40 Interesting Facts about Outdated Technologies

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1Floppy disks

The US Military still uses 8-inch floppy disks on outdated IBM computers to run the nuclear missile systems. It's because they are incredibly hard to hack. The computers are essentially air-gapped and the old IBM computers are reliable. They could run for another 40 years with spare parts.


2. About 85% of hospitals still use pagers because hospitals can be dead zones for cell service. In some hospital areas, the walls are built to keep X-rays from penetrating, but those heavy-duty designs also make it hard for a cell phone signal to make it through but not pagers.


3. The B-side of the cassette release of "In God We Trust, Inc" by Dead Kennedys is left blank. The B-side label states "Home taping is killing record industry profits! We left this side blank so you can help."


4. The Gameboy had a sonar add-on for fishermen, that could locate fish up to 65-feet deep. It also included a fishing mini-game.


5. Polaroid cameras don't have batteries. They instead have an individual battery in each cartridge to power the camera enough to take the required shots.


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6IBM Simon

In 1994, IBM released a cell phone named IBM Simon with a touch screen and e-mail. It could also send and receive faxes, work as a pager, and was considered the world's first smartphone due to its features and capabilities.


7. Punchcards were invented to solve the problem of the 1890 US Census. It took 8 years to process the data of the 1880 census, so Herman Hollerith invented punch cards for tabulation, ushering in the era of data storage, databases, and supercomputers.


8. The most valuable vinyl record of all time is not a rare recording, it's a plain, off the shelf, version of Double Fantasy by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. It's worth half a million dollars because John Lennon signed the cover for Mark David Chapman 5 hours before Chapman murdered Lennon.


9. On a hill overlooking the ocean in Otsuchi Town in northeastern Japan is a phone booth known as the "Telephone of the Wind". It is connected to nowhere, but people come to "call" family members lost during the tsunami of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.


10. In 2007, an MP3 player called “iBeat Blaxx” had to be rebranded after causing controversy due to its name.


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11Vinyl record

The groove on a vinyl record is on average around 500 meters long.


12. Digital VHS tapes from 1998 could store 50GB of 1080i on a normal-sized tape. It was the only way to get HD commercial films until Blu-ray came out in 2004.


13. Ding sound of a typewriter is called a margin bell, and it wasn't to tell you that you were at the end of the line, but that you had a few characters left, so that you could prepare for it.


14. The first practical pager [beeper] was introduced in 1950 by physicians in the New York City area. It had a range of 40 km (25 mi) and weighed approximately 200 g.


15. The smallest Discman ever made was smaller than a CD.


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16Betamax

Betamax was actually the superior recording system, but consumers didn't consider the better performance to be worth the extra cost.


17. CRT monitor images can become flipped and distorted depending on which hemisphere you are using it in. This is due to the Earth's magnetic field affecting the path of the electron beam.


18. When the VCR was invented, film companies tried to make it illegal due to the possibility of recording copyrighted material, in a case that reached the Supreme Court. The head of the MPAA compared the effect of the VCR on television to that of the Boston Strangler on women.


19. Fax machines could send photographs over telephone lines as early as 1902.


20. Laserdisc copies of 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' released in March 1994 featured frames of a nude Jessica Rabbit left in by animators as a joke. Stores sold out of the disc minutes after they went on sale.


21VHS/Betamax war

The VHS/Betamax war of the 80s/90s spawned a little known 10-hour VHS cassette, enough to record the entire LOTR trilogy on one tape.


22. When the telegraph appeared in the 19th century many early telegraph operators were young men and women who often used their machines to chat with each other and even arrange dates. The telegraph was thus a forerunner to modern chat and dating apps.


23. Rotary payphones were reinstalled during the '80s and 90's to discourage drug sales because they couldn't be used to call dealer's pagers.


24. Until 1953, New York City had a pneumatic tube mail network that spanned 27 miles and connected 23 post offices. At its peak, the system moved 95,000 letters a day.


25. Old school computers like the Apple could save and load games to/from cassette tapes in a tape recorder. This basically worked by interpreting the audio data as game data. This prompted some pirate FM radio stations in the 1980s to broadcast games right over FM radio every weekend.

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