Things the Web Replaced

webMy kids will never know a time before the World Wide Web. I was already in university when the web arrived, so I have many memories of doing things that I no longer do as a result of this communications revolution. Here are some things that the web has replaced.

Encyclopedias - I think everyone over the age of 30 remembers the encyclopedia as the definitive reference point. It's where I'd start when doing an assignment or writing an essay. The thing about encyclopedias was that they were heavy and expensive and out of date so quickly. Furthermore, you could read them at the library, but you couldn't take them out. The web means I don't even think about encyclopedias any more.

Maps - I remember those big maps that were impossible to fold. You had to have one to plan your route, and you needed a Perly's or MapBook for driving directions. Now, it's all Google Maps for me and the paper map you buy in stores may rest in peace.

Letters - Remember when you had to write a letter, put it in an envelope, slap an address and stamp on it and drop it in a mailbox? My friend spent a year in Sweden and we communicated in this archaic fashion. That wouldn't happen today, we'd keep in touch via email.

Reference Books - It's not just encyclopedias. I used to have one book with info on movies, another with info on rock bands and others with baseball statistics, hockey players, not to mention the good ol' dictionary. IMDB killed the movie book, AllMusic killed my rock band anthology and BaseballReference and HockeyDB killed my sports stats books.

I'm sure there's more, but these are a few things that the web has replaced. Oh yeah, throw the fax machine in there. Who's faxing anymore?

Share this entry

Comments (7 - click here to join in!)


Remember the three R's. I guess the R's stand for something else today. Relaxing, Rockin' & Riding a bike.

June 21, 2008 @ 4:40 PM


Actually, Encyclopedias may still have a niche.

When I was young, the web was starting up... and I was lucky. In my university days, Wikipedia was a valid source to cite.

Nowadays, the kids I tutor who attend high school are told that they CAN'T use wikipedia as a source, and that at least 50% of their references need to be from published works. Does that mean they have to go out and read the published source? No, as long as they can cite it... ie, if they find the article online, and know where it came from, that's ok.

June 21, 2008 @ 5:00 PM

Toronto Mike

Ok, but if you're using an encyclopedia today, it's still online. It ain't those big ass books!

June 21, 2008 @ 5:40 PM


One of lifes simplest pleasures is opening the mailbox and finding a letter, card or package.
Email is quick but it is very impersonal.
Also with snailmail you only have to check your mailbox once a day ;)

June 21, 2008 @ 6:48 PM

Toronto Mike

I can't remember the last time I sent a piece of personal snail mail or received a piece of personal snail mail.

Sure, you still get the odd wedding invitation that way, but I don't get letters nor do I send letters.

Maybe it's a girl thing?

June 21, 2008 @ 6:52 PM

Ajax Mike

One of the services my company provides is faxing. We store documents electronically. The client requests a document and it's faxed to them (or to whatever phone # they put in).

June 21, 2008 @ 8:23 PM


It sucks to be a printer.

June 22, 2008 @ 12:46 PM

Leave a comment

Only 7 comments? C'mon, we can do better... Leave a comment above and let's keep this conversation going!

« Meet Luke Schenn, Future Grand Master of the New Jedi Order Best Damn Sports Show Period »