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This is a question Redundant technology

Music on vinyl records, mobile phones the size of house bricks and pornography printed on paper. What hideously out of date stuff do you still use?

Thanks to boozehound for the suggestion

(, Thu 4 Nov 2010, 12:44)
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The old ones are still the best.... perhaps
I still own our original 1980s Atari games console. It's the only games console in the house and it's attached to a 38" LCD TV but it's still the business!

We had some friends with their 7-year-old over a few months ago. Now he has games consoles of all shapes and sizes but has evidently never heard of a time when a games console didn't have enough memory for a screen buffer. His dad, however, being a similar age to me, identified the Atari immediately and when I said it still worked was keen for a go.

The three of us spent the next couple of hours playing the original space invaders, asteroids and most importantly "combat" - a game so rudimentary and yet so incredibly fun that you can't help getting into it. I don't remember who won but by the time they were dragged away to head home the little lad was having so much fun he issued a line which can't have been heard in these parts for the last 20 years at least:

"Dad! Can we get an Atari? PLEASE!!!"
(, Mon 8 Nov 2010, 11:16, 3 replies)
I still use my brain
to convert 'new money' back into 'old money' then moan about how much a loaf of bread costs.
£1.3s.0d or 23 shillings!

Or Tesco Beef Boneless Rolled Rib Roast Joint Medium (Approx 1.8Kg)
£17.96 - £17.19s.4d ffs!
(, Mon 8 Nov 2010, 11:06, 16 replies)
My sister's a teacher, and one of her classes is 17yos.
Last Christmas she asked what they were hoping to get for Chritmas, and one girl responded she wanted a pair of turntables for mixing.

"OK" says my sister, "So you'd like to be a DJ, right?"

"Yeah" says the girl, "See, in the old days, they had this stuff called vinyl, and ... "
(, Mon 8 Nov 2010, 10:46, 10 replies)
I have a reusable condom which I call "Geronimo"
Cheers, Fred Brewster.
(, Mon 8 Nov 2010, 10:23, 1 reply)
In 2005, I went back to college.
I enrolled at my former 6th Form college to do a couple of A levels. I would be in classes with kids half my age and I wondered how I might be received. Fortunately I wasn't shunned as some weird outsider that would be on the watchlist of social services and pretty much got on with everybody.

The college broke up for Xmas and on my return in the new year, a good many of my classmates brandished iPods. I however didn't as I'm not keen on listening to music through earphones. In maths, the teacher woud allow us to listen to music whilst working through an exercise book and I was pretty much the only one in the class that didn't have an iPod. This would not do.

The next lesson, we were working through a trigonometry exercise and people were plugging in their iPods so I fished out of my bag my answer to this ubiquitous over-hyped music device. A 20 year old Aiwa personal stereo, complete with battery cover held in place with red electricians tape. It drew considerable attention. Do kids nowadays have no knowledge of older technology? When I was their age, I knew what a Dansette record player was and that it played 78s, and TVs that could be fixed by your dad belting the side of it with his shoe and I could even have recognised a gramophone.

But no, this was like some weird alien device that they couldn't even comprehend. It played a format that they had no memories of and was obsolete before they even started nursery school. Surely their parents must own similar stuff. This was proved when one of them declared that their dad had something in the loft that played cassettes.

To complete the image, I dug out "Now That's What I call Music 10". The problem was that it needed rewinding and notwithstanding the technical wizardry of Aiwa's R&D department, my player had no rewind function as it used up batteries on a scale not seen since Big Trak. Rewinding the tape involved slotting the cassette spool onto a Bic biro and spinning it around and around and this actually drew gasps as if I had just levitated out of the window.

If only I still had the original headphones which were those strip of spring-steel affairs with a sponge headphone pad at each end; none of these uncomfortable ear-plug things for me.
(, Mon 8 Nov 2010, 10:14, 9 replies)
I still play on my Gameboy!
quality system, fair enough it's a pain in the arse using AAs all the time but I still love it!!! Lemmings was the first game I got for it (along with Tetris) and I still love watching the little buggers try and escape!!

and it's had it's fair share of knocks and bruises (fell down the stairs 3 times that I can recall!) and it still works perfectly fine
(, Mon 8 Nov 2010, 9:51, 5 replies)
Whilst it'd be tempting to lump the computers I use at my current work into the catchall term 'redundant technology', I'm enough of a tech-lover that if it doesn't fellate my eyeball with technological joy then I'd probably consign it to the bin.

No it's the till systems I've used in a million other past jobs that really annoy me. Working in HMV as a Christmas temp I was astounded that they use a till that looks like it crawled out of the 70s. Now I get that upgrading the whole thing would cost millions, but when Tie Rack can swap their plastic behemoths for a svelte touch-screen lovvie then surely HMV can. I went back in recently (several years later) and they're still using them. Do they not break down? Is there a factory somewhere in Devon that churns them out? A wizened man slowly pulling a handle on a steel contraption, the steam squeals and like a fully rolled turd a new till emerges.

It's not like they even work properly. Discounts have to be applied by scanning a barcode that's sellotaped to the top of the till, and woe betide anyone whose barcode falls off or gets too scuffed to read.

Thank goodness I only had 2 months of that hell.
(, Mon 8 Nov 2010, 9:49, 4 replies)
Me Leica
Back in the 1980s, when I first took up photography, the people with more money than sense bought Leica cameras. At the time, a lot of Leica's manufacturing was done by other companies under sub-contract - Minolta being the main one.

As a Minolta owner back then, it was a source of perverse pride that the innards of my relatively cheap camera were the same as those found in the hugely expensive Leicas. What a waste of money, I thought.

Fast forward 20 years and I find myself in the thrall of eBay, where film cameras are now ridiculously cheap - even Leicas. I couldn't stop myself. I'm now the proud owner of a Leica R5, a Leitz 28-70 zoom (manufactured by Sigma for Leica), a 70-210 (made for Leica by Minolta), a 50mm f2 and - my favourite item - a Motor Drive R that requires 10 (yes, count 'em: 10) AA batteries.

Back in the day (BD - before digital), I'd have been lucky to see change from two grand, but the whole lot cost me less than £700.

The outfit weighs a ton, being largely made of a revolutionary material called me-tal and has no autofocus, no custom scene modes, nor much of the other gimmickry found on today's snapshot cameras.

And you know what? I love using it, even with the minor faults on the camera and motor drive. The lenses, despite not being the German-made models, are pin-sharp and the sense of anticipation waiting to see how the pictures have come out is palpable.

I think the reason I like using the camera so much is because I know that, if I get a good shot, it's at least partly down to my skill and not to the programming abilities of the camera manufacturer.

The value of my kit has probably reduced since I bought it, but as I've no intention of selling (unless one of you makes me a good offer), that's largely irrelevant.
(, Mon 8 Nov 2010, 8:42, 6 replies)
I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, eat a lump of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing "Hallelujah."

But you try and tell the young people today that... and they won't believe ya'.
(, Mon 8 Nov 2010, 4:22, 7 replies)
My favourite means of transport was incredibly popular for centuries, but seems to have fallen out of favour recently. I'm still in love though

you see

I love horses-best of all the animals, I love horses they're my friends
(, Mon 8 Nov 2010, 3:19, 1 reply)
I was in a shop in 2008
This was in Huai'an, a smallish city in Jiangsu province, about 5 hours north of Shanghai. It was one of those owner-run mini-supermarkets you get in China, selling everything from cheap underwear to chicken feet. The owner added my bill by abacus.

(Beat that.)
(, Mon 8 Nov 2010, 2:34, 4 replies)
There's this one website I still visit frequently
It's called "Beeter" or something. Where all the other link-aggregation websites have switched to a more modern bulleting board, complete with a shit load of ads, these nobheads are still using this bag of knackers that looks like it was written in the 90s by some 16 yr ols with ass burgers.

It's quite nice actually :)
(, Mon 8 Nov 2010, 1:38, Reply)
Keeping Clive happy
I have a ZX Spectrum in the attic and a box full of games.

Every now and then I bring it out for a night of retro bliss.

yes yes I know there are emulators I can use, but its not the same unless you sit through five minutes of tape loading and funky screen beforehand.

Plus it gives my nephews something to laugh about.
(, Mon 8 Nov 2010, 1:26, 1 reply)
Our cash couting machine at work just broke....
meaning we have to count everything by hand :-(
(, Mon 8 Nov 2010, 0:22, 5 replies)
On the bus
I'm thoroughly fed up with being on a bus and someone starts playing music on their phone. A speaker smaller than 3mm is not intended to have music blown through it. Still, it pisses me off. My 17 year old son feels the same, but his response is to play something louder on his phone of a completely contrasting genre. If someone plays bog standard repetitive dance music, he'll play glam-rock, if they play gangsta rap, he'll play Mozart's Requiem. You get the idea.
But, it still has the problem of the sound quality. Consequently, I have one of these still in my parent's loft and intend to go pick it up and use it on the bus.


If you're going to annoy fellow passengers, then at least do it with a modicum of high-fidelity.
(, Mon 8 Nov 2010, 0:14, 6 replies)
I pretty much always carry a bag containing two notebooks

1) A diary
2) A moleskine notebook I just write anything that comes into my head down in: doodles, extracts from books, words to look up, things people have mentioned I want to follow up on, etc. Sometimes even things as boring as a to do list.

I use the diary on my email, but it's not the same as having it all in a book in my bag. And the notebooks aren't something I think I could replicate with any sort of technology - paper and pen wins.

EDIT: Ooooo... and I also have an N64 under the bed which I haven't dug out for ages and is probably due an airing if I get any similarly minded visitors: Grenade Launchers on Stack.
(, Sun 7 Nov 2010, 23:53, 3 replies)
As a supporter of Burnley FC
I have the option of buying tickets either in person at the ticket office, or via the post. Even last season when we were in the Premier League, you couldn't buy tickets online.

Oh, and they still have actual turnstiles that are operated by a foot pump by the ground staff to let you in.

I wouldn't want it any other way though. All these modern football grounds seem so souless compared to Turf Moor.
(, Sun 7 Nov 2010, 23:28, 6 replies)
A couple of weeks ago
I finished Tomb Raider for the umpteenth time. However, it's simply not as thrilling as it was when I first played it 12 years ago which involved a lot of edging around corners and such.

I then started it again and made up a couple of challaneges. I managed to get through the first level (Caves) without firing a single shot. That's quite a few bats, wolves and a bear to outrun. I then went for the speed challenge, and finished that same level in 4:27.

I'll give it maybe 18 months and then I'll probably dig it out again.
(, Sun 7 Nov 2010, 23:25, 4 replies)
I've loved some of the answers here this week,
particularly that bloke with clock made from a Russian countdown timer thingy.

my biggest weakness is books. I love them. new ones, old ones, well worn ones, pristine ones...especially the smell of a brand new book before anyone's read it. I dont care. theres something satisfyingly physical about reading the words on the page thats lacking on any kind of screen, whether it be e-ink or lcd. I've always loved sci fi, and I've got a pair of the '2001' hardbacks that Waterstones commissioned for the same year and then had Arthur C. Clarke sign by hand - one is still in the shrinkwrap and I have no plans to remove it. same with a signed copy of 'Neuromancer'. they contrast nicely with my secondhand copies of 'The Day Of The Triffids' and 'The Kraken Wakes' in the old style orange and white Penguin covers from the fifties (30p and 50p respectively from secondhand bookshops, iirc.) I've bought loads from Amazon recently - I'm worried I'm getting addicted.

which is not to say there is no place for ebooks - I have a folder full of them on my laptop for when I'm at work and things are slow...but they just arent as nice.

as for the poster (I forget who) who said he'd prefer to watch old videos over a new dvd or blu ray - no, I dont get that. the difference in picture and sound quality is like night and day - why would you want to watch a cacky, wobbly picture with the sound dropping out? if it's a genuine improvement (and I did need a bit of convincing with blu ray, it has to be said) then I've got no problem with it. I've just got the Alien br set - I've been obsessed with that film since I first saw it as a kid - and it's like watching a different film. why would I want to go back to a blurry, dull video of it, even for the sake of nostalgia? (and if it's a film I like, I'll watch the extras and listen to the commentaries - you couldnt do that with video.)

and for everyone who says they miss cassette walkmen - why? no more having to lug around extra tapes, spare batteries, (relatively) bad sound quality, chewed up tapes... I've got 70-80 albums and a couple of films (films!! that would have been considered witchcraft in the eighties!) on an mp3 player that only needs recharging once or twice a week, in a package half the size of a cassette box. I know which one I'll keep.

I've still got the PS1 connected to the flatscreen HD tellybox mind - there still hasnt been anything on any console IMHO that gets close to Wipeout 2 and 3 foir a sheer rush, and I still fire up WinUAE for Deuteros and F-19 from time to time - I dont think either of those have ever been improved on fundamentally.

but... the best mobile I've had in terms of sheer ease of use is still the first one I had - a Motorola Graphite from 1997. completely bombproof, perfectly laid out and intuitive menus (are you listening nokia!) and, to borrow a phrase beloved of mactards, 'just worked'. so maybe it didnt have gps, a web browser, a camera, email, mp3 player et al, but on the other hand it made calls when I wanted, had a proper ringtone (are you listening again nokia!), a decent battery life and didnt just shit itself and decide it needed five minutes to reboot itself at random intevals throughout the week. However, I couldnt read the QOTW on it on the way to work either. meh.
(, Sun 7 Nov 2010, 21:51, 27 replies)
I have found my Black Widow
I have catapulted into oblivion several jam jars, well, until my wife found out and then made me sweep them up into dustbin oblivion.
(, Sun 7 Nov 2010, 21:14, 1 reply)
I went into Currys today...
Can you believe it? There is still a shop, in the outside world, that sells electricals? I thought the internet had caused all of them to shut down.

There were even people in it!
(, Sun 7 Nov 2010, 20:49, 11 replies)
Slightly strange, but hey-ho...
Mechwarrior 4.
On a side note, SNES with 7 French games (doesn't matter that they're French... ever played Ocarina of Time without understanding the dialogue? Such a win :D)

At work:
Global G-5, Global G-48 as knives
Epson U-220 as kitchen printer... seriously, that thing can take being beaten with a 14-pound sledgehammer and still work, I've seen it happen.

But best of all...

Daily cashup at my restaurant?
This thing... when we have a MICROS system that will print everything at the touch of a button. Weird, isn't it.
(, Sun 7 Nov 2010, 20:42, 6 replies)
prompted by the QOTW
and everyone's happy reminicenses I dug out a lot of the old gadgets I've held onto:

Sony Discman - in a box for 5 years, turns out it's busted. Binned it.

LG MP3 player with 32 MB of memory space... works fine, but unfortunately I can't use the original drivers which were designed for Win 2000 at the last update. Not even on my old desktop using XP. So stuck forever with the same 20 songs by a band I no longer like.

Desktop - fired it up and promptly blew the graphics card. Dug around and managed to find a previous card that I hadn't thrown away but now I can't play any games more advanced than pre 2000.

Desktops speakers - 15 years old and only one speaker works...

I have one laptop running without the bottom cover as it was rubbing against the fan, causing it to grind to a halt and letting the machine overheat in 20 minutes.

My phone is 5 years old and I still have all my original phones as well... just in case.

I just realised this stuff is just taking up space and I need to throw things away/ recycle/freecycle some stuff. Any offers?
(, Sun 7 Nov 2010, 17:55, 2 replies)
.... .- ...- . / -. --- / -.-. --- -- .--. ..- - . .-. / ... - --- .--.
.. -. - . .-. -. . - / -... .-. --- .-- ... . -.. / ..- ... .. -. --. / - . .-.. . --. .-. .- .--. .... -.-- / ... - --- .--.
(, Sun 7 Nov 2010, 17:00, 8 replies)
black hole
I have just *ahem* acquired a copy of championship manager 94 and it works on my laptop. Amazing in its simplicity and runs ten times faster than the modern equivalent (and also ten times faster than the original ran on my Amiga). I think I may have just kissed what spare time I had away.
(, Sun 7 Nov 2010, 15:20, 1 reply)
CB Radio
Got into it in a huge way in 1984. It was the cell-phone of it's day in Darkest Wolverhampton. All my schoolmates were on it talking bollocks. "One-four for a copy", "Ten-ten" and other equally trite Americanisms.

I vividly remember dicking about in the loft with a dipole and SWR meter for hours on end until the needle hit the magic spot on both forward and reflected and then I was in business.

One crazy summer behind the mic of an Binatone Basestation and by the time Bonfire Night came round, everyone had given up on the fad and the airwaves were dead.

Saw one at a car boot sale last month. Brought back a lot of happy memories...
(, Sun 7 Nov 2010, 13:58, 3 replies)
Keep patching it up until it dies!!
I tend to always hang on to old technology - I used a walkman up until 2006 and that thing is still around the house and gets used from time to time for my old rave tapes from 1991. I love that thing.. its played more tapes than its manufacturers ever intended but I refuse to chuck something out that I still get use and pleasure from. Just use a walkman on the tube and check out people turning their noses up. They obviously never used 'hot' recording techniques on analogue tapes when making mixes and are busy in their DRM infested cold digital technology. Something is seriously amiss with the throw away technology that MP3s are...

I have some Technics speakers from 1982 - I acquired them in 1998 from an elderly but wealthy gentleman who was sorry to see them go. (His wife was disabled and they were often in her way). If he reads B3ta (and is still around!) he would know they are still in use today and still sound fantastic. I spent some time restoring the casing to remove small marks and although I could have bought some new ones for a little more than the cost of the repairs, it just makes no sense to replace what is perfectly working machinery.

My laptop is from 2004 - its had a new hard drive, ram, DVD write drive, new battery and a new charger - ALl ebay parts and spares costing £10 or thereabouts each but those repairs and upgrades lengthened the life of this laptop beyond its 6th birthday. With a little tweaking its running windows 7 fine and efficiently as well as Linux. Why would I replace it??

I once heard a techie guy say something very true - something is only obsolete if it no one has a use for it.
(, Sun 7 Nov 2010, 12:26, 2 replies)
More radios
Going back to the amateur radio thing, I have a Trio TS-520 (pic at the top of www.k4eaa.com/types.html). It's a little tricky to set up and tune (you need to be able to read a vernier scale to tell the frequency, and before you transmit there are three separate adjustments that you need to make). All the electronic bits are easy to get, even the three valves that form the 100W power amplifier (the bit that needs the three adjustments). The thing is, it is *measurably* more sensitive and has clearer audio than modern radios costing literally 100 times as much as I paid for it. Also, because of that valve amplifier and its three adjustments, you can pretty much connect up anything approximately correct as an antenna and it will work. Try that with a transistor amplifier and very expensive smoke will come out.

I've always been interested in space, and used to sit and watch satellites go overhead. You can see the ISS go by if it passes just before sunrise or just after sunset - go to www.heavens-above.com and stick in your location to find out when. Even if you can't see it, though, you can sometimes talk to the guys aboard on the 2m (144MHz) band. When they're not about, they run a packet radio "digipeater" which listens to a burst of digital data you send, and retransmits it. Since they're 250 miles up, this covers a huge part of the world at any one time. You can hear it with an ordinary handheld scanner - sometimes even when you're inside, if they're right overhead.

Length? 468 divided by the frequency in MHz will give you it in feet.
(, Sun 7 Nov 2010, 11:06, Reply)
I think I really must be sooooooooo last century...*
Amongst other things, just taking a brief look at my home/life...
I shave using either a Gilette flare tip rocket my mum bought my dad the first christmas after they were married, using Palmolive shaving soap and a badger brush (Gilette 7 o'clock blades for extra closeness).
I listen to modern and classic vinyl on Linn Sondek LP12 through a 1972 Rotel amp, albeit with modern speakers.
I roast in aluminium but fry in cast iron, use Pyrex over Teflon and mince my own cuts of meat using a hand-crank that my maternal granny got as a wedding present.
The clock in the living room gets wound once a week, as does the RAF fob-watch grandpa left me in his will.
I grind my own spices using a pestle and mortar, bake sourdough bread three or four times a week and grow a lot of our veg.
Often my work involves welding lead, shaping stone or joinering wood.
Sometimes I ride a 1965 KMZ K750 combination but generally I drive a 12yo VW Transporter.
I love using all that low tech kit, I really do.
I also love watching DVDs and satellite on a 37inch Sony Bravia tv, surfing t'interweb on a fairly new Powerbook, using a microwave oven to heat/defrost stuff, riding a 2009 Yamaha R1, listening to The Archers on a digital radio, heating our home with underfloor heating via a high efficiency condensing boiler etc..
The way I see it there's a lot to be said for old tech, but there's no point ignoring progress.
* such an old fart.
(, Sun 7 Nov 2010, 11:02, 8 replies)
More Amiga
The greatest game I ever played was X-Com Enemy unknown on the Amiga A1200.
I was excited the other day to find a PC emulator version, but it was not nearly as good.

Does anyone know of an Amiga emulator version?
A bit off topic, but I would be using the old tech if I could
(, Sun 7 Nov 2010, 9:26, 4 replies)

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