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The Walkman was invented for the co-chairman of Sony, Akio Morita, who wanted to be able to listen to his favorite operas on plane trips. It was initially marketed as the Soundabout in North America, but the “Walkman” name was used for the product up until the present day.
Two years after the mass production of the Compact Disc, Sony released its portable player for it. While they were popular with audiophiles, who appreciated the quality of recording, earlier Discmans would skip and didn’t allow for the popular “mix tapes” until it became possible for computers to “burn” CD’s.
Pagers were commonly used from the seventies to the nineties, when widespread adoption of cell phones rendered them obsolete for mass market use. They are still used by emergency responders as they are not subject to network outages or similar disruptions in communication.
The watch pictured is the Pulsar, the first LED watch. The watch’s designer was inspired by the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, having worked on the timepiece props for the movie.
While the concept of this watch was attractive, it faced the same lack of channel availability issues as the Watchman.
The smartphone of 1984: this took the idea of the “computer watch” to a whole new level. Think this is too much? Consider the nuclear watch, whose invention was rumoured in this Time magazine article. Be very glad that never happened.
The eighties saw watches infused with more gizmos than ever before. The most ubiquitous watch in geek culture was the calculator watch. Since most of us now have computers attached to our hips, it is no longer necessary. Unless you’re Dwight Schrute.
Just when you thought you were done with vacuum tubes in your computers, they put them in your monitors in the form of cathode ray tubes (CRT).
While mainframes still exist, they generally don’t take up entire rooms or store information on magnetic tape.
While some writers still swear by them, most writers remember when they swore at them and have happily moved on.
The dial-up modem was used everywhere until cable internet and DSL became available to the masses. While they are still in widespread use, everyone who has one wants to upgrade.
This short-lived technology was the bridge between 3.5″ Floppy Disc and CD storage.
These were classroom and office standbys for years, and were replaced by digital projectors and smartboards.
If you wanted to save one or two word processing documents, you could do it on these. Their smaller relatives are still in widespread use.
The 3.5″ Floppy took over from its bulkier cousin with larger storage and a less destructible design. It had largely been replaced by the late nineties by CD’s, DVD’s, USB drives and other more convenient computer storage methods.
While these cameras were largely replaced by digital cameras, the trademark has recently been purchased and the buyers are trying to breathe new life into the brand by hiring Lady Gaga as a spokesperson.
Super 8 home movies and educational films were shown on these simple projectors. While they are still used in some schools, they have been largely replaced by digital projectors and the fact that you can now burn most home movies to a DVD.
Vinyl was the dominant music format for the 20th Century. From your grandmother’s old 78’s to the single 45 format, vinyl was perfected over the years to be as acoustically correct and cheap to press as possible. While they are still in use by DJ’s and radio stations, records have for the most part been relegated to the garage sale heap.
The first widespread use of television was in Germany beginning in 1929, and the German Olympic Games of 1936 were the first to be broadcast on television. Televisions remained out of the reach of the middle class until the 1950’s, when their ownership boomed globally and television shows became more popular. Cathode ray tubes gave way to the technologies that we use for television now, making sets less bulky and furniture-like.
Remember when backing up the computer meant changing the tape in the tape drive and letting it back up overnight? We’re so glad those days are gone too. The clunky old tape drives of the past didn’t store a lot of data and it would often take multiple tapes to back up important data. Old-school programmers started out as “tape-apes” doing backups as junior programmers.
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