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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/11324/10-obsolete-technologies-to-kill-in-2010/

10 obsolete technologies to kill in 2010

December 26, 2009 by

Mike Elgan of Computerworld
gives us his list.

{ 15 comments }

jon December 26, 2009 at 12:40 pm

the article oversimplifies on the subject of land-lines. these are vital back-up to an increasingly centralized cell system that cannot route you to emergency services when you most need an alibi: something bad has happened and the police are coming to “help” whether you like it or not, so you’d better the one to make the call first.

the land-line makes sure your call gets to the local “authorities” without state or federal interference (unless your lines are wiretapped). in almost any situation, barring some local feud, these are the folks you want responding, so they’ll tell the rest to sod off. even when the grid otherwise fails, the copper loop carries its own voltage to keep the lines open.

if anything, someone should buy up land-line systems in small towns, upgrade them to carry voice and data at modern speeds, and sell this as “buying local” for communications services. even power-over-ethernet (PoE) has been done; there’s no loss of the marketability for emergencies. it can be seamlessly delivered alongside the new fashion of town-wide wireless internet and creates very large blind spots to pit the community against fascist outcroppings such as the MPAA and RIAA whilst potentially putting large balances in front of tier 2 providers, possibly convincing them to stop cooperating with such bottom feeding cartels.

Jonathan Finegold Catalán December 26, 2009 at 2:07 pm

I got rid of my land line about six months ago, and it was the worst decision I’ve made. It was great until this month, where my cell phone service went down and now I am phoneless. Land lines are great and important backup phones.

And, sorry, I like to buy the CD of the artist I like.

Donavan December 26, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Arg. A list made by someone who thinks everyone has a sufficiently deep pocket, and access to relatively advanced resources.

#1. Yes, fax machines are annoying. However, I still use them for one purpose: to send a signed document. A fax preserves the signature, and a copy of the document that was signed. Can this be done with a scanner and email? Absolutely, especially since many document managers end up scanning it at the other end anyways. However, there are still 2 obstacles that still make fax machines more popular:

1. Scanners for large enterprises are cumbersome to work with relative to a fax machine (most require that you type your email on a less than helpful touchscreen). This can, and should be solved with a couple of standards to networked document systems.

2. Fax machines are still far cheaper to own and operate than an equivalent document machine. Consider, a small business can stretch a fax machines to last 7 years, while multifunction printers are lucky to get 5, average three (especially after the model goes end of sale!). This is harder to solve, as it requires more and better standardization, which has been hard to come by (the world was supposed to be on PostScript 10 years ago!).

#2. First, car manufacturers have been putting AC outlets in cars for a while now. Excepting that, AC outlets in a car are expensive relative to a car plug. Inverters with decent output aren’t cheap. A wire to an existing 12V DC system is. USB is a nice idea, but is limited in power for devices like air pumps (maybe the author lives in an area where he’s guaranteed AAA service in 5 minutes?). Lastly, people wanting to charge things like cell phones and laptops generally don’t want a large brick (to convert back to DC!), or long cords when they are in a car or other transport. Therefore, those people would end up buying specialized chargers for their car anyways. Maybe people would be better served by a multifunction outlet in a car that serves several different voltages for various equipment, with better contact area and resilience to things like dimes falling in, etc. However, even that change is expensive given that people would have to buy new adapters. So it’s just not economical. That why it hasn’t been done.

3. Most web sites respond with or without the www, and browsers use both. So what’s there to obsolete? (As an aside, he said that http:// is gone, but evidently he doesn’t use IE with non-standard ports like 8080, which requires it be tacked back on. Maybe he should talk about fixing that and obsoleting that in 2010?)

#4. Find me a real fast way to exchange contact information with someone I’ve met at a conference without a business card, and we can get rid of them in 2010. And no, emailing or calling on the fly isn’t good enough (ever heard of caching? I want to fill my memory buffers (my pocket) without having to stop and process what I’ve just received right then.).

5. And if I live in BFE with a hughesnet connection, do I have to buy all of my data? And what if I want faster response time than what NetFlix can get me? Rental stores still fill a valuable niche in the economy. Now, I do think that the traditional rental stores may end up being replaced by RedBox.

6. So I have to buy an expensive phone just to run my DVD player and TV? Give me a break. What we should obsolete are a bunch of remotes, and replace then with a truly universal remote. It’s not that hard. Hell, even a simple universal remote that doesn’t requires code mappings for my devices would be good.

7. Maybe I like my internet data to go over a copper pair instead of the overly restrictive coax lines. If you get a landline for internet, might as well get live phone service for it, not to mention all of the emergency service features you get (911, alarm system callin, etc). I honestly trust POTS more than most residential scale ISPs. (I can imagine my house getting broken into and the alarm company being unable to transmit the “SEND COPS!” signal because Comcast thought it was BitTorrent).

9. Ahh, the only thing that I actually agree with. I just don’t see the utility anymore. In a time where there was a void between content and means a few years ago, this made sense. Now, this is nothing more than a paid content stream. Keep the content, find cheaper transmission mechanisms so you can actually be profitable (It’s telling that there is now only one company offering the service, and that company has a huge problem with its balance sheet).

10. There’s a semi-point here. However, there are many cases when you have to determine city or county affiliation, and 5-digit ZIP is too broad, and people don’t remember a 9 digit zip. Sites needing it could get real smart and ask only if needed, but that’s usually too much logic and potential for error than just getting the city and state in the first place.
And double-typing email address ensures that you will receive the confirmation email, and so it likely reduces the cost of data entry mistakes. The authors slight annoyance is probably less costly to a business than phone calls and emails from registrants that didn’t type their email correctly.

BioTube December 26, 2009 at 6:59 pm

For somebody talking about the future, he manages to slam his face straight into the floor on the first one: efax programs have been around for over ten years; something faxed doesn’t ever have to be on paper. Two betrays so much ignorance about cars; three is already personal taste; four is just so braindead I want to pull my hair out: business cards are great for when you want to trade information swiftly since no data entry is involved at that time(and we use them frequently with new potential clients); five is happening; six is again demonstration of a critical lack of research; seven is just tempting fate; eight ignored the fact that downloads tend to be in a LOSSY format; nine is this blind dog’s bone; ten fails to consider the fact that city, state AND zip code are required by the USPS and so most people are used to giving them out together, not to mention the usefulness of being able to catch typographical mistakes before they’re committed forever.

All in all, this guy really needs to think about how things work in the real world, rather than how he wants them to work(I bet he decries use of customary units).

Sovy Kurosei December 26, 2009 at 8:44 pm

I tried going to computerworld.com but I get redirected to http://www.computerworld.com

Most of the technologies he wants to go away doesn’t even affect him either way, like fax machines, landlines, music CDs, movie rental stores and satellite radio. He really believes that just because he doesn’t find a use for some piece of technology or infrastructure that nobody else does.

Chad Rushing December 26, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Regarding the author’s comment on #1 about the legitimacy of hardcopies, once all news, correspondence, and other paperwork have all been converted to digital softcopies, it will be ridiculously easy for the powers that be to rewrite history, revise contracts, alter laws, and put words into people’s mouths retroactively. Eat your heart out, Winston Smith and Napoleon the Pig!

Regarding #2, the author must know very few people who smoke (I’m not a smoker) or is somehow ignoring the tens of millions of working electric devices in existence that require a traditional cigarette lighter to be used.

Regarding #5, good luck getting a copy of a movie to watch from NetFlix on the spur of the moment when all the rental stores have been closed down. RedBox is the right way to go with automated rentals for a buck all over town, and I can make a round trip to the nearest RedBox machine in about fifteen minutes. Yes, NetFlix can stream movies online, but plenty of us are still completely content with our inexpensive DVD players and our traditional TVs.

Regarding #7, when there is a power outage during a catastrophe, all the people who ditched their landlines for mobile phones will be up the creek without a signal. Anyone who tells you that mobile phone networks are as reliable as POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) must be trying to sell you a mobile phone contract. I say that as someone who worked in R&D for mobile phone systems for over a decade and was on call to respond to daily (hourly?) system outages worldwide for at least one year of it.

Regarding #8, MP3 files are to CDs what digital money is to precious metal coins, and I don’t have to worry about someone remotely deleting Orwell’s books off of the bookcase in my living room like what happened with Kindle. ‘nough said.

If issues like having to use a separate remote control are the greatest trials the author is facing in his life, it must be an absolute breeze. What a spoiled, impatient bunch of people we have in our modern society who want technology to do everything for them and do it within ten seconds. The slothful humans depicted in the Pixar movie Wall-E immediately come to mind.

William H Stoddard December 26, 2009 at 10:09 pm

(1) If three out of four American households still have landlines, they aren’t obsolete. And frankly, I’m a bit tired of being pushed ahead into technological change at a faster pace than I would choose for myself. It was annoying enough to deal with the analog-to-digital TV changeover, which cost me two broadcast channels to insufficient signal strength; it would have been better for the FCC to let the upward trend in digital sets continue for a few years and the broadcasters were actively seeking to abandon sending old-fashioned analog signals, especially given what a mess the changeover was.

Besides, my DSL connection is through my phone lines. Are we supposed to channel all Internet access through cell phones, too?

Russ December 27, 2009 at 7:23 am

Shouldn’t the market just decide what technologies are obsolete, and which aren’t? Why the need for techno-fascism?

Mike Wagner December 27, 2009 at 10:37 am

I love Sirius XM. I live on a boat and would otherwise have no radio at all. With the XM service, I not only get over 100 consistent stations, I also get up to date weather data sent directly to my GPS navigation unit, even when I am out of range of any cell phone service. Don’t get rid of the satellite!
I don’t “travel into the wilds,” I LIVE in the wilds.

Steve R. December 27, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Instead of going out of our way to “kill” an obsolete technology, how about proactive actions for adopting certain “standard” technologies. For example, MP3 and JPG are “bad” technologies since they are lossy. We should encourage the use of lossless technologies such as FLAC.

Also focusing on standards and reducing the number of competing technologies will make the operation of our programs/computers much more reliable and productive. The “bad” technologies will eventually fall by the wayside.

Alexander S. Peak December 27, 2009 at 4:42 pm

I like CDs! I plan to start buying them again when I cease being poor. And I have nothing against the business card, either.

But I definitely agreed with doing away with wwws. They’re useless, cumbersome, annoying, and ugly.

Alex

Glen December 27, 2009 at 11:25 pm

Haven’t had a land line for almost ten years and have considered my cell phone my primary number for a couple of more years before I dropped the land line. Never had any issues although the technology is far from ready to take over all land line requirements and when it is, they will just drive out the land lines organically. I use business cards for networking events, prospecting and social reasons. These are not contacts I ‘pre-plan’.

Shay December 28, 2009 at 12:27 am

Steve R., even FLAC is lossy in that the digitized version of the original audio loses information; 16-bit, 48 kHz audio is already a compromise between cost and quality. The question is simply whether the information lost is important for the application, and if so, whether avoiding all loss is worth the cost. MPEG and JPG both allow control over the tradeoff between quality and compactness, and in many cases, using a “non-lossy” encoding would make the files unreasonably large to transfer.

scott t December 28, 2009 at 1:36 am

“the land-line makes sure your call gets to the local “authorities” without state or federal interference (unless your lines are wiretapped).”

huh? hi-patrol” a local-state authority?
they log where the call came from when dailing?

Universal Connectivity Fee (Universal Service Fund (USF) ), Federal: …… $0.50

Federal Excise Tax, Federal: ………………………………………………………….. $2.25

just who makes sure no interefence is made? some mystery authority?

the goddman police calle dme back on my cell phone.

try to hold off on stupid comments please

Vanmind December 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm

In this current climate where would-be global slavemasters are scheming to destroy the internet — the major source of credible information to counter what lies/frauds those same would-be slavemasters demand via the MSM that you take to heart as gospel — it is unwise to suggest the elimination of either fax machines (used quite effectively toward the end of the USSR for disseminating important anti-state information) or land lines (a built-in backup system for retrograde BBS-style data exchange).

Besides, who cares what some punter thinks “should be killed” in the technology sphere? Let markets decide what lives and what dies.

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