Are You Stuck With Obsolete Technology

| August 23, 2012

If you live on the bleeding edge of technology, you’re bound to get burned buying “the next big thing” at least once in your life. If you’re like me, however, you sit atop a pile of useless gadgets that once proclaimed to be game-changers and revolutionary in the tech industry. Look under your bed, in your closet or in your garage, and you’ll probably find some of these tech failures gathering dust.

video phone

HD DVD

It was a toss up at first, but Sony’s Blu-Ray emerged victorious in the hi definition DVD format wars a few years back. For months it remained uncertain who would prevail, as both sides pumped out hardware and media that supported their respective format. HD DVD had several months head start, but Toshiba’s player didn’t have a new gaming console to back it, and when Universal and Paramount ended their exclusivity with HD DVD, the format quickly died and Toshiba announced it would cease production, leaving thousands of people with HD DVD hardware and nothing to watch on it.

Gaming Consoles

Remember the 3DO console in the 1990’s, or the Atari Jaguar and the Sega Saturn? All were promising gaming systems that never took off. While Sega sold nearly 10 million units, they inexplicably announced they were folding up shop, leaving millions of users with nothing to play. These consoles had a fan base, but simply couldn’t compete with Nintendo and Sony in the console market.

Windows Vista

Aside from Windows ME, there hasn’t been a more despised Microsoft Operating System than Windows Vista, which left millions of users compelled to downgrade to Windows XP. Vista paved the way for Windows 7, arguably the best version of Windows to date. Those of us that couldn’t wait to buy and install the new OS were left shocked and embarrassed to be running Vista.

Video Phones

Imagine looking at a person, while talking to them on the phone. Amazingly, some of these units are still being sold, but it was a consumer fad that never really took off. There were never enough of these units in households, but it was an interesting idea, and just when it seemed like the idea might get some traction, along comes the iPhone, Skype and other Internet devices to squash the concept.

Satellite Radio

Music from space. Themed channels with fewer commercials. XM and Sirius battled for years for satellite radio supremacy until it seemed both companies would fail. The XM / Sirius merger in 2007 and automobile manufacturers agreeing to install the Sirius receiver in cars allow satellite radio to remain on life support a little while longer. Satellite radio is still somewhat popular, but with companies like Pandora and Spotify providing similar service for free, it’s only a matter of time before satellite radio comes crashing to Earth.

HP Touchpad

HP Touchpad, the iPad killer. Geez. HP dropped the Touchpad after only two months and lowered the price of the tablet to $100 in order to get rid of the remaining tablets. This all went down during HP’s identity crisis where the company a month later issued a report saving they were also shutting down their PC division. HP later came to their senses and said the PC division was alive and well. The HP Touchpad, however, remained dead.

If you’re stuck with technology that never took, don’t be ashamed. It’s people like us that influence companies to innovate and aspire to create new products for us to consume. Without us, there would be no smartphones. Without us, there would be no tablet computers. We inspire these companies because they realize they can, at the very least, sell their product to the frenzied masses of tech junkies waiting for their next fix. It still hurts, though, deep in that cold place in your gut where regret and resentment resides. But that’s okay, we have each other.

Are you a tech junkie stuck with obsolete gadgets? If so, let us know.

Category: Opinion

Dave

About the Author ()

Dave has been providing free computer repair and tech support advice online since 2002. Join us on our forums and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for weekly tips and other helpful computer articles. Connect with me on: Google+

Comments (16)

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  1. CBC says:

    NOPE. I’m NOT one of those people who buy the “newest fad”.
    I wait until the product has proven itself and the “bugs” are run out.

    Then…I buy….generally at a “discount” or get a “used” model.

    WHY waste Time and Money ?

  2. Brad says:

    I have 3 computers on Vista and 1 Win 7, but Vista never encouraged me to go back to XP. I never had a problem with Vista.

    Satellite radio? I love it. I have no knowledge of spotify offering this service but its about time there’s competition

    • Dave Dave says:

      I use Pandora on my smartphone that plugs into my car. I love it. Same theory with Satellite radio, but free. Of course you will not get the radio shows like Howard Stern or other personalities, but as far as music goes, it’s pretty close.

    • Matt says:

      I too have Vista on my desktop at home and have never had any significant problems with it. For the life of me I cannot figure out why there is such a negative opinion about Vista. We have Windows 7 on a laptop and they are so similar, at least for the user, that the differences are insignificant.

      • Dave Dave says:

        I think a lot of the problems arose from third-party hardware manufacturers that did not write drivers for Vista. When Vista came out, a lot of hardware–printers, sound cards, scanners, etc no longer worked and it angered consumers. Once the drivers caught up, things went much smoother.

      • herman says:

        I agree. Vista = Win 6.0 etc. Look at “7” = Win 6.1 etc. Just meaning that Win 7 = Vista without that rigid UAC.

  3. Rick says:

    I still use Vista today. I am reading your newsletter on it I am replying to you on it. Everybody thinks it is so bad. They had old machines that could not run it . I LIKE Vista. I have had no problems with it.

    • Dave Dave says:

      I was also one of those rare individuals that had no problems with Vista. Windows 7 is much leaner, though, so if you every get the chance to upgrade, you should consider it. Thanks!

  4. Peter says:

    We have 2 laptops, one of which is still running Vista without any problems. The other, my Sony Vaio, was upgraded to Windows 7 but there is no driver for the graphics card available in 7 so many features no longer work!

  5. Bob says:

    I detested Vista. It did not come pre-installed so I had to try to make it work with my PC which had been on XP.

    I had to buy and install a new sound card and fix some other stuff – but it never felt smooth.

    I’m now running 7 with no problems. (I’ve made a number of hardware upgrades on the original XP machine.)

    Getting shot of Vista was the happiest day of my life.

  6. Jerry says:

    I have HD DVD (which can still be used to upgrade DVD to near 1080p), Sega Saturn and two copies of Vista. I would not have upgraded to Win 7 if I had known then what I know now. Vista ran fine on both my desktop and laptop. Both had the hardware to handle it. None are being used now but I am considering hooking up the Saturn again because I don’t like the direction the next gen gaming consoles are going. I will avoid Win 8.

    • Dave Dave says:

      Jerry, at least you’re able to use some of the items on our list. Good to know the HD DVD player can still be used to upscale regular DVDs and that your Saturn is still working.

  7. David W says:

    As a system builder, I put Windows Vista Business on several of our own Intel systems which were new at the time. Not one of them made it to the end of the trial period before crashing and refusing to boot again. I believe we counted 7 times in a row total. Each and every time, the recovery DVD (OEM) was useless. The entire file system had become corrupted. The systems required a format to start over. We never sold a system with Vista on it. We’re still using those systems today with Windows 7, so the hardware configuration was not faulty.

    I absolutely love Windows 7. On the rare occasion that it did crash and refuse to boot, the recovery DVD worked perfectly.

    Another technology that I’d add to this list is the music hard drives.
    I bought a Creative Zen Nomad Jukebox with a 40GB drive to listen to what I want in my car, and immediately fell in love with the lossless formats played through my Alpine/MTX sound system. I’ve bought 3 more of these units via eBay, as Creative doesn’t make anything comparable anymore (and for that matter no one does). Now we’re stuck with iThis or iThat which is distorted through Apple’s sound mixers. Even Apple’s lossless formats are destroyed by the inbuilt sound mixers of their iPods. The alternative is to settle for lossy formats via USB. I’ll be in tears when my last Creative Zen Nomad Jukebox dies. Most people reading this will think they were a flop. But for us true audiophiles, there definitely was a niche market for such a thing. Too bad that just 1 company hadn’t decided to stick with it. :-(

    • Jack H says:

      With the time running Vista Betta and RC versions I seen that they were making progress. Like it was said above Vista was not end user frienly! Never had any poroblems with Vista other then drivers, My guess is that drivers are the cause of a crash in Vista.Windows 7 in my eyes was a Service Pack to Vista :-)

  8. I have been using Vista Ultimate since Nov 2007.What I felt about it that It is like a well oiled machine ever reliable and ever ready to run without a complaint.Recently one of my friends gifted me with a Win7 edition but I don’t see any necessity for the upgrade.