Today’s Roundup of Dinosaur Technology

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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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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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