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10 outdated technologies that people still use today

New technological advancements make our lives easier in ways that we never imagined. Then, after a few months, we wonder how we ever lived without them. Change is generally considered to be a good thing, but that doesn’t mean everyone embraces it. Here are 10 outdated technologies that people still use today.

Floppy disks

Pile of floppy disks
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There are USB drives that can hold up to a terabyte — or 1 million megabytes — of digital files. External hard drives have hit the market with 38.4 terabytes of storage. That's quite a lot. Those eight-inch floppy disks from back in the day hold a maximum of — wait for it — 1.2 megabytes, which begs the question, “Why would anyone keep using floppy disks?”

Not only are people still using them, but the United States government still relies on computer systems using eight-inch floppy disks as part of the software that manages its nuclear program.

Fax machine

Man's hand operating old fax machine buttons
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Fax machines have become the poster children for outdated technology. Emails are easier, faster, and can be sent from the palm of your hand, yet, for some reason, fax machines are growing in popularity.

Hospitals, government agencies, and businesses still rely heavily on the good ol' fax machine to do business. While an email might be quicker, faxes are more secure, making them the optimal choice for sending sensitive information and signed documents.

AOL dial-up

Hand plugging in ethernet cable to power internet
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Dial-up is the soundtrack of the late 20th century. It’s hard to forget the strange noises that emanated from your computer after hitting the "connect" button. While modern internet connections are vastly superior to the outdated dial-up connections of the past, AOL is still very much alive.

Many people who live in rural areas don’t have access to broadband or 4G signals, but they do have a phone line. AOL dial-up is the only option that gives them access to the all-important internet. Other people choose dial-up as a cheaper alternative to broadband. About 3% of Americans still use dial-up for their internet needs.

Phone book

Open white pages phone book showing large list of names and numbers
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Nobody needs them, and nobody wants them, yet for some reason phone books continue to show up on the doorsteps of homes across the United States. Phone books are still surviving in the 21st century, not because people enjoy using them, but because they make money. The thousands of pages in every book are packed with ads. Businesses have actually fought regulations that would stop the production of phone books. If there’s money to be made, being outdated doesn’t change a thing.

Dot matrix printers

Man operating an old-fashioned dot matrix printer
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Why would anyone keep a dot matrix printer around? Because they’re cheap! They might have limited abilities, but a single ribbon on a dot matrix printer can print up to seven million lines of text and save users plenty of money on ink. Their continuous paper sheets mean you’ll hardly ever have to replace the paper too. Oh, and they’re extremely reliable. Maybe we should all switch back.

Pagers

Man holding an old-fashioned pager with digital display
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When modern phones can send detailed text messages, pictures, videos, voice recordings, and cat GIFs, who needs a simple pager anymore? As it turns out, quite a few people.

Pagers are carried by hospital staff and emergency responders all over the world. Pagers don’t save information and are completely safe from any data breach; they run on batteries, so there’s no worries about forgetting your charger; and they use a stronger, more reliable network than cell phones. When the power goes out or disaster strikes, pagers might be the most reliable way to communicate.

Vinyl records

Person looking through old-fashioned vinyl records at music store
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Some people still find comfort in the nostalgia that comes with vinyl records. In 2019, in the height of the digital age, vinyl record sales actually increased. While they still make up only about 4% of total music revenue, the popularity of records is growing, and some artists are even releasing new music directly to vinyl to keep up with trends. The sound quality and pleasing crackle of a needle touching down make this shift somewhat understandable.

Windows XP

Default desktop image
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Windows XP was released in 2001 and was a major upgrade from the previous operating system, Windows 2000. Users couldn’t wait to make the switch. Since then, there have been Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10, but for some reason, people can’t seem to get off the XP bandwagon. For being almost 20 years old, Windows XP still has a pretty big following.

CRT televisions

Retro TV on table in front of blue background
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CRT stands for cathode ray tube, and it was a fixture in televisions before the LCD revolution. These were the last TVs that could officially be called the “boob tube.” They were bulky, heavy, and had smaller screens than the TVs of today, yet they still survive.

Two-way radios

Stack of two-way radio devices showing transmitters and buttons
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With phones that can contact anyone in the world with the push of a button, why would anyone want to carry around a two-way radio? For the average person, cellphones are the much more practical option. However, if you’re working in a noisy environment or have limited service, two-way radios are far superior than cellphones.

Radios are more durable, better with loud background noise, and don’t require a network. They’re still the preferred method of communication for people working in harsh, remote conditions, so they are trusted by military personnel, construction workers, and loggers.