View Full Version : Dying technology

22nd Jul 2011, 08:53
Dying technology: modern hardware that's on the way out - Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/picture-galleries/8600909/Dying-technology-modern-hardware-thats-on-the-way-out.html)

It's strange how quickly staples of daily (tech) life are superseded and not always for the best. Some developments have allowed true 'mobile' working to take place which has been a godsend for many and yet the downside of the jump in technology has already had ramifications in society and how we relate to one another Majority of Britons feel deprived without internet connection - Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8653114/Majority-of-Britons-feel-deprived-without-internet-connection.html) It seems as if we are headed for a one device 'Brave New World' society some time in the not so distant future.


22nd Jul 2011, 09:14
It seems as if we are headed for a one device 'Brave New World' society some time in the not so distant future.

Aye. Personal computers, which once seemed to many to be the best thing since indoor plumbing, are now rapidly evolving into "Orwell Boxes" that fetter and contain the owner rather than liberating and empowering him-her-them-it.

Soon, if one is to believe the hype, the only alternative to being "In the Cloud" will be existing in some primitive binary limbo, gridless and "Off the Net."

The technology that's dying here is what used to be called Privacy.

22nd Jul 2011, 09:43
I'm very dubious of the whole 'cloud' thing. I could understand it's uses for listening to music and the like instead of digitally owning/downloading as is the case now (though LP's are the business :ok:), but keeping personal/business information on remote servers and only able to access them over the net, even if encrypted, seems to me not so clever and a real retrograde step regarding privacy.


22nd Jul 2011, 10:37
I've always wondered about the compatibility of modern recording devices in being able to replay information stored on oldish and outmoded storage mediums. I can remember reading about NASA and they admitting they had mislaid some of the tapes in regard to Apollo missions and that a another fair percentage had deteriorated to the point where it had been lost due to degradation. :8

22nd Jul 2011, 10:38
The idea that a central service will take care of all one's information and technical issues and always do the right thing is terribly alluring. The probability of that ever happening is near zero.

Many people likely do not care to be bothered with "details" of any sort. For them the cradle-to-grave computing services will be valuable, even when the service vendors begin to dictate how and when the customers shall do things. Such folk will unwittingly submit to a cocoon of technical envelopment that will eventually turn them into the indentured vassals of turn-key information services that have all their information and all their access to the world under the thumb.

Some of us prefer to lose our own files and make our own mistakes, rather than paying some invisible company - likely one with no address, anywhere - to do it for us.

In a world of mindless amonymous cloud-ness, culture and connectivity will seamlessly merge. Governments will methodically compile lists of folks who do and folks who do not put all their lives in view on public media. That will fairly well complete the Orwell prediction, eh? "Good people don't hide from the Net" will be the theme kids are taught in school from the first day on.

George nailed it in '46. Really prescient, he was.

22nd Jul 2011, 10:45
The worlds last typewriter factory, in India, closed earlier this year.

22nd Jul 2011, 10:46
Stuff does seem to go out of date rather rapidly these days. For example in the early 80s the BBC did a 'Domesday Book Revisited' project with the information being available on the BBC home computers. The problem was though that by the late 90s the storage medium used was no longer supported and there was no way of reading the information.

Since then the information has been retrieved onto more modern stuff but who knows when something else will fall out of fashion (floppy disks anyone - I still have a couple of 8 inch versions I keep for old times sake).

22nd Jul 2011, 11:06
(floppy disks anyone - I still have a couple of 8 inch versions I keep for old times sake).

I have some of those. Size of a salad-plate, with a whopping 128K bytes total capacity. Somewhere also have a high-end drive for those, too -- cost about $1000, at the factory, just for the drive (in 1975). Weighed about 30 pounds, but was guaranteed to last forever.

Problem with the 60's era videotapes was that the media cost big $$, so technicians were instructed to re-use them whenever possible. Other problem was that the magnetic surfaces were still quite primitive, so the write amplitude for high bandwidth video tapes was very high, indeed. End result of this was that the magnetic imprint on the tapes would creep through from one layer to the next, making them noisier and noisier just from sitting on shelf in a climate-controlled vault. It was a simpler world, magnetically speaking. I remember Al Shugart (IBM Engineer credited with design of first rotating disk drive for Big Blue, later the founder of a very successful disk-drive company) saying in an interview that the magnetic coating material they chose for the very first large IBM disk drives was --- the carefully formulated paint developed for coating the Golden Gate Bridge. Evidently it worked quite well in both roles.

22nd Jul 2011, 12:03
The worlds last typewriter factory

One factory closed, and it wasn't the last. Swintec, Daerq (Olympia) and Brother spring to mind.

22nd Jul 2011, 12:29
Is anyone still making carburettors?

Lance Murdoch
22nd Jul 2011, 18:29
I suspect that in ten years time the laptop computer will be in the same categary as the VCR.
At the company I work for we were told that when our company laptops are replaced, they will be replaced with something that is not a laptop. Something along the lines of an iPad. Then someone pointed out that we would still need a keyboard. So looks like we will get an iPad with a keyboard that you can plug in :ugh:

22nd Jul 2011, 18:45
I have heard early adapters complain that the external keyboard option for the iPad although functional, is both ungainly and unergonomic, so they generally give up and either use the inbuilt keypad or just wait until they can use a 'proper' puter to tap tap tap. Horses for courses....


22nd Jul 2011, 19:20
Is anyone still making carburettors?

Amal Carbs (http://www.amalcarb.co.uk)

22nd Jul 2011, 19:36
Properly maintained and exercised, old 7-track tapes can be an excellent archival media. No, you don't just put them in the back room and forget them. You have to rewind and wind them every few years to prevent print-through. and environmental conditions really matter.

CD / DVD R/RW disks also can't just be put aside and forgotten. The bits go sick after an unpredictable period and eventually the errors exceed the ability of the error-correction redundancy. The files HAVE to be copied before that happens. And obviously a file copy, not a bit-by-bit track copy. A few CD/DVD drives can tell you how hard their error correction is working. I don't know how to get that type.

Told to me by a person who has been investigating the archival characteristics of media - under contract from the US Federal Archives.

22nd Jul 2011, 19:40
handysnaks Wow, memory trip. On family holiday in 1968 at Rodel (Isle of Harris, UK) I found a wrecked bike by the roadside. It had (to me) the biggest Amal carb I had ever seen. Purloined same, and I then engineered/fitted it to my Ambassador 250 twin..using B & D grinding bits to widen the ports
14 MPG at best then resulted, but lots of smoke.....:)

22nd Jul 2011, 20:19
My optician asked me what I do for a living.
"Radio engineer" I replied.
He says " But there's no demand for that these days - everything is digital"

I THINK (hope?) he may be a better optician than knowledgeable technician....

22nd Jul 2011, 20:52
Shirley twin-choke Webers haven't gone to the scrapyard in the sky?

22nd Jul 2011, 20:56
I used to have twin Webers on my Reliant Scimitar. :)

22nd Jul 2011, 21:25
CD / DVD R/RW disks also can't just be put aside and forgotten.
So, what do you recommend for long-term archiving of digital photographs?

My daughter has recently asked me the question and I haven't yet answered her.

Maybe I am just pessimistic, but I foresee the demise of all reading devices for the current range of optical media, never mind the decay of the data on the media.

It's so easy to assume that CDs and DVDs will persist, but there's already BluRay and, no doubt, the next decade will see further developments.

22nd Jul 2011, 21:27
I have to say Arcniz, you have a very dystopian and negative view of the future.

And I agree with it completely.

22nd Jul 2011, 22:09
What seacue said.

I have little enough data that it all fits on a DVD or a modest size USB flash drive (I know these have limits on write cycles, I replace them every couple of years.) I take frequent copies of changing data to multiple flash drives, monthly backups of everything to DVD-R. I'll change media as and when I have to. Important stuff is also mirrored on the netbook I carry when travelling.

Oh, and really important information - address books, financial, and the like - gets printed out in duplicate, with one copy lodged in a secure location.

22nd Jul 2011, 22:31
Just reading some letters that were written in 1904. A touch faded. No special devices needed to play back. Is there a lesson here?

After an excellent landing etc...

22nd Jul 2011, 22:38

If you discover a box of photographs, you will simply look through them to see whether any are of interest, however, if you find a CD or DVD you have to find a reader before spooling through the images . . .

Desert Dingo
22nd Jul 2011, 23:00
Just give up. All this new technology means ....


A A Gruntpuddock
22nd Jul 2011, 23:34
My pictures folder takes up 76gb and the video is another 134gb. I can only back these up using another hard drive, unless anyone has a better idea?

23rd Jul 2011, 04:31
This is one of the most retarded articles I've read in a long time. While a few of those things may be on the endangered list, the majority are going to be around for a long time to come.

Krystal n chips
23rd Jul 2011, 05:43
" Is anyone still making carburettors"

Equally, how many people can set one up ?......another diminishing pool of expertise I suppose.

As for technology in the future, yes, it's development is essential and beneficial ( hopefully ) but I do feel that dependency on such will be counter productive in many respects once the technology negates peoples capacity to think for themselves and to become wholly reliant on the technology at their disposal. Although I suppose that's already the case in many areas.

One has always been an adherent of the K.I.S.S principle however.....to reflect one's own ability of course.....:cool:

23rd Jul 2011, 07:14
One has always been an adherent of the K.I.S.S principle

Most technologies really are quite simple.

The art of technology is to do everything that needs doing - in the appropriate way, as simply as possible.

What makes technology seem complicated is that the information required to make it really work right is just not available to most folk - patents notwithstanding.

There's always something important -- an extra twist of the wrist or a bake cycle or a calibration trick -- that makes a big difference in regard to the results achievable by the best-of-breed for a given technology -- but somehow never gets written down where others might readily find it. Only decades or millennia later does the full method emerge for some technologies, after the patents are turned to fossils and the original market need has been exploited to saturation.

That's the biz of technology.

james ozzie
23rd Jul 2011, 09:02
Last Xmas I was looking for an ebook. I asked in the Books section of a large national department store. The snooty shop person (about 20 years younger than I) could scarcely conceal his contempt. "WE don't do ebooks here - you had better try the Televison Department"

Three months later, two of the biggest bookstore chains in Australia went into receivership.

I am not suggesting books are a dying technology but the book stores need to also embrace the ebook.

23rd Jul 2011, 10:48
My Grandad regularly contributed to the local Bookie.

23rd Jul 2011, 14:20
One used to be the owner of an old Alfa and spent many a weekend setting uo twin Dell Ortos (DHLA 40s?). An art form.

One can still use a slide rule and that's another dying art!

23rd Jul 2011, 19:50
Talked to someone recently who works for a technology company and they are installing Digital players in cinema's which do away with the big reels that the majority of the industry still use.

He told me a cinema to visit and watch a movie using this technology and one which hadn't got it..............difference is immense.

23rd Jul 2011, 20:12
Any article that claims that wires are dying and demonstrates this with a picture of a core network switch has clearly been written by someone who hasn't got a f****** clue.

Keys dying out, what are they smoking?

23rd Jul 2011, 22:02
Let's just fantacise. (?sp?) Suppose that Daimler or someone had based his engine on a gadget that pumped a metered amount of fuel in and somehow mixed it with an independently-metered amount of air. The lekky boys got into the act early and produced increasingly-complicated fuel injectors, and leapt into the air dribbling with excitement when someone brought a computer along saying 'can you use this?' Bringing of course, approximately to where we are today.

Then some madman came along and said 'I can knock 150 quid / dollars /yen off the price of the car if you use my invention. It's called a car-bur-et-tor; and this is how it works. (and by the way it's only got about three moving parts and it doesn't need any electricity).

What would the automobile R&D people be working on now, d'y think?

p.s. And I'm equally astonished that someone hasn't replaced the windscreen wiper with something that is powered by Strontium 90 and costs 200. An opportunity lost. Imagine: clearing the screen by dragging a bit of rubber across it! What next?

23rd Jul 2011, 22:56
Those non-standard Amstrad 3-inch "hard-case" floppies, anyone?
I've still got a drive to read them sitting somewhere on a shelf, too.


23rd Jul 2011, 22:58
Those non-standard Amstrad 3-inch "hard-case" floppies, anyone?

I have two brand new unopened packages of them. :rolleyes:

23rd Jul 2011, 23:07
I have two brand new unopened packages of them. :rolleyes:If I'm not much mistaken, there are still people making a hobby of keeping those dinosaurs alive, or reviving them.
We should put our relics onto the well-known auction site.... we'd probably do them a favour!


25th Jul 2011, 00:14
Recently cleaned, converted and transferred my 500+ vinyl collection into mp3's on an external hard drive and made individual CDs as well. Have now realised that the most stable memory banks I have for this data are still in those cardboard sleeves ....:rolleyes:

25th Jul 2011, 05:45
Whatever happened to the Kardex trays? In a filing cabinet (?) are folders filled with blank paper that used to have writing on them from something called a fax machine.There's a fax number on my business card, but I don't know where the fax machine is or even if we still have one. As for the telex machine... :rolleyes:

25th Jul 2011, 07:10

Re: Digital Media

Try here...

Guidance | The National Archives (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/information-management/projects-and-work/guidance.htm)

Specifically the document entitled "Guidance on selecting storage media", although the others may prove to be of interest.

By the way ....
If you discover a box of photographs, you will simply look through them to see whether any are of interest

That assumes you've stored them correctly of course, otherwise they are subject to the same deterioration as anything else.