Ten Technologies That Refuse To Die
An interesting article from MIT's Technology Review. Before looking, can you guess what any of the are (hint: paper is not one of them)?
Paper and bytes are the classic example. In the early 1980s, at the dawn of the PC age, high-volume electronic storage and transmission—360-kilobyte floppy disks! 14-kilobit-per-second modems!—were supposed to make paper superfluous and forests safe. Hah. Electronic data just begat more paper copies. Writers who used to carefully mark corrections on pecked-out manuscripts began printing out one revised version after another. Web surfers started printing out whatever looked interesting. Having data on-screen didn't stop people from wanting to read it, share it, and store it on paper.
Like paper, the 10 technologies that follow have seemingly been surpassed and superseded at one time or other, written off as road kill on the highway of progress. But reports of their demise have proved greatly exaggerated. All have survived, and some have thrived, in their supposed obsolescence—not as cult artifacts (everything from buggy whips to eight-tracks has its fans and collectors), but because they fill real needs that their more sophisticated successors don't.
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