Technology that became obsolete within my lifetime

We often talk about the astonishing pace of technological progress, but we often fail to realize how fast it is really moving. After all, we were supposed to get jet packs, flying cars and robot butlers in the year 2000 – clearly we are behind the schedule. But let’s do a little thought experiment. How many popular technologies got obsoleted within your life time? I was born in 1981, and I have already seen my share of technological marvels come and go. Here are some of them:

Cassette Tapes

When I was younger we used to use tapes for everything. We taped music from the radio. We taped our voices. We made mix tapes for girls. We used tapes to store video games for our Commodore 64. Tapes were everywhere. And then they were gone. The other day I realized that I currently do not own any device capable of playing back a standard audio tape. Seriously, I don’t know what happened. I could swear we have owned a boom box at one point or the other. And a Walkman! Everyone had one of those. I guess all these things eventually ended up at my curb side, next to the garbage cans.

That’s ok though, because I don’t own any tapes any more.

Floppy Disks

Earlier this semester I brought some floppy disks to class. My students actually laughed when I pulled out the 5 1/4″ and demonstrated why exactly were these things called “floppies”. Then I held up the 3 1/4″ one and told them you would need about 3-5 of those to store your average mp3 song. I don’t think they believed me.

A floppy drive

Funny thing is that when I graduated college floppies while on their way out, were still in use. I remember my boss telling me to make sure all the new computers we order have floppy drives for example – because it was still the preferred medium to put in snailmail packages. Hell, I still have few external USB floppy drives in my drawer at work. My coworker laughed at me the other day, but I just don’t have the heart to throw them out. Besides, if we ever get some important data on a floppy who will have the last la… Ah, who am I kidding. I am keeping them mainly due to sentiment.

The Diskman

Anyone remember these things?

LOL! WTF is this?

My brother recently found one of these underneath his bed and we had a good laugh. Diskman is actually a great example of a technology that hit the wall of progress so hard it vaporized itself. It’s predecessor – the Walkman had a long and successful life that ended when the cassette tapes went out of style. Diskman briefly appeared on the stage to be almost immediately obsoleted by mp3 players.

Voice-band Modem

Hey guise, remember when connecting to the internet was like this. I do! Hell, I was probably the last person in my group of peers to get broadband internet. I used AOL, Earthlink, PeoplePC, NetZero, All2Easy and several other dial up services. It was all kinds of crazy for a while there. Hell, my first experience with Linux was a complete and utter failure because I couldn’t get my winmodem to work. Heh… Soft modems. I am so glad that bullshit is no longer haunting me.

Wait... This is way to small for Ethernet cable. WTF is this?

It’s funny but each semester I ask my class whether or not they have ever used dialup. I used to get few people in each class who remembered it. These days no one raises their hand when I ask that question. Dialup is long forgotten in these parts of the world.

Polaroid

When I was a kid, I thought that the Polaroid camera was the coolest thing ever. When my dad brought it home my mind was blown – I just couldn’t believe you could just snap a picture and see it develop itself right in front of your eyes. You have to keep in mind this was before one hour photo booths, and self service drop-off boxes. Back then you had to bring your film roll to the photo store and then wait few days before picking it up. A picture appearing right before your eyes was unbelievably cool.

Instant photo the analog way

And now it is dead. In fact, ti seems a bit silly now when we have digital photography. Nah, screw it – Polaroids pictures are still awesome for their retro quality.

You know what is funny though? Our children or grand children will watch Memento one day (and they will because it is a fucking awesome movie) and will think the camera he uses is some sort of a funky retro-anachronism. A bit like the communicators on the original Star Trek – this was how people imagined cell phones before we had cellular technology. I will have to explain that the Polaroid did in fact exist, and it was not some silly SF concept of analog instant photo created before the digital age.

Rotary Phones

When I was a kid, we didn’t have a phone in the house. It seems almost inconceivable by today’s standards but we were just fine. Most business was done in person back then anyway. The only people we have ever called was my grandma – because she was the only person who actually had a phone at that time. When we finally got a phone, it was one of these:

My first phone looked a bit like this

By the time I was in high school, I already could not imagine life without a phone. Nowadays most people don’t even have a land line in their house. Or rather the only people who have land-lines are those who haven’t moved in years. Younger people who move out of their parents houses just use their cell phones. Older people who are still attached to the concept of a stationary “house phone” get a voip plan from their broadband ISP. Traditional phone networks are not completely out yet, but rotary phones are are only seen in old movies and museums these days.

VCRs

My dad’s ancient VCR broke recently. He asked me to to buy him a replacement. You know – a cheap VCR only device. He didn’t want one of these combo systems because he already had a decent DVD player. He assumed that these things should be dirt cheap by now. He didn’t expect them to be… Gone. We looked in several local stores and no one carried them anymore. Eventually he found something he liked online, but it was not as cheap as he thought it would be.

Let’s face it – VCR is a dead technology. It is becoming almost as hard to buy VCR tapes as it is to find audio cassettes. It seems strange after all these years over which the phrase “be kind, please rewind” was etched into our memory.

CRT Monitors

Have you noticed you can’t buy these anywhere anymore? I recently threw out my old CRT monitor and replaced it with a brand spanking new wide screen LCD and I haven’t looked back since. I still have a CRT TV in my room, but since I hardly ever watch television it pretty much a dust magnet. I watch most of the movies at my desk via the computer. I only put on the TV when I’m going to sleep or when I want some background noise. Yes, I sleep with the TV on tuned to [adult-swim] – doesn’t everyone? I will eventually replace it with a plasma with a HDMI input but this purchase is sort of low on my priority list. I still want a new laptop and a new phone before I throw out this relic out of my house.

Fax

When we moved offices, we forgot to connect the fax machine to the phone outlet. No one noticed for over 3 months, because it acted the same way it always was – it was sitting in the corner of the room in sleep mode. The only reason why we noticed it was not plugged in was because some client requested something to be sent by fax. Then he realized that the fax machine in his office was broken, and no one noticed. We ended up scanning the document as a PDF and sending it via email.

Fax is slowly fading away. It is still used here and there, but it is on it’s last legs. Seriously, you can easily run an office without a fax machine these days. Just a few years ago this was inconceivable.

There are probably few other obsolete technologies I am forgetting right now. It’s wild. All of these things came and went away in less than 30 years of my life. I wonder what is next. What ubiquitous technology of today will be gone by tomorrow? Any guesses?

My predictions are as follows:

  • DVD will be likely replaced by BluRay – at least that is the plan so far
  • Personal desktop computers – traditional tower setups will likely disappear in the next few years for the home user market. Computer vendors will still carry business models, high end gaming machines an gimmicky mini machines
  • Dumbphones – you know, cell phones without internet access. I suspect they will be phased out in the next few years – similarly to how you can’t really buy a cell phone without a camera these days

Anything else? Let me know your picks for the new obsolete technology.

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32 Responses to Technology that became obsolete within my lifetime

  1. Steve CANADA Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    In my lifetime: 8-Track tapes/players, vinyl records (which seem to still hang around, much to my joy).

    As for what’s next: i-anything (here’s hoping)

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  2. cody loyd UNITED STATES Google Chrome Windows says:

    I still use my diskman because i’ve got a car with no CD player and I’m too lazy to rip/dl all my CDs. I use it less and less though as time goes by in favor of my mp3 player

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  3. cody loyd UNITED STATES Google Chrome Windows says:

    @ cody loyd:
    ALSO.. i’m guessing hard disk drives are going to go out of style for the home market as people use more and more cloud-based storage and flash drives.

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  4. IceBrain PORTUGAL Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    I still have my Walkman, and it works perfectly!

    In my opinion, Discmans were never really good as a portable music device. They suffered from problems caused by the media itself: CDs were too wide and scratch-prone to be useful on the go.
    There were some Minidisc players, but you couldn’t buy music in Minidiscs, so they were useless.

    I was the first of my friends to get a MP3 player (128MB!) and I loved it. Unfortunately, I wish I had known about podcasts like LUGRadio sooner – only a year ago when I got my first Wifi enabled phone I started listening to them.

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  5. road UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    wait, you didn’t have a phone? How old are you? I thought pretty much everyone had a phone in the house since ~WWII.

    How about Zip disks? Anyone remember those? I remember when I had a binder with about 30 100MB zip disks containing all my warez and I thought it would last forever…

    Here’s another one I think about lately: video rental stores. I imagine when we tell our kids that we used to drive to the video rental store to rent a movie, which then had to be driven back… it will seem as silly as milk-men delivering milk. That said, a complete video-on-demand collection can’t get here soon enough!!!

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  6. jambarama UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I don’t know if DVDs will be replaced by Blu-Ray. I think you’ll be right if blu-ray disc & player prices reach parity with DVD prices before internet delivery systems become ubiquitous. But if players & readers continue to be $200 and discs continue to be $10 more than DVDs, I bet a lot of people will stick with DVDs until you can buy anything you want & watch it instantly.

    I’ll go blu-ray when players are <$50, burners are <$50, blank discs are <$1, movies are <$20. Plus all blu-ray players have DVD players & upscalers built in. Otherwise I'll stick with netflix streaming, blank DVDs for critical backups, and a DVD upscaler for my existing collection.

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  7. stephen UNITED STATES Google Chrome Linux says:

    It’s funny how all these things end up being relative. I mean, it’s been at least 5 years since I was in cody’s situation, but I got tons, i mean TONS of use out of my diskmen. I made a few mixtapes in my day, but the majority of my music consumption to this day has been with CDs.

    I also was surprised that you didn’t mention the Zip Disk. Man, that thing was outrageously short lived. Popular when I started my undergrad, and quickly replaced junior year by usb memory (32MB, baby!)

    @road: yeah, my wife and I just drove by an empty, decrepit blockbuster (remember those?) and were thinking about this exact line of thought, separate from the post. The crazy thing is we’re still on our free NetFlix subscription, and so this streaming thing is new to us.

    I really hope that mp3 gets replaced by ogg/flac, but history tells me I’m way to idealistic for the right/smart thing to happen. Flash shall hopefully also be dethroned in this era of html5 awesomeness, and my mac will not have to kick on all fans to watch cats chasing lasers.

    anyhow, thanks for the nostalgic post and responses.

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  8. Hmmm, it will be interesting to visit this post again in a few years to see how your predictions are going. I think your DVD prediction will be wrong. I bet they’ll remain dominant for at last another decade or two. When they are replaced it will be by something a couple generations after blu-ray.

    I also disagree with your personal desktop tower prediction. I don’t think smartphones will be replacing them anytime soon. General computers are still much too useful to go away.

    The dumbphone prediction I agree with, even though I would prefer one myself. The alternative is becoming equally as cheap, so dumbphones will have few advantages (such as much longer battery life, no camera to worry about when they aren’t allowed). Dumbphones will look old and clunky like 90’s cell phones do today.

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  9. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    @ Steve:

    Oh, I forgot vinyl. We had a collection in the house when I was a kid.

    @ cody loyd:

    LOL. My car doesn’t have a CD player either – then again it is a fairly old car. I’m running it into the ground before I get a new one. Btw, did you notice how many of the new cars have iPod docks?

    Oh and I don’t think magnetic drives will go out of service. Flash drives may become the standard in home/office laptops but you will still want cheap magnetic drives for your RAID arrays on the servers.

    @ IceBrain:

    Yeah, they were prone to skipping too. Most had anti-skip failsafes but if you took them running…

    @ road:

    Did I mention I grew up in Poland? I was born in 81 which was basically the year the communist regime started to collapse. It took several decades for the country to recover from the economical rape our “friends from the east” committed on us. You have to keep in mind that nearly everything was nationalized, the country was bankrupt and we inherited soviet style bureaucracy to boot. So if you needed anything you pretty much had to fill out the form 27 stroke B and wait 5-10 years for it to be denied, and then start over.

    So yeah – we didn’t have a phone in the house growing up. There were pay phones downstairs though so it wasn’t completely uncivilized. ;)

    It really depended where you lived though. My neighborhood was sort of newly built, developing urban sprawl of gigantic 10+ story soviet style hive towers. Getting copper into these buildings was apparently not a priority so it took them a while. My grandmother lived in an old established neighborhood and she had a phone since WWII.

    Oh, and ZIP DISK! How the hell did I forget about these. I still have an external iOmega zip drive somewhere. :P

    @ jambarama:

    Very true – the BluRay adoption is not as quick as the industry expected. I suspect the players will drop in price eventually, but people will not re-purchase their collections. What will probably happen is that new releases will slowly start to being sold on BluRay only.

    @ stephen:

    Interestingly enough, the blockbuster in my town is still kicking. I drive by it every once in a while and I see people inside, and cars pulling up to the drop-off slot. I haven’t really used it in years.

    I remember that when I was in high school I would visit to the video store every Friday and head straight for the PlayStation section. :)

    Oh, and I think Flash will be around for a while due to games. Online video and interactive stuff will probably be replaced by HTML5 but I there are many flash-centric gave development suites out there. I don’t think it will get phased out that quickly.

    @ Chris Wellons:

    Oh, I meant that laptops and notebooks will replace consumer level desktop towers. People just don’t buy desktops anymore. Only folks that do are gamers/enthusiasts like me. Seriously I don’t know a single person right now who is not into games and owns a modern desktop machine. All non-gamers I know have laptops. Hell, people who mainly play WoW and not much else don’t bother with desktops these days either.

    Oh, and btw – my dad wanted to buy a classic dumbphone without a camera not so long ago. He spent 20 minutes looking at all the phones in the Verizon store, then asked one of the salesmen there – they did not carry a camera-less phone at the time. :P

    Then again he doesn’t even want a texting plan on his phone. Whenever someone sends him a text by accident he gives me the phone to “get it off”. That said, I got him on the interwebs not so long ago and so far he has been one of my least problematic users. :)

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  10. cody loyd UNITED STATES Google Chrome Windows says:

    @ Luke Maciak:
    about the hard drives.. I meant that the average home user would have little use for them, not that they were going away completely.

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  11. road UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @luke
    poland, eh? sorry, that did not occur to me. pardon my ethnocentrism. it’s rare, i know, among americans, but it does happen from time-to-time ;)

    fwiw – i was also born in 1981.

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  12. Rob UNITED STATES Google Chrome Windows Terminalist says:

    You know what’s funny? One of our departments at work just got a new business hub (you know a big fancy copy machine that can scan, fax, make you breakfast, etc) and I had a case to get the scanning working on it. So I did that no problem and didn’t even think about the fax part because they have another fax machine only five feet away. Well anyhow I just got a phone call about why isn’t the fax set up? *sigh* I just want to be like, would you really miss it? Especially with another fax right there?

    Oh well. I think someone already mentioned zip disks, but I definitely haven’t seen those in use in years. I used to have an old parallel port external zip drive. I thought it was the greatest thing ever back then. All the stuff that could be carted around on 100mb!

    I think just regular old CDs are probably on their way out too with the advent of digital music. Maybe that’s already been mentioned though.

    Also the old style game cartridges are gone now too (ala the NES, SNES, Genesis, etc.) in favor of downloadable games or disk based games. No more blowing into the cart until you’re blue in the face in order to get it to work!

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  13. mcai8sh4 UNITED KINGDOM Google Chrome Linux Terminalist says:

    What a blast from the past – I had (and sadly in most cases still have) all of these – Vinyl, Audio casettes, 4-track, zip disks, a drawer full of 5.25″ ‘floppy’ disks, CRT TV (now in the loft), walkman, diskman… the list goes on.

    Does anyone remember the LS120 disk – that never really caught on, yet I found it really useful.

    Also, who would have thought, Diesel cars got good!

    CB radios, now almost gone.

    It’s nice to look back and get that warm fuzzy feeling, but try living with these devices these days… they are a nightmare!

    We truly are spoiled these days, but when we look back, we can realize how lucky we really are!

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  14. SapientIdiot UNITED STATES Mozilla Linux says:

    I consider compact disks, DVD, and most other physical media obsolete at this point. Sure the majority of people dont…but that ONLY because the majority of people have never heard of bit torrent. The main stream media is getting pretty obsolete too, physical news papers especially, but again the majority of people just dont know it yet.

    I’m not sure if i would say pay phones are entirely obsolete, but pretty close. One thing thats not obsolete about pay phone though is Red boxing still works, wich surprised the hell out of me when i actually tried it just to show off not long ago. Land lines are another thing thats pretty much over with but because of the huge companies behind it, its getting as slow and painful a death as possible.

    On the other hand, the amount of ‘futuristic’ technology has become available since the 80s is mind blowing. Back to the future 2 still had payphones in it, but they had video phones as well (skype),

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  15. Eric UNITED STATES Google Chrome Windows says:

    Laser disks spring to mind.

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  16. Timmy UNITED STATES Google Chrome Windows says:

    I think USB drives are going to get less and less popular as the task of jumping small files between computers is delegated to the cloud. They’ll still have a following among people who want portable apps or operating systems, as well as bailing out computers with no internet, but they’ll definitely be a lot less common.

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  17. Mini discs. Are they still around? Also, just got rid of my “dumbphone”. Writing on this touch thing is hard. Miss my Sony-Ericsson already. :/

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  18. MrPete GERMANY Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Well, I felt a pang of nostalgia when I read this.
    I know most (no, actually: every single one) of the techs you’re talking about and I still remember the few things I had on tape for my C64…
    I’m going with Timmy on USB drives dying. When I need to share files with people I either use the companies net or for private use: internet storage.
    And I can also see hard drives being used nowhere except for mass storage. The average flashdrive is much more shock resistant which matches wonderfully with the rising unmber of laptops and netbooks.

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  19. copperfish Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    What about arcade machines? I spent my teenage years inside dark smoky rooms dropping coin after coin into those amazing things :) Not that I miss them now.

    I have piles of cassette tapes and vinyl and nothing to play them on. Why I don’t throw them all away I don’t know. Some sort of silly nostalgia.

    Fax isn’t dead by a long shot. When forms need to be signed and sent somewhere, fax remains in use regularly. What other technology allows for easy scanning and transmission of filled in paper forms?

    Also agree with all the DVD will be here for a while comments. For most people there just isn’t that much of a quality jump going from DVD to BluRay.

    I am amazed at how long Audio CDs have lasted – 28 years – and no sign of disappearing at all.

    I think the idea of Polaroid might still be valid – Polaroid market things like this:
    http://www.polaroid.com/category/0/266907/Polaroid_PoGo
    It isn’t the same technology as the original, but there is something cool about having instant hardcopy.

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  20. ST/op DENMARK Google Chrome Linux Terminalist says:

    Back in 1986, I started using a 300-baud acoustic coupler to connect my Atari ST to BBS’s.
    It was a bit sluggish though ;) and was soon replaced by a state-of-the-art 1200-baud modem, perfect for operating a FidoNet mailer system! (Binkley I recall).

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  21. Athanor UNITED STATES Google Chrome Linux says:

    Floppy disks: Sony *just* stopped making floppy disks.
    Discman: I have a portable CD player, that I still use. Only because it plays MP3 discs, though. I can load 10 albums onto a disc that costs a few pennies, and throw it in the car. I don’t see any economic advantage to switching to something else for this purpose.
    Modems: I’m glad to be rid of those! I had 300baud, 1200baud, 2400bps, 9600bps, 19.2Kbps, and 57Kbps modems over the years. Ah, the days of connecting to the local colleges computers at 3AM to get my newsfeed. Don’t miss it.
    Polaroid: Did you know there are people trying to reproduce the film?
    Rotory phones: If I had the money, I’d buy one of those old Bakelite phones and mod a cell phone with a huge-ass battery in it. And then I’d go to the grocery store and make lots of calls. lol
    CRT Monitors: I’ll give up my 21″ when LCDs can get the color right, without me having to wear a head brace.

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  22. Garrick UNITED STATES Safari Mac OS says:

    After reading this and the news that Sony stopped producing floppy disks, something dawned on me. Actually, no, it didn’t as much dawn on my as it hit me like a ton of bricks.
    I USE A TYPEWRITER EVER SINGLE DAY AT WORK!

    I mean really, I own at least 6 computers at my home, plus an iPhone, iPod, multiple gaming systems, a Chumby, and I have to revert to the dark ages of technology and use a type writer on a regular basis at work.

    On a positive note, my typewriter has never crashed on me, which is a hell-of-a-lot more than I can say about Microsoft Office.

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  23. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    @ Rob:

    Yeah, when they first came out my mid was blown. 100MB – I felt like I was living in the FUTURE. :P

    @ SapientIdiot:

    When I see a pay phone on the street I have an urge to call a friend and be like “Dude! I’m in a pay phone!”. Then I realize that I would actually have to take out my cell phone, look up the number, dial it… And then the person on the other end probably wouldn’t pick up because the pay phone number would not be in their address book.

    So last time I saw a pay phone I took it’s picture with my phone and texted it to people with a description “LOL PAYPHONE!”

    @ Eric:

    Funny thing – I never used a laser disk. That technology somehow skipped by me altogether.

    @ Tormod Haugen:

    Yeah, writing on touch screens is always a pain. That’s why some people swear by the physical keyboard thing.

    @ Timmy:

    Very true – I see them used less – mostly because of cloud services. Hell, ever since I got Dropbox account I have had no need for these things. So instead of a data stick carry a copy of SLAX in my pocket.

    @ copperfish:

    Actually a friend just told me Polaroid went back on their decision and restarted film production. They also released a new camera model, and are using Lady Gaga to promote it (allegedly the new cam is product placed all over one of her recent music videos)

    Oh, and arcade machines are still around – I still see them on boardwalks, amusement parks and food&games type establishments (like Dave & Busters). Also I have seen them in bigger movie theaters.

    Granted they are not as ubiquitous as they used to be.

    @ ST/op:

    I never used a modem with speed measured in baud. Also never used an old school BBS. I do remember being excited about buying an external 26K modem. When I replaced it with a 56K one – oh man, the internet was FLYING! :P

    @ Athanor:

    I was the same way, but then I got myself a huge LCD monitor and I’m extremely happy with it. I took my old 17″ CRT to the attic and I think I strained my back int the process. That thing felt like it was full of bricks. Bricks made out of led.

    @ Garrick:

    Funny thing is that the typewriter will still probably work semi-reliably in 100 years. Our current technology is many things, but it does not age well.

    Also, if you don’t mind me asking – what do you do that requires you to use a typewriter. And how do you get the analog copies back into the digital realm? Do you scan the typewritten forms/documents back in?

    I mean I have seen it done in the past. A secretary would grab a form from a box (one of those things with multiple sheets and carbon-copy paper in between), fill it out on the typewriter, rip off the top copy and file the rest in her drawer. Then she would walk up to a scanner, scan the thing in, and email the resulting PDF out.

    Fortunately at some point someone replicated that form in a PDF format with forms.

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  24. JKjoker ARGENTINA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    ill have to call you on part of your predictions

    BluRay: i think it will get replaced by something else before i gets very far, its not getting cheap quick enough and is not “better” enough to take over dvd, the main advantage is for storage but its not big enough to justify the investment right now (disclaimer: my view is probably biased by the fact im living in a third world country)

    the other two, while i agree with you i see a problem with the price, closed boxes mean brands and brands mean 3x price, 1/4 quality here and for smartphones services are 4 times more expensive than dumbphones (they are doing everything in their power to kill them tho) and the bills are definitely growing faster than paychecks

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  25. Ferret UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    On the traditional tower, I wouldn’t count on them going away anytime soon. As long as the big broadband players in the United States keep the speeds down like they have been, we won’t be 100% cloud based, or anywhere close.

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  26. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @ JKjoker:

    Yeah, BluRay prediction is probably wrong. In fact, physical media will likely get replaced by streaming for the most part.

    As for the smart phones – the competition on the market is becoming pretty fierce. Apple is starting to lose ground to Android phones and HP just bought Palm and will likely throw their money into the ring as well.

    The battle between wireless providers is becoming pretty fierce too. Just look at the smack talking Verizon vs. AT&T commercials. These guys are not pulling punches anymore.

    Eventually this competition will lead to lower prices for smart phones and the data service the require. They will give out the lower end, underpowered smart phones for free.

    Also I know that the carriers will ridiculously discount the phones when they want you to sign a contract. For example, my coworker paid $100 when she preodered the HTC Incredible and renewed her contract for 2 years at the same time. I checked and I would have to pay $600+ for the same phone. But in a few months when my contract is up for a renewal they will likely offer me a similar deal.

    @ Ferret:

    I wasn’t clear on that one. I meant that desktop towers will be phased out from the home & leisure market and replaced by laptops and notebooks. You will still be able to buy towers but I just don’t see for example Dell marketing them to home users. You will probably have to go to their Business or Gaming pages to get one.

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  27. Karen UNITED STATES Internet Explorer Windows says:

    In addition to 8 tracks, vinyl, bag phones, CBs, laser disks, cartridge-type game systems, and VCR/VHS…BetaMax. We had one. Of course, we lived in Korea, and everyone had a VCR and a Beta.

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  28. MacOSY ITALY Safari Mac OS says:

    These days no one raises their hand when I ask that question. Dialup is long forgotten in these parts of the world.

    I wanna cry. I live in Italy and here many people use dialup because IT IS THE ONLY CONNECTION AVAILABLE!
    I can’t believe we’re still a G8 country…

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  29. Leopold UNITED STATES Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Some of Leopold’s obsolete technology:

    * Wrist-watch. Gave it up last year. Wore it by habit. Didn’t need it. In fact, I probably never needed it.

    * CD’s. It’s just too easy to buy the digital version on my computer and have it “right now”. Same with software. Why wait for it when I can download it NOW.

    And some long-term predictions:

    * Mail. Definitely not obsolete yet. But how soon? Will we see a sharp curtailment in the next few years? Why pay almost half a buck to send a letter very slowly, wasting gas, and having vehicles and people tromp all over the place? Why not send it by e-mail, pay nothing, get it there in just a moment, save gas, etc. The explosion of e-mail has not curtailed my mailbox. . . yet.

    * Keys. Wouldn’t it be nice if “losing your keys” was a thing of the past? My bank can get me to my account online securely with few overall breeches. Why can’t my house and my car? No, not a stupid 4 digit combination that someone might see me type in. Something secure, that reduces what I need to carry. Cell phones do everything else today, why not open doors too?

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  30. KyleenKupkakes CANADA Google Chrome Windows says:

    @ stephen:

    Our local Blockbuster actually has a promo on right now, unlimited renting for month for 10$. I remember when it used to be so expensive to rent, now my dad and I drive down 4 times a day to rent, watch and return movies.

    Also no more late fees.

    They are really trying to keep/get business. Only reason I like it… the owner used to run our movie theatre and he loves movies so much, he organizes the place in “if you liked this movie, you’ll like these” isles. It’s pretty clever.

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  31. James UNITED STATES Safari Mac OS says:

    Although I still buy games on disc, because I like the idea of physical ownership and collecting, I do believe that buying games via disc and buying individual games digitally will be gone within 10 years and will be replaced with “freemies that has paid DLC and user generated content”. Why go out to a store to get the latest Call of Duty or paying 50 bucks for a digital walled garden that you can’t trade in or resell when you can download a small basic game for free, but purchase some add-ons for 5 or 10 bucks or purchase tools to create your own content?

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  32. Karen Rice UNITED STATES Google Chrome Windows says:

    Sadly, fax machines and faxes are still only too alive and well in the real estate business…I hate them yet still we have to fax almost on a daily basis!

    Let’s see…I’ve seen:
    8 track tapes – obsolete
    LP records – obsolete

    I suspect we will eliminate DVD / blu ray discs altogether and just end up streaming from the net….

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