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What's the one bit of tech that made you say, YESS!


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#51 Zonie OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2019 9:11 PM

My 1541 floppy drive. Sooooo much faster and better than twirling tapes around a pen.

 

...Not by much. :D

After selling and doing tech work on PCs for ages (and really hating them), I had to admit they were finally good when the Pentium Pro showed up. 

 

Between that and the DEC Alpha, that was the moment in history where I was really impressed by the ratio of processing speed to price. 

 

And there's documentation out there to suggest that the Pentium Pro and Pentium II/III are related to the DEC Alpha. But that's another story....

 

 

https://www.wired.co...a-chip-dispute/

 

https://www.hpcwire....t-infringement/

 

https://www.forbes.c...ml#7b7a441ae07d

 

https://www.nytimes....ium-design.html

 

https://money.cnn.co...7/deals/settle/

 

Remember "Alpha Instead"

M.A.M.E.

 

Oh yeah. Wasted hundreds of hours at work on Sunday shift downloading and organizing my Mame directories.

The Erasermate!

7th grade for me. Had ink all over my hands.



#52 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 9, 2019 2:31 AM

Has anyone said emulation?  When I got my ST back in the mid 80s it wasn't long before I had a Magic Sac and PC-Ditto.  Having one machine able to run three different systems worth of software was amazing to me back then - not to mention very helpful at times.

 

Emulation was truly "tricksterly" amazing back in the day. It was so new and so novel seeing a contemporary Pentium II run Star Raiders in sharper-than-CRT resolution. It was exciting to look into the open case of the PC and wonder in awe - where's the hidden Atari 400?

 

There was an aura of sophistication surrounding it all. A processor so advanced and so fast it had to have its L2 cache soldered on a board right next to core.

 

And today's entry-level hexacore i7-8700 chips are no less thrilling.



#53 spacecadet OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 9, 2019 3:30 PM

I'm a bit late to this thread but I'm surprised no one has said GPS yet. This is the tech that has probably changed my life more than anything else, and that made me immediately wonder how I ever lived without it before. If someone were to take away GPS from me completely today, it would seriously degrade my quality of life.

 

For example, today (similar to every other day), I went to Olive Garden, Best Buy and Target in towns that are 10-15 miles away. I didn't know how to get there ahead of time. GPS makes it so easy you just take it for granted; you can go anywhere. What did we do before GPS? We'd call the store and ask for directions. Often, they wouldn't even know because they weren't familiar with where you live, and then you'd have to hope you had a paper map of that specific area. Then you had to plot your route and write down your own directions ahead of time, or try to memorize them. And of course there was the dreaded "wrong turn" if you made a mistake, which could cause you to get completely lost because now you're off your pre-determined path and have no idea how to get back on it.

 

All this rigmarole meant that pre-GPS, I rarely went places I wasn't already familiar with. And that's not even considering traffic, which any good GPS unit can route you around. In my area, that's huge. That can save hours in a day vs. if you have to plot one route and then hope for the best.

 

I don't even know how to get lost anymore. And I don't even think about *not* going anywhere, whether I've been anywhere near the area or not. (Unless I know or suspect it's not safe.) GPS basically opened up an entire new world around me as soon as I got my first personal GPS receiver.

 

Of course integrating GPS into smartphones took it to another level, because the "POIs" were no longer limited to whatever the mapping company had time and memory to enter, and instead became unlimited. At that point, pretty much everything under the sun was available on the map and was constantly updated. So that was a pretty major advance too, but it was the advent of GPS itself - even just having to manually enter specific addresses - that was the real game changer.



#54 power OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 9, 2019 3:41 PM

meh, before gps we just had street directories, as long as you knew the address you were going to it was easy. the knowing the address bit was the hard bit not the actual gps part, so to me mobile devices with reliable internet is way more important than gps which while nice, convenient and simple wasn't the game changer IMHO of course.



#55 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:12 AM

I'm a bit late to this thread but I'm surprised no one has said GPS yet. This is the tech that has probably changed my life more than anything else, and that made me immediately wonder how I ever lived without it before. If someone were to take away GPS from me completely today, it would seriously degrade my quality of life.

 

I would agree and more. When I was a kid back in the 70's I made my own GPS unit. It was about the size of an iPad Pro and got updated in realtime too. It was a cardboard frame and you would slide a paper map around inside it. It even had a car marker, a stiff piece of wire holding a tiny paper cutout pic of a car. And you could adjust the wire to keep it on the road.

 

Later ETAK came out with this monstrosity that counted wheel revolutions and automated what I was doing by hand. After a couple of miles or just a few turns it would need to be reset to landmarks. Then they automated it more, by using a green 5" CRT.

 

But, yes, I simply take GPS for granted today. Even though it's quite the gas!



#56 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:04 AM

I totally forgot about GPS, because I take it for granted. I used to need to rely on complex ADC map books to find street addresses in the city. No more.

(Then again, I also used to cruise around for blockbuster and Hollywood video stores, looking for bargain bins full of video games on physical media. That was a somewhat harder mental habit to break, only made easier when those stores ceased to exist)

#57 wongojack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:58 AM

I don't use GPS.  I never have.  I just don't trust them.  I do use online maps though - a lot.  I just typically look at the map a little bit before I leave to go somewhere and that's all I need.  Even in foreign countries this system works fine for me.  Now that most places have an Uber type service when I'm in a place where I really don't know where to go, I'm not driving anyway.

 

I generally just don't like talking to a device or having a device talk to me.  I dunno why really, but it kinda makes me feel like an idiot.



#58 x=usr(1536) OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:02 AM

One technological development (not quite sure it can really be called a technology per se) that I've totally overlooked despite it literally staring me in the face right now:

 

The move towards more and more functions that would have been implemented in hardware now being done in software.

 

Obviously, this won't work in 100% of cases; there are situations where having an entire device exist in its own dedicated silicon makes sense.  But for certain things having the ability to let the hardware do the heavy lifting while presenting a flexible and extensible interface onto it lets you do way more with the hardware than would have otherwise been possible.

 

Example: the entire network infrastructure we have at home is software-defined.  The hardware does the job of moving packets around, but is not limited to an out-of-the-box set of possibilities because it is possible to extend and tweak it in software.

 

Another example (and this is the one that was staring me in the face): software-defined radio.  Connect a commodity USB receiver (or transceiver), have it perform the gruntwork of grabbing the signals out of the air, and use the software to control it and do the processing.

 

This one really is a case of 'what's old is new again', but I am glad to see it being applied in a number of areas where it's useful.



#59 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:49 AM

A child's first exposure to that in the 1970's would perhaps be the Tomy Blip mechanical games in contracts to a real VCS or computer that could do the same thing via software. The Marx Table Tenis fits too.

 

Other examples are WinModems and Soundcards built into the PCH, both rely on software to figure out the shape of the signals and the logic behind  generating the waveforms.



#60 -^CrožBow^- OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:24 PM

Many have shared the same items I'm about to list...but it would be these things...

 

- Atari 2600

- Soundcards in general and especially when Wavetable cards became available

- LCD monitors

- SSDs



#61 thetick1 ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:28 PM

I don't use GPS.  I never have.  I just don't trust them.  I do use online maps though - a lot.  I just typically look at the map a little bit before I leave to go somewhere and that's all I need.  Even in foreign countries this system works fine for me.  Now that most places have an Uber type service when I'm in a place where I really don't know where to go, I'm not driving anyway.

 

I generally just don't like talking to a device or having a device talk to me.  I dunno why really, but it kinda makes me feel like an idiot.

 

Get over your fear of feeling stupid.  I guess ignorance is bliss .  You can only live in a cave for so long.  

I have some 4th cousins who are Amish and even they on occasion will use the GPS on their business phone (of course only for business reasons not for personal or social reasons) ... seriously I'm not kidding.


Edited by thetick1, Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:30 PM.


#62 wongojack OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:15 PM

Who is ignorant?  I'm aware of GPS and its features. I've tried it.  I just don't find them to be as good as my own method of reading a map.  You could say that I actually don't like the ignorance they create when you are trusting them to guide you.  If you are using one, you are willfully choosing to not know your route and let the GPS decide for you.  I don't like that.  I could put it back on you and tell you to come out of your GPS induced coma and learn to read a map.  You can only trust the GPS for so long before it gets you lost and you need to read the map anyway.

 

Regarding talking to a speaker . . . It just makes me feel like I'm taking an unnecessary shortcut.  Does it really save me time to dictate a text message?  I don't find that it does.  Therefore, if I still choose to dictate my texts and not save time, that makes me feel like an idiot.  If I ask Alexa to do basic math for me instead of doing it in my head, that's another unnecessary shortcut that makes me feel like I'm choosing something that actually isn't good for me and makes me feel like a different kind of idiot.  I'm just not into that.



#63 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:28 AM

I've read that relying on GPS all the time stunts the part of one's brain that creates a mental map of an area. Like with your example of using a calculator for simple artimetoc, there's a "use it or lose it" situation with some of these skills.

Just as I would be pretty useless in a survival situation, im pretty sure many people would have trouble with maps or long division problems.

Personally, I'm mostly OK with that, just like I don't miss the glory days of manually mapping IRQs and COM ports or configuring memory settings on pre-1984 computers. But wongo's choice is a valid one, shared by many. Not everyone wants to outsource every one of their brain's tasks.

#64 thetick1 ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:36 AM

I've read that relying on GPS all the time stunts the part of one's brain that creates a mental map of an area. Like with your example of using a calculator for simple artimetoc, there's a "use it or lose it" situation with some of these skills.

Just as I would be pretty useless in a survival situation, im pretty sure many people would have trouble with maps or long division problems.

Personally, I'm mostly OK with that, just like I don't miss the glory days of manually mapping IRQs and COM ports or configuring memory settings on pre-1984 computers. But wongo's choice is a valid one, shared by many. Not everyone wants to outsource every one of their brain's tasks.

 

My sense of direction has always been terrible.  GSP was a God sent when I younger and had to traveling to lots cities.

This little guy certainly saved me from getting fired:



#65 DragonGrafx-16 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:04 AM

I remember when a 256mb flash drive was considered huge...



#66 Jess Ragan OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:03 AM

Flash drives for sure. I remember being in a computer class back in, oh, 2001? I bought my first flash drive from Radio Shack and remember getting all excited about having 32 MEGS OF STORAGE in a drive several times smaller than a floppy. It lasted longer than a floppy disc, too, until the USB port started to separate from the flash board from too many pluggings and unpluggings. Great technology, and it only got better and better. I think I paid, oh, forty dollars for that flash drive with 32 megs of storage. Now you can get them with 32 GIGS for a fraction of that price.

 

USB is terrific because it's so versatile. Keyboards, flash drives, mouses, joysticks, printers, scanners... the USB can handle all these peripherals, and so many more. Sometimes it recognizes what you've plugged in right away, without the need for a driver! The USB standard is twenty-three years old at this point, and many of the legacy devices from that era which use USB can still be used today. It's the one technology that's both future proof and past proof.

 

If we're going to go back a ways, voice synthesis is something we take for granted now but seemed utterly A-M-A-Z-I-N-G in the early 1980s, when many computers and video game systems were first using it. You had to have a peripheral, but the voice was crisp enough to understand, and it did legitimately contribute to the experience. You'd get important audio cues from the Gomer Pyle-ish voice in B-17 Bomber, and KC Munchkin's friendly announcer voice adds personality to KC's Krazy Chase. It's just not the same without hearing KC belt out "HA HA HA! InCREDible!" at the end of every round.

 

I remember after I bought my NES in 1988, that I went into the store, looking for new games to add to my collection. I saw Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road behind the glass, complete with a starburst proclaiming "featuring voice!" on the box. I wasn't sure if you had to buy a voice synthesis peripheral for the NES to get that voice, and the clerk at Meijer didn't know either. Turns out it was build into the cartridge with no extra hardware needed, which I suppose spelled the beginning of the end for the voice synthesis boxes of the 1980s. I suppose it's good that we no longer need them, but their slightly robotic speech did add a quirky zeerusty charm to the early video game experience.



#67 VectorGamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:33 AM

I'm a bit late to this thread but I'm surprised no one has said GPS yet.

BRB left hand on the steering wheel and right hand holding printout of directions from MapQuest.

 

For me MP3 and now ALAC/FLAC and being able to stream my digital music collection anywhere as long as I have a stable connection and the media server is up and running.






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