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Explainer: 10 gadgets that make you look old

  • Do you remember how you felt about your grandparents as a child? Maybe they grew up without a TV or even electricity, and you couldn't help but think of them as being old fashioned. Unfortunately, that's probably how kids today think about you. You've become increasingly out of touch, as the world gets more and more confusing. But even if you turn to the latest "doohickeys" to fight off the old-timey blues, be careful: Some gadgets actually make you look older and more old fashioned than ever.

  • Jitterbug cell phone

    In a mobile landscape increasingly dominated by smart phones, the Jitterbug stands out because of its simplicity. Designed with seniors in mind, Jitterbug phones offer inexpensive contract-free plans, a bare bones interface that lacks confusing icons, and large buttons to aid the visually impaired. To make things even easier, users can dial "0" to speak with a Jitterbug operator who can personally help with any issues that arise.

    For seniors who may have never owned a cell phone before, a device like the Jitterbug could be a great way to ease into modern technology. However, I personally know someone under 40 that eschews smart phones and claims that a Jitterbug might be a better option. We laugh about it, but you can sense that she really is trying to safely gauge your opinion by passing the whole thing off as a joke — and deep down inside it just makes me sad. Besides, the name "Jitterbug" just sounds like something for old people. Kind of like "Rascal" scooters and the word "Moxie". $99 - Jitterbug

  • Pocket recorders

    Have you ever seen ads for pocket recorders that claim to help you remember grocery lists, phone numbers, driving directions and appointments by recording your voice and storing it in a convenient pocket-sized device? Besides the fact that using one is a tacit admission that you can't remember anything, many smart phones and cell phones have this sort of functionality built in as an afterthought. The same goes for pocket digital photo albums. You might have picked up on all of this if you didn't own a Jitterbug.  $8.95 - As Seen On TV

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  • Ionized bracelets

    "Ionized" bracelets claim to tap into electromagnetic energy in the body, balancing positive and negative ions to facilitate healing and promote an overall feeling of wellness. Of course, there is no actual evidence that the bracelets are anything but hunks of cheap metal, which has spawned several consumer protection lawsuits over the years. Think of it like a modern day imbalance of the humours — and leeches are the only cure. Only in this case, the "leeches" are companies like Q-Ray that sell this snake oil to a public ready to believe anything if it will ease their pain. So wearing one not only advertises your aliments, it also makes you seem like a sucker. $59.99 and up - Q-Ray

  • Portable rocking chairs

    Rocking chairs have a very strong association with the elderly. So if you bring a rocking chair to a sporting event or other public gathering, it might as well be a walker with tennis balls attached to the legs. Between you and me though, a rocking chair that you can fold up and transport easily is pretty awesome — just don't let anyone see you using it, Grandpa. $44.99 to $49.99 - Cabela's

  • The Clapper

    You've all seen the commercials over the decades, need I say more? With the possible exception of Life Alert, the Clapper just might be the original old person's gadget, the old person's gadget by which all other old person gadgets are judged. Seriously, you can't look young and hip at your surprise party when you walk in the door, clap your hands and have the light turn on to reveal dozens of bemused faces. The only way it could be worse is if you actually shouted "Clap on!" while physically clapping. $14.85 - Amazon

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  • Mobile massage system

    If you walk around the house wearing vest with a handheld remote that can be programmed to massage your back, shoulders and neck, people will avoid you for fear that you might engage them in an hour long conversation about a slipped disc or how your foot swells up when it rains. Plus, it makes you look like a turtle. A slow, 100-year-old turtle. $99.95 - SkyMall

  • Supine reading glasses

    We all know that reading glasses automatically make everyone look older. So, logic dictates that if you don't need them, don't wear them. That is especially true if those reading glasses are designed to allow you to read while lying down. These glasses use two prisms to bend your vision 90 degrees, which makes it possible to read a book resting on your chest without straining your neck. Young people are energetic and vibrant — all of the things that a guy with supine reading glasses probably isn't. $29.95 - Hammacher Schlemmer via Fashionably Geek

  • Stealth S.S.A.

    Now here is a product that is wrong on many levels. First of all, S.S.A. stands for Secret Sound Amplifier — basically a cheap hearing aid disguised as a Bluetooth headset that supposedly amplifies sound well enough to allow eavesdropping on conversations up to 50 feet away. So, right off the bat, you are kind of shady. Second, there are certain places you just don't wear a Bluetooth headset, like a dinner party. If people don't think you are one of those scummy salesman types, they will probably think you are an old man that just forgot to take the headset off. $29.95 - As Seen On TV

  • Neck pillows with speakers

    The girl in this product photo may be young, but for people of a certain age, neck pillows like this can make us look older. It says "Hey, I don't have much energy and I am liable to fall asleep anywhere — the bus, my office, a roller coaster … anything can happen." The addition of speakers in the pillow to pipe in tunes from your MP3 player only makes things slightly better from a technology perspective, although it can backfire in a big way when you fall asleep in a public place and the music transitions from the soothing, meditative sounds you reserved for this purpose to the the 80s pop you listened to in your youth. Now everyone on the bus knows you still listen to Erasure. $19.98 - Smarthome

  • The Segway

    Let's face it, riding on a motorized platform with a little helmet on doesn't exactly make you the poster child for vitality. And how will you react when a group of burly bikers stops at a red light next to where you are making your way up the sidewalk at 12 mph? Awkwaaaard! I mean, it's hard to command respect riding a Segway — just ask any cop you have ever seen riding one. Criminals don't fear an officer on a vehicle that they can outrun on foot. $6000 and up - Segway

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