You know who was a happy? The first woman to use a cordless phone to walk and talk without accidentally strangling her cat. Likewise the first guy to think: "I can give that Brendan Fraser movie a miss. No one will be talking about it." Saying goodbye to the outdated, the boring, and the impractical is the purest joy offered by progress. In years past, we've waved adieu to maps (thanks GPS), restaurant guides (thanks Yelp), work productivity (thanks Facebook) and Yugoslavia (thanks Gorbachev). Now, we're saying goodbye to 2014 and all that.
Late Night Liquor Runs
It’s a party given - like bad dancing and your friend Ted striking out - that just as the crowd reaches fever pitch, the liquor runs try. Demand outstrips and outpaces supply. In the past, a frantic host would have run into the night hoping his corner booze-boutique was open. Today, apps like Drizly and Minibar deliver name-brand beer, wine and liquor right to their (slightly-askew) door, allowing them to enjoy/attend their own party.
Whatever you have, it’s not good enough. Even if you have the phone-of-the-moment, Apple’s vast iPhone 6 Plus, someone is going to tell you that you should have a Galaxy. If you have an Android, you’re smug that your phone works, but frustrated when the system won't update. Our advice? Buy a device that can play Angry Birds and send texts. You're never going to keep up. Find something you like and stick with it.
Push-button ignitions are nothing new (most features aren’t once they appear standard on a Honda Civic), but, this year, they seem to have reached a critical mass. Aiming a fob for a keyhole-less spot on the dashboard is the new reaching for a phantom roll-up window crank. You have become your father. The thing is, we like keys: Tossing a pair of precision-cut steel-keys that jingle as they fly is a hell of a lot cooler than lobbing a black-plastic fob. Keys may not be gone forever.
When Vladimir Putin wants something, he gets it. He must be hell to shop for come Christmas. In March of this year, Russian tanks rolled through Crimea and by March 21st, the formerly independent state had become an (internationally- and locally-disputed) Russian republic. When Putin hears "You Can't Alway Get What You Want," he must just shake his head and laugh.
When was the last time one of your friends asked if you had clean urine? Seems to be happening less and less. In the age of marijuana as medicine and MDMA as party favor, companies in Silicon Valley don't want to limit their ability to recruit burners and financial institutions don't want to limit their ability to recruit guys who actually want to work in Silicon Valley. Drug tests have become a problem for executives, which means they're not really a thing anymore.
The College Bowl System
The first Rose Bowl was played in 1902, and cities around America soon realized the potential for tourism revenue, and created their own, local “bowls.” Over the years, second guessing bowl assignments became a cottage industry. Outrage ruled. No one (even Obama) liked the system, but it was what it was. Now it isn't: This year, the College Football Playoff was introduced, ostensibly to make the whole thing transparent. But don't worry, a huge amount of power has been vested in a 13-member, unaccountable committee. Viva the NCAA!
Up until the last few years, if a person wanted to watch the newest episode of his favorite drama-tragicomedy-thrill-fest, he’d better be in front of a TV at 7 pm Tuesday, or whenever the network slotted his show. DVR helped, as did Apple TV, which allowed users to purchase and watch shows through an HD TV. Then, for the laptop-TV set, came Netflix On Demand, Hulu, HBOGo and Amazon Prime Instant Video. You could connect your computer to your TV, but it was a cumbersome process involving a cable, and it took your laptop out of commission. In the past eighteen months, though, Google, Roku and Amazon have released sub-$50 sticks that allow wireless streaming straight to your HD TV. The best part: You'll never talk to those people at Time Warner Cable.
Snow storms are old news. We're all about the Pineapple Express now. So much for Californians bragging about the weather.
No one who’s seen the final scene of the 1973's "Soylent Green" can forget it. Charlton Heston, at his grizzled best, breaks the news about the processed food-ration smoothie humanity is drinking to stay alive: “Soylent Green is people!” For that reason, it’s odd that a total-nutrition startup chose to name their company “Soylent.” Despite the label, the next big thing in tasteless paste has found an audience: body builders, doomsday preppers, and techno-hippies. We've tasted the future and its tastes like... nothing.
WLADIMIRBULGAR / Science Photo Library / Corbis
Incandescent Light Bulbs
This year, the Nobel Prize for physics went to scientists responsible for the invention of blue LED, which has allowed for the creation of white lights that last one hundred times as long as incandescent bulbs while using 95% less energy. Further development and lower cost means that they’re more viable in the developing world. Suck it Edison.
Perhaps this is premature, but the release of the Neil Young-backed Pono music player is a huge step forward in the listening experience of mobile music. In order to make MP3’s digitally portable, the quality of studio file is greatly compromised, meaning MP3s contain abbreviated files whose sound quality is inferior to the CD's. That seems backwards. Pono puts the quality back in music, while keeps things portable, and downloadable.
Per the Pew Research Center: Only 29 percent of Millennials think it is in society's best interest to prioritize marriage and kids. As such, that crop of young people is on track to have the lowest rate of marriage of any recorded generation. Young adults are more accepting of non-nuclear and otherwise alternative family arrangements, including unwed couples, queer couples, and even (gasp) polyamorous groupings. If you want a wedding, there's still a nuptial industrial complex in place to take your money. Don't worry.
mediaphotos / Getty Images
Meeting Women in Bars
Tinder first launched in 2012 on the University of Southern California campus, a sun-drenched place with a population so fit we imagine the only swipes were rightward. Over the next few years, it expanded across college campuses and today is available to anyone with a smartphone. This year, we’re calling it: Tinder reached a critical mass. As of April, rumors were that Tinder enjoys over 10 million daily users; in October, the company released a statement saying over 15 million matches were made every day. Tinder is officially the first line: not eye-contact at a bar, but a productive swipe right on Jenny, 22, or Gladys, 30. The undeniable winner? Sexting.
Denver North High School Weed Dealer Stan Klosowski
Until this year, Stan could be found behind the library or idling in his mom’s Nissan Altima outside the detention building. Dressed in a drug rug and Etnies, Stan used to be the go-to guy for Saturday night dime bags. But Colorado passed Amendment 64, and this year, a provision kicked in that allowed for the legal sale, through stores, of marijuana to adults over 21. Now, getting weed for people under 21 is as easy as having an older sister who owes you favor; for people over 21, buying weed is no more difficult than picking up a six-pack of Bud Light Lime, which, incidentally, smells the same as good bud if you leave it out for twenty minutes.
Photos by Harry How / Getty Images