their lives so that those who refused to go digital could get bills and other statements in the mail. (See No. 1.)
5. Paper checks. While it was illegal to make your own paper money, it was OK to write an amount of money on a piece of ordinary paper. Once you signed it, it somehow magically became the same as money.
6. Cable TV. Before universal Wi-Fi, there used to be a wire running all the way from downtown to bring entertainment into the house. Judging by the price, you’d have thought it contained a cure for cancer.
7. Toll booths. Before they started charging tolls by taking a picture of your license plate, you had to stop at a booth and either throw money in a basket or hand it to someone. They were kind of like phone booths on the turnpike.
8. Phone booths. Before everyone had wireless phones, there used to be little glass rooms on street corners where you’d go in and use coins to make a call. For some people, they also doubled as bathrooms.
9. Newspapers. In days before everyone had computers at home and in their pockets, printing presses made paper versions of websites. People would then drive around and throw them on your lawn.
10. Car keys. Cars had keys you’d insert into a keyhole in the doors and dashboard to unlock and start the car. Sometimes you’d lock them in, then try to retrieve them with a coat hanger. Other people would stop and try to help.
11. Bookstores. A retail store where you’d go to buy books.
12. Books. There used to be a physical version of e-books made out of paper.
13. DVDs. Before movies were delivered online, they came on discs you’d stick into your computer or a player attached to your TV.
14. Incandescent lighting. This kind of light bulb didn’t last as long or cost as much as LED lighting, but it had a nice glow to it.
15. Fax machines. These devices transmitted a piece of paper to another fax machine anywhere in the world. It worked over phone lines.
16. Phone lines. Before wireless, calls were carried on wires. Like power wires, they were strung everywhere and stopped working during snow and ice storms.
17. Non-digital picture frames. There was a time when a picture frame could only display one picture at a time, so you needed a frame for every picture. Some were better looking than the picture they contained.
18. Cursive handwriting. You’d pick up a pen or pencil and actually write things by hand. Not only that, but the letters of each word were all connected in such a way that it was often impossible to decipher.
19. Camcorders. Before HD video cameras became standard in phones, you had to buy a separate device if you wanted video selfies.
20. Blind dates. In the days before dating websites, people were forced to meet one another any way they could, including being introduced to friends of friends. It was awkward, because there was no way to IM, text, exchange pics or otherwise communicate before actually meeting. The people you met this way usually weren’t as good looking as you.
21. Talking to one person at a time. Before pocket computers, you weren’t required to stay in constant communication via text. Nor was it customary to let everyone you’d ever met know where you were and what you were doing via Facebook. As a result, you’d often find yourself forced to communicate solely with the people in front of you.
22. Driving a car. Before self-driving cars, you had to do it all: gas, brakes, mirrors, turn signals, talk on the phone, text, put on makeup and eat, all at the same time.
23. Setting a thermostat. Before “The Internet of Things,” you had to manually set the temperature in your house.
24. Forgetting someone’s name. Before Google Glass came along, we had to recognize faces all by ourselves, and remember their personal information.
25. Buying music. With Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, iTunes Radio, etc., we have unlimited music libraries that we pay for by the month. Before that, we bought our music one song or album at a time and built collections.
Can you add to the list?
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