Old technology that deserves a second look

Newer isn’t always better; some technology still stands the test of time.

We live in a disposal digital age, where old technology is quickly surpassed by the newer, faster and supposedly better.

But sometimes we have to avoid throwing the baby out with the bath water. Old technology can occasionally be better than its current digital equivalent.

Here are some things we think are still worth keeping.

Vinyl records
There are so many ways that you can listen to music in a digital format, but none of them have yet surpassed listening to music on vinyl. Whether listening through a streaming service, or on MP3, the audio is compressed to make it small enough to fit onto the listening device and be broadcast. This reduces the quality of the sound. Vinyl is what’s called a lossless format. Nothing has been lost when pressing a record. It sounds as good as the producer or band intended. Young people have cottoned on to this fact, and vinyl is enjoying a revival. There is definitely no need to ever get rid of your record player.

Streaming services and podcasts have invaded much of the ground traditionally held by radio. But as good as it is to listen to the music that you want – free of interruption – or to conversational topics that you are interested in, you are unlikely to discover anything new. Also, when news breaks, internet and television news services are not a patch on the quality of information you can access through your local radio station, particularly the excellent service offered by the ABC during emergencies such as bushfires. Radio also provides a genuine community of listeners, an experience of closer relationships with the hosts, particularly in talkback radio, which may be why radio has retained some of its popularity.

Landline telephones

Many people, particularly younger generations, have done away with their landlines and rely exclusively on their mobile phones for making and receiving calls. That can be a good idea, especially with the costs involved of keeping both technologies, but it isn’t always the case. Some advantages of keeping a landline phone include:

  • The ability for emergency services to pinpoint your location in the event of a triple-zero call. (Mobile phones can only reveal the general vicinity of the caller.)
  • The flexibility of untimed local calls. (Mobile phone users sometimes have to worry about staying under monthly usage limits.)
  • The ability to connect a back-to-base home security alarm system, which relies on having a landline phone connection.


Before deciding whether or not to permanently ditch your landline, undertake a rigorous assessment of your telecommunications profile, including where you live, how many calls you make, and where you call. If you’re a fairly heavy user of your home phone – and reliability is important – keeping your landline may make good sense.

Digital cameras
Now that nearly everyone has a camera with them everywhere they go in their smartphone, actual cameras seem like they may be consigned to history. But in reality, at the moment, we are consigning quality photography and photos to the rubbish bin. A five-megapixel camera built into a phone may suffice when you don’t have a camera handy, but if you are taking photos that you want to create a lifetime of memories with, you are much better off taking a quality camera along for the journey. This allows you to print the photos, which you may want to frame and place on your walls or store in a photo album, presenting the images in their full glory rather than viewing them on a tiny screen.

What old technology do you still use that is better than its more modern replacement?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    8th Nov 2017
    I thought they were phasing out the land lines I have a phone connected to the NBN so what are they talking about using old tech?
    8th Nov 2017
    My phone is connected to the NBN, Great savings, no line rental, and free untimed local and national calls. The downside, if there is a power cut I have no phone connection and have to rely on my mobile.
    8th Nov 2017
    Im not sure what the comments about cameras is getting at. There is nothing old technology about a DSLR camera nor are they likely to be consigned to history.
    pedro the swift
    8th Nov 2017
    I am currently having to decide wether to connect the NBN as I already have wireless internet and a mobile. I can use the internet "dongle" where ever I go.
    If NBN is connected I can use "landline" but it fails if NBN fails(lightning etc.). Although I guess that may also apply to mobile and wireless service. Had internet out for a week when there was some sort of failure. Decisions,decisions!
    8th Nov 2017
    When we had the old radio AM broadcasts could be received over a large area. Now we have FM and Digital which can only be received in the Capital cities and suffer from dead spots. So much for modern technology.

    8th Nov 2017
    Digital audio can perfectly imitate the analogue sounds of vinyl records. You just need to add the right kind of 'warm' noise.
    8th Nov 2017
    PS: digital WAV files (used in making CDs) are entirely lossless and encompass a wider frequency range than vinyl LPs.
    10th Nov 2017
    Digital CDs also have a much greater dynamic range (the difference between the softest and the loudest sound) then vinyl records. All vinyl records used dynamic range compression during recording so they could accommodate soft and loud passages onto the recording. Sometimes, when it was overdone, the music had no 'depth' and sounded hollow and distant. You will never convince me that records sound better than CDs except for those that were DBX encoded and they sounded brilliant but you needed a special DBX decoder to play them through and that made the process expensive and the range available was extremely limited.
    CDs sound so much better and there is no WOW or FLUTTER!
    9th Nov 2017
    Bring back the car I could repair. These computerised contraptions are expensive to repair.
    9th Nov 2017
    Too right Argy!!!!
    But it's not just the computerised bits (which are programmed to break down if you don't pay the ransom for service by the manufacturer)

    Using headlamps as an example:
    Remember when sealed beams were $5 at KMart, and just two sizes would fit any car. Not many one-eyed cars around back then.
    Compare that with Toyota wanting $160 for just one xenon bulb on my wife's Corolla (that's just the bulb, not the headlamp or anything else).
    Perhaps if we had some legislation to force the manufacturers to use common cheap components we might still have a car industry.
    10th Jan 2019
    printing from mobile phones is easy. take it to office works. most new phones take great pictures.
    landlines are being replaced by fibre optic or fixed wireless. your article is 10 years late.

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