Tech that you thought was dead…..but isn’t! – words Alan Woods

2016 is the year that Pokémon rose from the dead to divide adults across the nation. Grown-ups went crazy for tiny creatures that didn’t really exist. I thought that Pokémon was done and dusted by the late 90’s. By now, we should all know that trends are cyclical – what goes around, comes around and technology also follows this trend.

Technology is linear and today’s society loves new technology; the newer the better – very few of us feel nostalgic about our very first iPhones. Although saying this, there is some technology and gadgets that you have probably written off as ‘obsolete’ or not given a thought to in the last five years that are still in use across the world!

Strap yourself in as we run through them and be prepared to shout, ‘NO WAY!’

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The USB Stick

You’d think that with the adoption of cloud computing and the increasingly interconnected world that we live in would mean that USB sticks would become unused and outdated. WRONG – USB’s are not yet a thing of the past.

Sometimes, the only way to share, store or move around files is with a USB stick, especially when you can’t trust the battery on your laptop. In 2012, Fast Company proclaimed that USB sticks were facing extinction,  but last year Global Industry Analysts produced a report that found the global market for memory sticks will exceed more than half a billion units by 2020.

“The market for USB sticks has never substantially receded. Our clients are purchasing from a branding perspective, but these drives offer far more security and privacy than cloud computing – especially in light of global government surveillance efforts”, explains Richard LeCount from USBMakers.

The Blackberry

There is no denying that iOS and Android dominate the smartphone and tablet industry; but it was within the last decade that Blackberry had a loyal following, all loving the Qwerty keyboard and BBM.

While sales of Blackberry handsets have decreased by 14% since last year, and share prices falling to 8% ($7.45), CEO John Chen said that he planned to leverage its experience in software and applications by growing the software side of the company.

They have dropped the smartphone production, collaborating with OEM on the handsets for the DTEK50 & DTEK60. The Android software will be kept highly secure with monthly updates, additional security patches and full disc encryptions for pictures and bank information.

Here are some responses when I asked for people still using Blackberry’s….

“2004 me had one? 2016 me doesn’t need one. Everything a blackberry was good at can be done on my iphone now without any fuss.” – Freelance writer, Jake Tucker

“Think you need to go back to the year 2005 ;)” – Writer, Blogger and Designer Kip Hakes

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Dial Up Internet

Fast, fibre optic broadband is still unavailable in some parts of the most developed countries.

4% of Americans are still use a modem to access the internet; that equates to around 10 million people in the United States of America still use dial up internet.

In the UK, BT shut down its dial up services in 2013 because they reported that only a few hundred thousand people were using dial up services; however their subsidiary PlusNet still offer dial up.

In 2010 Ofcom stated that 800,000 thousand people were still using dial up internet but it has now fallen so low that they are unable to collect accurate figures.

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The Floppy Disk

THE PENTAGON USES FLOPPY DISKS. Let that sink in before I add that the following statement; the archaic computer systems that are in charge of Americas arsenal of nuclear weapons at the US Air Force missile facility in Wyoming uses floppy disks and won’t be modernised until 2020.

But now Trump is in the White House – that’s if they have any nuclear weapons left by then; he’s prone to temper tantrums.

The ONLY answer I got to my #journorequest for anyone using floppy disks?

“If you sharpen the edges they make pretty decent shurikens?” – David Vallance from Digital Impact

The Pager

In 2012 100,000 pagers were purchased in the USA, when you compare this to the 677,000 iPhones bought each, the figures don’t even compare….but you probably thought the figure would be a big fat zero.

In the early 90s, the status symbol of having a pager meant that you were VERY IMPORTANT. You needed to be contactable at all times, although this probably isn’t applied to the hundreds of secondary school age that had them. It meant that they were very……cool? We’ll go with ‘cool’.

Doctors, surgeons and hospital staff actually still widely use pagers; in fact 85% of hospitals still use them to communicate. They are low maintenance and still work during power outages; hospital corridors are infamous for poor network coverage – pagers don’t have this issue because they still have better broadcasting power and are more reliable than mobile phones.

The Fax Machine

SO.MANY.OFFICES.STILL.USING.FAX

A lot of it comes down to record retention regulations requiring hard copies; there is also email to fax, and fax to email services that still render fax machines useful.

Also, not every country or company accepts contracts to be signed digitally…but faxed copies are ok. Many of the recent cyber hacks have got businesses dusting off their fax machines in search of security and reliability.

In fact, across the pond 350,000 fax machines were bought in 2012, which was a 14% drop from 2011; but 700,00 were bought in 2013.

“People tend to trust the telephone network. Everyone knows telephone networks can be tapped but it’s an esoteric skill to do it whereas the ability to hack computers and email certainly gets a lot more attention,” Ken Weilerstein from IT firm Gartner, “One of the reasons that a lot of finance and healthcare companies have not moved over to the cloud is just that. They don’t ever want it to go out of house.”

And there you have it, a roundup of tech that you thought was gone and forgotten – every day is a school day. Please feel free to add further examples in the comments, there may even be enough for a part 2….

Tech that you thought was dead…..but isn’t! – words Alan Woods

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