Friday, March 20, 2009

Dead technologies

From the perspective of today, we can look back at dead technologies and shake our heads. While brainz doesn't exactly shake its head at 12 dead technologies (such as dial up Internet and BetaMax), perhaps it would be good to explore the benefits of these dead technologies a little more closely.

For dial up Internet, brainz does exactly that:

Most people remember what it was like to access the internet back in the early 1990s: you were required to dial up, hope that a connection would be established, and then log onto a network that moved at a snail’s pace. In short, it was slow computers and even slower connections. But, it was impressive at the time nonetheless.

Also one needs to remember that when I was dialing up to Deep Thought or the Grotto in the early 1990s, I had no expectation of being able to watch full-screen video. The speed at the time was good enough for the text-based services that were around, and users truly derived benefit from them.

When brainz discussed BetaMax, it confined itself to business issues, such as BetaMax's paltry 30% market share. The technological advantages of the BetaMax format were not addressed.

Then again, to put it bluntly, the technical advantages of BetaMax were irrelevant. Take Laserdiscs - when, as brainz notes, "the average Laserdisc player cost about 5x the price of a VCR," you're not going to penetrate the market. Perhaps you can get a niche market - something that Apple has done very well - but if people eventually stop providing content for your system, you're up the creek.

Anyway, there are 12 technologies covered in the brainz post. Read it.
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