Once-Iconic Tech Products That Are Now a Fading Memory

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,694   +6,629
Same deal here, I live in the suburbs of a giant city but my house is in a valley - we get zero to 1 bar of strength (if you're outside in just the right spot). Since our landline is bundled-in with internet and TV, it's dirt cheap ($6/mo) and 100% reliable - even when the power is out.
My wife and I both have cell phones, but we maintain a land-line due to its reliability - especially in power outages.
 

RudyBob

Posts: 558   +518
They were all great once. Imagine time shifting a show. Better yet if someone had not saved a time shift would it ever be seen again?
 

p51d007

Posts: 3,149   +2,651
4k wouldnt save 3d. 3d just plain sucked, as quantum said having to sit at a ertian angle ruined the experience.
Fax will frankly never die, as no digital replacements are 100% compliant and most corporate printers can do faxing.

I've been in the copier/printer business for 41 years. We sell more fax machines now, than we did 20 years ago. Today, they either come with a printer, or are added. And, with the larger copy machine, it's just an add in module. We are JUST starting to see the move to e-fax, which is server based.
One of the hospitals I served, had over 300 faxes. Either stand alone, or, built into their copiers/printers. When VoIp pretty much replaced copper wires for phones, it was a nightmare getting the analog fax machines, to work over the digital VoIp lines. The first gen ATA boxes didn't have the buffer space, to handle the "high speed" (G3/Super G3 33.6k) so we had to slow them down to 9.6k. Once later ATA boxes came out, some will work at 33.6k, but most won't work over 14.4k, which is where we go on a new one, if the 33.6k doesn't work.
I asked the communication guy why they stuck with faxing (mostly prescription orders for clinics and drug stores) He said they couldn't "guarantee" email outside of their network. I got to thinking and he was spot on. If you type an email address incorrectly, it is possible it might actually GO somewhere, which would be a HIPPA problem. What would the odds be, you dialed a fax number incorrectly, and it actually went to a fax machine?
I hope the d*mn things die off! They are a slow PITA technology (analog) that was techincally developed in the 1800's. AT&T came up with a good version in the 1920's.
If you watch old movies, you'll hear something about someone sending an AP "wire photo" which was basically a fax.
The worst part is the general public. We get calls saying "fix your fax" when it can send to 999 fax numbers, but not 1 fax, so, it must be YOUR fax causing the problem.

Sorry for the rant...the d&mn things have given me gray hair! ;)
 
What about Telex? Is it still used? I used it often 40+ years ago and it was a real pain. Type your message on a crude and noisy "typewriter" to record it on the punched tape "storage medium" in Baudot code. Then dial the victim and play the tape back, making more noise. It was also interactive - you could hold a conversation with the person at the other end - in real time! Telex machines were ubiquitous back then but I haven't seen (or heard) one for decades.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,308   +7,247
4k wouldnt save 3d. 3d just plain sucked, as quantum said having to sit at a ertian angle ruined the experience.
Fax will frankly never die, as no digital replacements are 100% compliant and most corporate printers can do faxing.


If Apple builds a fax machine: "apple Fax", Fax Machines would die immediately.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 1,262   +1,748
There are precious, precious few movies I would care about enough to get on Bluray and put up with the hastle of its asinine DRM. I still prefer DVDs for my physical collection.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 1,262   +1,748
What about Telex? Is it still used? I used it often 40+ years ago and it was a real pain. Type your message on a crude and noisy "typewriter" to record it on the punched tape "storage medium" in Baudot code. Then dial the victim and play the tape back, making more noise. It was also interactive - you could hold a conversation with the person at the other end - in real time! Telex machines were ubiquitous back then but I haven't seen (or heard) one for decades.
Unfortunately yes, at least the protocol is. I assume its existence continues because of small LE agencies that bought them back in the 60s and never ever let go.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 1,262   +1,748
Most desktop PCs still come with optical drives (DVD-RW). As for landlines, they are better in an emergency since the responders know your address. I still buy Blu-ray disks for movies I like since I only pay for these one time and don't have to go looking for which streaming is offering a title.
Actually the degree to which modern 911 centers can pinpoint your location with cell phones now is scarily good - to within a few meters, and they're pushing that envelope more all the time. It's not foolproof but the days when all they could determine is your general location in relation to a cell tower are long behind us, for good or ill. I also don't think landlines automatically give address info out - dispatchers are trained to collect that information immediately once the call starts, before anything else.

That said landlines are still a very durable, reliable protocol as well that can serve well in a massive emergency, such as a natural disaster or terrorist attack, where a cell tower might get overloaded within minutes.
 
How did pagers work, anyway? Did they connect to something like cell towers, or were they short range only? My dad had a pager for work, I remember.
Pages are broadcast over a citywide area and individual pagers listen for signals addressed to them. The signals are completely unencrypted though and anyone with basic radio equipment and some software can listen in to every pager message transmitted. They're still commonly used in hospitals where they tend to broadcast confidential medical information, or in industrial applications. The Chrysler assembly plant in Ontario pages out manufacturing status. There's also local paging systems here for things like water treatment and datacentres.
 

NoLifeDGenerate

Posts: 36   +18
It's weird how much faster tech evolves than other things. We have electric cars that drive themselves, but you still have to check the air in the goddamn tires!!! It's taken entirely too long for airless tires to become a thing. I think it's still 2 years off being available.

Then some things just change sideways. small batteries used to leak when they went bad. Now they just detonate. Can we seriously NOT make a battery that just dies without bullshit???
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,694   +6,629
There are precious, precious few movies I would care about enough to get on Bluray and put up with the hastle of its asinine DRM. I still prefer DVDs for my physical collection.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,694   +6,629
It's weird how much faster tech evolves than other things. We have electric cars that drive themselves, but you still have to check the air in the goddamn tires!!! It's taken entirely too long for airless tires to become a thing. I think it's still 2 years off being available.

Then some things just change sideways. small batteries used to leak when they went bad. Now they just detonate. Can we seriously NOT make a battery that just dies without bullshit???
Energizer Ultimate - Li-Fe also does not leak or explode. They are the best AA/AAA batteries on the market, IMO. They last far longer than alkaline batteries and thus it makes them worth the extra cost.

You can also use vinegar to clean up contacts that were corroded due to leaking alkaline batteries.
It works. I've done it.
 

Barcham

Posts: 10   +9
You forgot to mention 8-track tapes. :)

As for why VHS beat Betamax, one of the main reasons was that Sony would not permit XXX content to be released on their platform, while there was no problem releasing it on VHS.

Regarding Fax machines, they are still being used in the healthcare system here in the province of Quebec, as well as in other government service agencies.
 

Barcham

Posts: 10   +9
Pages are broadcast over a citywide area and individual pagers listen for signals addressed to them. The signals are completely unencrypted though and anyone with basic radio equipment and some software can listen in to every pager message transmitted. They're still commonly used in hospitals where they tend to broadcast confidential medical information, or in industrial applications. The Chrysler assembly plant in Ontario pages out manufacturing status. There's also local paging systems here for things like water treatment and datacentres.

My first pager was a voice pager, before they had digital displays. You called up and left a voice message, which was then transmitted to your pager. When the pager beeped, you had one chance to listen to the message, and then it was gone. When we were bored, we used to quickly switch the pager off and back on, which turned it into an open receiver which would play all the messages being sent on the network. It was like listening to a police radio, except that the messages we were hearing were usually related to call girls and drug dealers.
 

hwertz

Posts: 140   +78
People who didn't use them back in the day assume VHS *always* had snow all over the place, constantly had lines, blurry as all hell, etc., and any post-VHS-era movies and shows I see always depict VHS that way too. Don't get me wrong, I saw recordings that bad, but it was generally in the 6-hour "extended play" mode, on tapes that had been reused over and over (so tape stretch and whatever else.) 6-hour mode was mostly so people could cram as many shows as possible onto a single tape (like a DVR, some might have been to "keep", some might have been to just watch a few days or week later... but interesting tradeoff DVRs don't usually have, flip a switch to have 2 hours on a tape at better quality, or flip the other way to cram 6 hours onto the tape.) Most pre-recorded tapes were in 2-hour mode (much better quality), most camcorders used 2-hour mode only (I think because extended play would be too hard to record when the camcorder was being jiggled around.)

It *was* iconic to have a big bunch of nastiness right at the beginning of the tape.. if it was a rental, it had been rewound over and over to that point and was all stretched out there (and possibly other wear), but about 5 seconds in it'd clear up. On a home recorded tape, it wouldn't always start recording at the exact same spot so you tended to have the first second or so of like 5 different recordings at the beginning, but again it'd clear up after a few seconds.

I'm not pining for VCRs by any means, don't get me wrong! Just recalling my experience with them.

Finally, if you still HAVE a VCR, check out the used market! I just transferred some tapes, luckily the VCR I had in storage worked (after 7 years..), and (after I set the clock, dead clock battery) so did the MythTV Linux system I had set up with a TV capture card in it. Refurbished VCRs are going for $400 now!