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Old/Obsolete Tech

old tech obsolete obsolete technology low tech 1980s 1990s

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#1
Yuli Ban

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Inspired by the SomethingAwful thread on this subject, here's another nostalgia thread focused solely on tech of days long passed. Whether it's from the '70s, '80s, '90s, or '00s— and that includes BC!

 

For the thread about new developments in the world of obsolete technology:

Obsolete and Outdated Technologies News and Discussions


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#2
Zaphod

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Can it be tech that never became popular due to impracticality? See cassette navigation in the '70s. 



#3
Yuli Ban

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Check out this nearly-20-year-old MiniDisc player!

sGkyS.jpg


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#4
Yuli Ban

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And here's a bit of a throwback to the late '90s and early '00s.

asZMD.jpg

Gen Z kids just don't know.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#5
Yuli Ban

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Oh, and speaking of MiniDiscs, let's go to the other end of the size spectrum...

 

M2B65.jpg

laserdisc.jpg.638x0_q80_crop-smart.jpg

 

 

Geez. Laserdiscs could have been the future if exponential growth wasn't a thing.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#6
Outlook

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Check out this nearly-20-year-old MiniDisc player!
sGkyS.jpg


Oof, you guys had to carry that around just to listen to one album's worth of music?

Outlook's secret song of the ~week: https://youtu.be/GMYezR1cwFA


#7
Sciencerocks

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$_86.JPG



#8
Yuli Ban

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Comparing today’s (2012's) computers to 1995’s

I recently stumbled upon a computer science project I did in high school (way back in 1995) entitled “Technology in Society”. We were tasked with finding newspaper articles that demonstrated technology in various work spaces. Discovering a gem like this – especially after a decade and a half has gone by – is eye opening and mind boggling.
 
Reading through it, I drifted back to my teenage years and recalled my earliest experiences with a PC: the excitement and surprise when reading through Compton’s Encyclopedia; playing DOOM and Wolfenstein with a newly installed sound card; and browsing a primitive Web 1.0 Internet on Netscape Navigator. These experiences would form the foundation for my future career in the online, interactive space.
Home computing has come a very long way, and so I thought I’d share a few of the articles from that 1995 project.
 
The first article article, written by Paul De Groot and published in 1995 in the Montreal Gazette, goes on to say…
 
“Let me tell you about a computer advertisement from 1993.
 
One company was advertising 9,600-baud modems for as low as $500. Dell was selling a top-of-the-line 486 with a 66MHz processor, eight megabytes of RAM and a 320-megabyte hard drive for $4,400.
 
The single biggest difference is in the hard drive prices. Three hundred dollars got you 80 megabytes, and a one-gigabyte drive from IBM cost more than $3,000. Single speed CD-ROMs sold for $600. Today, if you could buy this hardware, it would cost between 10 and 25% of what it cost two years ago.
Here’s the autumn 1995 version of a basic computer...


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#9
Yuli Ban

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Check out this nearly-20-year-old MiniDisc player!
sGkyS.jpg


Oof, you guys had to carry that around just to listen to one album's worth of music?

 

Are you literally a toddler or do you not remember the dark ages of MP3s? When this

mp3.jpg

was the typical appearance of an MP3 player (it was about as big as your finger) and it had as much as 64MB— yes, megabytes— of storage.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#10
Outlook

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An mp3 player? Like VLC?

Outlook's secret song of the ~week: https://youtu.be/GMYezR1cwFA


#11
Erowind

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An mp3 player? Like VLC?


I still use VLC media player for some stuff actually.

#12
wjfox

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John Lewis pulls the plug on DVD players

 

The DVD's days appear to be numbered after the UK's favourite department store said it would stop selling the players once found under almost every television.

John Lewis said it would not put more players on shelves when stocks run out.

Sales are down 40% as more people watch movies and shows on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon.

However, John Lewis will continue to sell Blu-ray players, which can also be used for standard DVDs.

The chain also said 70-inch televisions were now the most popular screen size, almost double the 36 inch size that was a best-seller just eight years ago.

The retailer said other gadgets proving popular were smart doorbells, which can be linked to WiFi and smartphones, and robotic lawnmowers, sales of which are up 367% and 75% respectively compared with last year.

 

https://www.bbc.co.u...siness-45950477



#13
caltrek

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You guys are making me feel so old.

 

I was involved in acquiring funds for public works projects at a very early age - my mid-twenties to be exact.  By the time I was thirty I would go to workshops where I was the most experienced student in the room - and also the youngest.  Still, I got mine when I spoke one day with an administrator for a local water system.  I mentioned a piece of his facility that I had helped install through financing.  He replied that that piece of equipment had since been removed and was considered a museum piece. 

 

Oh well (no pun intended).


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#14
Yuli Ban

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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#15
Yuli Ban

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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#16
Yuli Ban

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Oh, this is fascinating!


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#17
Yuli Ban

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What I love about those miniature data disks is that they represent everything about the Y2K epoch before it was clear that internet streaming was going to completely upend everything. Before roughly the late 2000s, it wasn't that clear that the internet was going to so totally change life like it has, despite how mainstream the internet was even in the mid-1990s, all because bandwidth was so low and connection speeds left much to be desired. Going back further into the 80s, it was harder still to predict that we were so close to an era of simply being able to download entertainment remotely (though France obviously had a taste test of this). 

 

Flash storage persists, but flash was still ridiculously low-end in the 1990s compared to discs. A CD cost almost nothing to make or buy, while a flash drive with an equivalent amount of storage would set you back around $100+ even in 2001-2002.

Therefore when it came to imagining how to push storage further as well as make it portable (because miniaturization was all the rage), you see all these evolutionary dead ends.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#18
Yuli Ban

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TIL That the camera company Kodak created the world's first digital camera in 1975 but chose not to produce any digital products for FIFTEEN YEARS, because they were worried that it might eat into their sales of analog film. By that point the market was crowded and they never recovered.
 
huxley75 
I used to work for a major PR firm in the early Aughts and Kodak was a client. We were working on a "blog" showing behind-the-scenes pics of a (then) popular TV show. This was meant to showcase the new Kodak EasyShare cameras. The problem was, they were sending me actual prints that I then had to scan in and manually compress. So, while sitting in a meeting with the client I suggested they just send me digital versions and save the extra steps.
I was promptly walked out of the room and scolded by my boss and director for "bringing up digital with Kodak." Needless to say, I was never invited to another client meeting with Kodak.
And the blog we were working on for them? It was behind-the-scenes of "Smallville": The Allison Mack Blogr/agedlikemilk
 
 
cptnrandy
I was in grad school in the early 80s and I remember being shown a white paper from Kodak claiming that digital would NEVER achieve the image definition of film.
 
Never.
 
Even then I thought, "that's a high mountain of bullshit they've piled up there. I wonder how long it will take for them to realize that they made a mistake."
 
High tech is littered with companies that had everything that they needed to be the dominant force in tech today. It takes real power to move an entrenched corporate strategy.
 
Example: OCLC - Online Computer Library Center - SHOULD have been Google long before Google existed. It would have been a simple move, they had the infrastructure AND a massive knowledge base (in some ways it is still superior to what Google posses in some areas), but they just stuck right along being the card catalog. What a shame.
 
GreenStrong
This is a fundamental misunderstanding of what Kodak was. They were one of the world's largest camera manufacturers, by volume, but it was a tiny percentage of their revenue. Kodak was a chemical engineering company.
Film is an incredible chemical product, it is sensitive to the amount of light that shines through a small aperture in a thousandth of a second. That sensitivity is calibrated to a fraction of a percent, year after year. Traditional photo paper is essentially the same thing, produced in vast volume. Kodak also produced millions of pounds of chemical to develop those products. They sold cameras, they had world leading experts in photography and optics, but the purpose was to sell film and chemistry.
Fujifilm survived and grew, their main business now is cosmetics. They make high quality digital cameras and imaging products, but their main business is still chemical engineering and color science.
The answer in 1975 was not for Kodak to compete with itself, it was to diversify. They should have made pharmaceuticals or diabetes test strips or something. They got government funding this summer to make pharmaceuticals, but it was basically a scam. The institutional expertise in chemical engineering left fifteen years ago.

 
Pikeman212a6c
Reddit as a whole seems to have no idea how much of a pain in the ass displaying digital photos was until the 90s. The fuck were you gonna do with a digital camera linked up to a Commodore 64?
 
 
flobbley
Yeah I hate when people bring this up because it completely misses the point. Have people ever seen the "digital camera" they invented in 1975? here's a description,
 
"The 8-pound camera that Sasson put together shot 0.01-megapixel black-and-white photos and recorded them to cassette tapes. Each photo took 23 seconds to create, and the only way to view the photos was to read the data from the tape and display it onto a standard television screen."
 
It was a proof of concept. The tech wasn't going to be there until the mid-nineties either way because Kodak wasn't inventing new chips/storage they had to wait for the companies in those industries to develop new tech.
 
Additionally, camera sales were basically nothing to Kodak. At some points they even gave away cameras for free just to get people into photography to buy film. Even if they came out with 1990s quality digital camera by 1980 and started selling it on mass their revenue would have absolutely tanked because they'd have killed their film industry.
 
But even if they did go full force into digital camera when the tech was mature (which they did), those sales starting going up in 2000 and tanked by 2011. Congrats, 10 years of camera sales which were a tiny fraction of their business before it dried up due to cellphone cameras.
 
There was nothing Kodak could have done to save themselves any more than CD pressers, newspapers, or malls.
 
CharlesP2009
My first digital camera took photos at 640×480 resolution and I think the internal memory could store 8 photos. So I had a bunch of pictures of mundane goings-on at home. And they only looked good in sunlight.
Even though it used a USB connection it still took several minutes load up the software, connect to the camera and download those 8 photos. Serial connections on earlier cameras were way slower.
And now that I'm thinking back, my favorite digital camera was my Minolta Dimage Xi I got back in high school. Really cool compact design and the photos (3.2 megapixel) still look pretty good. Video was laughably bad though, 320 x 240 at 15fps.

 
gty7sh
Meh, it's easy to be the "Monday morning quarterback". In the 1970's, 80's and even through much of the 90's any digital image that was of comparable quality to film would have been a major pain in the ass to transfer and display. You could pioneer it all you wanted but a 5mb hard drive it was about $5,000 in today's money. Even if they somehow pushed the envelope to make amazing digital cameras there was no practical way for the average person to do much with them. Film was cheap and you could drop it off almost anywhere. My mom would bring a roll in to the grocery store and pick up the photos on the way out.
 
Also, doing the math, but how was the digital photography market overcrowded in 1990 (1975 + 15 years)? In 1990 digital photography was still a niche product. Even today, with cell phones getting really good at taking photos and being much easier to add to social media, your average person uses an actual camera much, much less. The mass-market camera industry, even digital, is a fraction of what it was in Kodak's height.
 
Failing to get into the smartphone camera hardware business was a much more costly miss than digital cameras in the 1990's. In my opinion a much more obvious miss too, as in the 70's and even 80's the majority of people wouldn't have predicted the digital boom of the 90's. By the 90's with social media and hardware improving, it seems more obvious that a camera you always have with you and that can easily send photos to friends instantly for free would be the future.

 

groot_liga

Kodak had top market share in digital point and shoot cameras at that time.
 
When cellphones had decent enough cameras, the market for point and shoot cameras died over night.
 
Kodak then tried to live off of patents and charged cellphone makers, but Apple told Kodak to piss off. Lawsuits happened, Apple won and then everyone stopped paying Kodak, and that was the final nail.
 
Digital did not kill Kodak. The smartphone killed Kodak.

And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#19
Yuli Ban

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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#20
Yuli Ban

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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.






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