Obsolete Skills

This site makes me feel really old. It lists loads of skills that are now obsolete. For better or worse, I’ve done all but one thing listed on the home page, and I’m guessing many of you have as well.

* Dialing a rotary phone
* Putting a needle on a vinyl record
* Changing tracks on an eight-track tape
* Shorthand
* Using a slide rule
* Optimizing 640K-worth of memory
* Refilling a fountain pen
* Operating a dictaphone
* Using the eraser ribbon on a typewriter

Sometimes I lament that my kids don’t show an interest in learning a lot of the skills I’ve acquired. But maybe I have to face the reality that a lot of my so-called skills are just arcane bits of a world that no longer exists. Still, it’s good story fodder. It’s fun to watch their expressions as I talk about my 1st hard drive. It was 10MB (that’s about 7 floppy disks), and I remember thinking I’d never be able to fill it. They find it hard to imagine I used to write my programs on paper cards and carry the deck around wrapped by a rubber band. Then set the front panel switches on the computer, load the OS from paper tape, put my card deck in the hopper and wait for the printout. No monitor, no mouse, no disk drives. Ahhh… those were the good old days. The days when geeks actually wore pocket protectors.

Man… I am old.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *