I love reading tech retrospectives, retrospectively. Seeing how people discuss vintage IT, in the past. People talking about hardware failures in a world before Spectre, and software failures before Windows 8. They say sci-fi is more a commentary on the present than the future, and I think that holds for these.
Don Woligroski did a compilation of 16 PC industry failures for Tom’s Hardware back in February 2012 . I already can’t remember many of these, but there were a few standouts:
- The Zip Drive
- I’m an Iomega aficionado; I adored their quintessentially-90s drive designs, advertising graphics, and their driver software for Windows 3.1 was some of the best of any hardware manufacturer. I don’t think I was ever bitten by the infamous Click of Death, but I eventually moved onto Iomega’s Jaz disks for school work and personal projects when I started earning my own money.
- One of my treasured memories as a teenager was standing around Make Fine Computer in Funan Centre in Singapore joking about RAMBUS with the owner of the store, and another local gentleman. The poor owner hadn’t been able to move any of his stock of the memory, and he said he didn’t blame anyone.
- I held out hope for this chip, in part because it offered a clean break from CISC x86, but also because having multiple architectures is way more interesting. How would it compete with SPARC and POWER? I even remember trying to spec out a computer with them back in the day to tinker with them. Turns out nobody else did.
- IDE-To-SATA Converters
- I’d put these in the same category as Zip disks. I knew people who had problems, but I never did. At one point I was using them for an IDE drive in a RAID1 with a SATA, and with my first CD burner. Makes me shiver now just thinking about it!
- Pentium 4
- The early P4s represented the pinnacle of sillyness from the Megahertz War. I’d moved to PowerPC Macs for most of my stuff by the time these power hungry chips appeared. The Core chips were so much better, they were in my first MacBook Pro.
For some perspective, in February 2012 I was blogging about Android’s support of Flash, bidding farewell to Singapore Airlines' 747 fleet, and an embarrassing Australian article about the then-new Rasperry Pi.