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Old Technologies’ still kicking- Do you know any?

Recently, I wrote an article about old technologies that should be dead but go on because people are not willing to part with it. I sincerely thought that people’s inertia that was the reason that these Industries thrived even today….

But, that belief of mine got shattered - as it should have been- when I recently went to court. Hundreds of notaries and lawyers using typewriters of the old like they were born to do it. Here was a technology that wasn’t technically a technology even, but was being used quite religiously and showed no sign of fading out.

typewriter

[source]

This reminded me of my trip to court earlier times when I was in other government offices. Typewriters have found a haven in such places. Computers are infiltrating, but slowly, and I don’t think that private practitioners (the smaller ones) will start using them any time soon.

Now, I do not know if it is real but I believe that those past era beeping pagers also, similarly found a haven in hospitals abroad. (I may be completely wrong on this one as this knowledge is television imparted, especially “House M.D.” and “Grey’s Anatomy” so won’t talk much).

Anyways, this made think about all the technologies of yonder years that may not be prominent anymore but have found a safe haven in a way that their self life increased a lot than originally thought.

Windows XP is another one that has held on its own for years now. Businesses are just not ready to make the transition. I do not know whether Windows 8 will be able to make that change but it seems unlikely that the computers that are running WinXP and are running fine will anytime soon make the shift.

Radio, of course needs an honorable mention here. This was a technology that would have died, should have died and here we are, using it every day as it revamped itself and turned itself into something indispensible for commuters.


There is one more example that people might not know about- Mainframe computers.

If anyone has read history of computers in their schools, Mainframes are supposedly a predecessor to the current PCs as they should be. That though doesn’t mean that they are not used now. In fact, it is profitable venture for IBM computers who revamped the technology in its dwindling years to make it flourish again.

Fax machines, Landline telephones, CRT TVs, the examples are numerous. These machines hold no technological need or superiority. In fact landlines are only useful for broadband and intercoms, CRTs are only if you want dirt cheap TVs and fax machines where they are already present.

A certain Mr. John Steele Gordon, a business historian and author, states that there are striking similarities between evolutionary process of markets and biological ecosystems.

Technologies fight hard to survive and some evolve to go on!

The examples are here but I would love to know from you – Are there more that I missed?

Do you believe that technologies follow the same trajectory as species?


About Kunal Prakash

A graduate from IIT-Roorkee, Kunal Prakash’s love for technology was at first sight and everlasting. He is currently enjoying the first stint as a professional after leaving over 20 years of schooling. You can follow him on facebook or visit his blog for his other musings.

7 comments

  1. We had done business with a company based in chicago where the first cobol code written in 1971 is still running in production… and to top it up the guy who wrote is also working as a programmer.. Never met a 60+ year old active programmer.

  2. I'm surprised that the dot matrix printer is still going strong in India.

  3. I think CRT tvs are still best option if you are not going to subscribe HD channels. 16:9 ratio is unnecessary for viewing 4:3 channels. Also cost is much higher for LCD tvs. Typewriters do not need electricity and one can be used for 50 years. These are durable so some people still using it. During power cut you can use typewriter but not computer. Radio is far from dead. This technology is evolving, You can hear radios channels in internet also. You can enjoy radio during work. Some old technologies are less costlier than new technologies that is the point to using them.

  4. FAX is not outdated…it is an important essential equipment.

  5. Cassettes..

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