THE ANTI SMARTPHONE
Justine Haupt, an engineer at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, called it a "quick and dirty project" - a rotary cell phone. Here's her photo of it:
It doesn't do much except make telephone calls. As Digital Trends explains:
"Some of the physical buttons on the device, for example, can be set up to link to frequently called numbers, eliminating the need for a touchscreen and menu. Just to be clear, the dialer does work, and can be used for other numbers that you don’t save."
There has been enough interest in the rotary cell phone that Haupt has decided to make it available for sale at $240. But there's a catch – at least for me: it comes as a kit you have to put it together and even supply some of the parts:
TEEN TRYING TO LEARN A ROTARY PHONE
As long as we're discussing old-fashioned telephones, let's revisit a golden oldie video of two teens trying to figure out how to operate a rotary phone.
(I've never decided if I think this video is a prank – the kids just pretending – or if they really can't figure it out.)Can you think of other things that are common to our generation that would puzzle young people?
PAPER MAPS ARE POPULAR
Google Maps, USA Today tells us, is now 15 years old. Continuing on a theme here, they also tell us that not everyone has given up paper street maps in favor electronic ones with GPS directions.
“'Do they still make, even sell, paper maps?' That question from retired New York marketing executive Michael Lissauer is emblematic of our daily reliance on digital navigation. 'Other than in a history class, Europe before World War II, who needs a paper map?'
“It may surprise Lissauer and others that the answer to the question is yes. They're actually on the rise. U.S. sales of print maps and road atlases had have had a five-year compound annual growth rate of 10%, according to the NPD BookScan. For context, in 2019, the travel maps and atlases category sold 666,000 units, with year-over-year sales up 7%.”
Plus, maps are fun to read. More about this trend at USA Today.
PINK THE BORDER COLLIE COLLECTS THIRD WIN IN A ROW
Pink is amazing. For the third year in a row at the Westminster Dog Show this month in New York, the border collie won her class in the agility competition. In under 30 seconds. Wait till you see this – what an athlete:
NEW TAX FORM JUST FOR OLD PEOPLE
It's called 1040-SR and it is only for people age 65 or older.
Here is some of what Richard Eisenberg at Next Avenue says about it:
This new 24-line, two-page form was devised by Congress in 2018, with a push from AARP and others, to make tax filing a little easier for older Americans. Those taxpayers couldn’t use the previous simplified 1040-EZ because it lacked lines for Social Security benefits or Individual Retirement Account distributions...
“You can fill out the 1040-SR regardless of your filing status or whether you itemize or claim the standard deduction, as long as you were 65 or older in 2019 — or if you were married filing jointly, at least one of you was.
“If you will itemize and file the 1040-SR, you’ll need to fill out Schedule A, Itemized Deductions.
“Interestingly, the 1040-SR is tied to your age, not whether you’re retired...If you’re over sixty-five and still working, you can use it. And if you’re retired and under sixty-five, you can’t.
Of COURSE it's more complicated than the snippet I've quoted (after all, it's from the IRS) but Next Avenue does a decent job of explaining.
WHAT HAPPENS TO UNCLAIMED AIRLINE BAGGAGE
Unclaimed baggage goes to the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama. It is the only store in America that buys and resells unclaimed baggage from the airline industry.
Here are some of what happens behind the scenes and some of the strange items that get left behind.
HOW THE AMISH USE TECHNOLOGY
The Washington Post last week published a too-short, interesting story about how the Amish use technology. That they do so at all was a surprise to me (but what do I know).
”When a church member asks to use a new technology, the families discuss the idea and vote to accept or reject. The conversation centers on how a device will strengthen or weaken relationships within the community and within families....
“Friends of mine belonged to an Amish church in Michigan. One of the church members wanted to purchase a hay baler that promised to be more efficient, even as it enabled him to work alone.
“The members discussed the proposal — yes, the new machine might increase productivity, but how would community connections be affected if he began haying without the help of others, and what would happen if his neighbors adopted the same technology?
“The risk to social cohesion, they decided, wasn’t worth the potential gains.”
More at the Washington Post.
OUR STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL PALE BLUE DOT
This short video was published to YouTube on Valentine's Day by National Geographic in celebration of the 30 years since that gorgeous photograph was made.
Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.
You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog.