Who Are You Calling Passe??? Tech Whose Time Has Come… and Gone


Earlier in the week I threw out the following question…

What current technology, service or product do you see as totally passé… And why….?

The responses were quite interesting and while there was a good deal of agreement there were also some places where our diverse group parted ways.

Here are some of the answers…



Incandescent Bulbs – wasteful, dangerous, and inefficient.

[True story on the dangerous part – when Sarah was 11 (or so), she was spending the night at a friends. She reached across a bedside lamp to grab something, and the 60w bulb touched her skin for a few seconds before she realized that she was being burned. By the time she pulled her arm off, she had a very painful second/third degree burn about the size of a half dollar. Luckily both parents of the girl she was staying over with were doctors, they had Silva cream on hand, and they were able to get it on her burn immediately. That coupled with silicone sheets and time turned what could have been an awful scar into a barely noticeable patch of slightly darker skin, about the size of a quarter. I had no idea until that awful incident how hot bulbs could actually get.]

Companies that will not allow you to pay your bill or download statements via a website.

Checks (!!)


Landline phones- I know they are a necessity for some but for me I have not had a home line in over 5 years.

Voice mail – if you need to contact me email or text.

Satellite radio – it’s ok for when you’re in the midst of nowhere but Internet radio will eventually kill it in 10 years



Printed maps- With standalone GPS units and GPS apps for mobiles, no need to worry w/ printed maps

Wayne asked… How about pagers as obsolete. For most?

Carly reached deep into her past and asked… But how would drug dealers do business then?

Thomas replied- We still have some hospitals that don’t allow cellular, only pagers since they would rather that they can page the doctor during major surgery! 🙂

Larry (who knows about such things first-hand) Most of the emergency medical and law enforcement communities still rely on pagers.


USB Datasticks– The Interface is too big now given Micro_SD



Voice Mail– Most industry stats suggest voicemail usage has dropped by 50% while IM use has climbed nearly 200% in the enterprise. Enough said I suppose…

Incandescent lightbulb- In some countries you can’t buy them any longer and I suspect the US isn’t far behind. With LED and Florescent technology where it is today, there is no real reason to buy incandescent. And this, mind you, is coming from the biggest
“anti-theworldisendingbecausewecutdowntreesanddonthugpolarbears” guy out there


Not really tech but I will say it: Binders– Walked into a conference Monday and the handed me a binder. It stayed in the room and I did not carry at all. I would rather have a PDF.

To which Clinton replied… I actually refuse to take the binders at conferences. If they hand me one I ask if they can email it to me in PDF. If they can’t then I don’t take it. It’s a waste of space for me.

The Rest of the Group-
Linux! (okay not really but we had to work Linux in here somewhere for Joel’s sake)

CDs- I have not bought one in 4 or 5 years. Digital music is easily
moved and takes no physical space.


The biggest overlap in the list was…fax machines. There were, however, divergent views on this. For example…

Fax Machines– scan it and email me.. especially internationally

Yup, there are better technologies to replace it but it just refuses to die!

Sadly I have one and it still gets used on occasion, especially for doctors


I have a subscription to TrustFax because I need to be able to send and receive faxes (not emails) as part of my day job. I don’t have a landline at our home, but $5/month allows me to seem like I do.

I am going to pile on the anti-fax machine bandwagon and add another: printers. With rare exceptions, very few things NEED to be printed, since almost everything can be transported and accessed by smartphones and computers.

Schools still use the fax like it is a current technology. It drives me crazy to send and receive faxes but I have sent 5 or 6 this week already! Most coaches seem to be slow to utilize new technologies. I am the district chairman for our softball meeting and am conducting out planning and scheduling meeting in an hour. I can gurantee at least one coach will tell us they don’t use a cell phone and don’t email!

You know I still like the print forms of things. When I get a PDF I still frequently print it. I still find print easier to read on my eyes than a screen. I’m still supporting analog fax machines on a VOIP phone system because people won’t leave fax even when you show them better, higher quality alternatives. I spend more time keeping that crap working than anything else because it is so picky about line quality.

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.

3 Comments on "Who Are You Calling Passe??? Tech Whose Time Has Come… and Gone"

  1. Incandescent Bulbs – probably, but I don’t see CF’s replacing them as long as they contain mercury. Maybe an LED array of some sort.

    Fax Machines – My employer, a hospital, uses scanners to transmit physician’s medication orders to the pharmacy. The original stays in the legal medical record, and the pharmacy can archive it.

    And in relation, Printers – for the time being, it seems most legal records are required to be printed. They may change eventually, but frankly, 25 years ago everyone was talking about the “Paperless Office” was the way of the future. I’m still waiting for it.

    Snail Mail – I have heard of companies whose mailroom scan most of their incoming printed correspondence, and email it to the recipient, while archiving the printed copy.

    Landline Phones – that’s going to be a hard one. A simple phone works without external power – no need to plug into AC or charge.

    Pagers – still less expensive, more reliable, and have better coverage, than cell phones, will probably stay around for commercial uses. However, one of our facilities is using WiFi VOIP phones for in-house communications.

    USB drives – microSD won’t replace them until every PC has a reader, and microSD gets similar capacities. There are now 256GB USB drives.

  2. People who actually care about music enough to want to listen to a mix that won’t give them tinnitus still use CDs, and even vinyl.

    Yes there are lossless forms of compresison, but they’re not used very often in downloadable music.

    I guess if you think audio quality begins and ends with ibuds, it doesn’t matter. For music types, it does very very very much matter.

  3. Who Are You Calling Passe??? Tech Whose Time Has Come… and Gone http://tinyurl.com/yzfah7c from @iNewsApp

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