As the saying goes: 'nostalgia ain't what it used to be'. Some elderly technologies produce a sigh of fond recollection. Once-loved software programs, desktops and tech toys have all fallen by the wayside over the past 20 years. But there's a flip side to those fond memories: the products and technologies that went away because they were rubbish. And we're really glad they're gone.
In this article we cheer the demise of tech stuff that used to get in our way but no longer presents a barrier. These technologies remind us that times have changed, and that sometimes change really is for the better. The world has been improved, now that we don't have to explicitly mess with memory management or press RAM into the motherboard One. Chip. At. A. Time.
Just as we hoped, the industry gradually found better ways to solve hardware challenges and to integrate software that (we always knew) ought to just work without human - or divine - intervention.
My list omits technologies that started out clunky but got better over time. For example, early CD-ROM "solutions" were disasters whose correct installation could provide the sole income for a computer-consulting firm. However, everyone knew that CD-ROM technology inevitably would get smaller, faster, cheaper and integrated into the hardware and operating system.
I also ignore individual hall-of-shamers (yes, that means you, Microsoft Bob) to put my attention on general hardware and software troublemakers that are now blessedly unnecessary.
Hall of shame: seven late and unlamented technologies
- Hand-tuned memory management
- Single-tasking operating systems
- Dial-up modems
- Dot-matrix printers
- Luggable PCs
- Low-density storage
- PCs with 1,001 options