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25 technology products: gone but not forgotten

These classics will be forever in our memories

We've rounded up the 25 best tech products that may be long gone, but we'll never forget them. How have they managed to hang on for so long?

VCR Plus+

What it was
Starting in the early 1990s, the redundantly named VCR Plus+ (known as VideoPlus in the UK) was built into VCRs and available as an add-on in the form of a special remote control to simplify programming a video recorder by letting you punch in codes that appeared in TV listings.

What happened
VCR Plus+'s fortunes were dependent on the fortunes of the VCR. As the 1990s wore on, consumers spent less time using their video recorders. By the noughties Sky+ and PVRs allowed TV fans to record hours of shows without dealing with tapes at all.

Current whereabouts
VCR Plus+ is now owned by Macrovision, a company more famous for technologies that prevent people from recording entertainment than ones that help them do so. Sadly the codes are no longer available in TV listings and I'm not sure whether anyone's still making VCRs with the function.

Circuit City

What it was
A chain of US consumer-electronics superstores with roots that went back to 1949. For a time in the 1990s, it was the most high-profile technology merchant in America.

What happened
Best Buy launches, which combined with misguided decisions like laying off experienced salespeople and replacing them with cheaper clueless newbies. Not to mention the fact that almost every major electronics retailer eventually falls on hard times and liquidates itself - it seems to go with the territory.

Current whereabouts
In the US, Circuit City is no longer but its Canadian subsidiary, The Source by Circuit City, remains a 750-store powerhouse. The chain has recently been sold again, but Bell Canada - the buyer says it'll keep the name.

Egghead Software

What it was
A US chain of software stores with an odd name and an even odder mascot (Professor Egghead, an Albert Einstein-lookalike egg).

What happened
Like most tech retailers, Egghead eventually fell on hard times; in 1998, it shuttered its stores and went online only. In 2001 it declared bankruptcy and closed the site, too (bad publicity after hackers broke into its customer database apparently speeded its demise).

Current whereabouts
Even after the business collapsed, the Egghead name was worth something - $6.1 million, which is what Amazon paid for it in 2001. Amazon continues to sell software at Egghead.com. It's basically the software section of Amazon's own site, but it does sport an Egghead logo, just in case any loyal customers are out there who aren't aware that Egghead folded eight years ago. Sadly, the Professor is nowhere to be seen.

  1. These classics will be forever in our memories
  2. Hayes modems and the Mini Disc
  3. Monochrome displays and Hercules graphics cards
  4. PDA's and Packard Bell
  5. Amiga and Floppy disks
  6. Zip disks and the Z80 microprocessor
  7. dBASE and Netscape
  8. MS-Dos and Lotus 1-2-3
  9. PageMaker and After Dark
  10. Havard Graphics and AltaVista
  11. Webvan and CompuServe
  12. VCR Plus+ and Circuit City

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