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JediTalentAgent
Jun 5, 2005
Hey, look. Look, if- if you screw me on this, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine, you rat bastard!

Cassettes, VHS, Tube TVs, Laserdisk, dedicated VCD players, oddball personal computers of the 80s-90s, portable CD players, CRT monitors, set-top boxes, etc.: They're all sort of regarded as dinosaurs now, but for every single obsolete device that existed, there has to be something that was thought of as the 'best', either through personal experience or critical/consumer review.

I have to admit, I am sort of a fan of older technology stuff, and finding anything from the 70s-very early 00s sort of piques my interest. So, I thought a thread like this might help people who are retro and vintage technology fans to get a better idea of some of the stuff out there that's actually worth looking for or get a bit of a history/specs lesson for the devices along the way.

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Royal W
Jun 20, 2008


I sprung $250 for a Minidisk player in 2001-02. It was badass because it came with a remote!



the downside was that I had to record to the MDs like the cassettes of old, playing the whole CD with the MD player on record; then adding the track breaks after the fact!

Royal W has a new favorite as of 01:56 on Jul 13, 2012

Yeah Funyuns
Jul 21, 2009

by Fistgrrl


While I don't collect it, I like retro solid state audio equipment and will buy the occasional piece at a pawn shop or used electronics store. Nothing says quality like a 60 pound stereo amplifier. Best of all it's cheap because tube gear is what most people are after.

I just wish old speakers held up as well. The technology and manufacture tolerances now are just too far ahead for any 20+ year old speaker to keep up.

Yeah Funyuns has a new favorite as of 02:01 on Jul 13, 2012

Farecoal
Oct 15, 2011

There he go


For some reason I love the audio on VHS. Something about the "crispness" just sounds nice.

hooligan
Jun 15, 2001

Arrogant Dutch Fuckwit.

When I was young, one day my mom came up with something called CD-i. I already was having fun on my Commodore 64 and my PC 486 DX, but holy poo poo, now I could play Mad Dog Mc Cree and Burn:Cycle!

Oh the good old days!

Landerig
Oct 27, 2008

by Fistgrrl


Yeah Funyuns posted:

While I don't collect it, I like retro solid state audio equipment and will buy the occasional piece at a pawn shop or used electronics store. Nothing says quality like a 60 pound stereo amplifier. Best of all it's cheap because tube gear is what most people are after.

I just wish old speakers held up as well. The technology and manufacture tolerances now are just too far ahead for any 20+ year old speaker to keep up.

Ahem, 70's and 80's speakers, if they were well made and not low end crap could easily hold up today if you didn't crank them ridiculously. The only real issue with the age would be surround rot, if they were foam surrounds. Cloth surrounds should be fine and foam surrounds can be replaced.


I myself have a soft spot for older televisions. I own a Zenith Chromacolor II, made in 1976. it works fine and the built in rabbit ears are still intact. For solid state sets, Chromacolor II's were probably the best sets Zenith made. The System 3's while okay were not as good, and the quality went downhill from there.

For 1990's TV's, I haven't found a better one then the 20" 1991 RCA Colortrak 2000. The auto programming is annoying, and the A/V inputs being mapped to channels is a bit weird, but the picture is by far the sharpest I have ever seen on a standard definition set. S-Video looks amazing. I actually used one as a PC monitor and over S-Video small text is readable up to 1024x768.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



Mad Dog McCree was an awesome game.

At work today, I loaded an old server with a CRT monitor and Slot 2 Pentium II processor onto a pallet to be sent to surplus. That old dinosaur acted as our file server until early last year.

Also, Kodak Ektagraphic slide projectors are every bit as good today as they were the day they were first sold.

Landerig posted:

Ahem, 70's and 80's speakers, if they were well made and not low end crap could easily hold up today if you didn't crank them ridiculously.
Good speakers will always be good speakers. New technology might surpass them, but if they sound good when you buy them, they'll sound good decades from now.

GWBBQ has a new favorite as of 02:45 on Jul 13, 2012

movax
Aug 30, 2008



Royal W posted:

I sprung $250 for a Minidisk player in 2001-02. It was badass because it came with a remote!



the downside was that I had to record to the MDs like the cassettes of old, playing the whole CD with the MD player on record; then adding the track breaks after the fact!

MD bro. I bought a state-of-the-art high-end Sony MZ-R909 in high-school because I wanted to be different. Thought it was pretty cool, but then realized how dumb it was to be dubbing music onto MDs.

Geoj
May 28, 2008

BITTER POOR PERSON


I was an early adopter of MP3 players...I got an RCA Lyra player when I was in highschool:



Mine came with a 64 MB (yes, that's an M as in "megabyte") CF card. It could fit about a CD and a half of CD-quality audio, and was quite badass for the time (late 90s) as I could put my head down in study hall and fish one earbud out of my jacket pocket and listen to music without the studyhall monitor knowing. I can remember having debates with people who thought MiniDisc was going to win the "format war" and thought I was wasting my money.

Later when I had my first full time job out of highschool I bought a Creative Nomad 3 for the princely sum of $250:



Compared with my first MP3 player it was a huge upgrade...20 GB platter HDD could hold my entire music collection with some to spare. It had more features than a swiss army knife - it could record direct to a number of digital audio formats from a line-in source including SPDIF, could run continuously for almost a whole day on a single charge with a second battery added and considering most people were still carrying around portable CD players at the time (early 2000s) its shape and bulk wasn't terribly nerdy.

Looking back it would have been a total mindfuck to know that in 10-15 years dedicated MP3 players would largely be a thing of the past as playing music is now an ancillary cellphone function.

Landerig
Oct 27, 2008

by Fistgrrl


GWBBQ posted:


Good speakers will always be good speakers. New technology might surpass them, but if they sound good when you buy them, they'll sound good decades from now.

Yes and no. Not much can go wrong with speakers, but crossover caps drying out and surround rot are the two biggest headaches. Both are repairable however.

Prettz
Sep 2, 2002

by Lowtax


Back before CD burners were widespread, or anywhere remotely near affordable, your only alternative to backing stuff up on shitloads of floppy disks was the iomega Zip Drive, with 100MB Zip disks.



The disks were like big floppies but with a hard magnetic disk inside. They were also very, very unreliable. About as reliable as 3 1/2 inch floppies. Bad sectors, unreadable files, and disks that one day started clicking and could never be read from again were the rule of the day. Also, since USB was a new thing, the drive connected through the printer port, the slowest connection there is in the PC universe.

But despite how much they sucked, they saved my neck once when the family computer got a virus that wiped out the hard drive's file table. The data recovery people weren't able to save more than a few plain text files. I would have lost everything if I hadn't invested in a big stack of zip disks.

Bip Roberts
Mar 29, 2005





Zip drives weren't a failed technology. They were pretty widespread and In the days before CD burners the were by far the best way to transfer files and are still useful on old computers that aren't connected to a network.

Jaz drives are what you're looking for.

Prettz
Sep 2, 2002

by Lowtax


Dusseldorf posted:

Zip drives weren't a failed technology. They were pretty widespread and In the days before CD burners the were by far the best way to transfer files and are still useful on old computers that aren't connected to a network.

Jaz drives are what you're looking for.
No, not failed, but they're obsolete.

edit:

quote:

and are still useful on old computers that aren't connected to a network.
No.

utada
Jun 6, 2006

I had the craziest dream last night. I was dancing the White Swan.

Our filthy rich neighbors used to have a Betamax player. The tapes were so weird but what was even weirder was that they had both a VCR and a Betamax player and they used both.

Geoj
May 28, 2008

BITTER POOR PERSON


Prettz posted:

Back before CD burners were widespread, or anywhere remotely near affordable, your only alternative to backing stuff up on shitloads of floppy disks was the iomega Zip Drive, with 100MB Zip disks.



I can remember thinking how awesome these were when my family got our first "modern" computer when I was in middle school (a 133 MHz Pentium I, prior to which we had an old IBM 8088 with 2 5.25" floppy drives and no HDD.) I think the allure was you could carry 100 MB of data on a re-writable disk that you could carry in your pocket at a time when solid-state flash drives were barely on the radar, USB was "that funny little port that nothing uses" (assuming your computer even had it) and CD burners and media were still ludicrously expensive.

Geoj has a new favorite as of 04:30 on Jul 13, 2012

Prettz
Sep 2, 2002

by Lowtax


Geoj posted:

I was an early adopter of MP3 players...I got an RCA Lyra player when I was in highschool:



Mine came with a 64 MB (yes, that's an M as in "megabyte") CF card. It could fit about a CD and a half of CD-quality audio, and was quite badass for the time (late 90s) as I could put my head down in study hall and fish one earbud out of my jacket pocket and listen to music without the studyhall monitor knowing. I can remember having debates with people who thought MiniDisc was going to win the "format war" and thought I was wasting my money.
I was also an early MP3 player adopter. I got the Diamond Rio, which normally came with 32MB, but I bought the Special Edition version with a whopping 64. It was incredibly expensive.



About the size of a cigarette pack and it weighed just as much too -- minus the single AA battery. And a weird thing about it: to conserve battery power it had no on/off switch. To completely turn it off you flicked open the battery well and dropped it out.

And sorry to the minidisc owners in this thread, but I used to laugh so derisively whenever I saw someone with a minidisc player. Look at you with your antiquated removable media. So very poor. I'd look down at my solid state music player and feel like a loving pimp.

Doctor Dope
Oct 4, 2005

timey-wimey fruity booty



I was going through a bunch of my stuff in the basement and found a CueCat. I don't know of anything useful I can use it for so I think it's gonna become a bicycle accoutrement.

Pick
Jul 19, 2009




Nap Ghost

GonzoRonin posted:


I was going through a bunch of my stuff in the basement and found a CueCat. I don't know of anything useful I can use it for so I think it's gonna become a bicycle accoutrement.

I always liked those. It's a shame they didn't take off.

Geoj
May 28, 2008

BITTER POOR PERSON


^
In a way they were the ancestor of QR codes, so it wasn't for nothing.

Speaking of antiquated optical scanning technology...



Timex Datalink.

Hailing from a time when payphones were still the preferred method of communication when away from landlines it allowed you to store contact information on your wristwatch and be the biggest nerd on the block. Software that only worked on Windows 95/98/NT and with a CRT monitor (if you had a LCD monitor you had to get a LED adapter) let you manage your contact list on your computer, rather than painstakingly entering contacts using the buttons on the watch (which you could do while away from your computer.) When done you held the watch up to your monitor and it would flash black lines on a white background that the optical sensor in the watch would read.

Geoj has a new favorite as of 04:51 on Jul 13, 2012

m2pt5
May 18, 2005

THAT GOD DAMN MOSQUITO JUST KEEPS COMING BACK


GonzoRonin posted:


I was going through a bunch of my stuff in the basement and found a CueCat. I don't know of anything useful I can use it for so I think it's gonna become a bicycle accoutrement.

I don't know about "useful", but there are still uses for it - Google 'cuecat hack'.


I had one of those too, but only the 32MB version. It still took drat forever to load and only held around 10 songs at best (unless you figured out how to re-encode them with a lower bitrate.) Who'd have thought we'd be using phones and handheld video game systems for that nowadays?

nigga crab pollock
Mar 26, 2010

by Lowtax


This fucker right here.



The dreamcast and it's failure is a thing that's beaten to death but the VMU is the coolest. It let you trade save files and game data away from your console. It let you play game-specific minigames away from your console. When plugged into a controller it was a wee little display that a few games took advantage of. It also had a slammin' jammin' 128kb of game save storage

The coolest thing about the VMU though is it's ability to interact with your game saves away from the console with minigames - even if just by proxy of a wee little gameboy clone. It's something that hadn't been tried before and hasn't really been tried since.

Too bad nobody knew what to do with the VMU because only a good 30 of the ~800 dreamcast games have any VMU minigames and it's not like any of them are any more than thrown together gimmicks that probably only exist because of pressure from Sega

Prettz
Sep 2, 2002

by Lowtax


m2pt5 posted:

I don't know about "useful", but there are still uses for it - Google 'cuecat hack'.


I had one of those too, but only the 32MB version. It still took drat forever to load and only held around 10 songs at best (unless you figured out how to re-encode them with a lower bitrate.) Who'd have thought we'd be using phones and handheld video game systems for that nowadays?
Yeah I re-ripped my songs at 112kbit just to fit in a few more songs. You could kinda hear a difference (this was with Xing's CD ripper), but not enough for it to matter; what mattered was having more songs. And yeah, I also had to connect this one through my printer port. It took a prohibitively long time to upload a new set of songs, enough that I avoided doing it.

ElectricSheep
Jan 14, 2006

she had tiny Italian boobs.
Well that's my story.


utada posted:

Our filthy rich neighbors used to have a Betamax player. The tapes were so weird but what was even weirder was that they had both a VCR and a Betamax player and they used both.

We had both of them also, and I went through most of my folks' Betamax collection when I was on my back for two weeks after a weightlifting mishap in freshman gym class. The Betamax was awesome - never hosed up a single tape and my dad owns 8 or 9 of the original Star Trek 2-episode tapes. It's still sitting around my parents' house somewhere.

Rumor has it that the availability of porn on VHS helped them win the format war against Beta, but I don't know how much water that holds.

Planet Piss
Dec 18, 2006

hey you kids, get out of my moat, it was not meant to be played in


Mister Snips posted:

This fucker right here.



The dreamcast and it's failure is a thing that's beaten to death but the VMU is the coolest. It let you trade save files and game data away from your console. It let you play game-specific minigames away from your console. When plugged into a controller it was a wee little display that a few games took advantage of. It also had a slammin' jammin' 128kb of game save storage

The coolest thing about the VMU though is it's ability to interact with your game saves away from the console with minigames - even if just by proxy of a wee little gameboy clone. It's something that hadn't been tried before and hasn't really been tried since.

Too bad nobody knew what to do with the VMU because only a good 30 of the ~800 dreamcast games have any VMU minigames and it's not like any of them are any more than thrown together gimmicks that probably only exist because of pressure from Sega

Those were pretty cool. I read in a video game magazine back in the day that in Japan you could save your game into the VMU, then take it to an arcade and stick it in the machine and play from your save. Don't think that ever really caught on in the US, probably since most arcades were dead and gone by the time the Dreamcast rolled out. I would put my Chao from Sonic Adventure on it and carry it around like a Gigapet. Speaking of...



Gigapets(or Tamagotchis, Digimon, etc.) were pretty sweet too. All the fun of a pet with no mess and significantly more annoying noises! Some were straight-up pet simulators; dogs and cats and the like, while others were cartoon or movie tie-ins(there was a Rancor Gigapet that I desperately wanted as a child[you could feed it people!!]), or little monstery things you could raise into horrible abominations. An interesting thing about the Tamagotchis was that depending on how you treated them, they'd grow into different types of monster. Also if you didn't clean up after them they would get sick and die and you would feel horrible.


(not pictured: poop, despair)

Digimon were neat too, they took the idea of raising a virtual monster to its logical conclusion: forcing them to fight to the death. There were monsters, sumos, and wrestlers as far as I remember. You could bring up a creature, train it, and then make it fight your friend's monsters for total schoolyard cred. By the way, if you made it fight too much it would get sick and die, or if you lost too many times it would also die. The Digimon had the same sort of thing the Tamagotchis did, where if you raised it a certain way, you'd get different monsters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.



Overall, they were a fun little toy that existed mainly to teach kids about caring for a extremely needy imaginary creature, and to annoy the ever-loving poo poo out of parents and teachers.

Pocket Billiards
Aug 29, 2007
.

ElectricSheep posted:

We had both of them also, and I went through most of my folks' Betamax collection when I was on my back for two weeks after a weightlifting mishap in freshman gym class. The Betamax was awesome - never hosed up a single tape and my dad owns 8 or 9 of the original Star Trek 2-episode tapes. It's still sitting around my parents' house somewhere.

Rumor has it that the availability of porn on VHS helped them win the format war against Beta, but I don't know how much water that holds.

My understanding was that the blank media for VHS was much cheaper than Betamax. So people adopted VHS in droves so that they could record what was on TV without it being prohibitively expensive.

Prettz
Sep 2, 2002

by Lowtax


Pocket Billiards posted:

My understanding was that the blank media for VHS was much cheaper than Betamax. So people adopted VHS in droves so that they could record what was on TV without it being prohibitively expensive.
Yes, the fact is that while Betamax was higher quality, VHS was much less expensive, and that's what allowed it to win out. And Pocket is correct that porn drove the early adoption of VHS more than any other factor. Porn did the same thing to drive adoption of the internet, as well. God bless porn.

But back to the betamax vs. VHS battle: thank God that digital removes the quality vs. cost battle that dominated analog recording technologies. Blu-ray is way, way superior to HD-DVD -- not just in terms of doubling capacity, the standard also allowed higher maximum bitrates, which is very important for squeezing out the last bit of visual quality given a target filesize.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


I have a pair of giant rabbit ears antenna on my TV in my apartment. I'm too cheap to buy cable, and I need it to work with the digital TV box I have. I need to move them around to get the best reception, and sometimes 2 (of the 13) networks won't come in right. It's both hilarious and depressing.

JediTalentAgent
Jun 5, 2005
Hey, look. Look, if- if you screw me on this, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine, you rat bastard!

Pocket Billiards posted:

My understanding was that the blank media for VHS was much cheaper than Betamax. So people adopted VHS in droves so that they could record what was on TV without it being prohibitively expensive.

There were a lot of theories for the success of VHS, and I think they all tended to culminate to make it successful: There is the oft quoted 'porn' aspect where it was cheaper and easier for adult entertainment companies to create and sell VHS content, there is the Sunday Football story where the longer recording times gave VHS an edge for folks who liked to record all the Sunday football games, more companies on board with VHS tapes, and so on.


Geoj posted:

^
In a way they were the ancestor of QR codes, so it wasn't for nothing.

Speaking of antiquated optical scanning technology...



Timex Datalink.

In addition to this, didn't MS and some other company get together to make some sort of data watch that would be able to pick up news information and display it on the watch via a background signal transmitted over normal radio frequencies or beeper frequencies in certain major metropolitan areas? I guess it would allow people to keep up with current events on their watches or something to that effect, but it too would have been some product around the 1996-2000 era, I think. It never really made a big impact, though.

JediTalentAgent
Jun 5, 2005
Hey, look. Look, if- if you screw me on this, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine, you rat bastard!

Prettz posted:

Blu-ray is way, way superior to HD-DVD -- not just in terms of doubling capacity, the standard also allowed higher maximum bitrates, which is very important for squeezing out the last bit of visual quality given a target filesize.

My major complaint about BD, though, is that HD-DVD seemed like it was a better stopgap video solution, since many titles came out on the hybrid discs that allowed you to have DVD on one side and HD-DVD on the other side. It seemed that if maybe MORE movies had been released like this they could have been able to promote HD-DVD more easily to a customer base that had perhaps just jumped into DVD ownership. "Hey, you can still buy this movie as a flip-disc and watch it now, and when you buy an HD-DVD player in a few years, you ALREADY have a library of HD-DVD movies to enjoy!"

Personally, I think the name killed it: Five syllables that sounded awkward rolling off the tongue vs. Blu-Ray. I know that sounds stupid, but I sort of think it didn't help the brand. They probably should have called it something else. Even DVD-HD sounds better. HiDVD, H-DVD, S-DVD, etc.

About a year or so ago I saw an HD-DVD player at a store and felt like it weighed a ton trying to pick it up: I forgot how heavy the first generation players were.

Baiku
Oct 25, 2011



The beeper.



Not a failure, just obsolete.

Every kid these days has a smart phone and a laptop but I remember when you could tell the swag girls from the powhitetrash by beeper ownership.

"Someone is trying to call me!"

Kaboom Dragoon
May 7, 2010

The greatest of feasts



Back when the average mp3 player had about 256 meg of memory, I felt so smug for picking up an mp3 CD player: exactly the same as a regular portable CD player, but you could also burn mp3s to a regular CD and play them! Yeah, it was bulky, and trying to find an individual song was an immense pain but I had a bajillion times the songs the rest of you plebeians had with me

It was actually a lot cheaper than most other mp3 players at the time as well. This was back in about 2004, so if you wanted more than a gig of storage, you were looking at shelling out several hundred for an iPod, whereas the player I bought only cost me around 70: about the same as you'd pay for a decent CD player of the day.

It actually kept me going for a couple of years, until technology moved on and I found I could get a 4gig mp3 player for around 50, and I fully committed to digital ever since.

Prettz
Sep 2, 2002

by Lowtax


JediTalentAgent posted:

My major complaint about BD, though, is that HD-DVD seemed like it was a better stopgap video solution, since many titles came out on the hybrid discs that allowed you to have DVD on one side and HD-DVD on the other side. It seemed that if maybe MORE movies had been released like this they could have been able to promote HD-DVD more easily to a customer base that had perhaps just jumped into DVD ownership. "Hey, you can still buy this movie as a flip-disc and watch it now, and when you buy an HD-DVD player in a few years, you ALREADY have a library of HD-DVD movies to enjoy!"
Sorry but that's a really terrible complaint, and very naive. Blu-ray IS the stop-gap solution. What's coming next, and a lot of us (including me) aren't going to like it, is media-less consumption. Digital downloads. Hopefully without the severe restrictions on compression efficiency forced on blu-ray because of the optical disk format. I don't like the idea, but optical disc media has hit a very hard physical wall and it will never overcome it. HD-DVD would have just drawn out the pain -- via inferior video quality.

It was a great relief that the BR vs HD-DVD war ended as quickly as it did. The faster such format competitions end, the more consumers win. This latest one was as mercifully short as it was because of how obviously inferior and cost-ineffective HD-DVD was versus blu-ray.

nigga crab pollock
Mar 26, 2010

by Lowtax


Zasraik posted:

The beeper.



Not a failure, just obsolete.

Every kid these days has a smart phone and a laptop but I remember when you could tell the swag girls from the powhitetrash by beeper ownership.

"Someone is trying to call me!"

Carphones, yo



I knew tons of kids whose parents had carphones when i lived in the loving whitest and richest town ever (lake forest) back in the 90's. I don't think they were even hooked up, just status symbols.

E: actually considering how loving rich everyone was of course they were hooked up

JediTalentAgent
Jun 5, 2005
Hey, look. Look, if- if you screw me on this, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine, you rat bastard!

Kaboom Dragoon posted:

Back when the average mp3 player had about 256 meg of memory, I felt so smug for picking up an mp3 CD player: exactly the same as a regular portable CD player, but you could also burn mp3s to a regular CD and play them! Yeah, it was bulky, and trying to find an individual song was an immense pain but I had a bajillion times the songs the rest of you plebeians had with me

Around 2000-2002 or so, there was a company that produced an MP3-ONLY CD player that was 'compact' in that it could only use mini-CDR discs. I almost bought one, but I'm really glad I didn't because it would have been sort of worthless in the long run, requiring me to only buy mini-CDRs and never working with anything normal CDs.

Which sort of reminds me, too. FAR from the 'best' in obsolete and failed tech: As the DVD age achieved its dominance, some companies started to try to put things out on MINI-DVD and even made special Mini-DVD players that worked only with that smaller size of disc.
http://www.amazon.com/CyberHome-CH-...r/dp/B0006IMRNO

It was a decent idea and aimed pretty much as a kid-size disk and portable player that would allow you to play the same disk on almost all full-sized DVD players, too. However, the obvious downside is apparent: If the movie or TV show wasn't released or available on the mini-DVD format, it was unplayable on the portable players. They were only on the market for a few years and probably died pretty quickly once larger screens and full-sized DVD portable players began to drop in price.

Mister Snips posted:

I knew tons of kids whose parents had carphones when i lived in the loving whitest and richest town ever (lake forest) back in the 90's. I don't think they were even hooked up, just status symbols.

Say what you will about the old carphones, I knew someone who bought one in the early 90s because they were commuting and wanted something in case of emergencies on the road and they will still swear their old car phone had the absolute best sound quality of any cellular phone they've ever had: Loud, clear, and almost always had a strong signal. I think they even said they wished they would have just kept it, but I'm sure the needed infrastructure for it is likely no longer functioning.

JediTalentAgent has a new favorite as of 07:37 on Jul 13, 2012

nigga crab pollock
Mar 26, 2010

by Lowtax


JediTalentAgent posted:

Around 2000-2002 or so, there was a company that produced an MP3-ONLY CD player that was 'compact' in that it could only use mini-CDR discs. I almost bought one, but I'm really glad I didn't because it would have been sort of worthless in the long run, requiring me to only buy mini-CDRs and never working with anything normal CDs.

Which sort of reminds me, too. FAR from the 'best' in obsolete and failed tech: As the DVD age achieved its dominance, some companies started to try to put things out on MINI-DVD and even made special Mini-DVD players that worked only with that smaller size of disc.
http://www.amazon.com/CyberHome-CH-...r/dp/B0006IMRNO

It was a decent idea and aimed pretty much as a kid-size disk and portable player that would allow you to play the same disk on almost all full-sized DVD players, too. However, the obvious downside is apparent: If the movie or TV show wasn't released or available on the mini-DVD format, it was unplayable on the portable players. They were only on the market for a few years and probably died pretty quickly once larger screens and full-sized DVD portable players began to drop in price.

Portable dvd players are a thing that we're going to look back at and laugh at. Nothing about them is bad in theory but they're all overpriced crap with terrible terrible screens. Maybe everyone i knew with them just bought the bargain bin models though.

Elim Garak
Aug 5, 2010



Geoj posted:

^
In a way they were the ancestor of QR codes, so it wasn't for nothing.

Speaking of antiquated optical scanning technology...



Timex Datalink.

Hailing from a time when payphones were still the preferred method of communication when away from landlines it allowed you to store contact information on your wristwatch and be the biggest nerd on the block. Software that only worked on Windows 95/98/NT and with a CRT monitor (if you had a LCD monitor you had to get a LED adapter) let you manage your contact list on your computer, rather than painstakingly entering contacts using the buttons on the watch (which you could do while away from your computer.) When done you held the watch up to your monitor and it would flash black lines on a white background that the optical sensor in the watch would read.

A dedicated user must have been able to get it to run on *nix because a computer science major friend of mine in college had that watch and I really really doubt he was running Windows.

Coolnezzz
Feb 15, 2003

D 0 E S N 0 T E X I S T


Does vaporware count? Who else remembers the complete idiocy that was the Phantom. This was a fairly early attempt at a Steam style content delivery system, unfortunately it was an utter failure, and during it's "development" there was many a laugh had by all.

SlightButSteady
Sep 13, 2007



Soiled Meat



I suppose it's time to stop being excited about HVDs

quote:

The Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD) is an optical disc technology developed between April 2004 and mid-2008 that can store up to several terabytes of data on an optical disc 10cm in diameter.

Would it be considered as still-born media?

DrBouvenstein
Feb 28, 2007

I think I'm a doctor, but that doesn't make me a doctor. This fancy avatar does.


This long and no one has posted Laserdiscs?



Let's see where it went wrong...
  • GIANT MEDIA - Though I guess you could re-purpose an old vinyl record holder. But they were still awkward to use, and a lot heavier than they look.
  • EXPENSIVE - Since they didn't get adopted at a very fast rate like VHS or DVD, players and movies stayed up there in price.
  • FRAGILE - A VHS tape could be tossed around, dropped even, and probably not suffer damage. Also, being pure analog, it had no error correction, so small scratches and dust that wouldn't be a problem on a DVD will cause errors on a Laserdisc.
  • POOR SELECTION - Relatively few movies were released on Laserdisc.
  • QUALITY - The disc is an analog video. It was better than VHS, but not by a lot, and DVD surpassed it.
  • LOW AMOUNT OF SPACE - Each side had, at best, 60 minutes. So you'd have to flip the thing over halfway through a movie. Is the movie more than two hours? It would need a second disc.

It did have a few advantages going for it, but they were far outweighed by the negatives. I only ever knew one person who had one, a cousin of my mother's who had a "sweet entertainment set up" in his basement. The only movie I watched on Laserdisc there was Twister, and having to get up to flip the disc made me realize Laserdisc was dumb.

I do remember a few people saying they thought DVDs were going to fail when they first came out, because after-all, they're just like a small Laserdisc, and that failed.

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Hungry Computer
Nov 12, 2008




College Slice

I still have an old 21 inch CRT monitor kicking around. I call it the Desk-Buster because it is literally too heavy to sit on most newer computer desks.

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