Much of our current technology has its "Steamy" counterpart. For example:
Emails - Steampunk replaces them with letters. Extra points if they are in a code or a special ink that self-immolates or grows visible under the light of a certain kind of candle. I picture sealing wax, loads of stamps, a long address written by a rusty nib, and a fat missive within.
|The image for this letter comes from a blog about Frank Kingdon-Ward, an explorer and plant collector. Do check it out - it's fascinating!|
Computers - Instead, use a Difference Engine or typewriters. My own preference is the Hansen Writing Ball or the Bar-Lock. Of course I added my own quantum element to the machine to create the Crown Phoenix.
Lasers - I used pistols instead, but there are many weapons that are far more creative in steampunk novels out there. Rotating shooter cuffs, deadly assault hats, exploding corsets - why not?
|Edwardian era pistol|
Digital - Replaced with Analog, of course. Numbers rotate on dials instead of flickering on a screen. This requires some investigation into the physics and science behind clockworks, gears, and steam engines.
|Electroshock therapy, Edwardian style. SWEET!|
TaiKwando or Karate - (or any kind of fighting style) Replaced with Bartitsu, the Victorian counterpart used by Sherlock Holmes and still taught today. I love the movements and names of the various methods, such as "How to Assist a Gentleman Out of the Room." It includes a long study of how to use a cane as a weapon, I believe.
Planes or rockets - Of course airships are the travel method of choice. I would also include steam trains, steam ships, and my new favorite : bathyspheres.
|Steampunk bathyspheres. I love these.|
All of the above do, as I said, require research and some study. That can be very eye-opening and suggest entirely new plot points or, perhaps, other manuscripts.