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The ABCs of Life Before Computers

With how caught up we all are in our technology, sometimes it's hard to believe that humanity managed itself just fine and dandy without computers. Believe it or not, once upon a time - (and some of you may very well remember) people organized, communicated and improved upon all aspects of their lives without using computers. School assignments could be completed without Wikipedia or Google and people used to hang out and look at each other, not sit around in a room together and pay attention to nothing but their smartphones.

So, what was life really like before computers? For one, many companies out there just like us wouldn't even exist without them. We understand that we are unqualified to specifically recreate how life really was before computers. But, just for fun, we have put together the ABCs of Life Before Computers. Below you will see 26 technical words beginning with each letter of the alphabet, and what those words meant back before the average person knew what a computer was or the mainstream adoption of technology into our lives. Feel free to leave other terms and suggestions to include in the comments and - enjoy!

Begin: The ABCs of Life Before Computers


  • Applications were something filled out for employment.
  • Backup was something you did in your car while leaving your house.
  • Cache was only known as the French word for cover.
  • Driver was a golf club, or a person driving a car.
  • Export was a form of international trade.
  • Files were something you found in a steel cabinet.
  • Graphics were only made by mathematicians and engineers.
  • Heartbleed meant you better get to the hospital.
  • IM was a grammatical error when someone forgot the apostrophe in I'm.
  • Java was found in your coffee mug.
  • Keyboards were better known as pianos.
  • Links were loops in a chain.
  • Macintosh was a delicious kind of apple.
  • Networking could only be done in person, by mail or phone.
  • Outbox was where your waiting to be mailed letters were stored.
  • Password was a secret code word to get into the treehouse.
  • Queue was a line of people that were waiting for something.
  • Ripping only happened to your clothes and fabrics.
  • Sessions were dedicated to therapy or counseling.
  • Terminals were where you caught the train or boarded a flight.
  • Utilities were things that you found useful.
  • Variables were symbols for numbers we didn't know yet.
  • Web was the place where spiders lived.
  • Yahoo was a rude, noisy or crazy person.
  • Xerox only copied in black and white.
  • Zip was something you did to keep your pants on.


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