Tag Archives: obsolete-tech

Can Any Technology Last Forever?

Community member Giorgio is thinking about saving files to some type of storage device and not touching them again for thirty years. His question is which type of storage to use. What will stand the test of time? Which types of technology will live forever? The problem I see is that nothing lasts forever, which is definitely both good and bad.

Technology advances at an astounding pace these days. This is a good thing, right? We are creating products to fill a need at breakneck speed. Companies churn out better, faster and more full-featured devices on a seemingly daily basis. Competition is fierce, which lights the fire under businesses to come up with something more outstanding. The “I have to have the best and newest NOW!” mentality of consumers is fueling the tech economy. It’s a beautiful circle and one I love to watch.

The downside of this innovation and creativity is that nothing lasts forever. If Giorgio slaps his files onto a standard hard drive (or even an SSD) tomorrow, will there even be a machine around which is capable of reading it in thirty years? Is he going to have to scour pawn shops and thrift stores hoping to find a “really old and outdated” computer from 2011? It seems as though half of what we purchase today is of no use less than a year in the future.

I remember my early pieces of technology fondly – they are the devices which fostered my passion and allowed me to turn these passions into a career. Heck, I still have several of them lying around my house. How many of you out there can say the same, though? Do you still have super-old and obsolete gadgets and machines sitting in a closet somewhere? Raise your hand if you own something which can read a floppy disc or zip drive. Yeah – that’s what I thought.

The one constant that will always remain is you – the user. Your thirst for more, your hunger for true innovation and your desire for MORE will keep the technology wheels turning.

Useless Technology

Raise your hand if you actually still have a land-line in your home – and use it. I have a feeling not many hands will be up in the air. Many people simply don’t see the need to pay for this type of service when they already shell out money for their cellular device every month. We need our cell phones, right? However, if we have those, do we really need a land line as well? The answer – for millions of users – is a big fat NO.

This makes me wonder what other types of technologies are considered outdated or useless. Things such as CDs are obsolete in large part these days. They aren’t gone, no. But they certainly don’t sell the way they used to. With services to listen to and download your favorite music out there, who wants to go buy a disc that you aren’t supposed to rip onto your devices? I’m pretty sure almost no one does, which is why record companies keep screaming about their bottom line.

Head to any electronics department, and you’ll find a number of VCRs for sale. Who the hell uses one of those anymore? If you still have old VHS tapes lying around, you’ve likely converted them into digital media to use on your computer or other (newer) devices. We want to save those memories, right? Those little tapes don’t last forever, and they just don’t play well, anyway.

Another piece of “obsolete” tech I see everywhere are fax machines. Can anyone tell me who still USES those things? I wish they would die a terrible death in a fire or something. There is actually one of these devices in my home. I can’t tell you when the last time was that I used it, though. These days, I scan documents into the computer and transmit them via email. Remember, no one has land lines so how the heck are they going to receive a fax?

What other types of technologies currently being sold make you scratch your head and wonder why anyone bothers? What is obsolete in your mind?