5 Dying Technologies And Their Replacements


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Remember Betamax tapes? As a child of the late ’80s, I sure don’t. It seems that every couple of years or so, what seemed like something highly advanced and pretty awesome gets replaced by something more advanced and more awesome. I’ve seen technologies come and go rather quickly in my short 26 years on this earth. Gather around and let me tell you the tales of some of these technologies that are being pushed into extinction by their better, faster, and more conventional counterparts.

VHS, DVDs, Blu Ray

I remember watching movies on VHS when I was little, quickly wearing the tapes out from repeat watching. Then came DVDs, I could watch any of my favorite movies as often as I liked without ruining the very sensitive magnetic tape that was contained in my favorite VHS tapes. And woah, I could totally have several DVDs in my DVD player at one time. That was mind-blowing at the time for my little 12-year-old brain.

Image: Michelle Hawkins-Thiel / Flickr

As years went on, out came Blu-Ray, which was a much higher quality video, almost like going to the movies. I never really got into Blu-Ray; I sort of skipped right over that and straight into its replacement: Digital Videos. It’s very common now for most people to have a Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime account to watch their movies or television shows on. Instead of DVD or Blu-Ray Players, people are instead buying Roku, Apple TV, or even just connecting their home PC to their televisions.

Physical copies of things are eventually going to disappear and there will be a time when we tell our children about the old days when we had to pop these metallic shiny discs into black boxes to watch our movies. Nowadays all of these formats are close to being extinct and who knows how long they will be able to be used even on their original players? It would be wise to check for your movies and old recordings and transfer VHS to digital to keep a backup and to make sure you can still use these in the future.

Fax Machines

Fax Machines have been around since the very late ’80s. Back then they were these huge grey boxes that made lots of noise, sort of resembling a Skrillex song. Some businesses still use Fax Machines, which by now are much smaller and are usually combined with a scanner and printer. Slowly but surely, they are being replaced by the less annoying, far more convenient online fax. eFax makes things incredibly simple by letting you fax via email or their website.


Image: Yortw / Flickr

They also have a mobile app you can download for your smartphone or tablet making things even easier. It’s simple, all you have to do is sign up for an account and they pretty much take care of the rest. Receiving faxes is incredibly simple as well; you receive the fax as an email attachment or you can also use either their website or mobile apps to view, store, forward, and even sign your faxes online or in the palm of your hands with your smartphone.

Land Line Phones

Today it seems to be very uncommon for someone to not have a cell phone or smartphone of some sort. My smartphone is almost like an appendage, I feel like I’m going to die without it sometimes. And with companies like T-mobile and MetroPCS reverse merging, cell coverage is getting far better than it ever has. Nobody seems to have a landline phone anymore except for businesses.

Cell phones are so much more common for people to have as opposed to landline phones that my home state of Michigan recently passed legislation to discontinue service to landlines. Who can blame them when nearly everyone has opted out of paying for a home phone when they can just get cell phones for the entire family for just a little more than it costs to have a landline?

Tomtom and other GPSs

Back in the day, my parents would always connect this bulky device to a laptop when we’d go on long road trips and I fondly remember hearing Microsoft Mary giving us directions in her lovely digital voice. That was soon to be replaced by smaller, more convenient devices like Garmins and Tom Toms where you could have the likes of Homer Simpson reading your driving directions to you.

Well, now you don’t have to have an extra device that may or may not drive you off a cliff because of a lack of updates. With programs like Google Maps that are updated often, more people are opting just to use their smartphone’s GPS over traditional GPS devices (with standalone GPS devices going on a steady 15-20 percent decline per year).

Metal Car Keys

When I first started driving, the car I had required two metal keys; one to unlock the car and one to start the car. Some even came with “valet” keys, which only unlocked the car and started it, but you couldn’t use them to open the trunk. Nowadays car companies are integrating smart keys making it so you simply push a button to unlock and start your vehicle. Even so, those smart keys are gradually going to be replaced by smartphones, with companies such as Chevrolet offering OnStar Remote Link making it so you can start and unlock your car through a mobile app.

With innovations in the automobile and tech industry on a rapid incline, you can be sure that the metal keys that we have been using almost since the inception of the automobile will quickly be replaced by something far more technological and less easy to accidentally lock in your car. Sooner or later, you will see these items in a museum somewhere, and regale your children with tales of the time when you had to start your car with a metal key, or when GPS wasn’t a part of our little hitchhiker’s guides to the galaxy, and that time will probably come sooner than you think.

About the Author

This article was written by Amanda Rickert.

Photo credit: crabchick / Jimmy_JoeVicYortwMichelle Hawkins-Thiel

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