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The 40 best dying or dead technologies

A spirited send-off for the best tech of yesteryear


Technology evolves at a breakneck speed, which means today's most-used technology could just be a fleeting memory by tomorrow. We've rounded up 40 once-commonplace activities that are rapidly approaching extinction.

22. Storing data on a floppy disk

Status: Nearly deceased

A disk with 1.44MB of storage? yeah, right. The once-standard protocol for storing and transferring data seems puny by today's file-size standards. (And don't even get started with the truly floppy 5.25in variety.)

Few new PCs are being built with floppy disk drives anymore; and as a result, the era of the A:\ prompt is in its twilight. As for the Zip drive, Iomega may still say it sells 'em - but is anyone buying it?

23. Booting up to a C:\ Prompt

Status: Nearly deceased

DOS, we'll always fondly remember seeing your blinking prompt upon boot-up. Rest in peace, dear friend.

24. Typing on an old-school word processor

Status: Deceased

Let's face it: Doogie Howser wouldn't have been nearly as endearing if he had typed his nightly journal on Microsoft Office 2010. But boy, that plain blue-and-white screen just screams '1991'.

25. Having your mobile phone attached to your car

Status: Deceased

I remember those early mobile phones that mechanics installed in people's cars. What I can't remember, though, is what today's important-looking Bluetooth-always-in-the-ear guys did to make themselves look like idiots back then.

26. Putting in a videotape to watch a movie

Status: On life support

Dearly beloved, we gather here today to mourn the passing of VHS.

The lucky twin of the long-deceased Betamax (whose cause of death remains a source of controversy decades later), VHS gave us hours of videotape-watching enjoyment - and almost as many hours of trying to adjust the blasted tracking knob to get a steady picture.

27. Holding up a lighter at a concert

Status: Showing signs of illness

Listening to a power ballad in a dimly lit stadium without a sea of gently undulating lighters for company is like spending time at Twitter without a sea of social media experts offering their insights and informed criticism: Something about it doesn't feel right.

Sure, holding up thousands of illuminated mobile phones might be safer - but even if the phones have virtual lighter apps installed, it just isn't the same.

28. Watching a movie on a Laser Disc

Status: Deceased

The only proof that anyone ever actually watched movies on laser disc is the (at this writing) 5282 entries posted on eBay by people trying to dump their LDs. But whether fact or fiction, the technology is definitely obsolete now.

29. Using proper grammar and punctuation

Status: On life support

Txting has made proper grammar seems kinda old skool, dont u thnk? heres hoping 4 capitalisation & punctuation 2 make a comeback in emails & other writing. the gr8 gatsby probly wuld hv been way less gr8 if it wuz written like this. lol.

30. Getting a new car with a cigarette lighter

Status: Showing signs of illness

Built-in cigarette lighters - standard-issue accessories for many nicotine-friendly decades - are losing favor among car manufacturers. In fact, most new cars today ship cigarette lighter-free, instead dedicating the ports to electronics charging.

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NEXT PAGE: Flipping on an incandescent light bulb

  1. They're now nearly obsolete
  2. Chatting with the SysOp
  3. Checking your answering machine
  4. Storing data on a floppy disk
  5. Flipping on an incandescent light bulb
  6. Sending documents via fax


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