4 Hopelessly Outdated Technologies People Still Use
Despite the fact that we live in a culture where most of us carry telephones in our pockets that can access any piece of information ever recorded (and also make phone calls), there are still countless people around the world who depend on painfully outdated technology as part of their daily routine.
Remember dial-up? That was when modems required the use of a telephone line, so you could only hop on the Internet to check the Lost World: Jurassic Park website when your mom wasn't on the phone with child psychologists or your dad wasn't waiting for a call from the temp agency. The connection was as slow as naturalization -- you could easily wait all evening for a photo of the Spice Girls to finish loading onscreen.
By the time you saw Scary Spice's hair, the band had broken up.
That was before some of you were born, but the truth is that 3 million people still use dial-up connections. For low-income households and people living in extremely remote areas, it's pretty much the only option -- dial-up is insanely cheap (10 bucks a month, in some cases), and broadband still just isn't available in many places, like rural Tennessee and the moon.
Punch cards have been lying pretty low since the 2000 election. Admittedly, a strip of perforated cardboard seems kind of ridiculous in an age when everything is archived electronically, saving infinite time and storage space.
"... so does this go into the computer? I don't understand."
However, over 450 million punch cards are still being sold and used each year, primarily to government offices, which prefer to keep as much of their records securely offline as humanly possible, stacked in dusty basement filing cabinets where masked lunatics on the Internet can't steal them.
Also, many small businesses simply can't afford to upgrade to newer systems. So if your bosses still make you clock in and out with a punch card, it doesn't necessarily mean they're ancient old codgers who hate technology -- they might just be insanely cheap.
Beepers in the cellular age are sort of like travel agents in the Internet age -- completely (almost sadly) unnecessary. Doctors carry pagers when they're on call, but considering how long it takes for them to get back to you, there can't be more than 15 currently in use.
"Oh, dammit! How's a guy supposed to get any sleep with this thing buzzing every five minutes?"
Surprisingly, there are roughly 36 million beepers still in regular use. Apart from the obvious clientele (drug dealers, drug kingpins, and cops pretending to be drug-dealing kingpins), many regular citizens use pagers as an inexpensive alternative to pricey long-term cellphone contracts, since everybody is broke now. However, if you're one of those people who constantly use the "I didn't hear my phone" or "My battery died" excuse for not returning calls, the beeper isn't the best option, because it makes damn sure it gets your attention, and its battery lasts longer than you will be alive.
Floppy disks are those little plastic squares that people used to put inside computers to transport information. Problem is, they hold a maximum of 1.44 megabytes, which you may notice is about one minute of an Eagles song.
Which you may also notice is one minute more of the Eagles than anyone should listen to.
However, the things are still widely produced, because tons of people still buy them. British company Verbatim reports selling over 250,000 disks a month in England alone, not to mention the millions they sell across the rest of Europe.
Despite our constant push for better technology (and our subsequent rush to throw money we don't have at it), many people still have super old computers, manufactured before most of the current batch of Disney Channel stars were even born. They either don't have the income to buy new machines or they just don't give two shits and are fine using a dot matrix printer to make hard copies of all their Word Perfect files.
"Together, these hold one high-definition nipple."
Jason Iannone is a humorist and editor for hire. His Facebook is a rockin' party, and his Twitter is the awesome afterparty. Tumblr is where he rides out the hangover and archives anything he writes from anywhere.