In today’s day and age, we’re overrun with new and improved technology. In fact, the guys and gals wearing glasses, drinking coffee (and lots of it), knocking on doors with the repetitive ‘Penny’ (oops, wrong show) and typing on computers in the ol’ science labs are thinking of cool and quirky new ways to make our lives even easier. Nowadays, you can control your house with the push of a button from 20 miles away, you can search everything and anything within seconds on the internet, and you can basically carry around the universe in your pocket – and that is pretty darn cool.
However, we have to admit that all this technology is kinda creeping us out. Yep, computers are slowly but surely taking over our lives and our jobs (although they’ll never overpower us here at RetroEnt, mwah ha ha!), they’re becoming integrated into society, and robots are even roaming the streets, driving our cars and washing our…err…behinds. For those who have been born during this technology boom, it’s fair to say that they’ve never known anything other than impressive cell phones, tablets, laptops, internet and more. In fact, they’re probably getting themselves ready for the future of technology. Will there be flying cars? Teleports? Holograms? Human-Robot hybrids? Well, we kinda don’t want to see what happens, because us ol’ timers are used to living in the past.
Yuh-huh, us retro gods (if we do say so ourselves) love to live a world full of nostalgia, rather than improving technology. We’re used to our old lives where we couldn’t watch our favorite movies at the touch of a button, we had to work hard to research our homework, and we had to take our photos to the store to get them processed. Sure, it was more difficult, but it made us feel good about life. 2017? Not so much…
If you’re like us, we bet your kids will never know what these common household things are…
‘Mooooom can we watch the The Lion King on Netflix?’ ‘Mom, what about the movie we downloaded?’ This is what we get nowadays. But long before the days of Netflix, Blu-Rays, DVDs and movie downloads, we used VHS tapes to watch our favorite movies. They were kinda clunky, and you had to rewind them every time you watched them before you could watch it again. God forbid if the tape came out, the you had to stick a pencil or finger in and rewind it manually. Otherwise, goodbye, favorite movie…
Before you could listen to your music at the touch of a screen, through your iPod or watch, the only portable means of listening to music was through this bad boy – the Discman. Sure, they didn’t fit in any of your pockets and sometimes got stuck on the same song, but they were great.
What is that funny symbol that’s on the save button on computers? What did you do before you could even save work directly onto your computer? Well, kids… we had to store all of our work onto floppy disks. No, this isn’t a CD that’s melted in the sun. Instead, they were little plastic disks that were used as folders, and you had to store every document and every file onto it. But we had to be careful not to touch the tape that was exposed if you slid the metal part across…
Yes, there really was a time where we didn’t have Sat-Navs or GPS Navigation built into our cars. Back in the day, our car journeys took twice as long, as we had to pull over to the side of the road to look at a gigantic paper map of all the roads we needed to take to get to our destination. And we got lost many times. Many, many times.
These Colored Bars
In this day and age, the only TV troubles our kids have is if they watch Netflix too long, and Netflix asks if they’re still watching. But back in our day and age, sometimes we might turn the TV on to these colored bars – the test pattern that came up when a program wasn’t being broadcast on that channel.
Nope, this isn’t a key to open the local church. Before the days of twist caps and pull tags on your favorite beer or soda cans, we had nothing. The only way we could open our refreshments was to puncture two holes into the cans – you poured out of one hole, and you let the can breathe with the second. And we did it with this nifty tool.
Just like VHS tapes, the cassette tape was the same kind of idea – but rather than playing movies, they played music. They were a lot smaller, fit into its own cassette tape player, and still required you to rewind your music each time you got to the end. But it was so worth it so you could listen to your Cyndi Lauper album on repeat…
There are two things here that make us feel old. One – roller skates. How many people do you see roller skating anymore? Two – Skate Keys. The whole idea of this little tool was to adjust the length and fit for these metal roller skates because they were a one-size-fits-all-jobbie. You’d get nowhere without this key.
Encyclopedias made a Google search cool before Google even existed. Before the time of the internet and the world wide web (no, that wasn’t the stone age) we couldn’t just google our homework questions to find out the answers. Instead, we had to find the relevant leather-bound encyclopedia to answer our questions.
Disposable Cameras came as a welcome retreat for the lazy picture takers who were fed up with clunking around their heavy flash cameras. But these plastic-looking cameras were surprisingly durable. You could just pop it into a bag, send it out to get developed, and voila… you had your prints.
The closest our kids will get to Blockbusters is hanging around the abandoned building that still boasts the sign, ‘ockbusters’ with an (ahem) unsightly image before it. There’s nothing that can compare to taking a stroll through the aisles of Blockbuster video rentals, picking out which movies you’ll rent over the weekend. Kids just don’t get it.
Nowadays, digital cameras run out of memory on the SD card – they don’t run out of the literal film. But when we were younger, we had to buy a new canister of film each time we took too many pictures on our cameras. But it was all we knew. Plus, the canisters came in handy when we needed somewhere to keep our rings.
Before the days when you could send over files and attachments to people all across the world via email, you had to send them any printed info via a fax machine. You simply popped your piece of paper into your machine, tapped in their fax number, and the printed version of your file would come out their end. Genius.
Nope, this isn’t a badly made Frisbee. This is a record adapter. Back in the day when we listened to Vinyl records and LPs, the record adapter ensured we could fit our favorite singles and albums onto any record player. Because we had priorities.
Palm Pilots may look like an old smartphone, but they came wayyyyy before the concept of a smartphone would even be believable. These little gadgets were used to keep track of all your business ventures and your calendar. You could keep up to date with your address book and diary, and feel like you had your life in control – even if you didn’t.
The Yellow Pages
Nowadays, you can look up anyone and everyone on the internet. Hopefully, not in a really creepy way. Even though it is kinda creepy. But before the days of Facebook, LinkedIn and Google, you actually had to flip through a book to find the person or company you wanted. And not just any book – one with yellow pages. Ooooh.
Ever wondered how the old school novelists wrote their books, their letters or their schoolwork? Well, the answer is: they used a typewriter. And until around 30 years ago, we still used them. They were like the original laptops. But they weren’t electronic. You couldn’t backspace. And if you messed up you had to start the whole thing again.
Rotary dial phones
Before the days of smartphones, and simply clicking on your friends or family member’s name to call them, you actually had to dial each individual number by hand. And it wasn’t just a simple press. In fact, you had to put your finger in the dial, twirl it around, and move onto the next one. It would take you about five minutes to dial one number…
Sure, we have answering machines now. So what’s the big deal? Well, the answering phones we had back in the day was quite literally that – a machine. We had to attach it to our rotary dial phones, and press play. We didn’t have it inbuilt into our phones. We were old school.
Nowadays, we still have payphones – but people now use the booths as a place to graffiti or go to the bathroom, and some people even pull off the phones from the hook – so they are rendered useless. But before we all had mobiles and phones in our houses, sometimes we had to go outside to a payphone to make all our important phone calls. Rain or shine.
Writing a check
No, this doesn’t mean you haven’t to write a note to check yourself out in the mirror. Back when we didn’t have contactless or mobile payment systems, and we didn’t have cash on us, we had to pay using checks. Little slips of paper that really meant a lot.
Rotary dial televisions
TVs have become so advanced that in a few years we’ll probably just have to think about what channel we want to watch, and it will magically come onto our screens. But at one point, we didn’t have remote controls. Instead, the kids became the remote controls. When you wanted to change a channel, you had to change the dials on the TV – that’s why in pictures you see so many kids sitting on the floor because it was easier than getting up all the time. And there were only four channels to pick from, too.
Along with cassette tapes and Discmans, we also loved to listen to our music through Vinyl records. There was nothing better than Vinyl shopping and picking up the best bargains at the thrift shop to play on your record player after school.
Posting a letter
Let’s be honest, when was the last time you posted a letter? In fact, when was the last time you actually wrote a letter? Like an actual handwritten letter to a friend? It’s so easy nowadays to send emails, give them a phone call, send them a message on Facebook or send them a Snapchat. But nobody sends any letters anymore. It makes us sad.
A pointer stick
If you’re at school or college, your professors probably use a projector or an interactive whiteboard to show their slides. But when those things weren’t about, they had to write all across the chalkboards, so high up that they probably couldn’t reach. Which is why they used a pointer stick to get to the parts that were too high up.
Vacuum cleaners have been about for years. But they’ve advanced so much that the dust is collected and compacted so with a press of a button, it’s neatly dispelled into the trash. But years ago, all of the dust collected into a vacuum bag, which you then had to physically empty yourself, surrounded by clouds of dust. It was dirty business.
Manual car doors
I know, it’s hard to believe. And some are even still around now. We didn’t have central locking. We couldn’t just walk away from our car, and with the press of a button open or unlock it. Instead, we had to actually put our key back into the car door and unlock it ourselves.
Remember the Pager? You felt were super important if you had one of these attached to your belt, or kept it on the handle of your purse. The movies glorify this device a little – no, someone isn’t going into labor each time your pager pings. But it was the best form of communication back in the day.
Library card catalogs
Okay, so there’s two things your kids might not know about this one. For one – a library. Who goes to the library anyone? It is a dying art, and it makes us pretty sad. And if they do go to the library, it’s probably just to use the internet as you’ve kicked them off their computer at home. But if they do ever make their way to the desk and ask for a book, a simple computerized log will give them an answer straight away. Before those days, we had to rifle through the library card catalogs ourselves. It was a bit of a slog.
Having actual cash
Nowadays, people don’t carry cash. Sure, they might carry a few coins for car parking – but even that can be paid electronically now. But once upon a time, we had to pay for everything by cash, and being caught without a few bob on you never happened. Those were the days where our pockets jingled.