Quiz: How did things work before smartphones?
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How did things work before smartphones?
By: Annette
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Oh, smartphones. What would we do without them? They're an integral part of life, but do you know what life was like back in the good ol' days? We'll test your knowledge of how people once did simple things. Prepare to be amazed. Actual paper was involved!

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How did you shine some light in the darkness?

Remember flashlights? And candles? These were all ways of creating light in the darkness. We could all benefit from more candlelight. . .

Remember scanner? They still exist, but these days, it's so easy to just take a picture of a document on your phone and send it right away!

People actually listened to the radio for traffic announcements. A real person would report on the traffic, in real time.

Both consulting a watch and looking at the sun did the trick.

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How did folks know North from South, and East from West?

People actually used to be guided by starlight! But in more modern times, they used a compass. This device can now be found on your​ phone.

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How did you remember someone's address and phone number?

Yes, people did all of these things. Remember address books? They were so cool!

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How did people communicate quickly while camping, hiking, and riding bikes?

Remember walkie talkies?! They made it so easy to talk to someone from a short distance away. And they were just seriously cool.

You had to physically walk to a payphone, or you asked someone nearby to help out.

Yes, boredom happens. But people used to deal with it. Or they'd play a board game.

Yes, people had to wait to get home to look things up. Books were even used as references. Real books.

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How did truck drivers and police officers communicate?

Truck drivers used to dispatch messages over the radio, as did police officers. Sometimes they could pick up other frequencies and hear other conversations​!

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Boardgames are nearly extinct, and now you can play games with your friends instantly on your phone. But there should be boardgames again! They brought people​ together.

Travel agents used to set up all these arrangements. That's a whole profession that is barely viable today!

Yes, people would listen to the radio or consult the local news. This was just as iffy as the phone is now.

You actually physically went to the bank. You stood in line. You got a free lollipop.

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Actual physical photos were put where people could see them, and they were stored carefully.

You used webcams on your computer, but before then, you could make a video for a friend and send the VHS or DVD by mail! That's pretty time-consuming.

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There were phone books​ that had multiple names and numbers! Phone books were also used as booster seats and as kindling.

The handy little device would be carried in a guitar case. These days, you can easily find this feature on your phone.

The business card is long gone, but remember those cool business card organizers? So classy.

To speak to someone immediately, you either had to find them or call them and wait for a response. People would actually wait in phone booths.

Often, your thumb would be over the lens, or you'd cut off half your head.

You had to show someone a physical picture. It meant that you had to meet someone in person.

The calculators on our phones are pretty handy, but in the past there was a separate little machine for that! Or your brain.

Fitness and weight would be tracked by a specialist, or you'd write the info down yourself. No apps.

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What were the primary ways people would advertise?

Advertising often came in paper form. Newspapers were actually delivered to the house each day.

Dictation machines used cassette tapes to record. Cassette tapes!

Not to be confused with a Rolex watch, the Rolodex​ held business cards and contact information. It sat on one's desk.

A DayRunner was one's personal planner. It was a book that had calendars for each week, contact information, and notes.

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How did people listen to music?

There were plenty of ways to listen to music. Even in a car or on a train!

Before smart phones, you could simply avoid people. These days, you can't escape.

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Which of these will be reduced or replaced in the future by cell phones?

Phones have already replaced so much, and this trend with simply continue! Goodbye, car keys:)

You simply couldn't purchase something so quickly. You had to step into a store or order from a paper catalog!

You couldn't call your grandmother on your cell, and you couldn't chat with her on Facebook.

Networking used to involve actually meeting with people and getting to know them!

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