Things Your Grand-kids Will Probably Never Know

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


We all happen to be living during a time when there are great advances and changes being made in the way we live our lives. Some of them are to our benefit, other not so much so.

Politically and financially the world is in turmoil. There is an accelerating and inevitable shift of power and influence towards the east, with former great powers like Britain and America declining in their influence and their economic might.

Perhaps that is a natural phenomenon, after all as they say “every dog has its day”, but I happen to believe that a lot of it is due to stupidity and mismanagement allied with a self-defeating philosophy that the west somehow has a duty to police the world and to create nanny states for its citizens where they will neither have to work nor want.

Technologically there have also been many changes and many more to come. During the past twenty years with the advent and growth of the internet everything has changed, from the way we interact socially, to how and where we work, and how we manage our affairs whether that be banking, shopping or whatever.

What a lot of these changes mean is that future generations will have no idea of how our lives used to be. Already many of us who have lived through the changes have forgotten how we used to have to do things. What would it be like trying to explain the ‘old days’ to a generation with absolutely no point of reference to the world we were born into?

To remind you of how it used to be here is a list of some of things we have known and lost, consigned to the rubbish bin of history. Feel free to add your own items to this list of things that your grand-kids will probably never know.



Libraries as a place to get books rather than a place to use the internet.

Dewey Decimal System

Finding books in a card catalog at the library.

A physical dictionary — either for spelling or definitions.

Reference books such as phone books, encyclopaedias

Finding out information from an encyclopedia.




Having to manually unlock a car door.

Looking out the window during a long drive.

Using a road atlas to get from A to B.

Getting lost in a world without GPS.




Being able to add and subtract without a calculator

Long division and multiplication

Trig tables and log tables.

Slide rules

Slide Rule



House phones

Phone books and Yellow Pages.

Rotary-dial telephones.

Pay phones.

Phones with actual bells in them.

Answering machines.

Fax machines.

Not knowing who was calling you on the phone.




Super-8 movies and cine film of all kinds.

Betamax tapes.

Video tapes and renting movies

Inserting a VHS tape into a VCR to watch a movie or to record something.


8-track cartridges.




Casette Tapes

Vinyl records. Even today’s DJs are going laptop or CD.

CDs and DVDs

Playing music on an audio tape using a personal stereo.

Taping songs off the radio

A Walkman.

cassette tape



Rotary tuners that scanned the radio dial and hearing static between stations as you went through the ether.

Shortwave radio.

CB radios.

Rotary dial televisions with no remote control. You know, the ones where the kids were the remote control.

Waiting for the television-network premiere to watch a movie after its run at the theater.





The buzz of a dot-matrix printer

5- and 3-inch floppies, Zip Discs and countless other forms of data storage.

Booting your computer off of a floppy disk.

Tweaking the volume setting on your tape deck to get a computer game to load, and waiting ages for it to actually do it.

Counting in kilobytes.


Having to delete something to make room on your hard drive.

Waiting several minutes (or even hours!) to download something.

When a ‘geek’ and a ‘nerd’ were one and the same.

NCSA Mosaic.


Alta Vista

Being able to get a domain name consisting of real words.

floppy disk




Writing a check.

Doing bank business only when the bank is open.

Shopping only during the day, Monday to Saturday.

Being able to buy something in Walmart that isn’t made in China





Being able to take a drive or walk down the street without being surveilled on numerous cameras

Not knowing exactly what all of your friends are doing and thinking at every moment.




Carrying on a correspondence with real letters, especially the handwritten kind.

Neat handwriting.



The fact that words generally don’t have num8er5 in them.





Putting film in your camera

Sending that film away to be processed.

Having physical prints of photographs come back to you.




Vacuum cleaners with bags in them.


Roller skates, as opposed to blades.




16 thoughts on “Things Your Grand-kids Will Probably Never Know

  1. I do so like it when you write….however, please tell me why any of the things listed are actually worth remembering other than in a historical context. In most cases, these things have been replaced with something which works better. Technology provides us with tools. When used correctly tools are incredibly useful, when misused results may vary.

    Libraries haven’t closed down, far from it. They’ve evolved and adapted to the needs of a changing world. I use them regularly. And as for phones — apps trump bells. You do have a point in regards to correspondence and communication with others. However, I find that the quality of my correspondence is determined by those I communicate with and not so much by the means of that communication.

    • You could probably call me a geek or nerd or whatever because I have been into computers and internet and such almost from day one.
      These days I do almost everything online for business. I can’t remember the last time I sent a fax to somebody and email has taken over almost completely from writing business letters.
      I also have a load of Kindle books that are great especially when traveling.
      And, although I have no desire for every latest model that comes out I do have my smart phone and a few apps that I find useful.

      So what I’m saying is that I’m not a technophobe and I agree that these advances are good things in general.
      I also completely agree that as far as communication is concerned, the quality of correspondence is determined by the people rather than the means of communication.

      My problem is that very soon we will have people who will not be able to operate without all these high-tech aids. If technology can do everything for you, there is no need to think any more and that’s a recipe for disaster.

        • There may be a few who are learning to think differently, but sadly my experience is that more and more are losing the ability to think at all.
          Quick example, I was in my bank a few weeks ago. Their whole operation is now chip & pin debit card operated and their computer system went down. I wanted (needed) a bit of cash to get me back home and told them to write down my name, account #, amount withdrawn etc and input it manually when the system rebooted. They couldn’t get the concept of pen and paper and writing it all down. One of many many examples 😦

  2. My, you have taken me back! I heard a funny but true story this week from a relative who has a locksmith business. He said he was called by a young women who needed their car unlocked and assumed she had locked her keys in her car. When he got there she held the remote with key attached and pressed the unlock button. “See, it won’t unlock.” He took the remote with key and walked over to the car and unlocked it manually with the key.

    I don’t want to go back but it is fun to remember. I don’t embrace all the new technologies but I pick and choose. And sometimes it is good to know how to do some things manually!

  3. A telephone party line. Person to person or station to station. Dirrectory assitance used to be information please. The phone is rigning of the hook. Here’s one; I’d like to call Lima, Ohio the nember is CA 4927.

  4. Some of this makes me sad.

    Libraries – I still love some of the really great and beautiful ones.
    Learning real math – they should still all have to do it.
    Film, still use it and still love it. Though soon I might have to learn to develop it myself.
    Spelling and grammar, still believe it is worthwhile and still believe language is worthwhile.
    Vinyl records leads to other things, like parties in the basement and slow dancing.

    There are just somethings that are worth it.

  5. Due to the lack of phone books, I had an elderly lady call me at my place of work one day & ask me to find a phone number for a local business for her. She didn’t have a computer & no one had delivered a phone book to her. What was she to do?

    • There’s a kind of ‘conform or die’ mentality nowadays, a trend that will have benefits but also many dangers and casualties, especially where the idiots are in charge.

      • I felt sorry for the elderly lady. She didn’t own a computer, she was in her 80’s & wasn’t planning on getting one, but what was she supposed to do if she wanted a phone number?

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