Every once in a while I get a check for some miscellaneous activity of life. It's usually a rebate or refund, or a friend paying up for some group activity I organized. And every time it makes me angry because I have to take that stupid check to the bank and deposit it. It feels so 1990s.

I am frankly amazed that checks still exist. And you know how happy you are when standing in line and the person in front of you whips out a check.

I will have limited time to blog for a few weeks, so today I'm just wondering what else you encounter in your daily life that seems like it should have gone the way of buggy whips ten years ago.

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Feb 26, 2009
You should get a new bank. Mine (USAA) lets me deposit checks online with a scanner.
Feb 26, 2009
Just the other day there was a chap in the pub (I'm in the UK) who was moaning about having to upgrade his car. He said it was causing him some stress and upset. I was with three people who have small businesses and are either trying not to lay people off or who may have to close their business down. I myself got made redundant in September and there is no sign yet of any employment.
Any cheque is a good one.
Please don't be the smart arse in the pub.
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 26, 2009
Pennies. And frankly, we could probably do without nickels by now too.
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 26, 2009
32-bit Operating Systems.
Feb 26, 2009
I think keys are ridiculously old fashioned. I taught myself how to pick locks when I was a kid. Just the other day I couldn't find the key to my truck's gas cap. I had the lock picked in 10 seconds. They are easily bypassed, easily duplicated, and you have to carry a different one for every lock in your life. There is no reason why we couldn't start using little wireless fobs like credit card companies are starting to use for "EasyPay" or whatever. This one wireless fob could use encryption technology so it would be impossible to bypass, impossible to duplicate, and one security fob could be used instead of all your keys. If it was lost you'd only have to reprogram everything instead of changing a bunch of locks. You could add and remove locks to your fob at will just like you could add and remove fobs to locks at will.

Keys are an ancient technology.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 26, 2009
Reading all these comments is making me anxious. I still use an answering system on my landline instead of voice mail because when the red light is flashing I know I've got a message. I don't always remember to call voice mail on my cell because I've got so much on my plate. Your message could sit there for days. (I know, I know, get a new cell phone but this one works just fine and it only cost me $10)

I use a computer all day long for work and just about everything else but some things just aren't "broke" for me so I'm not compelled to change. I still like CDs because I like seeing the artwork and reading the liner notes. I still like going to Hollywood Video because even though there might be a list of movies that I want to see and they mail them pronto sometimes I'm not in the mood to see any of them, thank you Netflix, and I just want to browse and ask the person behind the counter if they liked the movie, could they recommend something else, and then take it home. Oh, and that box of Dots candy looks good, too.
I could care less about checks but if you want to write me a nice big fat one, Scott, I'll happily sign it and deposit via an ATM. Same goes for rebates and people who owe me money. Bring 'em on!

I do agree with one other commenter: Flava Fla could go.
Feb 26, 2009
Phone books.

Think of all the trees that could be saved if people learned to either use the internet to look up numbers or call free information lines.
Feb 26, 2009
To those responding that you still pay by check, I and everyone else in this century implore you to PLEASE STOP. PLEASE. You think you're fast - you're not. You're just holding people up. Unless you shop in the middle of the night when there is no chance of someone being behind you, just stop it. It doesn't make you "think about what you spend" or any of the other stupid nonsense your luddite mind has convinced you of. By the time you're breaking out the checkbook at the grocery store, YOU'VE ALREADY FILLED YOUR CART. Is the act of writing out the check going to make you say "whoops, I didn't need these Cheez Doodles, please take them back, sir." No. You've convinced yourself of this nonsense but it is simply that - nonsense. And you're holding up the rest of us who have stuff to do and don't want to wait while you tear off a check like some 80-year old woman.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 26, 2009
I moved to the US 2 and a half years ago, from Britain, and I'm amazed how much people still rely on checks here. In Britain, I'd write about 1 check every six months, I don't think I ever needed a new check book since I washed the old in about 5 years ago.

Our insurance company forgot to give us a discount for something or other on our insurance, and they sent us a check for $10. It's not worth the effort required to take it to the bank - can't they just remember and knock it off next time. (And when I don't deposit it in 6 months, they send me another!!!). And as for paying by check at the supermarket, I haven't seen that done in the UK for many years. (I certainly haven't done it myself since about 1990).

Feb 26, 2009
The Interstate Highway System. We had a mass transit infrastructure decades before the automobile was even invented! Who decided it made more sense to drive across the country in tiny, inefficient vehicles with seating for no more than five at a top speed of 65 MPH?

And I blame printer manufacturers for the persistence of fax machines. Someone realized it would be cheap and easy to add fax circuitry to printer-scanner-copier hybrids, so they did. J'accuse, Hewlett-Packard! J'accuse!
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 26, 2009
Anything with wires attached to it - power cords, sound cables...
Feb 26, 2009
Non syncronized traffic lights. In my little town of Eugene, Or, the leftists who run the place are forever bloviating about how 'green' they are (an occasional shower might remedy that) and how 'green' they want us to be. All of their schemes involve:
1. higher taxes
2. increased cost of living
3. restricted freedoms
4. more enormous diesel belching buses (carrying the standard 2 passengers)
The easy, no-cost way to save fuel & reduce emissions would be to synchronize the traffic lights, and turn them all to flashing yellow or red after 9:00 PM. Since this is the cheapest most efficient way to reach the stated goal of reducing greenhouse emissions, and it is not being done, my conspiracy feelers are aroused. What if, instead of saving us all from the certain doom of global warming, they REALLY just want to flush capitalism once and for all, and place their red & green friends into places of power, leaving the rest of us to suffer the indignities of the average European schmuck? Scary, huh.
Feb 26, 2009
Pumping the gas yourself.

1. Car companies standardize on putting the gas intake on only one side of the car.
2. You drive up to a pump.
3. You text the phone number on the side of the pump either "Fill" or "x gals".
4. The pump sends out a low power RFID signal to the car telling it to open the gas door & cap combined unit
5. The pumps mechanical arm locates intake again because of low power RFID signal coming from adjacent the intake.
6. Car fills with gas, pump arm removed, door signaled to close, amount shows up on your cell phone bill.

Ah the things I fantasize about while pumping gas in cold, wintry weather.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 26, 2009
I'm olde fashioned, so I still use checks. But I'll admit they have their problems. I'd write them out at the grocery store until recently one got torn and stuck in the store's check reading machine. I held up the line for ten minutes while the cashiers floundered around trying to figure out how to deal with the problem. No more.

If you try to deposit checks in an ATM machine that scans the checks, there a 50-50 chance the machine will spit back the check. Same odds as trying to deposit cash in that kind of machine.

Like tkwelge, our store has the same cumbersome requirememts for accepting checks. It's a pain, but people still like to write bad checks. So everyone suffers.

I still like the feel of something physical like cash or checks, so I still minimize electronic transactions. It makes you think twice when deciding whether to buy. That's a good thing in this day and age.

And I still use a VCR. Electronic recording is too newfangled, and I don't have cable. Maybe in another 10 years....

0 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 26, 2009
Ever have a colonoscopy or endoscopy? There has to be a better way, especially avoiding the prep.

For those who hate the fax machine, at least we don't use heat paper anymore, remember that joy?
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 26, 2009
Filling up the gas tank . . . seems strange to have to stop off every 300 or so !$%*!$ Even worse is changing the oil. Shouldn't the engine be lubricated by air somehow by now?
Feb 26, 2009
I agree with the fax comment. I used to work with one on a daily basis, and I hated that cursed device. it was always breaking down, and we'd get pages and pages of random ads. and I was always aware of the non-insignificant chance that I could hit one wrong digit and fax confidential information to who knows where.

also, their susceptibility to sabotage, like black faxing, is ridiculous. I hate those damn things.
Feb 26, 2009
You could still deposit your check in an ATM.
One thing that should have gone away by now is "having to log in to comment on this blog"
Feb 26, 2009
Scott, you gotta get a better bank. My bank lets me SCAN IN CHECKS to deposit them. Nothing could be simpler. No mail, no envelopes. Just a scanner and the awesome power of the Internet.

The changes in the Check21 legislation a few years ago enabled banks to do this.
Feb 26, 2009
- 4 way stops
- non synchonized traffic lights
- employee drug tests (land of the free and the brave? Yeah right)
- religions
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