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Often times we get nostalgic looking back on the technology items of yesteryear. Those of us old enough to remember the ’80s fondly look back on the Commodore 64, or the Osborne 1 luggable “microcomputer.”  Other tech items, well, not so much.


Ball Mouse

Ball Mouse

The housing on the bottom would always clog with dust to the point of non-response, before drag-drag-SLAM on the mousepad. Not to be confused with modern trackball mice with the finger-operated ball outside the chassis, which are great for gaming and music production.




CRT monitors

Heaven forbid you ever had to move your computer to a different desk. A 21-inch CRT monitor is a herniated disc waiting to happen.


Token Ring

Token Ring LAN

Life before Ethernet meant your switch was made by IBM and one malfunctioning workstation could plague the entire network. There was a time in the mid-’80s when Token Ring was the preferred networking technology in business. Ethernet gained a slight speed advantage, and by the ‘90s, Token Ring was the Betamax of office networking.


scsi scanner


SCSI peripherals

A “scuzzy” chain saved space inside a computer by connecting several peripherals—a CD-ROM drive, a disk drive, a scanner, etc.—to one host adapter which took up only one slot in the bus. SCSI had a reputation of being finicky as all get-out. If you looked at it wrong and things stopped working, you had a world of troubleshooting to do. Life before USB was weird.




ATA cables

Belt-like ATA cables were bulky, crimped easily, and slow. What a shame the heyday of custom PC building coincided with the height of ATA cabling. They made for some unsightly builds with their intestine-like aesthetic.



Dial-up Internet

That sound. Why was it called a “handshake”? More like a headache!


fax machine


Fax machines

Remember when fax machines ruled the office? Well, if you work in healthcare, a legal setting, finance, or an insurance company, they still do. Sorry.


What are some obsolete technology items you don’t miss?   

Good Riddance: Technology Items Nobody Misses
Article Name
Good Riddance: Technology Items Nobody Misses
Sometimes we get nostalgic looking back on the technology items of yesteryear. Other times, not so much.
Adam Lovinus

Author Adam Lovinus

A tech writer and Raspberry Pi enthusiast from Orange County, California.

More posts by Adam Lovinus

Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • We’ve got a guy who came of age as an executive in the 1980s and LOVES fax machines. He will seize upon any possible excuse to send faxes.

    • Adam Lovinus says:

      Well, telegrams ceased to exist less than a decade ago. We probably have time left with the old fax machine.

  • Ray Gianelli says:

    Pre plug and play OS’s. Manually configuring DMA and IRQ’s when adding peripherals was a pain. Seemed like there was always a conflict.

  • Subra Santhanam says:

    you forgot calculators. now with smart phones who needs them

  • scottwilkins says:

    Someone needs to tell Apple that audio jacks are not included on this list, and really never should be. The reason this list is here is there are good replacements, there is no perfect replacement for a solid wired connection. Wireless is useful, and nice in a lot of situations, but not every one. The bottom line is all information must be analog for a human to consume it. The more road blocks you put in the way to get that information to an analog format, the harder it is to consume it. Nobody losses out by having an audio jack on a smartphone.

  • How about tape backup cartridges? They are an obsolete technology still in use like the fax machines.

  • Skip says:

    The pager was an annoying, albeit useful technology. Do they still exist beyond restaurant notifications?

What's your take?