Tell us: What’s a piece of old technology you refuse to give up?

An original gramophone sits on the back seat of a 1932 Humber in Hull, England.

Calling all Marketplace listeners! We need your help for a story we’re working on about retro gadgets and the people who love them.

Tell us: What’s a piece of old technology you refuse to give up? Maybe it’s a record player, slide projector, or a toaster oven you bought in 1992. Does your old gadget outperform new technologies? Why are you still holding on to it?

Help us out by answering a few questions and telling us what you think. We’ll be featuring some of your responses on the air and online.


About the author

Meg Cramer is a producer for Marketplace Tech.
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I, too, take notes by hand. Ages ago, I took some Franklin Covey seminars which recommended always recording info in one place to improve findability. I replaced their journals with steno pads back in January 2003, and I'm now on Volume 52. I number and date the pages as I use them, and as I finish each notepad, I record the start & end dates on the cover.

Amusingly enough, though, that wasn't what first came to mind when I heard your question on the radio.

Remember the old Palm Pilots and their Graffiti writing system? It wasn't quite handwriting recognition, but used letter-like shorthand gestures. A few years back, a company released Graffiti for Android, and I *love* it. Keyboards depend on getting one's fingers in the correct position on the screen; Graffiti is all about the shape you draw. I can easily write one-handed without having to keep my eyes on the screen.

I cannot live without pencil and paper still. Computer items to do this are clunky and cost is way more than the trusted old fashion way. I recently had a statistics class for my MBA and used about two folders of paper for it, without it I am not sure I could have finished the class.

Taking notes by hand. My law school required us to buy a laptop but after one year of typing my notes I realized I wasn't absorbing anything. I switched to taking notes by hand for the last two years and exams became easier. Something about the physical act of writing words down makes them stick in my brain more than typing them. I'm continuing to do so as I study for the bar exam.

I still use textbooks even though they are available on PDF. The simple reason for this is that I do not trust electronic technology to be 100% reliable, because I have lost all my data in the past and was unable to retrieve it.

I use paper and pen to write about 40 pieces of personal mail a week. And not just any pens ... fountain pens. I use lots of vintage postage, the kind that has to be licked (though I usually use a wet sponge ... these are 40+ year old stamps), and sometimes I'm lucky enough to find tacky, but wonderful, vintage stationery. My fountain pens are, sadly, all contemporary makes, but if I could find a nice old pen that didn't cost too much, I'd give it a good workout.

I like collecting Vespa scooters and record players, but more for the aesthetics and joy of collecting and maintenance (believe it or not, there is a sort of therapeutic effect of having to change cables or seals on a vehicle that is notoriously unreliable, even if it is often accompanied with rapid-fire outbursts of expletives) ...more so than actual utility or practicality.


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