What Analogue Tool Will You Never Abandon For Its Digital Counterpart?

What Analogue Tool Will You Never Abandon For Its Digital Counterpart?

We love our technology, but some things were just made right the first time. What piece of analogue gear holds a special place in your heart and could never be replaced by a digital tool?

Photo by Michelle Hawkins-Thiel

Even though I learned how to draw using a mouse and a line tool, I can’t imagine ever preferring any digital drawing tool over pencil and paper. I get extremely picky about the pencil, too. I like creating digital artwork, but when it comes to regular old drawing I don’t think I could ever prefer it any other way. I just prefer the way it feels.

That’s mine. What’s yours? Share the analogue tool you cling (and why) in the comments.


  • Seconded on the drawing. Even with my fancy schmancy tablet, I prefer to draw my lines with pencil and ink them by hand. I then scan and do edits and colouring on the tablet.

    My absolute favourite analogue tool is my notebook! It is a rough diary, to-do list, and many other lists and memos to myself. I couldn’t live without it!

  • My really cheap pocket diary: it sits in my top pocket along with a pen! Diary doesn’t require a password, doesn’t need charging, easy to archive (at the end of the year throw in drawer after copying info to new diary), doesn’t disturb people like bloody mobile phones, very low value (around $1) so losing/destroying is not an issue, quicker to access than devices, can be used to kill flies, and at a pinch I always have a supply of toilet paper handy.

  • I’m with the notebook people – Whitelines or a Moleskine.

    I also use a fountain pen with my notebooks.

    Electronic lists (smartphone or not) don’t do it for me.

    …and yes, I prefer an analogue clock face. I’m not comfortable wearing a watch (or any form of jewellery for that matter).

  • Books. Physical books. I do read digitally – ebooks and comics on my imac and ipod – and I’m happy to do so when travelling, but real paper books with old paper and that old paper bookish smell is something I will never ever want give up.

  • I could never give up my record collection. MP3’s don’t come close to achieving what vinyl can.

    Plus there’s something satisfying about looking at a wall of music, as opposed to scrolling through digital album art.

  • Analogue controls:

    – Volume knobs on car stereos (unless you have a very good remote control such as is standard-fit on most Renaults)
    – The controls on my Smeg oven and hob. The clockwork timer is so intuitive it’s a wonder anyone bothers with digital timers.
    – The temperature selector on my iron. So much easier to use than its digital predecessor.

    …and I’ll echo the previous posters with books, magazines, pen and paper (although Livescribe does piggy-back the analogue to provide a good digital copy) and clocks.

    But there’s also things that will now be forever digital:
    Music, video, cordless and cellular phones spring to mind.

    And there’s things that will exist in both realms:
    Photography — we have digital and film bodies for our SLR.
    Spirit levels — my digital laser level and my traditional spirit levels both have a place in my shed.
    Communication — Skype, Social Networking, email, telephones and face-to-face are all deployed where appropriate.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!