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Paying Respects at the Tech Cemetery

As you may have heard, WebOS is dead.  Or not.  Okay, the OS isn’t dead, but HP isn’t going to make the hardware anymore.  No more Pre phones, no more Veers, no more TouchPads.  Now, it wasn’t too hard to figure out that WebOS devices weren’t setting the world afire — how many Pres have YOU seen in the wild? — but if you were one of the people who bought a WebOS device and loved it and waited patiently for Palm, and then HP, to get developers in line to create more apps, you’re probably feeling sad and even a little betrayed right now.  The only chance for the OS to move forward is for someone else to license it.  Line forms to the right.  No pushing.

But if that’s you, you’re not alone.  There have been other tech products that came and went and left loyalists feeling that they’d backed the wrong horse.  Game consoles, of course, were like that from the beginning — anyone have a Colecovision in the attic? — and there were laserdiscs and quad stereos and many other examples of tech products that, while they weren’t necessarily bad at all, didn’t last.

I know all about this.  My family had Betamax.


Yup, we had Beta machines in the early days of VCRs.  Everyone else had VHS.  For a while, it was okay, because Beta was technically fine and the video rental stores had both formats.  It wasn’t long, however, before those small video cassettes began to disappear from the rental store, then the blank tapes went away, and then Beta became a punch line.  Ha, ha.  Of course, we eventually capitulated and bought VHS, then DVD.  Not Blu-ray, though.  I get that Beta feeling about Blu-ray.  (A friend of mine had HD-DVD.  THAT’S a collector’s item)

What else is in my collection of Tech of the Living Dead?  I have a Zip drive, still functional (if, that is, you have a printer port on your computer and a cable to connect it), lightly used.  I have several Palm Treos, including the black-and-white job with the flip-up top.  My current cell phone runs Windows Mobile 6.1 (I’m stuck on Sprint and waiting for the iPhone or an acceptable Android to come along).  These things all work, but they’re as archaic as the Sega Genesis I still have in a box in the garage, waiting for me to suddenly have the craving to play Motley Crue pinball or Tony LaRussa Baseball.

What’s in your Dead Tech pile?  What white elephants are gathering dust in your closet (or are still in service, drawing derision from your friends, like my brick of a cell phone)?  Talk about ’em in the comments.

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  1. Rachel Cutler says:

    I too have a zip drive out there somewhere. I gave ye olde treo I had to a very tech conscious toddler who loves to push buttons especially on mommy’s feature phone (now in a drawer). I still have my first all-in-one Apple computing product the Macinotsh Performa 5200 complete with Myst, American McGees Alice, and the 13 disk 3.5″ floopy series of Start Trek screen saver for OS 7.5.

  2. Will says:


    One of the MANY podcasts I listen to is the Engadget Mobile podcast. Myriam Joire, one of the hosts, gave the Photon an 8 and said that had it a slightly better camera (and don’t take this in a bad way; she is a major camera freak, she wants a perfect camera, not a good-very good one), it would have recieved a 9, and that it is the best smartphone on Sprint right now.

    My advice: go try out the Photon. And the review I’m referencing is here:

    (Side note, I just got back from a week long vacation in Canada, and I have not had a chance to read this entire review. But like I said, I have heard her talk about it on the podcast.)

  3. Reyna says:

    Haha, I think there’s still a zip drive lying around my house somewhere.

    And I totally recently upgraded from a Windows Mobile 6.1 phone to the Nexus S. Oh, Sprint. How I love thee.

    In WebOS related news, I just bought a VERY discounted HP TouchPad. I really hope they bring WebOS back, though. It was such a simple, consumer-friendly OS that wasn’t iOS or Android. (Or BlackBerry, if you can call those simple and consumer-friendly.)

  4. Matt says:

    I was cleaning my parents attic out last week and found a Commodre Vic 20 with Casette deck. My dad was going crazy thinking that he was sitting on some sort of gold mine with this ancient computer you could buy at Canadian Tire. I don;t think it ever worked from my recollection, we bought it at a yard sale.

  5. Dave says:

    The Zip drive was a massive success compared to the Jaz drive. It offered a whole 1GB of storage in what was basically a hard disk mechanism, but not sealed at all. They typically only lasted a few months at best before dying due to dust particles and general low quality. I wasted hundreds of dollars on them.

  6. Chad H says:

    I still use my old palm centro had a treo before that, both bought when they came out new. My dell laptop is going on 5+ years now. Those are the oldest things I’ve kept. When my stuff gets old and I don’t use it anymore I give it away or toss it.

  7. Totty says:

    @Jason G: Dots! I still have my Electronic Quarterback [] ; better than Mattel Football [] because it had 4 rows instead of 3, and 2 blockers instead of 1. And passing – did Mattel’s have passing?).

    Hey, you can play on your iPhone:

  8. Scott W says:

    How about an Apple IIGS Woz Edition. Talk about backing the wrong product! But now I’m back to Apple, seems things have come full circle. Also have a Zip drive, & a Jazz drive, all working, at least last time I had something to plug them into. Oh, then there’s my Dell Axim X50v…

  9. Jason G says:

    The oldest tech I have is my still functional Mattel Baseball and Basketball games. Little red dots of childhood diversion. These kids today with their… 3D and their… cinematic cutscenes!! We had DOTS!! #I’m old

    I love my PS3 and Blu-Ray. I hope you’re beta feeling is wrong about that.

  10. Chris C. says:

    Speaking of Printer Ports, I used to have so many devices which used printer ports, I had a 4 channel switching station so that I didn’t have to keep swapping out cables. I still have that thing in my misc tech box upstairs… no idea why I’ve kept it!

    I was also devistated 5 year ago when my dad threw out the old Apple IIe. I loved that green screen of pure happiness… it still worked, too! We fired it up just before he tossed it to see, and played a few rounds of a dungeon crawler just for fun. You can go North, South, or Dennis…

  11. Travis B says:

    I was the worst at owning game systems, Sega Master System then TurboGraphix 16 then Genesis. I switched to PC gaming until PS2 came around so I could redeem myself.

    Other than gaming, one word. ZUNE

  12. Jilliana says:

    When I was a kid, not only did we have a laser disc player, but we had an Action Max, the ridiculous VHS gaming system that lasted long enough to release five titles and (being VHS based) was too repetitive for even 6-year-old me to play for very long.

    I’m not sure if it’s that I’ve learned from my parents technology mistakes or that I’m just too lazy to early adopt, but I haven’t made too many of my own, save for the T-Mobile Sidekick I carried around for a few years.

  13. Greyawl says:

    My Turbografix 16 is plugged into my HDTV for my pinball jones.

  14. Geek Gazette says:

    Sega Master System, Discman, Zip drive, 3.5 floppies & my Windows PDA loved ’em all at the time, but I have since quit being an early adopter. Now I give it a year or so to let things settle down. Otherwise I’d be the proud owner of an HD-DVD right now. I was sure that it would beat Blu-ray because I got the Betamax vibe from Blu-ray. For now I’m sticking with my DVDs and streaming video.

  15. geekzapoppin says:

    I have a Colecovision, Laserdisc player, CED player, 16mm projector, and a Zip drive.

    Laserdiscs are still cool, dammit! 🙂

  16. AmyK says:

    Also, my dad still has his old laser disc player in the garage. I’m pretty sure he still has the Top Gun laser disc, too.

  17. AmyK says:

    Oh god, Zip drives. I had one of those! What’s still in my possession from tech fads past? A CD player with — wait for it — ANTI-SKIP TECHNOLOGY. That’s the good stuff, folks. And a Sony MiniDisc player before MP3 players came along and just made the entire concept of MiniDiscs look absurd.

  18. Alicia says:

    I still have sooooo many 3.5 floppy disks lying around my office. We actually still have lighting equipment that uses them though. I’m stocking up just in case. 🙂

  19. Not crazy about the HTCs- my experience has been that they tend to overheat and have battery issues (and I’ve seen evidence that the Evos both have that problem); my present HTC melted the finish off the battery lid.

    The Nexus S 4G is single-core, no expandability. I like the pure Android, but I’m not crazy about the hardware.

    Haven’t played with the Photon yet, and the next Samsung looks like it could be good. But none are totally on point. I’ll see if the iPhone comes out for Sprint by October; if not, I’ll go with whatever the best Android option will be…

  20. PSpeed42 says:

    In my basement, I have a shrine to my Amiga 1000.

  21. TheGuy says:

    Waiting for an acceptable android? Sprint has a great line-up of phones: the Photon, Nexus s 4G, Evo3D, and the original Evo4G all rock!

  22. Cinders says:

    Sega Dreamcast, Discman and a b&w palm that I never really used

  23. ernster says:

    the memory mini-consoles for the dreamcast. they sucked out battery life and made the controller even bulkier. good idea, bad implementation.

  24. PJenks says:

    I bought a Sega Masters system with my allowance and then watched as all of my friends got to play Zelda, Mario, and Metroid. Even then it was all about the apps.

  25. Kevin P says:

    I still have a macintosh (that I used to play pacman on) somewhere in my garage.

  26. Totty says:

    I have a Tan case Osborne 1 which, last time we checked about 10 years ago, still worked (once we remembered we had to insert a system floppy – no hard drive!).

    Just threw out my perfectly functional Palm Vx and folding keyboard.