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Tech That Failed To Fail

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the so-bad-it's-good dept.

Television 428

itwbennett writes "There are tech fads that flare up quickly and then, pouf, they're gone (Tamagotchi, anyone?). And then there are technologies that industry bigwigs predict will follow that familiar pattern and instead end up withstanding the test of time. The Internet, for example, has famously failed to implode, despite dire predictions by Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe. And what about TV, the cornerstone of the American living room? Inventor Lee DeForest, known as one of the 'fathers of the electronic age,' declared TV a commercial and financial impossibility, a sentiment that was shared by 20th Century Fox exec Darryl Zanuck. And FCC engineer T.A.M. Craven was absolutely certain back in 1961 that there was 'no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the United States.'"

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ATM machines (3, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023438)

Despite all the problems, using an ATM machine beats standing in that long ass line trying to cash a check.

Why are banks open only from 10-3, the sort of hours they know everyone is at work? And why is it that at least one bank teller is on break or on lunch?

Re:ATM machines (5, Interesting)

Urban Garlic (447282) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023474)

I've pretty much always been in favor of ATMs, but that's because I'm relatively anti-social -- I certainly recall the hue and cry about how impersonal and awful it was when they first became common. (Yes, I'm old, get off my lawn, etc.)

I'm still cranky about ATM fees, though -- the other thing I recall from when they were introduced was how much money the banks would save by not having to hire as many tellers, and these savings would more than cover the cost of the machines, so of course there would never be fees, they said. Simple common sense.

Re:ATM machines (4, Insightful)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023608)

No, you're right. I don't go to the bank to have a lovely little conversation with the teller about the weather and the local sports team. I go to the bank to either 1.) Get Money, or 2.) Leave Money... These two jobs are perfectly suited to a machine, and in theory the machine should cost less to operate and thus lower banking costs... That's the theory anyway. The only problem I have with ATMs is that they seem to attract morons who can't operate them, and end up taking even longer than going to a human teller... Same thing with self-checkout at the supermarket. Outstanding idea -- I can get through those things in about 1/4 the time it would take even in the express lane. However, the problem arises that anybody over 40 can't seem to work them, and if you're behind someone over 60, well, just forget about it...

Re:ATM machines (5, Interesting)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023740)

I prefer human checkout operators - they're faster than robo-checkouts. The majority of the time spent checking out is rotating the goods so the barcode is visible to the laser sensor and selecting the correct item for produce by weight - both of which are something that a human has to do, and which a checkout operator has much more skill at than myself. On top of that, a robo-checkout adds a mandatory pause after each item to check the bag scale to make sure the barcode matches the mass of the item you put in the bag, so even if you DO get as fast as a checkout operator at scanning, you won't be able to operate at full speed.

The only reason to use a robo-checkout I can think of is when you're in a hurry, you only have one item, the other checkouts are saturated, and the robo-checkout lane is empty because they are so crap. Even then, I prefer to use the human lane - a minimum wage checkout worker needs their job more than I need to buy stupid crap faster.

Re:ATM machines (2)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 3 years ago | (#36024016)

The thing I hate about self checkouts is it stops every time it calculates too much weight or not enough weight in the bagging area once its scanned. Without fail the human has to come over and bypass the error message.

Re:ATM machines (1)

x*yy*x (2058140) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023764)

Well, the good thing about ATM's is that theres lots of them. Going to bank just to get money would be much more work, and I live in a big city. It's even more work for someone not living in a city.

Re:ATM machines (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023818)

Hmm I am 27 and I WONT USE THE DAMN SELF CHECKOUT anymore.. A human checker can always complete my transaction faster than I can unless they are new trainee or something. Its not that I have problems using the machine, most of the time I tried using them everything was fine and it was easy to understand what to do. A few times there were problems where the weight sensor did not register the item had been place in the bagging area and than you have to stand there like an idiot until the operator can come over which takes all kinds of time.

The main issue is locating the UPC codes. I don't know where they are on the packing so I have to sit there and spin each item around and around in my hands inspecting between one and six sides of it before I can locate it. A human checker becomes familiar with the products the store sells and knows right where to look, and often they don't need to look they can orient the thing correctly over the scanner without sighting the code. I would say for a weeks worth of groceries an experienced human checker can do the job 15% to 20% faster than I can, especially if there is allot of produce to weigh. Its not worth while to do it myself.

Re:ATM machines (1)

rodarson2k (1122767) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023914)

The main issue is locating the UPC codes. I don't know where they are on the packing so I have to sit there and spin each item around and around in my hands inspecting between one and six sides of it before I can locate it.

You don't have to locate the UPC codes! Every self-checkout scanner i've seen is reading from 2 angles simultaneously, meaning that you merely have to rotate the box twice to have checked all 6 sides. Pickup box, put above scanner, rotate twice or until beep, put in bag.

You don't save time over a real checker, but if the line's shorter, you're saving time over waiting in line.

Re:ATM machines (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023822)

Actually I hate ATM's, I have found I spend less if I actually have to go inside, not to mention I actually like the people that work in my bank, they all know me by name and are even comfortable enough to give me hell when I'm there (jokingly of course). On the other hand there is a branch of the same bank up the street that a requirement to work there is to be an asshole, I absolutely refuse to use that branch.

Re:ATM machines (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023866)

No, you're right. I don't go to the bank to have a lovely little conversation with the teller about the weather and the local sports team.

Around here, its never, ever, lovely. Its all about propositioning for sales:

1) Would you like to "upgrade" to a checking account with higher fees and higher required balance and some useless features no one uses?

2) We're selling home equity loans, would you like to eliminate your net worth in exchange for a jet ski?

3) Have you talked to our co-located investment personnel about starting a retirement account?

4) Would you like to buy this overpriced useless piece of lead painted flair handmade by Chinese political prisoners to support America's (insert politically correct flavor of the day)?

I believe they hit me up for insurance, savings bonds, and credit card apps at least once in the past.

Avoiding talking to beautiful young woman bank tellers about the weather by visiting the ATM is NOT anti-social... the anti-social part is their boss making them recite ridiculous sales pitches from a script or else they get fired.

Re:ATM machines (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023912)

Everyone who complains about ATM fees needs to remember something. It costs a lot of money to purchase them, along with the Microsoft licenses necessary to run them. Add in the IT fees every time one of those suckers blue screens, add in the extra workload on the tellers while it's bluescreened, man, you can see it's a burden on the banks to run them. So, belly up and fork over a little more of that Microsoft tax, people. This is the good life, after all!

Re:ATM machines (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#36024118)

Maybe they should go back to running OS/2... eComStation still has the OS maintained and on life support.

Re:ATM machines (2)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023610)

Here in the UK, there are no fees for using a bank ATM. Most accounts will also permit you to withdraw from the ATMs of other banks, again with no fee. My account (and I don't think it's unusual) will permit you to withdraw money from any bank ATM in the UK with no fee.

The only ATMs that charge fees are those provided by convenience stores and garages (and yes, the fees are extortionate). But I can withdraw from any of them too.

It wasn't always the case that there were no fees, but I believe we started off with no fees for withdrawal from your "home bank". Then enough fuss was made about "foreign" withdrawal that as soon as one bank broke ranks, all the others followed suit.

Are the ATMs in the USA well networked? Can you withdraw from any of them? This would seem to be the first step to getting fees dropped.

Re:ATM machines (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023712)

The ATM network predates the web here.

With one withdrawl you can be charged:
$1-$5 by your bank for using an external network
+$1-$5 by another bank for using their network
+$2-$5 by an ATM vendor(like at a gas station)

Usually, but not always, 2 and 3 are mutually exclusive. This can result in fees as high as 50% of what you take out for small sums.

Re:ATM machines (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023852)

The ATM network predates the web here.

As it does here I believe.

Those fees are insane though; the highest I've seen in the UK is around 1.85 GBP, or about 3 USD. No bank that I'm aware of charges for 1 or 2, leaving only 3.

Re:ATM machines (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023860)

It likewise predates the web here ; I do remember the age when you had to go to the right bank, but never experienced that myself. But I don't think I remember any time when you were charged for withdrawing from your own bank (my mother would never have stood for that).

In the end it was the planned combination of charges by the card issuer AND the machine operator that was the last straw for any kind of ATM fees in this country. It would seem that the USA has accepted this state of affairs. :-(

Re:ATM machines (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36024094)

In certain circumstances, the convenience of the machine is worth every penny you pay. Keep in mind, there are some pretty remote places here in the US, and in those places you can be sure that ATM fees and gas prices are going to be high.

I'm not sure why anyone would regularly use an ATM in a densely populated area, though. It's just as easy to go buy a pack of gum at 7-11 and get cash back if all you need is convenience.

Re:ATM machines (1)

Old97 (1341297) | more than 3 years ago | (#36024062)

True, but you can get it all free if you shop around. I use USAA Federal Savings Bank and I don't pay to use anybody's ATM. There are no fees for the account either. I've seen other internet banks offering the same or similar deal. Often a regular direct deposit from a paycheck or social security or whatever is required.

Re:ATM machines (1)

farnz (625056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023826)

At a technical level, there still are ATM fees for using a bank ATM in the UK. It's just that our banks have worked out that it's better for business overall if the fees are internal bookkeeping between banks rather than something to pass onto a customer.

Put simply, banks with huge ATM networks like Barclays make a net profit on ATM fees; they receive more than they pay out. Banks with small ATM networks often find it cheaper to pay the fees than to either expand their network or deal with the customer service problem of guiding irate customers to their only ATM in town (partly because mobile phones means that people are more likely to call in and ask for help, mostly because - as you've said - no foreign withdrawal fees is a selling point).

Re:ATM machines (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023830)

In the US all ATMs are networked and indeed this is true across most of the world. I've withdrawn money from Canadian ATMs with a US card just fine. Also no bank I'm aware of charges fees for its own customers to use its own ATMs. You can use them as often as you like for whatever functions they have and the bank is happy about that.

Fees start when you want to use other bank's ATMs. Every bank tends to charge a fee for non-members to use their ATM. On top of that, many banks charge you a fee for using someone else's ATM. So the ATM might charge you $2 to use it, and your bank might also charge you $2 for using an ATM that doesn't belong to them. People get a little miffed by that since it isn't as though it costs them anything.

Now generally it is not a problem for most people. If you are with a large bank, they have plenty of ATMs. Banks like Bank of America, Chase, and so on have ATMs all over the place so finding one is no problem and so long as it is your bank's ATM, you are fine. Also credit union users generally don't have much trouble since most credit unions do not charge fees to other credit unions. So as long as you find an ATM belonging to a credit union, any credit union, you are fine.

The people who have trouble are those who use small banks, but travel. If you use a bank that only has local branches, you may find it impossible to use their ATMs.

Of course there are lots of ways to deal with this. A simple one is to use a debit card for a purchase and get cash back. Merchants are required by their payment processors to offer that option so you can buy something, and get additional cash, and it doesn't cost you anything. It is also less of a problem these days since most people simply do electronic purchasing using credit or debit cards, cash isn't used nearly as much so you don't need to go get it often.

It isn't a big issue, you just hear lots of complaining on Slahsdot and sites like it for two reasons:

1) It is really stupid. Banks shouldn't charge each other fees for this, it doesn't cost them anything.

2) People on Slashdot love to whine, particularly about "evil companies".

Networked for withdrawals only (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023940)

In the US all ATMs are networked

For withdrawals only, not for depositing checks. Chase ATMs don't take deposits for any other bank.

If you are with a large bank, they have plenty of ATMs. Banks like Bank of America, Chase, and so on have ATMs all over the place

Unless, for example, your account is with Bank of America and you happen to be in Indiana, which doesn't have Bank of America. Or unless you're with an online-only bank such as Ally.

most people simply do electronic purchasing using credit or debit cards, cash isn't used nearly as much

Public transit in my hometown is still cash-only. Even getting cash out of an ATM isn't good enough because ATMs have nothing but $20 bills, which definitely aren't exact change for bus fare.

Re:ATM machines (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#36024102)

Didn't Barclay's try to charge for withdrawals a while back?

Re:ATM machines (1)

anerki (169995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36024050)

This is not true in the US? In most countries there's a difference between:

- Credit cards, work on credit. Draw cash, it'll always be (a ridiculously high) fee
- Bank cards, draw directly from your account, possibly with credit, but payed direct. And they usually don't have fees. At least in our little governementless country called Belgium and the rest of Western Europe

Re:ATM machines (1)

morcego (260031) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023476)

Exactly so people will use an ATM machine, which is cheaper for the bank than having someone actually assisting the customer.

Re:ATM machines (5, Informative)

ZamesC (611197) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023572)

Bank close at 3PM, because, in the pre-computer days, there was several hours worth of counting & bookkeeping that had to be done between kicking the last customer out & close for the night. Why they STILL close at 3PM, is... well... tradition, I guess.

Re:ATM machines (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023652)

Oddness. I though he was just off his rocker with that comment but someone else knows it so it can't be completely off base.

Every bank in my local vicinity closes at 5pm. A lot of them stay open until 6pm on Fridays (presumably also due to historic reasons - prior to direct deposit people were often paid on Friday so the banks stayed open longer for people to come cash/deposit checks on pay-day).

Of course, these days I'm even seeing a few banks start to open on Saturdays. All in all though, irrelevant. I have 2 checking accounts that I use (one is for bills and one is for discretionary spending) - the discretionary one that I use pretty much everyday doesn't even have a physical branch closer than 30 miles to my house. I haven't stepped foot in that building since I opened the account. A specified portion of my check auto-deposits there, and the rest is done via the net and ATM's.

I'm not really even that young (about to turn 30), and the entire concept of physically doing stuff in a bank seems outdated.

Re:ATM machines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36023776)

I'm in much the same situation, but it's occasionally useful to go to a branch in person. For example, when my debit card number was stolen, I was able to resolve the issue much better in person than I would have over the phone.

Also, cashier's checks are necessary sometimes. Apartment complexes don't like to take personal checks for the first rent payment and all that.

Re:ATM machines (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#36024144)

In my area, I know of one branch of one bank that opens at 8:00, a couple that open at 8:30, and all the rest open at 9:00.

Closing time for most of them is 3:00, 3:30, or 4:00. But, a different branch of the same bank that opens at 8:00 stays open til 5:00. I guess it's up the individual manager how early and how late they stay open. On Fridays, of course, they all stay open later - some as late as 6:00. Of all the banks around me, only two have Saturday hours, which I love because I don't have to worry about getting off work late on a Friday.

Banker's hours have never been what I would call convenient. The wife used to cash her check and mine at the grocery store, because it was to much hassle to get to the bank. For many years, almost all our deposits were made through the night deposit slot. Only in the past five years or so have these various branches used the times that I've outlined above.

Re:ATM machines (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 3 years ago | (#36024060)

Pretty the norm in the UK. Where I live (Birmingham), they close at midday for "half day closing" on one weekday. Some are even closed on Saturdays and all on are closed on Sundays. National holidays are also called "bank holidays". It gets me also when you walk in at 12:30 to find one cashier and the other 11 cashiers have gone to lunch, a time when everyone [none bankers] is at lunch and need to use the bank.

Re:ATM machines (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023574)

Despite all the problems, using an ATM machine beats standing in that long ass line trying to cash a check.

Only if it's an automatic ATM machine. :-)

Re:ATM machines (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023716)

Yes, sir, I assure you that all our ATM machines are networked with the TCP/IP protocol, so yes, they are automatic.

Re:ATM machines (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023922)

Yes, sir, I assure you that all our ATM machines are networked with the TCP/IP protocol, so yes, they are automatic.

Traditionally around here they were all SNA/SDLC over either analog multipoint or a short lived interval of digital multipoint or frame relay connections. I suppose times change...

Re:ATM machines (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36024126)

Yeah, the SNA architecture under SLDC [wikipedia.org] control was a good system.

Re:ATM machines (5, Funny)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023784)

Unfortunately, it looks like many people are missing the humor in the redundancy and superfluously of your redundant comment. The thing that bugs me about automatic ATM machines is having to set and remember a personal PIN number.

Re:ATM machines (1)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023804)

Okay, I was exaggerating. Maybe only a few are missing your humor but there sure are a lot of people writing ATM machine.

Re:ATM machines (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36023926)

Not missing the [failed] humor, just tired of the folks that think pointing out this kind of redundancy (thus being redundant themselves) makes them amusing. Every single time someone makes the mistake.

Posting anon because I modded GP redundant and don't want to lose it.

- thePowerOfGrayskull

Re:ATM machines (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36023788)

What you really need is an automatic ATM teller machine.

Re:ATM machines (1)

multisync (218450) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023602)

Why are banks open only from 10-3, the sort of hours they know everyone is at work?

Not all banks have hours like that. My bank is open from 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM Mon - Fri and from 8:00 - 4:00 on Saturdays. Some branches are open on Sunday.

Of course, the only time I take advantage of those hours is when I need something out of my safe deposit box. I use the ATM to withdraw cash and online banking for everything else.

Re:ATM machines (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023688)

I love ATM machines. I see a huge queue for them and I go into the bank. Most people have forgotten you can get money over the counter and the line is often shorter. The best part is, there is usually a lovely girl selected as she is "customer facing" stuff, sat down at the desk. She doesn't have to be fast or good at her job either. Mmmm.

Re:ATM machines (2)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023850)

The cuties don't have to be fast but they do have to be good at their job. I once had one deposit a check for cash.... Very thoughtful of her to try expediting the process without asking but I'd rather she looked closer and listened better.

Automated Teller Machine machines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36023706)

Saying "ATM machines" is like saying "FTP protocol." Unless you're talking about the Automated Teller Machine machines that make the Automated Teller Machines?

My dis am bigger than yours (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36024006)

Saying "ATM machines" is like saying "FTP protocol."

Repeating the noun [pineight.com] is good for disambiguating them from Asynchronous Transfer Mode or [expletive] The Police.

Re:ATM machines (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023754)

ATM machine? I won't settle for less than an automated ATM machine, into which I enter my PIN number and withdraw my cash money-- usually around $60 dollars.

Re:ATM machines (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023894)

In my area there are many banks that are actually open when I am not working. However, I used to say that banks are in the customer service business, that's why they are never open when their customers can come in to get service because it is only recently that there are banks in my area that are open when the vast majority of people are not working.

Re:ATM machines (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 3 years ago | (#36024020)

Why are banks open only from 10-3, the sort of hours they know everyone is at work?

Because they can. Banks (and the financial industry as a whole) have all of us by the balls, and more importantly, they know it. Therefore, they can set whatever hours they want, and we all just have to deal with it because we have no alternative.

Dont forget OSX and Linux (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36023454)

They have utterly failed to "destroy Windows on the desktop", and will continue to do so.

Re:Dont forget OSX and Linux (4, Informative)

gabebear (251933) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023512)

They(OSX and Linux) have utterly failed to "destroy Windows on the desktop", and will continue to do so.

I don't think Windows has failed to fail. It fails pretty well.

Re:Dont forget OSX and Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36023930)

Yeah, but according to all the fanbois out there Windows was suppose to collapse utterly just around the time XP was coming to market. While you may feel witty in your lame retort the fact is that we've heard nothing but endless cries of "this is the big one, this is the one that is going to bury MS" everytime MS did anything that didn't fall in line with the open source cult's commandments or anytime MS stubbed their toe with crap like MS Bob.
 
According to the knids of brain trusts we have floating around here MS should be a faint memory by now and Linux should have spread to every desktop on the globe. Meh. I don't care either way but it is fun to see these people who've been using every adoption of Linux with more than 10 users as a salve for their wounds. Keep hope alive, brothers. I'm sure MS will be filing for chapter 13 sometime in your great grandchildrens' lifetime. And if they do file earlier you can all shove this in my face and tell me about how you were right all along and scream "developers developers developers" at the top of your lungs while fling about chairs... Whatever gets you through the day.

Re:Dont forget OSX and Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36023554)

Congratulations, you succeeded in failing!

Re:Dont forget OSX and Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36023588)

What interesting is that while they didn't "destroy" Windows (Windows is definitely still out there) they pretty much did make Windows completely irrelevant and unneeded. You can go years at a stretch without seeing a Windows machine. That was really hard in the 1990s. Nowdays, Slashdot itself is pretty much my only exposure to Microsoft.

Re:Dont forget OSX and Linux (1)

x*yy*x (2058140) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023710)

And what about games? There's really no sense using anything else than Windows for gaming (well maybe consoles, but all that mouse & keyboard thing)

Re:Dont forget OSX and Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36023618)

Yeah, Vista was such a big success. LOL

Internet Explorer 6 (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023480)

Despite it being a terrible browser, it managed to hold on for 10 years and is still the de facto browser for business machines.

Well, (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023482)

the iPhone failed to fail (in accordance with general Slashdot consensus)

Re:Well, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36023530)

Slashdot consensus

You must be new here.

Re:Well, (1)

MikeDirnt69 (1105185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023994)

Look at his sig

iPod (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023486)

No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

And Tablets (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023666)

Everyone thought tablets didn't stand a chance and now there is the Ipad.

Re:iPod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36023772)

That one short post is truly one of the golden nuggets of internet history, and how wrong a geek that "Knows it all" can be.

The tech wasn't the issue though (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023948)

The fashion was (and is). Really the tech for MP3 players has never been a big deal for most users. "Plays my music," is as far as they care about anything. Please remember that people were happy with discmans and walkmans and shit like that.

What the iPod did was make MP3 players cool, it made them a fashion accessory. The best way to notice that is the white earbuds, with cord hanging out front where it is visible. Their commercials show this and it is the style that sold. An iPod is fashionable and has thing like the white earbuds so that you can proclaim ownership and show off the fashion. Heck when the iPod came out all of a sudden high end earbud manufacturers suddenly had a demand for white earbuds. They'd always been a darker colour before since being understated was what people wanted. However white earbuds were a fashion statement. People wanted better sound, but only if they could still have the iPod fashion going.

That is why the iPod was so successful. Other MP3 players were just music players so people really didn't give a shit more than they had before. However the iPod was a fashion accessory that you had to have.

Then of course once it started to take off you got one of those nice positive feedback loops. People didn't know about MP3 players, they knew about iPods. If you wanted a music player you got an iPod simply because that was all you knew, even if there were no fashion concerns. An "Everyone uses it because everyone uses it," sort of situation.

Technology was never the big factor, and in consumer electronics that can sometimes be the case.

Re:iPod (4, Insightful)

supremebob (574732) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023976)

In defense of CmdrTaco, the first generation iPod was a piece of crap. It was expensive, only had 5 GB of storage space, required a FireWire port, and only had software available for the Mac. It wasn't until the third generation iPod where they had those issues fixed, which is right around where they started flying off the shelves.

Re:iPod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36024044)

Most computers didn't have WiFi then. WiFi chips were expensive and the iPod was already expensive as it was. The Nomad was a big, heavy and ugly. The iPod was also kind of ugly, but it was small enough to carry around and for about ten years it was the best way to listen to music and podcasts while on the move.

The iPod is probably ultimately going to be pushed out of the market by smartphones and tablets.

Re:iPod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36024134)

Bullshit. You obviously have no idea what the fuck you are talking about.

Company I worked for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36023508)

got stung like that many years ago. The patent wasn't really that close to what we were doing, but it was cheaper to pay out a couple of bucks per unit than to pay lawyers.

"The Cloud" (services.) (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36023524)

Its nothing more than a stupid marketing buzzword for the traditional server farms spread throughout the world.

I hope it fails fast and harder than the web 2.0. Another stupid marketing cliché.

Re:"The Cloud" (services.) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36023700)

Not quite --- "The Cloud" is more --it's traditional server farms spread throughout the world on which you *rent* the opportunity to store and maybe retrieve data in a semi-protected fashion. Get it right: with Cloud you get none of the benefits of ownership and over a few years you get all the cost!

Cloud is what you do if you don't expect to need capacity long term. If you need a compute node for more than 3-4 years -- it's cheaper to buy and maintain it yourself (provided your local SA is reasonably priced and is riding range over 10 or more machines).

Re:"The Cloud" (services.) (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023950)

I used to think the same thing. But then I found how easy it was to deploy servers in the cloud and still charge my customers the same do-re-mi for hardware, bandwidth and support.

Heh.

Inventor Of TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36023526)

It was John Logie Baird, rather than Lee DeForest, as the headline suggests...

Re:Inventor Of TV (2)

Dan Dankleton (1898312) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023630)

TFA phrases things slightly differently and makes it clear that DeForest was *an* inventor who criticised TV, not the inventor of TV as the summary suggests.

Also, Philo Farnsworth probably deserves more credit that John Logie Baird for the TV we know and... erm... know today.

Re:Inventor Of TV (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023794)

Baird's system was not the one that became "television" as we know it today. Most of the credit for that belongs to Philo Farnsworth.

Cathode Ray Tube: Alive and Well (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023544)

This is also, in large part, what drives used goods exports, refurbment, and other "parallel" markets. Early adapters who upgrade are an important source of affordable technology in emerging markets (like Egypt). Americans replace CRT monitors in record turnover from 2000-2008. But in 2007, new CRT manufacturing was still 50% of all new unit production. The biggest threat to the CRT manufacturing industry, in fact, are the used CRTs displaced in wealthy nations, which are practically given away in emerging markets where 50% of the cost of a computer is the display device, and a CRT display device lasts 20 years and doesn't get stolen. This is when OEMs may get tempted to give the old technology "a little push"... I just found this article on how to create EULA agreements to keep people from reusing your ink cartridges. http://www.stroock.com/SiteFiles/Pub383.pdf [stroock.com] Planned obsolescence much?

Re:Cathode Ray Tube: Alive and Well (2)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023924)

Dont agree. 2007 was loong ago.
Take a look at the development hence: http://images.dailytech.com/nimage/19721_large_fpsales.jpg [dailytech.com]

10 years ago it sales were basically 100% CRT. Now, its 15%, worldwide.

Alive and well? More like sick and dying

"Inventor" DeForest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36023552)

Liar, thief, cheat and scoundrel is more like it. He didn't even understand what he created and for the longest time advocated AGAINST using hard vacuum in the triode. He was, like Edison, an idiot with PR.

NYTimes Pay-wall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36023558)

Failed to fail. 100k users, last I heard?

Good Rule of Thumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36023568)

If Microsoft doesn't like it, it's probably going to be successful.

But but but.... (1)

JerryLindenburg (2048934) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023576)

Tv is dying though. The numbers all show that.
It might not be dead yet, but it's reaching a point where you reach so few people as an advertiser on television, that you're better off buying ads online.

Facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36023578)

Everyone here has predicted its failure since day 1 and it will not be going away anytime soon.

I would like to make a prediction (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023590)

There is no way in hell that I will marry a supermodel this year. Just never going to happen.

Satellites don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36023616)

provide better telephone, telegraph, radio, or television service. He's right! Land lines and OTA transmission are better for all of those things!

Slashdot (1)

ZaphDingbat (451843) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023668)

How about Slashdot, which is still going despite showing the same fortune cookie at the bottom for a week now?

Twitter will never catch on (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023682)

Come on, who would want to read what some unknown did that day, with only 140 characters? /sarcasm

Re:Twitter will never catch on (1)

Dan Dankleton (1898312) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023876)

Oh, that sarcasm tag was really necessary. There is no way anybody could have guessed that you were being sarcastic with that post if you hadn't included that.

Re:Twitter will never catch on (1)

JadedIdealist (2057592) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023992)

Now, now - no need to be sarky.

Re:Twitter will never catch on (2)

CraftyJack (1031736) | more than 3 years ago | (#36024040)

No, it wasn't necessary at all. I was tipped off by the humorously false subject line.

iPOD? (1)

bored (40072) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023726)

I thought those were dead, even apple says the iPOD revenue is declining. All the iPOD people now have iphones and iPADs so they dont need a dedicated music playback device when their phone is always in their pocket.

Probably not fair to all of the quote sources (3, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023744)

To be fair, a lot of the quote sources are businesspeople being dismissive of their competitors. That doesn't necessarily mean they believe what they're saying: of course Microsoft is going to say that Apple isn't a competitor. Doing anything other than that would give Apple an advantage in the marketplace.

iPod prediction is true (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023748)

The iPod-is-deaders were right, but for wrong the reasons. It's true that no one listens to 1000 songs, but anyone working in tech knows that storage will expand. If this years model has 1000 song capacity, the next one will have 5000 and within a few years you'll find something that works for you.

Nevertheless, that product really is doomed, though not as an evolutionary dead-end. The iPhone replaces it.

All small gizmos are converging and for some reason, whenever application X combines with application phonecall, we end up calling the device a phone rather than an X. Phone is the "top" app (even if some people don't use that part of the device, it's still called a "phone"). An music player (even if it's an iPod) that makes phone calls isn't called a music player, a camera that makes phone calls isn't called a camera, and so on.

What is the iPod right now, but an iPhone with one less network interface? Eventually it's going to be cheaper for Apple to have one less manufacturing line, even accounting for the extra 50 cent cost of the cell network chip. And that's be the end of the iPod.

If you take a long view, Ballmer was right about the iPhone too. Apple's fractional share of the market will continue to fall. But it's a mistake to think that means Apple will lose money, because it'll be a tiny sliver of a motherfucking huge market.

Re:iPod prediction is true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36023974)

Except that the iPhone will never be able to reach the same audience that the iPod can. The die-hard Android or (gasp!) Windows phone users have no interest in buying an iPhone, but most of them will agree that the iPod is much sweeter than that POS Phillips/Sony/etc. they're currently packing around.

Re:iPod prediction is true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36024086)

I foresee markets for dedicated digital music players. How about for those folks who want to use one while exercising and not have to worry about carrying a (relatively) large $500-600 device. What about parents that want to entertain their kids but not necessarily with the strings that come with a phone. I agree this market will lean towards the iPod Touch/tablet type product with WiFi, but it still won't have a phone. I agree they are fairly small markets compared to the phone market, and Apple may abandon them, but I'm sure there will continue to be other companies that sell them. VHS hasn't been popular for years but that didn't stop folks from creating 1080p VHS machines.

Debian 2.1 had a tamagotchi server by default (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023790)

It might have come with the default desktop task. I thought it was pretty stupid to have a public-facing daemon installed without even asking, but since I was just on a 14.4kbps modem at the time, I didn't care so much.

Point of the Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36023844)

This article is doomed to fail.

x86 (5, Insightful)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023882)

The x86 CPU architecture would be a good candidate too.

fax machine? (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023884)

still used quite extensively. use is generally a no-brainer compared to scan/pdf/email for most offices.

Misunderstanding the social impact (4, Insightful)

RichMan (8097) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023942)

From my reading of these. All the technology was fine the failure predictions were based on not understanding the socialogical impact of the technology.

Google -> search
Internet -> sharing and remote access
ipod -> really personal applications
TV -> advertising

The most important part of these technologies seem to be the humans in the loop and what the technology does for the humans. The predictions failures seem to be failures in understanding the sociology. The message seems to be understanding the sociological market for the technology.

Yawn (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023960)

Not really much of a story. "Predicting the future is hard. Film at 11." Even smart people are wrong all the time.

People Suck at Prediction (2)

Saerko (1174897) | more than 3 years ago | (#36023978)

Take a gander at this paper [hamilton.edu] on the subject. Most people have about a 50/50 shot or worse at accurately predicting binary events. The worse part is interesting--that some people are just consistently terrible.

The truth is, you have to have incredibly detailed knowledge about a subject and a philosophic outlook on it that's appropriate. Technological change is especially hairy because there's a lot exciting technology that ends up getting killed by socio-cultural or political reasons. For instance, in the late 70's it was unthinkable that we wouldn't have a moonbase by 2010, but no one was looking at a little defense project called ARPANET. Ooops.

I'm no expert on this shit, so I can't speculate about what's going to be hot in the future. I thought the iPad was stupid, and I think Dark Matter is a bunch of bullshit. I also think Kurzweil is awfully optimistic about the Singularity. That said, I'm aware of my own track record,on prognostication, and unless it's about healthcare IT (my field), I'm ready to be as surprised as IBM was when they ended up having a worldwide market for more than 5 computers.

I am curious (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36024024)

Where do they find so many little people to man all those ATMs?

Does not apply to FTL (1)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 3 years ago | (#36024026)

Sadly, I have heard people use the argument that "the experts miss calls like this one" to point to how we can achieve Faster-Than-Light once we start to "think outside the box".

None of these missed calls, esp. satellite radio, defy the known physics of their day. Those FTL-friendly people see FTL as a mere 'technological breakthrough."

Printer and Xerox machines (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36024030)

For my entire life I've been told the paperless office is arriving and soon people will relegate printers, faxes, and xerox machines to wherever telegraph sounders and stock market tickers have been landfilled. For at least thirty years I've heard how in just short five years, people won't even remember the concept of a "printer" or a "photocopier".

The only casualty I've seen is the FAX. With a couple exceptions, for example, a couple years ago my health insurance required something FAXed to them... I'm like, who even owns a FAX anymore? Kind of like email, nothing ever arrives anymore but endless spam. I ended up having to snail mail it.

In a sense ... (1)

anerki (169995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36024032)

"And FCC engineer T.A.M. Craven was absolutely certain back in 1961 that there was 'no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the United States."

And in a sense, he's completely right. It hasn't really improved :)

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