The Tech That is Gone

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  • SJ» Hard disks and tape changers seem to be fading, though I'm sure someone still uses them. Anyone bought a tape drive for their personal or business use anytime in the last few years? Or for that matter, do you still use CDs or floppy disks anymore? VHS tapes? Dot-matrix printers?

    Hi Steve,

    As someone who collects old tech related to pre 2003 Macintoshes, I see these devices every week. Many of them are ending up in the hands of people like me. I am amazed at how well-built a lot of this old tech was. Much of it works to this day although a lot of it is in slow decline as capacitors require replacing. Batteries are especial problem as they can destroy traces between the layers of the motherboard and when that happens, these traces are nigh on irreparable.

    You asked about floppies: I recently had a Macintosh 512K (from 1985!) recapped. Now I want to find a working 400K floppy disk for it. Floppies are increasingly more of a problem as they are failing faster than other old tech. Thankfully, the hobbyist market has stepped up to the fore and there are SD-based devices, such as the Floppy Emu from Big Mess O'Wires, that allow for mass floppy emulation.

    On a practical note, I have bought a couple of Denon 5-disc CD changers and these are great. They are also well made. And, given the price that Denon wanted for them back in 1988, I should hope so. I like to put in 5 Dire Straits CDs and have hours of music play while playing 'Masters of Orion'.

    I feel sorry for the youth of today. In 20 years' time when they have a nostalgia for iPhones & PS5s, what will they have? An emulation in the Cloud that they pay monthly access for? I like having old tech in my hands.

  • In two of the last three companies I've worked in (Banks in Luxembourg), we still used Lotus Notes.  Unfortunately from a user perspective, it really hasn't aged well, and hasn't evolved.  I ended up getting used to it, but at first I really couldn't believe that people were still using this software that seemed straight out of the 80s.

    Your post reminded me of my first personal printer for my ZX Spectrum which was a thermal printer.  It took silver paper in the form of toilet roll, and burnt off the silver coating to reveal the text or image.  The room smelled like the air after a fireworks display.

    A technology I was sad to see disappear was the minidisc.  I had a minidisc walkman as well as a version for my salon, and although I'm not an expert, I found the sound quality was great, the support lasted years, and I could record and re-record easily.

  • A few years ago, I used to the epsilon text editor to edit my HTML or XML files. It is a very nice and powerful tool to edit any text very smartly.

    With help of this editor, you can do the work of days in hours.

    But these days this tool is almost not in use due to some latest text editors.

    Thanks,

    Aneesh

    My blog: 12 Tips on how to get more followers on TikTok in 2023

  • There's a difference between still having something and using it regularly. I still have my cordless phone (with answering machine) hooked up to my landline, but it's used maybe once a week. I still have my VCR with tapes - including some movies that have never been released on DVD or showed up on streaming. My first computer sits in a box on the shelf (complete with 5-1/4 floppy drive and daisy-wheel printer) - I hook it up to my garage sale B&W TV once or twice a year.

    I tend to keep things until they don't work and can no longer be repaired. Not everything needs to be replaced with the latest-and-greatest technology.

  • I prefer using vintage and antique sewing machines over modern ones. The youngest machine I have is from 2007 (Bernina 850 "sewing computer" as it's called in the manual), and I actually prefer my vintage (1975) Bernina 850 over its modern sister. When it's stormy out (thunderstorms) and I have the urge to sew, I pull out one of my hand crank machines (Singer 128 [1898, 1938], Singer 15[1914], Vickers [1922], Monitor [1870], Wheeler & Wilson 3[1875], or Elias Howe [1865]) or my treadle (White Rotary from 1904). I have found that the buttonhole attachments for my vintage Singers make better buttonholes than my modern machines. My Singer 201 (1949 - this is the one that's all gear driven) will gleefully stitch through anything whereas some of my modern machines buzz and stop when faced with more than 4 layers of denim. So the old tech is here to stay.

    I still have 35 VHS tapes and a VHS player.

     

  • More old tech: BOOKS. Lots of paperback books. I have a kindle e-reader, but there's something about the feel of real paper books that makes me hope that they'll never go away.

  • This is so true.

    How many of us look forward to finding a secondhand bookshop with old Kindle titles in it? With any luck, some brave person will have amassed a collection of PDFs for our future amusement, assuming that PDFs are readable then.

    Does anyone know where to go if you have your old university dissertation on a Zip-disk that you wouldn't mind having?

  • I really miss high quality pens and paper notepads 😉

    😎

  • Just a few days ago I was thinking about an old piece if 'hi-tech' that I had in high school days if I recall correctly.  I can't recall the brand, but I had a pair of the old walkie-talkie devices that were like the handset of the early desk-top phones.  Each had a c-cell flashlight battery and they were connected by an amazing 25-foot two-strand wire.    I pulled the wire through a hole in the dining room floor to the basement to little workbench where I made solid-fuel rockets and other incendiary devices.  My Mom and Dad could call me when it was time to eat!  Later I got a third handset and ran the wire to my second-floor bedroom.

    I did a quick internet search and don't see anything that even comes close to those. It had to be about 1957-58.

    Rick
    Disaster Recovery = Backup ( Backup ( Your Backup ) )

  • sean redmond wrote:

    This is so true.

    How many of us look forward to finding a secondhand bookshop with old Kindle titles in it? With any luck, some brave person will have amassed a collection of PDFs for our future amusement, assuming that PDFs are readable then.

    Does anyone know where to go if you have your old university dissertation on a Zip-disk that you wouldn't mind having?

    You might be lucky enough to find a USB version yet somewhere like Amazon.  I managed to find a USB 3.5" drive last winter and went through a couple hundred disks from a storage box in my basement.  I seem to recall seeing an old Zip drive in our boxes somewhere several years ago when I was clearing out old stuff for the recycle place.

    Another upcoming project is to go through a box of about 15 old EIDE drives while I still have a desktop that will handle them.

    Rick
    Disaster Recovery = Backup ( Backup ( Your Backup ) )

  • "We still have mainframes and lots of older applications, but one piece of software I expected to see around was Lotus Notes. I know some people might still use it, but IBM doesn't support it. They've outsourced. I guess a lot of software I used early in my career is gone: Ami Pro, WordPerfect, Lotus 1-2-3, and more."

    More memories about the early days of Lotus Notes.  Back in the '80's I was trading Lotus Developemnt Corporation stock regularly and it was probably the best return I ever got.  Before the IBM days it was very cyclical and I could  buy and hold for 6-8 weeks, sell making a couple hundred bucks, then buy again and just wait for it to bounce again.

    Rick
    Disaster Recovery = Backup ( Backup ( Your Backup ) )

  • LadyRuna wrote:

    I prefer using vintage and antique sewing machines over modern ones. The youngest machine I have is from 2007 (Bernina 850 "sewing computer" as it's called in the manual), and I actually prefer my vintage (1975) Bernina 850 over its modern sister. When it's stormy out (thunderstorms) and I have the urge to sew, I pull out one of my hand crank machines (Singer 128 [1898, 1938], Singer 15[1914], Vickers [1922], Monitor [1870], Wheeler & Wilson 3[1875], or Elias Howe [1865]) or my treadle (White Rotary from 1904). I have found that the buttonhole attachments for my vintage Singers make better buttonholes than my modern machines. My Singer 201 (1949 - this is the one that's all gear driven) will gleefully stitch through anything whereas some of my modern machines buzz and stop when faced with more than 4 layers of denim. So the old tech is here to stay.

    I still have 35 VHS tapes and a VHS player.

    Lady, I have memories of my mom and grandmother using the old Singer machines in the dining room of our farmhouse in the 1940's.  And as of a few years ago I live about 15 miles from where an old Singer factory was in South Bend, IN.  Now my wife uses a Brother Innovis Essence machine to embroidery and the technology is amazing.  Take a look at her website BridgeJoys.com.  On the other side of the family, my paternal grandmother used one of the old foot-rocker-powered machines until the time I was in high school.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by  skeleton567.

    Rick
    Disaster Recovery = Backup ( Backup ( Your Backup ) )

  • When dpads were still the go to on controllers, never been a fan of the thumb sticks.

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