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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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  • Simple (Score:5, Funny)

    by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:05PM (#47787727)
    [Puts on fire resist gear]
    vi. Because emacs is for the devil.
    • Re:Simple (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jaymz666 ( 34050 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:10PM (#47787791)

      that war is over, and vi won

      Now, as to interviewing people for IT, who will be working on *nix, asking "emacs or vi" used to be a teasing question, now you're lucky if they know what one or both are.

      • 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.

        • Re:Simple (Score:4, Funny)

          by CopaceticOpus ( 965603 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:42PM (#47788067)

          This reads like a letter to the editor in the Onion, if the Onion cared about vi. I honestly can't tell if you're being ironically pro-vi, or if you're just a simple Pico-loving soul.

        • Re:Simple (Score:5, Informative)

          by TWX ( 665546 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:50PM (#47788117)
          If it's any consolation, I didn't use vi for close to 20 years, using pico/nano instead. It wasn't until I started working with huge flatfiles that needed hundreds of lines of regular expression parsing that I learned how to use vi effectively.

          I'd say that if you really need those advanced features that vi is the way to go, but admittedly pico/nano is a lot easier to use otherwise.

          As for what I use that's old, I have a Dolby-AC3-capable laserdisc player and more than 500 titles and an S-VHS VCR with about 850 titles on tape, I'm hesitant to buy a laptop lacking an optical drive (though my pickings are quite slim these days), I'm still using a Gateway 2000 "Anykey" PS/2 124-key macro-programmable keyboard manufactured by Maxiswitch, the vast majority of my computer monitors are 4:3 ratio, I still have my SCSI Jaz2 drive, my SCSI Zip drive, a couple of 3.5" floppy drive, and one 5.25" floppy drive laying around, and my daily-use TV is a widescreen, high-definition tube . It works great! Cost me only $40! And at 126lb, no one is going to steal it. In fairness, it fits the built-in TV cabinet perfectly and at the time a similarly-sized LCD model was close to $600, so it made sense to go with the tube.

          I don't necessarily equate old with obsolete. Obsolete is when it doesn't do the job that you need done satisfactorily. In that sense my 20 year old beater $700 pickup truck with no straight sheet metal and worn-out steering is fine, as I generally only drive it when either I need a truck specifically, or when one of the cars is out of commission and I need basic transportation in the interim. I'm typing this on a five-year-old netbook with an Atom processor, and I only recently replaced my Xeon-Gallatin-based dual processor workstation from a decade ago because the thing croaked after a power outage and doesn't want to come back up. It was a great box for a long time, even with only two cores. It's been replaced with a newer-used dual-quad Xeon workstation that I expect to use for another decade as my workstation and the whole-house server.
          • I'm still using a Nokia 3310. 'What? Call yourself a geek and you don't have a smart phone?' I hear you ask...

            Well I quite like the idea that when I leave the office I'm NOT AT WORK any more. I'm still contactable if anyone wants to TXT/call me and I'm rarely more than 10mins away from a WiFi connection if I really need one (I have a Nexus 7 which is on me most of the time).

            I also take perverse pleasure when I try calling someone on their iPhone and they hang up on me only to TXT me back to say their mi
            • by vidnet ( 580068 )

              You're talking about how you come off as less geeky because don't have a smart phone, all while carrying a tablet around everywhere?

              I don't think you have to worry...

          • I still use JOE (Joe's Own Editor). ^kh brings up the entire list of commands, and that sill leaves you room to edit - half screen or so. What do I write with Joe?
            Scripts - that pipe to scripts.
            The OP mentioned a sloppy disk - *IF* he has a 5.25 we might be able to do business - I just found an OLD copy of the original M$ Flight Simulator - it has a tiny file that loads everything else on the disk which is just a bunch of binary glop. It just struck me that this worke

      • by drolli ( 522659 )

        If anybody related to unix adminstration does not know vi then he should not be hired.

        Not because i think that vi is great or not, but plainly for the reason that vi is installed with the bare minimum installation, which means you will be able to edei config files long before any other editor is installed.

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      vi is non-standard.

      ed is the standard text editor.
      • Re:Simple (Score:5, Funny)

        by bearded_yak ( 457170 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:27PM (#47787935) Homepage
        Only amateurs use emacs, vi, or ed. Real pros use 'echo %variablename% > filename'. After all, who needs to change anything when what you type is already perfection?
        • You use an MS DOS inspired shell on a Unix box?
          • Re:Simple (Score:5, Funny)

            by Alan Shutko ( 5101 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @08:14PM (#47788295) Homepage

            Whoosh. []

          • Re:Simple (Score:5, Funny)

            by msauve ( 701917 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @08:19PM (#47788335)

            From: (Patrick J..LoPresti)
            Subject: The True Path (long)
            Date: 11 Jul 91 03:17:31 GMT
            Newsgroups: alt.religion.emacs,alt.slack

            When I log into my Xenix system with my 110 baud teletype, both vi *and* Emacs are just too damn slow.. They print useless messages like, 'C-h for help' and '"foo" File is read only'.. So I use the editor that doesn't waste my VALUABLE time.

            Ed, man! !man ed

            ED(1) UNIX Programmer's Manual ED(1)

            ed - text editor

            ed [ - ] [ -x ] [ name ]
            Ed is the standard text editor.

            Computer Scientists love ed, not just because it comes first alphabetically, but because it's the standard.. Everyone else loves ed because it's ED!

            "Ed is the standard text editor."

            And ed doesn't waste space on my Timex Sinclair.. Just look:

            -rwxr-xr-x 1 root 24 Oct 29 1929 /bin/ed
            -rwxr-xr-t 4 root 1310720 Jan 1 1970 /usr/ucb/vi
            -rwxr-xr-x 1 root 5.89824e37 Oct 22 1990 /usr/bin/emacs

            Of course, on the system *I* administrate, vi is symlinked to ed.

            Emacs has been replaced by a shell script which 1) Generates a syslog message at level LOG_EMERG; 2) reduces the user's disk quota by 100K; and 3) RUNS ED!!!!!!

            "Ed is the standard text editor."

            Let's look at a typical novice's session with the mighty ed:

            [see the real thing here. [] /. lameness filter doesn't like it]

            Note the consistent user interface and error reportage.. Ed is generous enough to flag errors, yet prudent enough not to overwhelm the novice with verbosity.

            "Ed is the standard text editor."

            Ed, the greatest WYGIWYG editor of all.


            When I use an editor, I don't want eight extra KILOBYTES of worthless help screens and cursor positioning code! I just want an EDitor!!
            Not a "viitor".. Not a "emacsitor".. Those aren't even WORDS!!!! ED!
            ED! ED IS THE STANDARD!!!

            TEXT EDITOR.

            When IBM, in its ever-present omnipotence, needed to base their "edlin" on a UNIX standard, did they mimic vi? No.. Emacs? Surely you jest.. They chose the most karmic editor of all.. The standard.

            Ed is for those who can *remember* what they are working on.. If you are an idiot, you should use Emacs.. If you are an Emacs, you should not be vi.. If you use ED, you are on THE PATH TO REDEMPTION.. THE SO-CALLED "VISUAL" EDITORS HAVE BEEN PLACED HERE BY ED TO TEMPT THE FAITHLESS.. DO NOT GIVE IN!!! THE MIGHTY ED HAS SPOKEN!!!


        • Re:Simple (Score:4, Funny)

          by TWX ( 665546 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:51PM (#47788129)
          Heh. I used to write MS-DOS batch and config files with copy con: if the only other choice was edlin...
        • Re:Simple (Score:5, Informative)

          by nuckfuts ( 690967 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @08:54PM (#47788517)

          Actually, real pros use
          cat > filename
          then type Ctrl-d when done.


          • by quenda ( 644621 )

            Actually, real pros use

              cat > filename

            then type Ctrl-d when done.

            Type? Amateur hour! Real pros just whistle into the modem.

      • 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 [].
    • Re:Simple (Score:5, Interesting)

      by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:25PM (#47787915)

      vi. Because emacs is for the devil.

      This year I delved into a Debian system, the first time I had really used a linux system in decades. What scared me was that when I needed to edit something my muscle memory took over and before I knew it I was happily editing away in vi.

      I haven't used vi since well before the turn of the century.

    • Re:Simple (Score:5, Interesting)

      by geekd ( 14774 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:34PM (#47788003) Homepage

      Emacs user here. The only one in an office full of vi users. They and I have our config files set up so that indentation, etc all match, so when we open each other's code it's not all goofy looking.

      I *can* use vi, I just prefer emacs, and I always have.

    • Re:Simple (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday August 29, 2014 @11:06PM (#47789099) Journal

      DVDs. The reasons why is they are cheap, easy to transport, and can hold a lot of data. With DVDs I can hand somebody 4GB+ of data for 15c including the sleeve, and when you can't predict how well or reliable their net is? That comes in REAL handy.

      So the pundits can talk cloud this and cloud that but as long as I can get 'em I'm gonna be using DVDs. Hell if I had my way I'd still be using Lightscribe, but now that HP has pulled the plug its getting harder and harder to find new burners with LS. Sucks as it worked quite nicely.

      • Re:Simple (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anubis350 ( 772791 ) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @01:36AM (#47789543)
        They're not (yet) at the 15c range, but if you buy in a large pack and don't want the fastest drives or USB 3 you can grab 4GB thumb drives for ~$2 each (~$1 each if you in 100+ quantities)- and these days be more assured that the person taking the data can read it easily
        • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *

          Right now Walmart has 16GB Sandisk flash drives for $9 (look in the School Supplies section, same damn thing as in Electronics but in a garish case for half the money). Last year they had 64GB Sandisk flash drives for $8. Costco has 64GB drives right now for $24. This sort of pricing is tempting me away from DVDs as my backup medium, because flash is more reliable in long-term storage and takes up a lot less space. Yeah, DVDs are cheaper and faster to make, but reliability in storage isn't the best.

          If you w

      • by itzly ( 3699663 )
        Can you recommend a good smartphone with a DVD player ?
  • slashdot (Score:5, Funny)

    by stormpunk ( 515019 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:07PM (#47787749)

    I still come here looking for insightful articles and thought-provoking discussions.

  • Pen (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ( 583400 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:07PM (#47787751) Homepage

    I'm still using pens and Post-It to take notes, not my phone.

  • My watch (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:07PM (#47787753)

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

    • by Trepidity ( 597 )

      Interesting that wearing a wristwatch might now, again, be more eccentric than wearing a pocketwatch.

    • 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.

      • I still wear an analog watch for those reasons. AND so that I can "subtly" glance at it when it's time to end a conversation.
        • Yes, that's true too. Most people still think of watches as uniquely about checking the time (despite smartwatches, etc.). Glancing at your watch is probably the clearest signal you can give to others that you're worried about the time (e.g. may need to go, have another meeting, etc.). Checking your phone may just make you look rude or bored, since phones have so many other functions you could be monitoring.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:08PM (#47787757)

    Slashdot? *grin*

  • pine (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lexible ( 1038928 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:08PM (#47787759)
    (Well... alpine.)
  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:09PM (#47787763) Journal
    I have movies in that format that still work, and I am reluctant to throw out something that's not broken.

    I know, right? Treading that thin line between thrifty and hoarder...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by javajeff ( 73413 )

      I tape shows on my VCR. It still works, and I am the master of the fast forward button to avoid commercials.

  • by SiriusStarr ( 1196697 ) <SumStultusSedEsQuoque&gmail,com> on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:09PM (#47787765)
    'Nuff said.
  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt.nerdflat@com> on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:09PM (#47787767) Journal
  • Old towers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wes jones ( 3805027 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:13PM (#47787807)
    I pick up old desktop towers and then put Linux on them. They run like crap, they serve no use, but I like to have them. Something about watching a Gateway 2000 boot up and be "usable" makes me happy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I do this too.

      Some of them actually do have use, for example, if I add a NIC or three and put ClearOS on them to make an actual gateway/firewall/etc so I can put the client's compromised, obsolete, data-theft-oriented, crippled, piece of crap, 'free' end user 'router' (i.e., router-like device in the same sense as a Chicken McNugget bears relation to an actual Chicken) in Bridged Ethernet mode and protect them from an incredible percentage of malware.

      It doesn't matter that they 'run like crap'. It isn't pos

  • by timothy ( 36799 ) Works for Slashdot on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:14PM (#47787821) Journal

    - Model M keyboard (I bought several when they were $5 at the Goodwill, including some with US Government stickers or NASA badges; if I knew then what I know now, I'd have loaded up a storage unit with them ...)

    - Nano (sure, it's not as old or as rabidly backed as Certain Other Text Editors, but it's so very nice to use ...)

    - Logitech Trackball. Unfortunately, the new ones are junk -- they seem to die in a few months. The old ones lasted me several years apiece.

  • Eudora (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ( 771661 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:15PM (#47787829) Homepage Journal
    Yes, Eudora [] hasn't updated since '06, but it's still by far my favorite email client.
  • 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.

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

      So many times THIS!

      People! Keep your files locally! And keep a backup of those files in a remote (non-cloud) location! If you need to access them from literally anywhere, keep them in the cloud, as well; the worst case, then, should the cloud fail you and your home burn down at the same time, is that you have to restore from your remote backup. Better than losing your work altogether just because your cloud provider went belly up or had a RAID card got nuts and eat your data.

      • by TWX ( 665546 )
        Yep. I've had too many providers go away on me with little or no notice that I don't consider storage on someone else's equipment viable. I see it as a great way to end up screwed, and with a "free" service, absolutely no recourse.
    • Re:Local storage (Score:4, Informative)

      by kwalker ( 1383 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:30PM (#47787965) Journal

      If you're going to do that, at least use IMAP (Unless you're a Comcast customer, in which case, you have my condolences). IMAP lets you keep mail on the server and even organize it, rather than just having one huge Inbox. I use it on two desktops, a laptop, a smartphone, two Android tablets, and a webmail client (RoundCube).

  • by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:17PM (#47787847)

    Cards, vibrators, air conditioners, vibrators, antibiotics, vibrators, dishwashers, vibrators, ...

  • by pipingguy ( 566974 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:20PM (#47787869)
    Great keypress.
  • by MindPrison ( 864299 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:21PM (#47787873) Journal
    here goes:

    My good old trusty Data I/O 29A with UniPak (it's an Eprom programming station from the 80's) that I just love too much as I can edit Eproms-on-the-fly and enter manual data on it, copy eproms, and it's compatible with the weirdest stuff on the planet.

    Commodore SX-64, it's sort of a portable commodore 64 with built in 5.5 inch color screen & floppy disk...all in one practical unit, I have an assembler cartridge for it, and it's actually quite practical for coding 65xx series code on, and quick & dirty electronics projects I just connect to the I/O port (User Port), even in Basic.

    My extreme stash of millions and millions of NOS Discrete components from the 50s to the 90s, I can literally built a spaceship with those things, doc Emmet Browns time machine is next. Transistors, Linear Circuits, Cmos, Timers, PCBs, MCUs, Static ram, roms, pal & gals (pain in the *** to program), resistors, solar panels, mics, crystals, coil formers, oscillators, capacitors, reed relays, diode galore, tubes tubes and even more tubes.

    All my PCs I've built over some time, gets hard to part with them because 1) I can't get any money form them. 2) I always bought the best stuff. 3) It's not worth the agony of erasing all the pr0n...err...strike that last thing. And they're terribly practical for running old test gear, burners, peripherals etc. that doesn't work with todays computers.

    My lovely old test instrument park, oscilloscopes (got at least 5 of them), spectrum analyzer, multimeters galore, function generators, frequency counters, PSUs and whatnots.

    I don't even do this stuff enough justice, but you know what a MAN CAVE is? I just love to go into my MAN CAVE and sit there for serenity for hours and hours, even if it's just to write some pointless post here on Slashdot, and surrounded by all this cool stuff make me feel so 1337 H4xx0r and all that (no seriously...) it's like I'm a prop taken out of the old wargames movie (acoustic modems anyone?)

    It feels so lovely sitting there with those things, knowing that any second I could build any project I'd ever want. (And I do from time to time), but just because they're THERE...I don't know if anyone of you know this feeling, but it's very energizing. Whenever I feel completely depleted (either me or my batteries) I go there and start at endless wastelands of components. Luuuuuv it!
  • CDs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:21PM (#47787879) Journal

    ...because there's something tactile and convenient and immediately gratifying about flipping through a box of CDs, selecting one and slotting it in the player. With most audio gear supporting thumb drives, this doesn't make a lick 'o' sense, I suppose, but there it is.

    I could justify this, maybe as it being faster to find a physical CD than it is to navigate the rather clumsy interfaces in some gear, but it's really that it's nice to have something I can physically handle.

    I also make it a point to go through supermarket lines with a real cashier rather than a do-it-yourself scanner. Not because I am a technophobe (quite the opposite) but because I like dealing with a real human.

  • 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 msobkow ( 48369 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:24PM (#47787901) Homepage Journal

    Muscle memory is ingrained after 30 years of using it...

  • by smellsofbikes ( 890263 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:25PM (#47787907) Journal

    Pushbutton hard-wired phones, world war two vintage drillpress, metal lathe, wood lathe, tablesaw, 1970 Triumph as my not-snowing car, 1990 bicycle for my non-race bike, MOO/MUD's that I've been hanging out on since 1992, Commordore Amiga 2000 (okay, I only fire that up about once every two months.) A lot of my wood chisels are from the 1890's. They all work just fine. My race bike is a brand-new marvel of carbon fiber and magnesium, but I bet it won't last another two seasons, whereas the old bike has over 150,000 kilometers on it. I do now design using switching power supplies, rather than LDO's, and I've moved from PIC to AVR, (and I've always programmed in C rather than assembly) but generally, there has to be a really clear advantage for me to change piles of experience and knowledge for something new.

    • Average age of stuff in my house must be a good 25 years old.

      Or the equivalent in the case of my flip-phone from 2007 which several people have said sounds better than their smartphone :) Even my TV is almost 20 years old (ok, I don't want to replace the 30 year-old entertainment center actually) My home phone has Bell Systems stamped on it and the other is Conair Trimline that has survived 100+ falls by now. My stereo is over 30 years-old now and does a great job of recording 8-tracks but it weighs about 1

  • by nmb3000 ( 741169 ) <> 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • by sk999 ( 846068 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:28PM (#47787943)

    Mine is from back when you didn't own it - the phone company leased it to you. Built like a brick. Would get rid of it, but it is still the only thing that can test if the phone line is working when the power goes out.

  • by CQDX ( 2720013 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:30PM (#47787957)

    I have a terrible fist but IMHO no station is complete without a straight key on the desk. I have a J-38 and J-37 on a Mae West board.

  • by simplypeachy ( 706253 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:30PM (#47787959)

    It's all been about the Cloud for some time now but I'm still old fashioned and prefer to keep my data on my computers and hold myself responsible for ensuring my stuff is actually looked after.

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:33PM (#47787997) Journal

    Yes, I still actually participate in discussions on Usenet. I still maintain an nntp server at home, 32 years after my first stint as a news administrator for my first tech job.

  • 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.

  • Cable Lacing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bearded_yak ( 457170 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:37PM (#47788019) Homepage
    I love cable lacing with waxed linen string. [] I've never seen a more elegant way to bundle cables. Velcro is close, but maybe I'm just old-fashioned.
  • by starseeker ( 141897 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:39PM (#47788035) Homepage

    Perfection in engineering... it not only solves the problem of creating the perfect typing experience, it's also tough enough to use as your own personal Hammer of Thor when your office mates storm your cubicle trying to stop the noise.

  • by starseeker ( 141897 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:46PM (#47788095) Homepage

    Weird as it sounds with all the electronic label printers you can get today, there's just something about the old style "punch the label as a 3D letter into tape" approach that I prefer. Especially when the tape punch is a serious tool, not those cheap plastic versions: []

  • I have a box in the attic. I occasionally use them as postcards.
  • by bjdevil66 ( 583941 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:52PM (#47788141)

    We've already mostly lost V-8s to tech advances, but no "turbo"-powered four banger is in the same league in smoothness and power that a solid V-6 gives you without having to floor it. Why is the V-6 becoming a luxury item not available to the middle class guy??

    Others people have listed good ones further down my list:

    Flip phone (privacy and cost issues with smart phones).
    Corded telephone at home (for power outages)
    CDs (damn carmakers have ditched CD changers)
    pico in the CLI (so much quicker for some tasks)
    Windows 7 (though working on a Mac at work almost has me out the door)
    A handgun firearm (sorry DC and Chicago - I'll never live there because of this).

  • 35mm film (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RDW ( 41497 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:53PM (#47788149)

    Yes, I use digital too like everyone else, but somehow I keep going back to the Leica.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:55PM (#47788159) Homepage

    This is my news printer []. Each morning I turn it on, and it prints a paper tape with the Reuters news summaries.

    This is 1926 technology. The machine talks to a standard serial port at 45 baud, 5 bits, no parity, 1.5 stop bits.

  • by spywhere ( 824072 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:56PM (#47788169)
    I work in support, and I still find the CMD environment and batch file language to be incredibly powerful tools. I've written everything from simple one- or two-command files to long, interactive programs that interact with other batch files and, by writing to the Registry, resume after reboots.
    Sometimes, in a crisis, I'm the only one who can produce a reliable solution the same morning that the crisis starts...
  • by kamapuaa ( 555446 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @08:08PM (#47788243) Homepage

    My wife makes fun of me, but

    1) Film cameras...I have a bunch but mostly use the Olympus Stylus Epic. Get them developed & scanned at Costco for a few dollars. I also have (and use) a phone camera and a DSLR, but film cameras are pocket-able and pictures look great.

    2) Records - Mostly it's just for fun, but fuck the haters - my 180 gram jazz LPs sound WAY better than any CD or MP3 and NO it's not psychosomatic.

    3) Dreamcast - shit is fun, although the HD re-make of "Jet Set Radio" makes my Dreamcast far less essential.

    4) 1950s Yamaha Guitar - not a classic, but the age helps, mostly it's sentimental (my grandmother gave it to me).

  • True "E-Waste" Story (Score:4, Interesting)

    by retroworks ( 652802 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @08:47PM (#47788487) Homepage Journal

    About 9-10 years ago I was trying to decide whether to accept 4X the price offered for dismantled Floppy Disk Drives as I could get from a USA recycler. I'd heard that the Asians probably burned the FDDs in a fire for crude metal recovery, but it didn't add up. Why weren't they paying 4x the price for other dismantled components? How could they convert MY avoided pollution cost into that much value?

    Turns out there was a factory in Kunming (South China) which purchased used floppy disk drives. They used to make new FDDs. I got photos of the factory, fairly modern. When new FDD orders "scaled down" they could no longer afford to manufacture new ones at scale... but they could buy used ones for 4X scrap value, about 1/10 new production value. And the factory in Kunming supplied just about every Floppy Disk Drive people purchased from 2002 on... when FDDs were still offered on units but NO ONE WAS MAKING THEM ... except for the "primitive e-waste Chinese factory" in Kunming.

  • ROT13 (Score:5, Funny)

    by Unxmaal ( 231 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @09:11PM (#47788601) Homepage

    Jr'er ab fgenatref gb ybir Lbh xabj gur ehyrf naq fb qb V N shyy pbzzvgzrag'f jung V'z guvaxvat bs Lbh jbhyqa'g trg guvf sebz nal bgure thl V whfg jnaan gryy lbh ubj V'z srryvat Tbggn znxr lbh haqrefgnaq Arire tbaan tvir lbh hc Arire tbaan yrg lbh qbja Arire tbaan eha nebhaq naq qrfreg lbh Arire tbaan znxr lbh pel Arire tbaan fnl tbbqolr Arire tbaan gryy n yvr naq uheg lbh.

  • by pubwvj ( 1045960 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @09:44PM (#47788775)

    Apple and other makers are screwing themselves up by obsolescing older software. I need access to my data. The applications that access my data won't run on the newer hardware on the newer operating systems. The result is I don't upgrade my hardware - I just keep making do with old hardware. I buy used computers for our businesses and family needs. I know of other people in the same boat. If the new hardware and OS can't let us use our older applications then we don't buy new. Apple and other vendors of hardware and OSs loses a lot of sales that way. They make nothing when we buy used.

    Emulation is not that hard.

    Keeping operating systems compatible so old software runs to give us access to our data isn't that hard.

    We need backwards compatibility to move into the future.

  • by fyoder ( 857358 ) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @12:10AM (#47789323) Homepage Journal

    Still using an IBM Model M space saver keyboard.

  • by PuddleBoy ( 544111 ) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @12:55AM (#47789459)

    I've lived in the same house for almost 30 years and it was over 90 years old when we bought it.

    You learn to do almost everything: electrical, plumbing, carpentry, paint, roofing (ugh!). You learn on a basic, visceral level how things work, fit together, fall apart. You 'feel' aging. You learn to predict.

    In that time I've probably been through 25+ computers (many were servers), who knows how many peripherals, software, etc. Many are just a blur now.

    And in the basement is a darkroom for, wait for it,.... film development and printing.

    So, I can wake up in the morning, walk across 120 year old floors, and partake of a hobby that goes back over 150 years, essentially unchanged.

    Ah, you young whipper-snappers...

  • by der_joachim ( 590045 ) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @01:55AM (#47789583) Homepage
    Modern wet shaving is rubbish. Overpriced cartridge systems, harsh chemicals to soften up the beard and mediocre results. I prefer a good DE razor with a traditional soap. Easier on the skin and I get better shaves.
  • by twms2h ( 473383 ) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @05:29AM (#47790039) Homepage

    I recently bought (used) a few of the old Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro from before the 4000 series. Those that still included a USB hub and the lettering on the keys did not disappear after only a few months of normal usage.
    Before that I had several of the 4000 Keyboards and all of them started to lose their lettering within a few months. They are just really bad quality.

    I will probably be using them until they fall apart.

  • by twms2h ( 473383 ) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @05:39AM (#47790059) Homepage

    Or at least I wish I could still use it.

    It had a steel frame, simple 21 gears derailleur gearshift, none of this fancy suspension fork crap and over all it simply was robust. I could repair and replace everything on it myself (but seldom needed to). The only parts I replaced with something more modern was the brakes and lighting.
    I used to cycle to work on it until It was stolen out of my backyard half a year ago and I still miss it.

  • by reboot246 ( 623534 ) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @07:00AM (#47790213) Homepage
    I shaved with every new razor ever invented, starting years ago with a Gillette double-edged razor. A couple of years ago I was at Sam's Club looking to buy some replacement carts for my super-duper high tech razor, but the price was what we used to pay for a small car. I thought that there must be a better way.

    So, I came home, got online and bought an old-fashioned double edge razor (actually two of them). They're both Merkur slants, a long handled one for home and a short handled one for traveling. Along with the razors I bought 100 Feather blades. The razors were reasonable and the blades were ten bucks. Blades of any brand are ridiculously cheap.

    I've also started making lather the old fashioned way, using a brush and shaving soap, 1000 times better than anything out of a can.

    All you need is a good lather and ONE sharp blade. I'll never go back to multiple disposable blades no matter what. I get baby-butt smooth shaves nearly every time with no nicks or razor burns. Try it.
  • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @07:53AM (#47790347)

    Old technology I'm still using?

    I'm pretty much still dependent on electric lighting, indoor plumbing, refrigeration & air conditioning, internal combustion engines, plastics, etc.

    Or does it only count as "technology" if it requires a computer to use?

"If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong." -- Norm Schryer