With the end of the year upon us, all of the most recent trends are officially dead and it’s time to make some new ones. But rather than thinking about which appliance should be connected to the internet next, we want to know which old tech features, gadgets, and doo-dads deserve to be rescued from the dustbin of history.
The staff of Gizmodo got together in Slack—a new twist on the traditional watercooler—to brainstorm a few of our favorite picks for old tech that deserves a new life. Here’s what we came up with.
Phone Calls: We hit peak robocall recently, so it’s understandable that you might not want to answer the phone. But maybe ask someone if they’re “free to talk” via text message and hang on the phone a little while. It’s nice! We’d also like to see more rotary phones.
The Clapper: No need to surveil yourself with a smart speaker just so you can say “Alexa, turn the lights off.” For years, lazy people were doing just fine with a simple clap.
CB Radios: CB radios were kind of like Twitter for truckers. You could talk to all the strangers you wanted but you always called each other “good buddy.”
Filmstruck: Filmstruck was a good place for streaming movies.
The Space Shuttle: Several bored billionaires are working on this one but we want the real deal: some publicly-owned, feel-good shit from NASA.
Reel-to-Reel Tape Machines: Two-inch analog tape is the new vinyl.
Road Atlases/Physical Maps: Digital map services don’t get enough hate. Mostly because they’re great, totally convenient, and there’s not much to complain about. But physical maps were great objects and they leave you just a little more room to accidentally get lost in a good way.
Glow-in-the-Dark Stuff: Why not?
Translucent Gadgets: We’ve covered this, but it’s time to bring back transparent gadgets.
Away Messages: With Verizon’s disastrous handling of AOL and the newly renamed “Verizon Media Group,” don’t expect to get AIM back anytime soon. But more social media and messaging services should give us that sweet away message option.
Affordable College: We’ve heard about it, but it sounds like one of those mythical technologies from the lost city of Atlantis.
Single-Serving Handheld Games: No flicking between apps, no options, no distractions. Just you and whatever crappy little game you’ve set your mind to mastering.
Cubicles: Thanks to workplace culture icons like Dilbert, the cubicle was once considered the epitome of the soul-sucking office environment. Turns out Dilbert wasn’t funny, and it was very wrong about cubicles. These days, open plan office dwellers all simply want a little space to themselves.
Hopefully, those suggestions jogged some minds, because we really want to hear your choices. What incredible innovation didn’t get enough love, was erroneously deemed irrelevant, or just straight-up ruled?