Technology is one of those things that changes so rapidly that it’s hard to notice until one looks back a few years later. Maybe that’s why we don’t tend to notice that we’ve stopped using certain things until the transition is complete. Here are some of those pieces of technology that have been completely replaced in most parts of the country and the world.
There is something to be said about how quickly VHS seemed to phase out in retrospect, but at the time it really did cling on longer than it probably should have. LaserDisc, while offering better picture, was prohibitively expensive, and the comically large disks never really caught on except with film aficionados. So the humble VHS, which also managed to kill off Betamax nice and early, held on for a solid 20 years.
It was DVD that put a solid nail in VHS’s coffin, though it managed to hang around until the mid-2000’s, kind of like an overnight guest that stays until noon the next day and eats the last of the eggs that you were clearly keeping in the back of the refrigerator, separate and hidden.
Kids these days, when they see these square vessels of un-formatted 1.44MB joy, they ask, “whazzat, is it on fleek?” Well, floppy disks were most certainly “on fleek” until the re-writable CD and flash drives became the norm. It’s surprising that something that held as much data as a Xanga page managed to be used until the early 2000’s pretty consistently.
Also, there are plenty that remember the 3 1/2 inch disk but had no idea why they were referred to as “floppy disks.” That’s because this was literally the case until the 3 1/2 came along.
OK, this technology is not 100% in the ground yet, but honestly ask yourself when you last saw a payphone in the wild outside of an airport or train station. The likely answer is that you haven’t, and it almost certainly wasn’t in a phone booth.
So remember, when you tell your kids that you used a 3 1/2 inch floppy to save your list of VHS videotapes, and Phonebooth was your last purchase from Blockbuster, they will have no idea what you’re talking about and probably will begin to worry.