The ’90s were a magical time. It was an intersection of the past and future, as technology advanced in ways we couldn’t have predicted. As a result, millions of millennials acquired skills in the ’90s that almost immediately became obsolete. Recently, millennials of all ages met in an online discussion to reveal the skills they learned in the 90s that aren’t useful anymore.
Memorizing Phone Numbers
As a millennial, I still proudly know the phone numbers of my best friends. However, this skill has been lost to an ever-evolving society since all the phone numbers we need are now permanently in our cell phone contacts list. I remember patting myself on the back as a teenager when I finally memorized my girlfriend’s phone number. Gen-Zers will never know what an accomplishment that was.
Texting Using the T9 Method
Before on-screen keyboards (and physical keyboards, for that matter) were invented for cell phones, the T9 method was an acquired skill that every millennial perfected. It was a style of texting that used predictive technology and enabled lightning-fast responses. “I could look at my phone for half a second, then respond in paragraphs, knowing full well I spelled everything the way I meant without ever having to look back at my phone,” confesses one man.
There were two people in high school: the kids with the right computer and know-how to burn CDs for their friends and those left out of the loop. Burning CDs transformed the music industry and became the easiest way to share music among friends in the ’90s. With music streaming services all the rage in 2023, burning a CD is a lost art.
Memorizing the TV Channels
On-screen channel guides were rare in the ’90s, but luckily, millennials had one superpower: memorizing their TV channel lineup. Between memorizing phone numbers and memorizing channel listings, the amount of brainpower people in the ’90s used is impressive in retrospect!
Making a Website Using HTML Coding
Creating a website is almost too easy, thanks to countless services and apps available in 2023. But in the ’90s, if you wanted to build your own website, you needed to learn how to code in a programming language known as HTML — and that’s what millions of millennials did. It wasn’t pretty, but our knowledge of HTML created some pretty amazing Geocities websites.
How to Clean a Mouse Ball
One of the most under-the-radar skills a ’90s kid could develop was properly cleaning a mouse ball. Believe it or not, this skill solved a considerable problem, as one millennial points out. “A lot of people had no idea that their mouse would drag because the ball was covered in gunk; you had to take it out and clean it from time to time,” he explains. “I had to volunteer at a library for the forced volunteer work they make you do in high school, and part of my job was to clean the computer mice.”
Programming a Vcr
In the ’90s, fully knowing how a VCR worked catapulted you to a god-like level in the eyes of money. “My parents thought I was a genius when I did this for them a few times,” admits one woman. “I remember them being sad that they were going to miss a show, but I programmed the VCR to record the show at the time, and it worked great. You did, however, have to run your antenna through the VCR to the TV for it to work.”
Blowing on Video Game Cartridges
The video game industry has evolved dramatically over the years. With gamers now playing highly-advanced games that stream over the internet, countless millennials remember the good old days. When your Nintendo cartridge didn’t work, you busted out the best skill in your repertoire: blowing into the bottom until it started working.
How to Hacky-Sack
In the ’90s, your social standing was sometimes heavily influenced by how good you were at hacky-sack. Long before an entire generation was distracted by their cell phones, millennials passed the time after school by mastering the art of the perfect “stall” while playing hacky-sack with their friends. In many cases, the better you were, the cooler you became!
Balancing a Checkbook
Before the days of digital bank accounts and banking apps, many millennials were taught how to balance a checkbook properly. This skill is not needed in 2023! “Learning how to write a check and balance a checkbook is something I can’t believe we had to learn,” reveals one woman. “I think I last wrote a check about seven years ago. I don’t even know where my checkbook is anymore.”
How to Use a Typewriter
How’s this for a blast from the past? I can’t express how incredibly frustrating it was to learn how to write using a typewriter. It was slow, meandering, and worst of all, when you made a mistake, you had to use liquid erasers to correct it! When millennials mastered typewriters, computer word processors were all the rage.
Planning Trips Using a Map
People have it easy nowadays. In the ’90s, planning a trip using paper maps was arduous. It required skill and a lot of patience. “I used to buy an atlas before a road trip and plan out the routes to take, highlighting them as I went,” recalls one millennial. “Now I just say, ‘Hey Google,’ and off we go.”
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