Digital Crave

5 gadgets that will never be obsolete

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Do a web search for obsolete tech gadgets and you’ll get hundreds of allegedly prophetic articles on the pending doom of electronic devices. Tech writers are quick to point out how once beloved items – such as CD players and answering machines – are no longer necessary. But what if an item is still cherished even after it has been bettered by something new? What if you’re a Luddite – or, if you prefer a different title, Old School?

Well, there’s no school like the old school. If you agree, don’t worry. Here are 5 nostalgic tech items that I believe will never be obsolete.

1. Radios

If there’s one thing the Internet can’t replace it’s the radio. The two actually go well together. Internet and smartphone technology allow you to listen to the radio and create your own stations on all your web devices. However, none of them will be there for you when the power goes out. A simple radio with fresh batteries is an inexpensive investment that can pay off in an emergency. Look for one like the Etón FR160 MICROLINK Personal radio. It’s a self-powered, AM/FM/NOAA weather radio with a flashlight, hand crank, solar power and USB port for charging your other devices.

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2. Home phones

Many people are cutting the cord on their landlines. Most of us have cell phones now and they’re rarely out of reach. However, the same can’t be said for their signal. Dropped calls and iffy cell service are slowly becoming rarities, but that’s no comfort to the parent dialing 911 when their kid is having an allergic reaction or the kitchen is on fire. 911 dispatchers can typically trace a landline call. And a phone connected to a landline should be able to dial 911 even if you don’t have service. Waiting until you have an emergency is not the chance to find out if this system works every time.

While you’re keeping it old school, why not look the part with the Crosley CR-55 Wall Phone.

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3. Wristwatch

Most people don’t need a wristwatch anymore. Clocks are everywhere. There’s one in your car, on your phone, on the stove, microwave, and coffee machine. But wristwatches are about more than telling time. At their best, they are brilliant works of engineering and art. That combination never goes out of style. Wristwatches are also the only piece of jewelry that most men truly want to wear, and will freely compliment on other men.

And while no one argues over perfect engineering, style is a matter of taste. I say go classic with a watch like the Victorinox Swiss Army Chrono Classic 241494.

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4. Vacuum cleaners

Any gadget that sucks – be nice – will always be of service. This applies to a lot of things that fit the category of vacuum, such as those built for home, industrial and swimming pool cleaning. Same for vacuum trucks used to recover large spills. Personally, I think those little robot vacuums are not long for this world. One round in my kitchen after a dinner party would put one of those little UFO-looking things out of commission. The classic, upright or canister vacuums will always be welcome in any home where the inhabitants want to walk around barefoot. Try the Hoover Wind Tunnel Anniversary edition.

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5. CB radios

If you have a long way to go and a short time to get there . . . wait, that’s “Smokey and the Bandit.” These aren’t exactly the heydays for CB (Citizens Band) radios, but that doesn’t stop Radio Shack and other electronic stores from selling thousands of Cobra Electronics CB radios every year. Cobra has been the choice for what they call “reliable driver communication” for more than 40 years. In 2008, they introduced the first ever Bluetooth CB radio. If you’re a professional driver, you probably still use one of these. If you’re not, you’d be surprised how much fun it can be to drift in and out of conversations with truckers, cops and other road warriors. And if you think this is a dead technology, ask yourself why the hobby world is still filled with ham radio enthusiasts.

Try the Cobra 29 LTD Classic 40 Channel CB Radio, and I’ll talk to you next time you “got your ears on.” Also, look out for a “smokey in a plain brown wrapper,” which is code for a police officer driving an unmarked vehicle. It might just be Sheriff Buford T. Justice himself.

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