Call me a Luddite, but despite writing for an online site, with a laptop hooked up via wi-fi and talking on my iPhone, there are some tools and technologies that I will continue to use as long as I have this newly acquired opposable thumb. And for very good reasons.
Books (Since ~1440)
Take books, for example. Yes, I’ve read e-books on my iPhone but the experience hasn’t lived up to my expectations, “e,” “I,” or otherwise. It’s just not the same. Gutenberg was right. There is simply no comparison to the smell of the printed page, the careful coordination of a page turned, the heft of a volume that you hold in your hands. Even as a solitary pleasure, a book lends itself to a type of social interaction as others might comment on the title or ask your opinion of the work.
Ah, and the information that someone’s book collection can give you about them: their interests, their politics, aspirations. You can hardly ask to review your date’s download list on their Kindle on the first date, gaining the same or more information as you might by quietly scanning their bookshelves.
Yes, the e-books are so much more convenient to transport, to read with one hand, and to “highlight” or “bookmark” a page. Yet, while I have the choice, I’ll opt for the real deal, the cloth and paper and ink variety.
Notebooks & Journals (Since ~1900)
I can’t help it, I need my notebooks and journals to scribble my ideas, outlines, unknown words, multiple lists and friends’ telephone numbers and email addresses. I’m aware that a fair number of the applications on my iPhone are designed to relieve me of the burden of putting pen to paper in order to make such notations, but it just feels simpler and less formal to use one of my working notebooks. It also takes much less time than using one of those iPhone applications, even when you do factor in the time spent finding a pen or pencil.
I am aware of a certain childish philosophy here: Words written in the “Memo” application of my iPhone appear in fonts that are somehow formal to me and make “just ideas” seem silly, while those same thoughts scribbled askew in one of my notebooks are simply friendly reminders. Thus, if only in order to maintain a friendly working relationship with myself, it looks as if I’ll have to hold on to my notebooks for the time being.
An Electric Range (Since ~1890)
Alright, I’d prefer my old gas range, which predates my electric model by almost 70 years, but my daily use of this almost-obsolete technology cannot be denied. Unlike an old acquaintance of mine who wondered well into June what that odd smell was emanating from around her kitchen oven, I’m on a first-name basis with my appliance. And under no circumstances would a turkey carcass from a previous year’s Christmas holiday party be allowed to mummify until Labor Day.
At any rate, I don’t see me switching off to any of the other alternatives I see some of my peers using. First of all, this household can’t afford to worship at the Church of Takeout or Delivery even if I happen to be in the middle of a spat with my oven. And secondly, I will insist to my dying breath that food irradiated in microwave ovens tastes like … food irradiated in microwave ovens.
I’m sure that there are a number of other obsolescent technologies that I have continued to hold dear, if for no other reason that I’m unaware that they’re actually obsolete and other, newer technologies exist. But if that is the case, leave me to my ignorance and bliss, as I wouldn’t be able to purchase the new technology anytime in the future anyway.