Technology is ever-changing.
That’s what I say to myself when I’m attempting to reconcile with the child inside of me who is still not over never owning a Hiptop. I also never owned that Motorola flip phone everyone had, which has now got me questioning if my parents even loved me at all. Instead of a cool phone that would make me super popular with the kids, I got that silver LG flip phone that came with its own diamantes for custom bedazzling.
While I know the phones I wanted were eventually replaced with far superior technology, I will still always hold a torch for them and probably never forgive my parents. This void in my childhood has got me thinking about all the products and services that I will never get to own or use again.
Movie Rental Stores
The arrival of Netflix and other streaming services in Australia had us all rejoicing. It meant that we could give our Blockbuster cards a rest and stream right into the comfort of our own homes. It also meant that we no longer had to wait several hundred years for things to be released here.
This convenience that we’ve grown so accustomed to led to the death of one of my most cherished memories: movie rental stores. I can’t tell you the number of times throughout my high-school life that I had to strictly budget my snack money so that I could afford my 5 Weeklys for $10 at the local Blockbuster. Nowadays, if it’s not available on Netflix, it probably is on Stan or Foxtel Anytime. We’re spoiled for choice (and yet I still can’t find anything to watch).
Getting Film Developed
In the year 2000, Japan introduced the first camera phone and these too were something that plagued my high-school career. However, back then everything was blurry and there wasn’t enough space on your phone to store too many anyway. This advent saw the beginning of tech companies improving upon the cameras they had in their phones culminating in today where we have cameras in our phones that rival professional equipment.
Gone are the days when you had to drop your film off at the chemist or Big W, wait an hour and then go through the photos hoping for the best. Now you can see them straight away, chuck a filter on it, upload it to Instagram and you’re good to go. There are still some who use film cameras and there has been a revival of the Polaroid camera in recent years with hipster kids but that may soon die out too. Polaroid film is expensive and they’d much rather spend money on organic kale.
The death of the film camera is not something yet felt by us but I feel sorry for the children, the ones who will never get to see younger versions of their parents with no filters. My future children, for example, will have no high-school photos of me to find in an old shoebox in the cupboard and laugh at. You know why? Because I deleted it.
Discmans and CDs
This one is a twofer as their deaths go hand in hand. Now, a Discman is something that I did own so maybe my parents loved me a little. I still remember thinking I was the coolest kid in town walking around with my Avril Lavigne CD single blaring, hoping that my awesome dance skills wouldn’t make the CD skip too much. My parents’ love was short-lived though. The first iPod arrived and the Discman fell into the technology abyss. I didn’t get to own one of the originals although I did see one in real life once. I didn’t get to own the Nano or even the Shuffle. I didn’t even get to have one of those MP3s that looked like USBs and had the monochrome display.
The death of CDs has been a bit slower than the Discman; the introduction of iTunes, YouTube and music streaming sites means you can have your music playing wherever and whenever you want. And on that note, we prepare the resting place for our beloved CDs.
Portable Storage Devices
Floppy disks are dead! I still remember having a pack of 10 on my stationary list in Grade 7 (FYI, we never used them). That same year 2GB hard drives were around $200. The USB hasn’t died completely but it’s on its way. The introduction of cloud storage has meant that it isn’t necessary to carry around a USB with all your work on it, no matter how cute some of them can be.
I don’t know how to mourn the death of these products. My floppy disks were stock standard black, none of those colourful ones. I also never owned a cool USB shaped like a bunny so I am ambivalent to the death of portable storage devices however I do pay respect for all that they have done. Thank you for providing me with an excuse as to why I didn’t have my assignment with me that day.
This is a death that is dear to me. Many a night was spent on the phone with my friends talking like we hadn’t been together all day at school – something my parents had a strong objection to because I ‘didn’t pay the bills’.
These days however, the introduction of more affordable phones with plans that more often than not have unlimited calls means that home phones are obsolete. The only reason I have one now is because the mean sales people badgered me into it when I was trying to get broadband so that I could stream my Netflix while crying about Blockbuster.
All these products served us well until they were made redundant by their successors. Future generations will never know the frustration of clicking buttons several times until you get the letter that you want. They probably won’t even know what a phone with buttons looks like as touch screen continues to take over.
As Caitlin pointed out in her ode to dead and gone social media platforms, all good things must come to an end, and we can probably all agree that the deaths of these products led to ones that make our lives infinitely better. Right now, though, I’m nostalgically remembering MSN chats after school and Bluetoothing songs to my friends at lunch time.