THE BLOG
09/15/2011 02:03 pm ET Updated Nov 15, 2011

Apps for the Nostalgic Non-Techie

You're old school. You'd rather read a real, old-fashioned book than read it on an iPad or a Kindle. And as much as you like your iPhone camera, you reminisce about the days when cameras looked like cameras. Would you believe that it's possible to be both tech savvy and old-fashioned at the same time? Yes, there's an app for everything. Even nostalgia.

Take the ebook. There are some people who have had no trouble adapting to reading literature on a screen, but many of us are having a hard time letting go of that physical book -- the distinct smell of learning, the feel of a fresh page, the sound of shutting it closed before falling asleep.

Melbourne-based ebook start-up booki.sh is trying to close the gap between old-fashioned books and ebooks by, in the words of co-founder Joseph Pearson, "working hard to interpret the joy of physical books in a compelling digital form." Reading a booki.sh ebook feels almost like reading a tangible book.

You can purchase a book from one of their indie booksellers or upload one that you've previously bought. Booki.sh is compatible with your iPhone, iPad, Kindle3 or any other device. And the best part is that classic books have that distinct typeface that they should, by Dickens!
So you've got your book. But now you need some glasses. Maybe you never needed glasses before you spent your days staring at computer screens. But, hey, that's modern life. And now you can try on glasses right from your computer.

Warby Parker is a start-up eyeglass venture founded by four friends who met at The Wharton School. They have created a line of impeccably tasteful yet quirky eye-wear that's actually affordable, unlike the bland designer eye-wear that dominates the market.

Every time someone buys a pair of glasses, Warby Parker provides someone in need with glasses. Think of it as the Toms shoes of glasses. Okay, so cool company, but what's techie about it?

You don't need to go to a store to buy these glasses (although they have showrooms across the country). Warby Parker cuts out the expensive middleman by allowing you to try on glasses straight from the website. Just upload a picture or take a photo with your webcam and start to virtually try on different styles. It may even be more reliable than a mirror.

Vintage-inspired book. Check. Retro chic glasses. Check. The next thing to old-schoolerize is the camera. We've all stopped carrying digital cameras and rely on our iPhones or other PDAs to capture those Kodak moments (how long before "Kodak moments" is an anachronism?). But if you've ever had to search around for your Instagram app or accidentally closed the camera app when trying to take a picture, you'd know that the iPhone camera experience is missing something.

Enter Popa . Attach Popa to your iPhone and start snapping a big, inviting red button to take photos. The characteristic textured grip makes your iPhone feel like the camera you knew and loved. Buy the attachment (a steep $74.99) and download the Popa app for free. The app opens as soon as Popa is attached to your phone so you'll never miss a fleeting photo moment again.

Now you're almost ready to catch a cab to your Mad Men debut but you keep getting upstreamed. You dream of being swooped up by a black sedan, but how do you call one? What would Donald Draper do in such a situation? He'd probably use Uber to request a private car from his smartphone.

Uber promises hassle-free payments and a ride with style and convenience. Order the car from your phone and it arrives within minutes. If you're lucky, you'll have just enough time to appreciate how retro fabulous technology can be.

There are many companies like the four I've reviewed here. It seems that retro tech is a new trend. Soon we'll be using advances in technology to eat microwavable tv dinners and watch I Love Lucy.