Obsolete skills

Francine Hardaway is here and we’re talking about obsolete skills. Things we used to know that no longer are very useful to us. Here’s some we came up with. How many can you come up with?

1. Dialing a rotary phone.
2. Putting a needle on a vinyl record.
3. Changing tracks on an eight-track tape.
4. Shorthand.
5. Using a slide rule.
6. Using carbon paper to make copies.
7. Developing film/photos.
8. Changing the ball or ribbon on your Selectric Typewriter.
9. Getting off the couch to change channels on your TV set.
10. Adjusting the rabbit ears on your TV set.
11. Changing the gas mixture on your car’s carburetor.

By the way, the domain “obsoleteskills.com” is still available. I almost registered it, but how about if one of you does that and put a wiki there so we can keep track of all of the things we know that are pretty much useless now?

UPDATE: somebody put up a Wiki which is really cool.

466 thoughts on “Obsolete skills

  1. I hope you're wrong about film becoming obsolete. I prefer working at capturing a great picture to the easy does it approach. Shoot, view, erase, retake. Where's the art in that?

  2. Personally filtering the noise by reading every tweet and feed…

    Really, Google Wave and Twitter's Search are about to make our over-friend-subscription tendencies a thing of the past. I'm subscribing more and more to search based feeds instead of individual bloggers. My news consumption is now an aggregation of search based aggregations.

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  4. I completely disagree with the needle on the record player one. There is no better quality method of sound reproduction out there yet. Digital may be more portable but the quality just isn’t quite there. I have a turntable, use it often, have hundreds of records, and am only 26 years old. Some artists still produce vinyl for those with ears that know the difference.

    Vinyl forever!

  5. I completely disagree with the needle on the record player one. There is no better quality method of sound reproduction out there yet. Digital may be more portable but the quality just isn’t quite there. I have a turntable, use it often, have hundreds of records, and am only 26 years old. Some artists still produce vinyl for those with ears that know the difference.

    Vinyl forever!

  6. I was thinking about how the middle of generation X (born in the late 60s and early 70s) is a transitional cohort with regard to digital technology. Although we were children in a mostly analog world, and learned many of the obsolete skills in this list, we were exposed to microcomputers as children, too. We’re natives of both the digital and pre-digital worlds.

    How do you know you’re part of this lucky group? Identifying obsolete skills include playing Space Invaders on an Atari 2600, and programming BASIC on a Commodore whose programs load from cassette.

  7. I was thinking about how the middle of generation X (born in the late 60s and early 70s) is a transitional cohort with regard to digital technology. Although we were children in a mostly analog world, and learned many of the obsolete skills in this list, we were exposed to microcomputers as children, too. We’re natives of both the digital and pre-digital worlds.

    How do you know you’re part of this lucky group? Identifying obsolete skills include playing Space Invaders on an Atari 2600, and programming BASIC on a Commodore whose programs load from cassette.

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