In the computer and communications technology world, today’s hot technologies can become has-beens almost overnight. Here are nine that have largely gone by the wayside.
1 Dial-up modems
Although dial-up modems are still in use, for most computer users they are a distant memory. Today’s fastest 56 kilobit-per-second dial-up modems are slow compared to digital subscriber line (DSL), 3G wireless and other higher-speed offerings — operating at 1/100 the speed of mid-range DSL services. Visit www.lazylaces.com/56Kmodem to hear the sound of a dial-up modem at work.
2 DTN satellite terminals
DTN satellite terminals, once the symbol of cutting-edge real-time access to agricultural market and weather information, have been largely eclipsed by computers. In the days before the Internet, DTN terminals were an information lifeline for farmers and elevator managers. They’re still in use by customers who are unable to connect to the Internet.
3 Fax machines
Although fax machines continue to be mainstays in some offices, Internet-based alternatives have displaced fax machines for many. The technology is more than 100 years old, but the availability of lower-cost fax machines beginning in the late 1970s and 1980s made near-instantaneous transfer of critical documents to other locations a reality.
4 CRT monitors
Cathode ray tube (CRT) computer monitors, the mainstay display technology as recently as the mid-2000s, have all but disappeared from the marketplace since liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors became more affordable. In televisions, LCD sales overtook CRTs in late 2007 as manufacturers discontinued CRT models.
5 Two-way radios
FM band two-way radios still have their uses, but cellphones have largely supplanted what was once a must-have on many farms.
6 Dot matrix printers
If you jumped on the personal computer bandwagon in the 1970s, you probably owned a dot matrix printer. Dot matrix printers transfer color to the page by striking an ink-saturated cloth ribbon, much like on a typewriter. But ink jet and laser printers eventually banished dot matrix printers to specialty uses.
7 Floppy disks
The floppy disk — named after the flexibility of the thin magnetic storage disk — was a standard feature on personal computers until the mid to late 2000s. But as other removable data storage systems became available, manufacturers eliminated floppy drives from their designs.
8 Film cameras
Digital cameras, first introduced in the late 1980s, have largely replaced film cameras. Today, Eastman Kodak, long the leader in photographic films, is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.
9 Analog cellphones
The analog cellphone died on Feb. 18, 2008. That’s when the FCC allowed service providers to discontinue service. Analog cell phones, which were introduced in the mid-1980s and sold for almost $4,000, were the first phones to be used on the modern cellular telephone network.