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80,258 News Articles

10 obsolete technologies that refuse to die

From fax machines to typewriters

These obsolete technologies didn't get the memo about their extinction -maybe because someone wrote it on a typewriter and faxed it to them.

9. Cathode ray tubes

Cathode ray tubes have all but disappeared from offices, living rooms, and retail shelves. Yet more than 90 million CRTs were sold last year, says an MIT report - almost all of them to Asia and Latin America.

Why? Because they are both durable and cheap, and - guess what? - they still offer higher-quality pictures than LCDs and plasma sets, according to the image calibration experts at DisplayMate. Also in high demand: old, discarded CRTs, because their lead-lined glass is needed for manufacturing new ones.

10. CB Radios

Though not as wildly popular as they were, thousands of Citizens Band radios are sold each year.

Geeky greybeards will remember that the first CompuServe chat forum was called 'CB Simulator'. From there it's easy to draw a direct line to today's chat, IM, and Twitter clients. Still, in the era of ubiquitous 24/7 communication, CB radios are a relic, argues Jim Gardner, president of marketing consultancy Strategy 180, who bought his first Cobra CB radio in 1977 (his handle is 'Moonshiner').

"Although not 10-17 (urgent), my 10-20 (position) on the issue is that given that the peak of CB radios' mainstream adoption coincided with bell bottoms, disco, and orange shag carpeting, the advent of push-to-talk mobile phones should have buried this icon of bad Burt Reynolds films years ago," he says.

"After all, some conversations are simply better 10-21 (on the phone). 10-4, good buddy?"

Though we take exception to the "bad Burt Reynolds films" swipe (Smokey and the Bandit and Cannonball Run are minor classics), we tend to agree: It's time to bring the hammer down.

See also: The 40 best dying or dead technologies

  1. From fax machines to typewriters
  2. Fax machines
  3. Cash registers
  4. Cathode ray tubes

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