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Slideshow: 15 Modern Inventions That Didn’t Live Up to the Hype

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bobjengr
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15 MODERN INVENTIONS
bobjengr   4/14/2014 6:14:56 PM
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YES--Great list Elizabeth.  I can identify with just about every device on the list except the Sewgay, flying car and electric car.  I rented a Segway one time and damn near killed myself.  Oh well, live and learn.   I did own most of the remaining devices and along the way, discovered that Siri doesn't speak "southern"--English maybe but certainly not southern.  Some of the responses were classic and I wish I had written them down for posterity. 

I owned a Betamax recorder years ago and enjoyed, for a brief period of time, the use but soon discovered the tapes formatted using the necessary protocol were very limited in number.  I was taken on that one.  Again, great list. 

bdcst
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Some did live up to their hype
bdcst   4/14/2014 3:51:16 PM
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Hi Elizabeth,

Well, I differ with you about DAT tape.  In broadcasting at public radio we accepted it with open arms and had many rack mounted recorders in service to capture NPR program feeds for delayed playback.  The medium was far more compact than ten inch reel to reel tape, had better overall fidelity and could be connected into a digital audio routing network long before AoIP.  I used AES digital audio routing and switching back then alongside analog audio paths.

I personally used DAT recorders to capture location concert recordings for similar reasons.  Prior to DAT I had to lug around 80 pounds wowrth of analog reel to reel equipment.  It took many years for live to optical disc recording to become sort of practical (direct to CD) and even then you had to baby the recorder. The slightest bump could ruin a recording by making the laser skip.

Today going digital to solid state memory chips has eliminated all mechanical recording processes for audio and video.  But don't forget it wasn't too long ago that an hours worth of digitized audio created files way too long for storage on any media smaller than nine track computer tape!

I have fond memories of an early digital audio test involving a Xerox Sigma 7 mainframe computer.  A heavy reel of data tape had music digitized at Bell LAbs in Holmdell NJ.  My task was to test the Sigma 7's ability to reproduce it as music.  The IT folks had to shut down all remote multi-tasking to run one batch program from a card reader to load the single task of reading the nine track data tape, buffer it and play the data back to a six foot tall rack size laboratory D to A converter to which I had attached a Harmon Kardon Citation series audio amplifier and a pair of AR-3A speakers.  The machine room was larger than four average livingrooms.  When the air filled with the strains of the Tijuana Brass, all of the IT folks broke out in applause.  It was a first for them and a rarity to hear digital audio reproduction.

Today we take it for granted that a half an ounce of electronics buried within an iPod Nano can do the same task and much more than the many tons of hardware I had at my disposal in the early nineteen seventies.

DAT tape was a great format for the time, but like digital telephony (ISDN) its cost kept it out of the mainstream.  And today we may be seeing the same thing with 4k video.  Most folks are quite satisfied with standard definition video playback at home and refuse to see any reason to spend a lot more money for HDTV Blu-ray optical releases let alone twice that resolution.  Some of us do care, but we are in the minority.

 

Elizabeth M
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Re: #6 - Voice Recognition
Elizabeth M   4/14/2014 4:37:27 AM
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It is for exactly those scenarios that I put voice recognition on the list, JimT!

Elizabeth M
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Re: Very interesting list 1 correction though
Elizabeth M   4/14/2014 4:26:12 AM
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Thanks again, JimT! I knew adding the electric car to the list was a bit risky but come on, people have been saying for years that the electric car is the "next big thing," and the industry is still grappling over affordability, batteries and range. I think it's great that electric cars have been added to the mix and people can purchase them if they like, but they still have a way to go to be truly mainstream and adopted. So I agree with you that my inclusion was valid, if not to everyone's tastes!

Elizabeth M
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Re: Internet food shopping
Elizabeth M   4/14/2014 4:10:17 AM
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Indeed, JimT, dotcoms in general could've made the list for sure! Your reminder of pets.com makes me laugh! True, a lot of money was frittered away recklessly during those days.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Internet food shopping
Elizabeth M   4/14/2014 4:07:06 AM
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I enjoyed your anecdote, tekochip. I bet a lot of musicians can relate to not making very much money, but not sure if many of them made money the way you did. I imagine a lot of people cashed out during the dot.com boom but just as many lost a lot when everything went bust. Nice to hear a success story!

Elizabeth M
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Re: Nice Compilation, Thanks.
Elizabeth M   4/14/2014 4:02:49 AM
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It was my pleasure! Thank you for reading and contributing, JimT. As for the Zune, yes, it is probably a device not only you but many others either didn't know about or forgot (and that Microsoft might like to forget! :)

tekochip
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Re: Internet food shopping
tekochip   4/11/2014 11:56:06 AM
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OK, I have a Dot-Com story too.    I was a musician during the dot-com bubble and had donated a bunch of music to MP3.com.  When MP3.com became popular they decided to go public and offered all of the charter musicians a chance at the IPO.  I took all the cash I could find and bought into the IPO at $28/sh just to sell the stock at the opening bell.  The price fell out of the sky, and I sold at around $165/sh.
 
It's the only time I ever made money as a musician.


JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: #6 - Voice Recognition
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   4/11/2014 11:01:31 AM
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Another good product:  I had that exact model Flip Tablet on slide 7 and loved its capability and portability.  I'd probably still be using it today, except that one day (about 2 days after warranty) the screen went completely dead.  It was a total loss.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: Internet food shopping
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   4/11/2014 10:58:18 AM
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Dot-Coms! A category of flops in itself!  My favorite flop was PETS.com, with their Sock-Puppet Mascot.  Paid $2M for a SuperBowl ad in 2000, and was bankrupt later that same year.  Talk about a lesson in how to piss-away money!

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