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Technology Killed These '80s Stars


Progress marches on, leaving behind it the remains of those items that didn't make the cut or have been surpassed by newer and better innovations. Here are seven items that are obsolete (and five on their way out).

Technology is ever moving us forward. There will always be something to come along that is newer and better. And people will always be seduced by the latest gadgets, forgoing the past.

Case in point: Apple. On Sept. 12 Apple announced the new iPhone 5 and despite the fact that there weren’t any revolutionary updates from the iPhone 4S (and the fact owners would need to buy an adapter to use it with current iPhone accessories), the gadget is still in hot demand. Reuters reported that in the first 24 hours, the more than two million pre-orders for the iPhone 5 doubled Apple’s previous first-day sales record.

But as technology advances in leaps and bounds, there are plenty of tools that are obsolete, or close to it. Do you still have a way to play those old VHS tapes you bought? Did you finally throw out those piles of floppy disks?

Here is a list of seven obsolete items and five that are on their way out.

(Keep in mind, this list partially depends on just how tech-savvy you are.)


VCRs (and VHS)

DVR is the bane of more than one industry. It got rid of the need for VCRs and VHS tapes, not to mention the fact that it lets you skip past those annoying commercials, frustrating advertisers and networks to no end.


Since CDs are just about on their way out (see below), there’s no need for a portable disk player. The walkman has gotten a taste of its own medicine having done away with its predecessor, the tape player. In the digital age, there’s just no market (or actual physical space) for the large, clunky disk players.

Pay phones

They’re still around, there’s no denying, but mostly payphones are extinct. And in a show of embracing the future, New York City is turning its payphones into Wi-Fi hotspots. Despite the fact that payphones live on in rural areas of the country, there’s no denying that cell phones have mostly replaced the need for pay phones.


Once upon a time having the full collection of encyclopedias was something to be proud of (maybe). Every library had a complete set, and students spent a fair amount of time paging through them.

However, Encyclopædia Britannica, stopped printing the books in 2010, instead focusing on the online editions. Still their usefulness is rather limited now that the Internet has all of the information of an encyclopedia plus so much more right at your fingertips.

Of course, it can be argued that the veracity of what is found on the Internet is not always as reliable as what was in your encyclopedias.


Having to fold and unfold a map all within the tiny confines of the passenger seat was never fun, not to mention just finding where you were located was never an easy task. And don’t forget to turn it, otherwise you might tell someone to take a left when you should really be going right. Thankfully, now there are GPS and smartphones to do all the hard work for you.


Given the internet and smartphones, there’s almost no need for someone to dial “411” to get information on, say, the phone number of a local pizzeria. 411 was good if you were out and couldn’t get to a computer or crack open the phonebook. But now it’s no longer needed by most people.

Floppy disks

Remember them? They barely held any information, causing everyone to have stacks and stacks of them next to their desktop labeled as carefully as possible so as not to mix them up accidentally. Once jump drives made their way onto the scene, floppy disks were quickly replaced, and new computers don’t even have a drive for them anymore.

Five on their way out


For most people, beepers are completely and totally obsolete. But the truth is that physicians still use them pretty regularly. The other truth is that with technology ever changing and an ever-increasing adoption rate for smartphones and tablets, eventually the beeper will probably be completely and totally replaced.

Home landlines

Look to the younger generation and you’ll see more and more are opting to only own a cell phone. Home landlines will still have a long life, because that might continue to be more convenient and reliable for people who work from home, but it’s not inconceivable that one day this piece of technology will be gone the way of the …


MP3s are the way to go now. Why buy a CD when you’ll just be uploading the songs onto your computer so you can access them from your iPod? But record companies will fight tooth and nail to make sure that CDs stay around for as long as possible, but every year sales of actual CDs drops and sales of MP3s grow.

External hard drives

They replaced floppy disks because you could easily back up large amounts of data without worrying about having two dozen unlabelled floppy disks lying around. But now there’s the cloud. You can back up your information on the cloud and access that same information from anywhere in the world even if you didn’t happen to remember to pack your external hard drive. They’re not gone just yet though, because the cloud makes some people uneasy (what if there’s a glitch and it loses everything?).

Movie rental stores

Netflix effectively killed the movie rental store by delivering a one-two punch of delivering movies right to your mailbox and letting you stream movies and shows without leaving your couch. There’s also Hulu Plus, which has a growing list of movies online for consumers to easily access. Also, RedBox has new movies available for the measly price of a dollar each.

Movie rental stores still have a place, for now. Netflix doesn’t have nearly everything available for streaming and sometimes you don’t want to wait three days for the DVD to get to you. And Hulu’s selection is relatively small, as is RedBox’s. It might just be easier to hop in the car if there’s still a store open near you.

Anything on this list you object to? Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments!

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