Today’s Roundup of Dinosaur Technology

Are telephone answering machines dinosaurs? Matt Yglesias says yes. I say no. Believe it or not, lots of people still make and receive phone calls! And not everyone has signed up for their phone company’s voice mail service. But they’d still like to know when someone has called and would like them to call back. Thus, the answering machine. They’re mostly built into phones these days rather than sold as standalone devices, but there are still lots of them out there.

In a separate vein, Dave Weigel questions the utility of morning roundup posts:

It’s 2013 A.D. and I’m no longer convinced that early-morning round-up posts are a good use of time. So this will be the last one — again, barring some massive pressure campaign, letters from readers piling up like letters to Santa in Miracle on 34th Street.

For what it’s worth, my take on this has always been simple. Roundup posts with more than four or five entries are a waste of time. You’re basically signaling me that this is just a dump of everything you’ve read this morning, so I’m going to skip it. But a roundup with three or four or maybe five items signals something different. It tells me that this is actually a carefully pruned list of things you truly found interesting and think I might be interested in too. Those kinds of roundup posts I frequently find worthwhile.

Sadly, nearly all roundup posts are the former type.


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