"Time and tide wait for no man", as the famous saying goes. The same is true for the rapid development and advancement of technology like gadgets.
Tech gadgets and products from only a few decades ago are now either obsolete or completely redundant. So much so, that many younger generations won't even be able to work out what they were once for.
Here then are some of the most notable examples of tech gadgets and tech products that only older generations, like Millennials, will remember.
What are the criteria for being called a Millenial?
While this term can sometimes be applied to all young people, the term "Millenial" is actually only really applicable to anyone born between the early-1980s and the mid-1990s to early 2000s. The term, in and of itself, is intended to refer to the point where the earliest members became adults at the Millenium.
Other than that, Millenials tend to be classified as the first generation to become particularly adept at using technology. Especially social media platforms.
What tech products have most Millenials used in their lifetimes?
So, without further ado, here are some tech products and tech gadgets that most Millenials will have used at some point in their lives. This list is far from exhaustive and is in no particular order.
1. The once ubiquitous "floppy disk"
For any member of the Millenial generation, they will have very fond, or not so fond, memories of "floppy disks". Once the only convenient way to store data from your computer, many early computer games relied on piles of these to install the game.
Today most younger generations will likely have never seen one in their lifetimes but are familiar with its shape thanks to its use as the save icon for many software. Are you feeling old yet?
2. The wonderfully crafted and much-loved cassette tape
Many Millenials reading this will fondly remember the days of the cassette tape. Many of you may well still have a pile of them lying around somewhere.
Before the age of CDs, these were the only real way to listen to music on the go. They were also the only real solution for many to make their own mixes or tape stuff off the radio.
Those were the days my friend.
3. Did you know cars used to have handles to wind down the windows?
This isn't necessarily exclusive to Millenials, but many modern generations couldn't dream of a time before electric/power windows. Once upon a time, most car's windows had to be wound down using a handle and your actual effort.
The mind is blown! Kids these days don't know they're born.
4. There was a time you had to wait a week before you received your photographs
Modern generations will never know the excitement of having to wait a week, or at least a few days before your photo was developed. Not only that, but digital cameras were a novelty and most people used disposable or single-use film cameras for their nights out or holiday snaps.
The entire experience was something of a gamble as you had no idea how many, if any, of your pictures were actually worth keeping. Far too many were blurred, out of focus, or overexposed.
The advent of smartphones with integrated cameras have since made this tech all but obsolete.
5. Before smartphones and apps like GoogleMaps there was mapquest
Me giving directions after printing them out via Mapquest in the late 90s https://t.co/WdsNCB1yPu— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) January 5, 2020
Long before the advent of smartphones and satnav apps, the Millenial generation had a few options. They could either ask for directions (least desirable and useful), use actual maps (too much effort), or use sites like mapquest to plan their routes.
Once the route was calculated, you would need to print off (or notate by hand) the instructions and put them somewhere handy so you could refer to it with ease on the road. Modern generations will never know the struggle of getting lost even with very simple instructions like this.
But "not all who wander are lost", as Tolkien said.
6. Overhead projectors were once the cutting edge of presentations
Dante Scarnecchia is as old schools as they come. Overhead projector, written talking points, and saying “We’re going to 🥊 these *** just as hard as we possibly can”. I love this man. pic.twitter.com/ko6FjwjKTk— Boston Cream 🍩 (@itsbostoncream) January 28, 2020
Another tech product or gadget that most Millenials will have either used or remember is the good old overhead projector. Once the centerpiece of many a "tech-savvy" teachers' lectures, these devices were pretty much everywhere you looked.
You may find some of these relics still lying around in schools or universities, but they have mostly become obsolete sadly. Simple, reliable, and fun to use, perhaps it is time for something of a revival?
7. We Millenials used to actually "burn" CDs
Believe it or not, but there are people alive today who have no idea what "burning" CDs actually means or how it was done. For the Millenial generation, this was one of most useful and "revolutionary" ways to store your data or make your own music mixes.
Are you feeling old yet?
8. Did you ever use a pager?
Pagers are another piece of tech that most Millenials will either have used or should at least recognize. Long before the mainstream rise of smartphones, these were once one of the few ways to send alphanumeric of voice messages to people on the go.
They came in a few forms with them either to only receive messages or send and receive them. While they can still be found in use today, they are all but redundant.
9. Did you ever have a dot matrix printer?
While you may still find these in use today, the dot matrix printer has effectively become extinct as a piece of tech. They were once the de facto means of printing stuff but were slowly phased out as inkjet and laser printers became a thing.
They were very slow compared to modern printers, not too mention cumbersome, but had one of the most recognizable sounds of any piece of tech. Dot-matrix printers really are a defining feature of the 1970s and 1980s.
10. The Tamagochi was once the most popular tech gadget to own
The Tamagotchi is another tech gadget that most Millenials will either remember or have once owned. You may still have yours lying around in draw somewhere or in storage.
First released in the mid-1990s, these little gadgets provided the user with a handheld digital pet to either care for or mercilessly starve to death. Believe it not, these diminutive gadgets sold millions of units around the world and have recently been re-released to celebrate their 20th anniversary.
11. The "Billy Bass Fish" was a popular novelty tech gadget for a time
A fond favorite as a Christmas or birthday present during the 1990s, the "Billy Bass Fish" gadget would defy all logic if released today. While it served no real purpose beyond something to kill a few minutes during a social gathering, this tech gadget actually made an absolute fortune.
Sources like Business Insider, estimate that it made somewhere in the region of $100 million worldwide.
"It took two years of tinkering for creator Joe Pellettieri to get Billy Bass just right — the moving head, the motorized tail, and mouth, all in perfect harmony while singing "Don't Worry, Be Happy" and "Take Me to the River."