Obsolete Skills

Robert Scoble came up with the idea to make a list of obsolete skills – things we used to be good at but no longer need to be, including:

  • Dialing a rotary phone
  • Putting a needle on a vinyl record
  • Shorthand
  • Using a slide rule
  • Optimizing 640K-worth of memory
  • Refilling a fountain pen
  • Operating a dictaphone
  • Using the eraser ribbon on a typewriter

A wiki sprung up to flesh out the list, and there are now hundreds listed (I added “Cleaning ball bearings in skateboard wheels without losing them”).

Music: Herbie Hancock :: Edith And The Kingpin feat Tina Turner

3 Replies to “Obsolete Skills”

  1. Amazingly shorthand appears to have been a required skill for British journalists as late as 1998. But in my whole career as a journalist here in the U.S., I’ve never met anyone who knew it, which leads me to think that it was obsolete here well before 1990. On the other hand, I have often wished I knew shorthand (or had some way to scribble notes more quickly and accurately). Audio recording isn’t any kind of a substitute for note taking, and you can’t always have a keyboard in front of you to type your notes, so obsolete though it may be, I bet you’d still find some use for shorthand. Not enough to justify the investment of time in learning it, though.

  2. Stop it, yer makin’ me feel old ;)

    BTW, I bought a brand-new, hecho en Mexico, Olivetti manual typewriter last year. Nuthin’ like it for filling out those forms with the teeny, tiny fields too small for anyone except pixies to write in… OK, and it’s just fun, too ;) I also like (autowind) analog wristwatches and old 1950’s & 60’s vintage Western Electric desk phones.

  3. great one!
    “Using the eraser ribbon on a typewriter”
    i now feel o-l-d.

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