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Technology

Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up? 635

An anonymous reader writes: It's the year 2014, and I still have a floppy drive installed on my computer. I don't know why; I don't own any floppy disks, and I haven't used one in probably a decade. But every time I put together a PC, it feels incomplete if I don't have one. I also have a Laserdisc player collecting dust at the bottom of my entertainment center, and I still use IRC to talk to a few friends. Software, hardware, or otherwise, what technology have you had a hard time letting go? (I don't want to put a hard limit on age, so you folks using flip-phones or playing on Dreamcasts or still inexplicably coding in Perl 4, feel free to contribute.)
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Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

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  • Pretty old? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by newcastlejon (1483695) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:16PM (#47787839)
    The wheel is pretty old; I don't think I'd want to give up that.
  • Local storage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jenningsthecat (1525947) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:17PM (#47787845)

    They'll pry that from my cold dead fingers.

    I use POP3, so I can have local copies of all emails. I keep messages on the server too, so it's easy to sync up several machines - that way I can have them on both my notebook and my desktop. All my music is local, and I keep local copies of any videos, documents, etc. that I care about. Occasionally I even save Web pages as HTML so I can have access to the content even after it changes in or disappears from the wild.

    As far as I'm concerned The Cloud is a sometimes-convenient augmentation to local storage, not a replacement for it.

  • Re:Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peragrin (659227) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:20PM (#47787861)

    I never did like vi. to damn complicated to remember all the shortcuts. Pico worked well when i needed to save or change something it was always obvious what key needed to be pressed and it allowed me to stop and think to avoid needlessly long run on sentences that users of vi tended to devote long hours to perfecting the stream of thought typing ignoring the simple fact that puncheon is important too.

    Yes that was done on purpose.

  • Email (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kris_J (10111) * on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:22PM (#47787887) Homepage Journal
    I would have thought plain old email is the number one pick in this list. We're all stuck on it even though it's been around for, what, 30 years?
  • by nmb3000 (741169) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:25PM (#47787911) Journal

    Firefox 28 (with tabs-on-bottom if you please), Windows 7, and Linux with Gnome 2 (aka MATE).

    I'm basically just holding out with old (or "old") software to avoid the current plague of horrible user interface design. The entire "UX designer" movement we're seeing right now is nothing more than a user-hostile circle jerk, doing the perpetuating the same ideas because everyone else is doing it. It's frankly a cancer upon computing, and my only hope is that we eventually see enough pushback from users that the morons at Mozilla, Microsoft, Google and elsewhere realize their mistake, fire all the useless UX blowhards, go back to real usability studies, and let us all get on with a life where we won't always worry that clicking "update" will almost certainly royally fuck everything up.

  • IRC (Score:5, Insightful)

    by starseeker (141897) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:26PM (#47787927) Homepage

    IRC is still used as a major form of (semi) real time collaborative tool in free software development. Freenode remains hard to beat for this purpose, and I don't really see it changing anytime soon. It's not so much a question of not giving it up as seeing no compelling reason to replace a (very nicely) working solution to the problem.

  • Remember these? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:26PM (#47787929)

    Zip drives. Still used for confidential stuff.

  • Hard to say... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by frank_adrian314159 (469671) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:36PM (#47788017) Homepage

    Shoes, I guess - my feet get too cold and drop off in the winter, otherwise.

  • by Dutch Gun (899105) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:44PM (#47788083)

    Yeah, completely with you there. I'm fine with the anti-skeumorphic trend - it's silly to continue to make things look like now decidedly old-school real-life countparts for it's own sake. But why did color, gradients, gloss, and borders have to go as well?

    Now we have flat, borderless, and ugly designs all over the place, and what's worse, I've found these UIs more difficult to use, not less, because you're often left guessing as to where buttons begin or end, or what even is clickable/pushable. A lot of the visual elements removed were important visual cues that simply got tossed out the window.

  • Re: slashdot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JazzHarper (745403) on Friday August 29, 2014 @08:13PM (#47788287) Journal

    people will believe that Einstein said it.

  • Re:My watch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Friday August 29, 2014 @11:56PM (#47789275)

    I still wear a wristwatch. I've worn one constantly since I was 10. I'll probably be buried with one.

    To me, a wristwatch is an essential tool. I give talks, teach classes, run meetings -- and I find it really annoying to do these things without bringing my analog watch.

    Many rooms do not have visible clocks when I'm doing these things. But if I'm trying to run a class or give a talk or run a meeting on a schedule, I need to know what time it is. On the other hand, I don't want to make it look like I'm continuously checking the time, because that tends to make audiences nervous or anxious or feel bored or think you're bored or whatever.

    Say I'm teaching a class. If the room doesn't have a visible clock, what are my options?

    (1) Consult a classroom computer, if there is one. Well, some classrooms might not have one, but even if they do, usually a screensaver or something will turn off the monitor. So I need to go over and hit the spacebar (or worse, login) everytime I need to check the time. Yes, I could reconfigure the computer, but I may not have an account on it, it may be shared, etc.

    (2) I could use my phone. But again we have the screen off problem. If I leave my phone on the desk, I'll still need to go turn it on to check the time, and it looks like I'm "checking my phone" (for messages, whatever). Not a good message to send to the students when I tell them I don't want to see *them* doing that. If it's in my pocket, I don't need to walk to it, but it's even more noticeable when I pull it from my pocket and turn the screen on briefly. I might be able to set my phone screen to stay on, but that wastes a lot of battery.

    (3) I could bring along a tiny desk clock or something, but why do that when I already can just have one available on my wrist (which is probably even smaller and less obtrusive)?

    (4) I can take my analog wristwatch off and set it down in a central location to where I'm presenting from. With an analog clockface, I can easily tell the time from just about any angle (not true of computer screens or phone screens), maybe 10-15 feet away (where I wouldn't necessarily be able to read a digital watch). And it's already on my wrist, so I don't need to remember to bring extra equipment. Even if I keep it on my wrist, it's usually less obtrusive to check the time than walking to some computer or pulling out a phone.

    Basically, if you want to know what time it is in a room where there's no visible clock, but you don't want to necessarily signal to everyone else that you're constantly checking the time, a watch is a pretty ideal solution.

  • Re:Simple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @05:31AM (#47790045) Journal
    I enjoyed that article, but it's worth noting that vi actually is standard [opengroup.org].

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