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The Complete History of Format Wars

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the one-way-to-put-it dept.

News 277

TheFrozenSink writes "The UK bit of Cnet have put up an article on old formats that should have won their respective format wars. The piece makes some pretty spectacular claims, like if Apple had bought BeOS then there would have been no iPod and of course, no iPhone. The article also claims that the Atari ST was better than the Amiga and that MiniDisc should have won over CD."

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Indeed (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19954445)

Burbage dies, pg. 12
Hedwig dies, pg. 56
Mad-Eye dies, pg. 78
Scrimgeour dies, pg. 159
Wormtail dies, pg. 471
Dobby dies, pg. 476
Fread Weasley dies, pg. 637
Voldemort kills Snape, pg. 658
Voldemort kills Harry, pg. 704
Harry comes back to life, pg. 724
Neville kills Nagini, pg. 733
Tonks, Lupin and Colin Creevy's deaths confirmed, pg. 743
Hagrid, Malfoy and Neville survive.
Nineteen years after the events in the book:
Ron marries Hermoine
Harry marries Ginny
Their children attend Hogwartz together
Ron's children are named Rose and Hugo
Harry's children are named Lily, James and Albus Severus
Draco Malfoy has a son named Scorpius
The final two sentences are:
"The scar had not pained Harry for eighteen years. All was well."

Re:Indeed (-1, Troll)

ceeam (39911) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954525)

... and Ichigo still "trains" below Urahara-shoten while we enjoy more fillers.

Let's not forget (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19954461)

And of course the "format c:", which won over any lambda user.

Minidisc??? (3, Informative)

acoustix (123925) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954491)

No way. The CD is superior to the minidisc in every way with the execpetion of size. There have even been several audio tests where people picked cassette tapes with Dolby S noise reduction over minidiscs.


Re:Minidisc??? (1)

Bedouin X (254404) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954577)

I thought the same thing. The CD sounded better (it had a limited sample rate but the MD used compression) was simpler (fewer moving parts than the MD) and due to that simplicity (along with wider industry support) became much cheaper to make.

Re:Minidisc??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19954603)

The minidisc was recordable. Slight difference, even if the quality wasn't exactly great.

Re:Minidisc??? (4, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954615)

The CD is superior to the minidisc in every way with the execpetion of size.

Not a chance. Minidiscs have caddies, which made physical damage to the discs, or the drives, extremely unlikely. The format allowed for a million rewrite cycles, compared with CD-RW about 1,000, and the disc format was far more stable.

Re:Minidisc??? (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954923)

In all fairness, how many people ever came close to even 1,000 rewrites on a single CD-RW?

Re:Minidisc??? (1, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955679)

Due to scratches and all other factors, I've found you don't usually get more than 10 rewrites on a CD-RW. Maybe if you're really careful you could probably get 100. Maybe under lab conditions in a clean room, it's possible to get 1000 rewrites. I think consumers should really call false advertising on that number. I don't really think it's possible under normal use of a CD-RW to get anywhere close to 1000 rewrites. It's off by at least a factor of 10.

Re:Minidisc??? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955725)

I still use my old 2X CD-RWs that I got with my Yahama CD-RW burner back in 1998 or so. I just do a lot of session imports. Does that count as a write? Or is write considered a full CD burn? Either way, it hasn't failed yet!

Re:Minidisc??? (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954653)

There have even been several audio tests where people picked cassette tapes with Dolby S noise reduction over minidiscs.

Bullshit. Perhaps you're talking about the later ATRACv3 formats with it's low bitrates comparable with MP3, but the high bitrate ATRAC (v1/2) was entirely transparent.

Re:Minidisc??? (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955145)

I was at a lecture on digital compression techniques in the early '90s, when MiniDisc and VideoCD were still new and shiny. The lecturer brought in a decent HiFi and did a blind test between MiniDisc and CD. Around 70% of the audience could hear that MiniDisc was inferior, the rest couldn't tell the difference.

I don't know how the newer compression algorithms, but the original was an ugly hack to get 650MB of audio data onto a 140MB disk by doing some very rough frequency cuts. Even on a half-decent pair of headphones you can hear the frequency holes.

The newer 1GB disks are a bit more interesting, but now they are competing with 8GB flash drives. I'd quite like a 1GB MiniDisc drive in a laptop, but for data small enough to fit on a removable disk it's usually easier to use a network these days, so there isn't much call for one unless you can make it bootable.

Re:Minidisc??? (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955427)

The quality of Sony's ATRAC compression tech has vastly increased since the early 90s, every generation was better than the last. Recent MD-recorders are essentially transparent on short play, and pretty decent on LP speeds.

Re:Minidisc??? (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955593)

True, and the lossless compression facility makes them even more interesting. 1GB with lossless compression lets you put around 4 CDs worth of audio onto one small disk. Unfortunately, it's too late; I can put 80 or so CDs at the same quality onto something about the same size as a MiniDisc player, and not have to worry about changing media.

Re:Minidisc??? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19954805)

Sound quality aside, MiniDisc shot itself in the foot as Sony refused to open up the format to allow for direct access to the disc. You were never able to "rip" tracks from the MiniDisc which limited it's ability to succeed as a digital recording format. It was effectively a tape.

If you could have plugged them into your computer and used them as general purpose media they would have taken off like a flash.

The MiniDisc is a perfect example of a product that could have been much larger but was curtailed due to anti piracy measures.

Re:Minidisc??? (2, Interesting)

Rageon (522706) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955307)

I disagree, I loved Minidisc. I was a DJ for years, and Minidiscs were pretty much the coolest thing ever, as they allowed me to make "mix CD's" so that I wouldn't have to lug hundreds and hundreds of CD's from job to job. And the fact they were more or less indestructible was great. But granted, that's a pretty specific use. As far as MDs being of lower quality, ummm, anyone ever heard of the iPod? People today are buying music with crappy quality, so I'm not sure that argument works. Lossy formats will always drive hardcore audiophiles (of which I consider myself) crazy, but for people out there without thousands to spend on speakers, processors, and amps, quality of the recording isn't the weak link in the chain, so it really doesn't matter. If someone is listening to their shelf system with 5 watt, 3 inch "full range!" speakers, the difference between CD, MP3, and MD is essentially non existent.

Re:Minidisc??? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955589)

You forgot durability. I've thrown Minidiscs across the room and left them on my desk, underneath a pile of papers for months, and still had no problems reading them. You could probably take a piece of sandpaper to a Minidisc and have no problems reading it, maybe even using an orbital sander. Because they actually come in a protective enclosure, they are many times more durable than CDs. That is the one true advantage of Minidisc over CD. I would gladly take a little bit if extra thickness in my disks if I knew it meant I wouldn't have to worry about scratching them so much. I wish that they had really thought this through when the start with CDs. Now all the media we buy is on very fragile disc, that seem to have major problems with durability. I know they used to have CD caddies, but they were optional, and removable, and not really part of the actual CD, so most CDs didn't come with one, and almost no CD drives used CDs in caddies. Anyway, that ends my rant.

Minidisc? (3, Informative)

Ubi_NL (313657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954493)

Minidisk was having a format war with Philips Digital Compact Cassette (DCC) which it easily won, despite having a higher compression ratio. Compression on minidisc is about 10x higher compared to CD and even I can hear it.

Re:Minidisc? (1)

x3rc3s (954149) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954555)

Um, Red Book CD's don't employ data compression...

Re:Minidisc? (1)

Crizp (216129) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954585)

About 10x higher compared to CD? Nope. First of all, CD's are lossless audio that does not remove any information from the sound (I'm not going into resolution here, just compression). The ATRAC compression on Minidisc works like MP3 (in principle) with approx. 290 Kbps and DCC's PASC was 384 Kbps.

Shame that ATRAC sounds so nasty though, a decent 192 Kbps MP3 easily sounds just as good.

Sony's official claim is that ATRAC3plus at 48 kbit/s rate provides a quality comparable to MP3 at 128 kbit/s, placing this codec in the same league as Windows Media Audio (with similar claims from Microsoft), and mp3PRO. oustic_Coding []

Re:Minidisc? (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955467)

Shame that ATRAC sounds so nasty though, a decent 192 Kbps MP3 easily sounds just as good.
Only on bad/old hardware, as has been pointed out. Also, 48 kbps ATRAC3plus is obviously not geared for maximum quality, if that's what you were thinking. It's biggest problem was the locking-in which prevented it from flourishing like MP3/LAME.

Re:Minidisc? (2, Interesting)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954597)

Compression on minidisc is about 10x higher compared to CD and even I can hear it.

Actually it's less than 5X higher than CD. And more to the point, I've never heard any credible source claim audible artifacts (with ATRAC v1/2), except as the result of crappy hardware that didn't encode ATRAC properly, which was unfortunately the case with at least RCA's models (IIRC).

Minidisc (3, Insightful)

Nimsoft (858559) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954505)

The MD failed because it was yet another proprietary Sony format which offered too little too late, especially as the CD market was already well established. MDs may have had a place in portable media but soon after they started gaining traction MP3 players saw to that.

Re:Minidisc (1)

clonmult (586283) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955105)

DCC totally and utterly failed. Minidisc didn't.

The fact that MD kept on going for a very long time (its been around since 92, and has only recently been virtually unavailable) shows that theres been a surprising amount of support for the product.

Sony did their typical screw up though. Kept it closed, didn't allow it to be used as a data device.

Sound quality was good - 132kbps ATRAC3 was generally pleasant to listen to (easily equal to 192kbps MP3), Sony still have a better idea of what makes a decent sounding headphone amplifier, and battery life is amongst the best in portable audio.

Re:Minidisc (0)

tgd (2822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955239)

Weird, I owned a lot of minidisk players and not one was a Sony...

Re:Minidisc (1)

Deb-fanboy (959444) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955569)

The MD failed because it was yet another proprietary Sony format

I agree, and the fact that if you recorded one of your records, CDs or even yourself onto a net mini-disc the annoying propriety software would not allow you to digitally upload this to your PC, making the machine hopeless for home recording note taking or for musicians. This despite the Sony motto at the time go create.

The MD came about at a critical time, and I think that if they had not restricted its use so much it would have been as popular as the walkman, or the ipod.

minidisc? (4, Interesting)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954507)


We had two minidisk players in a studio, and always, always always when you put a minidisc recorded on the left player into the right player, the TOC would be messed up, and the disk became unreadable in both.
Then, the MD's had to be sent to Sony, who recreated a TOC, but without any of the titles, or other data.

In other words, MD was crap besides the compression algorithm of which I will not speak here.


Re:minidisc? (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954561)

Agreed. MDs were notorious for being highly flaky. I've used these suckers, and the people who love these things were are always apologetic about MDs that go bad, saying stuff like "Well, we can just send it back to Sony who can recreate the TOC."

That's the only thing you can do? Sheesh. Plus, these things are locked down in a way that the only way you can get audio off of them is to use the 'analog loophole'. Which sucks, because when you want to do post-processing on the raw audio you just recorded, you want it to be as clean as possible. And of course you always lose something in the D/A->A/D conversion process. *sigh*

Gimme a good hard disk recording system and a CD burner any day over that crap.

Re:minidisc? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19954803)

I worked at a public radio station for a fair amount of time. We had MD recorders in a few studios for recording and as a backup playback system. They were complete pieces of crap, to put it lightly. It didn't last very long due to complaints from the staff of the players eating recordings. In the end it wasn't reliable enough for anybody to trust using it for anything remotely important. We replaced all of them after a short time with DAT recorders. Those DATs were still in use when I left and I'm pretty sure they're still in use today.

Deosn't really say ST beats Amiga... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19954513)

It doesn't really say that the ST is better than the Amiga, just that the Amiga was more successful for a time. Anyway, I programmed for the ST for several years... the Amiga was much cooler.

Anyway, it's a ridiculous article. He doesn't address the numerous problems with 8-track tapes (such as their tendency to seize up and that many were made with a mid-song track switch), just that you don't have to (and can't) rewind them.

Re:Deosn't really say ST beats Amiga... (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954809)

I owned several STs and several Amigas. About the only things ST was better at were DTP and MIDI applications running via the ST's hires monochrome mode. In most other respects, the Amiga beat it to a bloody pulp. The Amiga got better for productivity apps but nothing that would threaten what was available on the Mac or the PC at the same time.

Re:Deosn't really say ST beats Amiga... (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954887)

The Amiga got better for productivity apps but nothing that would threaten what was available on the Mac or the PC at the same time.

For certain niches (DTP for the Mac, business for the PC) but I'm not sure that was true in general (especially things like 3D and video software).

Great, more holy wars. (5, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954517)

Mod article troll!

No, seriously, though, who knows what Apple would have done if it had bought Be or BeOS? And stating that the Atari ST is better than the Amiga -- well, that claim is specious at best. The Amiga was wayyyy ahead of its time -- it had separate graphics, sound and I/O processors and made use of DSPs years before the equivalent began showing up in 'IBM-compatibles' and Macs.

But then again, these arguments are old and tired. What's next? An article on Editor Wars? vi! No, Emacs! Ha! Real men use ed!

Re:Great, more holy wars. (5, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954605)

Real men use tiny magnets on their hard drive.

Re:Great, more holy wars. (2, Informative)

Nicolas Roard (96016) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954661)

The Amiga was wayyyy ahead of its time -- it had separate graphics, sound and I/O processors and made use of DSPs years before the equivalent began showing up in 'IBM-compatibles' and Macs.

Er... the ST had separate graphics, sound and I/O processors as well. Ok, the graphic (less colors) and sound ( less channels if I remember) ones weren't as good as the amiga :) but on the other hand, the ST had high-res and midi i/o, which is why it was a great machine for DTP (Calamus) and music (Cubase), and why it was used as such. Strangely the ST was marketized as a game machine in the uk, but afaik more used as a pro/dtp machine in germany, and in france a bit in between (eg, bastardized. Lots of missed opportunities).

I'm curious about your claim about using a DSP in an amiga 500 though.

Now if you are not talking about later amiga... may I remind you the Atari TT030 (I still have one), a really great machine (68030, vga, possibility to plug in a 1280x960 monochrome display... told you, DTP..), and the Falcon030, which technically was indeed a really cool thing (DSP56001, etc).

Re:Great, more holy wars. (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954777)

From what I know, the benefits were divided amongst both.

Music - Atari pwned pro usage with it's MIDI support alone. Sound chip on the early Amiga's was better than Atari's of the same age. Amiga never really updated the sound whereas Atari did in later models. Right about the time both Amiga and Atari were becomming obsolete. I think Macs basically took this crown when they started offering MIDI support, though digital audio on Mac was on par with PC's; well behind both Atari and Amiga.

Graphics - Compare Atari's and Amiga's of the same age, Amiga always comes out on top. Third generation Amiga's supported 1280 natively well before Atari supported it. You might recall one of the primary uses of Amiga's was graphics, including DTP. Again, the Mac stole this crown too. Due to the monitor layouts for Mac, DTP has actually always been a Mac domain. Photoshop pretty much sucked all pro graphics to Mac.

CAD - I don't know where CNet got the claim that Atari's were used for CAD a lot, but to the best of my knowledge, neither machine was particularly popular for CAD. This has always been the area of specialty hardware and MS-DOS PC's.

In short; Atari was for music and Amiga was for graphics until both systems decided not to upgrade with the rest of the hardware world.

Re:Great, more holy wars. (5, Informative)

sqldr (838964) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954779)

Ok, lets clear up the ambiguities here..

The amiga had a separate sound processor that could play samples through hardware. The atari ST could only do it through heavy CPU usage (about 30% to play an amiga mod).

The amiga had a separate graphics processor - the blitter. The ST didn't get that until the STe, and nobody made any software for it, ever. The graphics chip could also do hardware sprites (the ST had no such thing), hardware scrolling playfields (the ST had no such thing), and HAM, which effectively used the hardware to muck about with the palette. The ST could do this in software if you could be arsed.

The amiga had a separate "io" chip - the copper, which could be used to control the chips above without the CPU intervening. The atari had no such thing.

As for midi IO, you could plug a gadget into the amiga that did this, and it didn't cost much at all. I'd like to see an STFM owner plugging in a hardware sprites chip.

I had an ST and an Amiga, and programmed both, and the Amiga was way more fun.

Re:Great, more holy wars. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19955263)

The Falcon was a fine machine in the wrong housing. Even though the DX and pentium speed race would have killed anything 680x0 soon enough, it could have had a chance if they didn't stuff everything underneath the keyboard, you had to turn the thing (attached with cables and all) upside down to connect the joysticks. The speaker (which surprised shoppers with its CD quality sound) could have been a subwoofer with decent midrange. After swapping CD quality MOD files, we would have swapped 2.8 MB MP3 floppies as soon as the DSP software was ready. It should have had an empty ide bay for a slide in PC CD-ROM drive, everybody knew they were going to become affordable. Yet CD writers were unaffordable, the games market would relived (games were in pre-production but canceled as Falcon delivery and sales were setback).

It would have been a fine memory protected multitasking MP3 music and CD games computer. Perhaps eventually be killed by Windows XP, well unless the Tom and Jerry chipset would have been part of a Falcon060 and the 030 would be silently dominating living rooms like the iMac did.

Re:Great, more holy wars. (1)

Henkc (991475) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954703)

The Amiga also had true multitasking - the ST didn't.

I remember reading in Compute! magazine (remember that one?) way back when how the atari chaps used to dismiss that with "pah, who needs multitasking anyway. What are you going to do with multiple apps open at once?" ... etc. Glory days.

Re:Great, more holy wars. (1)

Saffaya (702234) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954799)

The ST had multitasking added later on. []

Re:Great, more holy wars. (2, Interesting)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955183)

The Amiga also had true multitasking - the ST didn't.

Indeed, nor did the Mac ever have pre-emptive multitasking (only when they ditched MacOS for OS X), and it only appeared in Windows IIRC in 95.

It's interesting the way that so many of the Amiga's features which were looked down upon as being pointless or "toy" features were later touted as being wonderful features in other OSs.

Atari better than Amiga? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19954521)

What a load of rubbish.

Atari even knew it was crap, by calling its operating system "TOS" !!!!!! and then its Multitasking OS as MultiTOS !!!

ST was better for music... (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954539) came with midi, Cubase, and that dinky little high-res greyscale monitor...

Re:Atari better than Amiga? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954829)

Atari even knew it was crap, by calling its operating system "TOS" !!!!!!
Well, first off, I think you forgot a "1" or an "eleventy-one" in your series of exclamation points.

Second, what does TOS stand for? Is it a takeoff on DOS, or POS?

That is, is it a 'Tari Operating System, or a 'Tari of Shit?*

Re:Atari better than Amiga? (1)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954957)

TOS had two generally accepted definitions; one was "Trameil Operating System", named after the head of Atari, and the other was "The Operating System".

Proud former owner of an Atari Mega ST 2.

No need to RTFA (3, Funny)

Zedrick (764028) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954529)

"The article also claims that the Atari ST was better than the Amiga"

Thanks for the heads up.

Obvously the article is written by a drooling moron. No need to waste time on this.

Re:No need to RTFA (1)

RiffRafff (234408) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954671)

But if you do RTA, he never actually says the ST was superior: "The Atari ST was ultimately kicked into touch by IBM PCs and Apple Macs -- even the Amiga managed to get the boot in before disappearing itself." ...although he certainly implies it. He is obviously deranged.

It's a 10 page article (1)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954535)

so not many /.ers will read it.

My executive summary is that it takes one obvious (Betamax/VHS) and nine other pretty random examples and explains why market forces will usually prevail over arguable technical excellence. Life's like that, get over it.

A bit silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19954547)

Obviously light-hearted but the reasons they give require you to swallow a number of suppressed premises, i.e. that all of these formats were superior if you forgive what turned out to be a *crippling* flaw.

e.g. in Betamax the 60 minute limitation seems a good candidate. I get really irritated when I find one of my non-LP VHS tapes and it only lasts 180. 3 hours just flies by these days!

Laserdiscs were very nice but far too expensive.

As to SACDs I think the dominance of the horribly compressed mp3 format in today's market tells you all you need to know about how much consumers care about sound quality. What, after all, is the point in making beautifully high-quality audio if someone's listening to it on a 10W Akai minisystem or some cheapo portable music player?

Re:A bit silly (2, Interesting)

wile_e_wonka (934864) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955005)

Also, one thing that becomes obvious when reading the article that he doesn't mention: the public at large cares little about sound quality. Now this is only true to a point--crappy sound quality won't do it, but CD is great for most people. You aren't going to get the general public to buy an expensive BR player by telling them the sound quality's good--they are satisfied with the sound quality on DVDs and weren't hoping for something better. There will be people with money to throw around and audiophiles who want absurdly high sound quality, but the general public isn't looking for something better. Being happy with what they've got (heck--we're happy with mp3s, which aren't even as good), the way to get them is to make something that is at least as good as what they've got but is CHEAPER. [Also, I think there is a rapidly increasing number of people who don't like the fact that they can't just save a BR disk on their hard drive/DVR just because of it's immense size (I'm not even talking copy protection here) for use on all of their various devices.]

Re:A bit silly (1)

phlinn (819946) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955781)

I think he missed the mark when he called copy protection a features of SACD. Given that the public mostly doesn't care about the improved sound quality, they will suffer from the copy protection if they want to rip music onto their computer. Copy protection is NOT a way to encourage people to adopt a new standard.

Hrm. (0, Redundant)

akkarin (1117245) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954569)

I for one welcome our new Betamax overlords. Long live Betamax!
Oh, wait...

8-track tapes... (3, Informative)

MyNameIsFred (543994) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954571)

The author needs to study history a little more. One example -

all he would need to do is go back to the groovy 60s and introduce home recorders so people can make their own compilations
I was in high school in he 70s. My friends and I routinely made our own 8-track tapes. My group of friends would buy an album and several 8-track tapes and make copies.

Waste of bandwidth (2)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954575)

10 pages, each with an illustration larger than the text and of course a lot of advertisements.

Re:Waste of bandwidth (4, Funny)

Nimsoft (858559) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954637)

If you think the images and advertisements are a waste of bandwidth wait until you read the text!

Re:Waste of bandwidth (2, Interesting)

Tau Neutrino (76206) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954817)

Yeah, the huge cutesy illustrations are a bit much. But ads? What ads?

Ahh, Privoxy [] .

Step three, profit (3, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955485)

1) Make article full of outrageous claims that will infuriate geeks
2) Put advertising on all ten pages, post link to Slashdot
3) Profit.

Straight wrong on the Atari (3, Insightful)

mccalli (323026) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954583)

From the article: The key to getting the Atari into the mainstream would have been more games... No, the problem was that is was seen purely as a games machine by the mainstream, not as the decent workhorse it actually was. And at gaming, it lost to the Amiga hands down.

His other points about the system are hit and miss. It was the musicians' machine of choice, true. It was the CAD users' machine of choice? Not really, no. It could have been, but it wasn't. The hardware was there, the nice "hi-res" (for 1985/86!) mono monitor was excellent, it had a faster clockspeed than its other 68000-based rivals and utterly outstripped the frankly miserable x86 line of that time, but even so there were attributes of the system that meant it just wasn't going to win. Those attributes were often chosen to cut costs (the awful keyboard for instance) and the costs were being cut because the machine was primarily seen by the market as being for games.

I owned an ST. For years it remained the most productive system I ever owned, running its own code, Mac code via Spectre GCR and PC code via a hardware 286 emulator (ATSpeed or Vortex - not sure I remember which one I used). With Protex, Signum, Calamus and Steinberg 12 it made for a superb home system. But to say it failed to dominate the mainstream due to lack of games? That's just madness.


Re:Straight wrong on the Atari (1)

mashedbananasoup (1005563) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954769)

"His other points about the system are hit and miss. It was the musicians' machine of choice, true."

Y'know, it not that i really dispute this... but there was quite a large community of musicians around the amiga. My glorious days of MED! and well..

ok you are right..

and im too old to get all fanboyish about the Amiga.

( 'cept its waaaay better...)

Re:Straight wrong on the Atari (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954901)

I think the whole "game machine" thing is one of the things that helped to kill the Amiga, so I don't see how that would have been an advantage to Atari either.

Back then computers were still divided into "home" computers and business computers, and Atari and Amiga were placed in the "home" category because of the games (and color, hi-res graphics, audio, etc...). They were never really taken that seriously by business which really hurt their market share.

Amiga was really hurt too because not many people bought Wordperfect when it became available. All the main business software makers like lotus and dbase abandoned their cross-development when Wordperfect had weak sales (part of the reason for Wordperfect's failure was that it did not really take much advantage of the GUI and other features available that people bought the Amiga for to begin with.)

Re:Straight wrong on the Atari (1)

Jeek Elemental (976426) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955521)

Both atari st and amiga were capable beasts, Id say the amiga got a boost from the huge c64 scene, which saw amiga as the natural successor.
You wanted the same system as all your friends so you could swap demos and games.

Wonder what the world would look like now if they had managed to bundle cheap harddrives with either st or amiga early on, awesome os didnt help much when you had to run it from 880k floppies...*click*...*click*...*click*...

8-Track? You are SO high (3, Funny)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954601)

I can't believe that the person who compiled this list actually thought 8-track tape (of all things) was a superior format. I can only assume that they're someone who never actually listened to an 8-track tape player, which were notorious for having an audible rumble from the playing mechanism. To recreate the experience of listening to an 8-track tape, take a jambox and set it on top of your washing machine while running a large load. That's the pure sonic fidelity of 8-track.

Now get the hell off my lawn...

Re:8-Track? You are SO high (3, Interesting)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954893)

The 8 track was the superior format at the time that it peaked in popularity. At the time when 8 tracks were the format for car audio, cassette players were horrid little things with mediocre quality.

8-tracks also offered a true 4 channel audio system that was better than anything available on cassette or disc.

Once cassette tape moved to high end formulations like chrome tapes, and added Dolby etc, the game changed significantly and 8-tracks faded away.

The people who run down 8-track as a format usually have little experience with it and don't recall, or weren't born early enough, to recall that it represented the very earliest move away from radio towards a car audio that allowed an individual to choose what music they would listen to.

Arguably the 8-track is the ancestor of what would eventually become the iPod.

Re:8-Track? You are SO high (2)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955085)

Yeah, but the 8-track could be played IN A CAR, man! The LP always skipped when my van was a rockin', but the 8-track kept the groovy sounds coming!

Really weird conclusions (2, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954619)

The Atari ST had MIDI ports. That was what made it stand out for musicians. There really wasn't enough development of it to justify its continued existence.

The minidisc suffered from entering a market saturated with a format that was superior in several ways and didn't offer sufficient advantages over the other recordable medium (compact cassette) to justify its price tag.

If Steve Jobs hadn't gone back to Apple, Creative would probably have dominated the mp3 player market.

8-track was abysmal. You could get bleeding from the other tracks, the tapes were unweildy and thre was a break in the music at the tape splice. On the plus side you uhmmmm didn't need to rewind them.

Honorable Mention (1)

Renaissance 2K (773059) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954645)

How many more years until UMD gets added to this list?

Then again, you can't really call it a "Format War" since UMD is just uniquely sucky regardless of what you compare it to.

Re:Honorable Mention (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955575)

I predict that in 10 years Sony will unveil its new proprietary Mini Betamax UMD format, and we can add that to the list as well.

Re:Honorable Mention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19955625)

Don't you need two formats for a format war?

UMD vs what? NDS Carts? Flash drives?

Plus, while as a movie format it failed as a mobile game disk it is still doing well.

BeOS died due to unrealism (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954715)

"I once preached peaceful coexistence with Windows. You may laugh at my expense - I deserve it."
-- Jean-Louis Gassée, CEO Be, Inc.

Re:BeOS died due to unrealism (1)

smallstepforman (121366) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955019)

Dont forget that BeInc threw in the towel after R4.5, released in July 1999. The focus shift was in September 1999, after which a majority of BeInc engineers left for greener pastures (Apple, Google and Microsoft). R5, which was released a few months after that, was a farewell present to the loyal fanbase.

Now, in September 1999, what was the state of the competition. Windows Me still wasn't released, and neither was Windows 2000. Mac OS was still version 8.5. BeOS 4.5 at this stage was the most advanced consumer desktop OS in existance, ready to rock on your dual CPU box. Lack of apps in 1999? It had hardware accelerated Quake 2, Cinema4D, Opera 3, SimCity was being worted, Neundo was being ported, and Gobe Productive was kick ass resposive compared to the competition. Hell, my Canopus DV raptor had codecs running under BeOS.

It is now almost 8 years since the focus shift. Haiku is on the horizon, but alas, its just too little too late.

Re:BeOS died due to unrealism (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955253)

I dual booted R5 with Windows 2000 for a while. If it hadn't been for BeOS 'focus shifting' and effectively telling all third party developers not to bother, I'd probably be running BeOS today.

oh boy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19954721)

oh boy this thread is gonna be filled with "my cock is bigger than yours" posts

laserdisc (1)

ronhaha108 (870952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954747)

Laserdisc??? What about the fact that you have to flip the disc in the middle of a movie? I mean some real expensive players had 2 heads so you only got a little glitch during the switch over, but come'on... but hey, i still sometimes pull out some LD porn...

Absolutely right (4, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954749)

I think every example in this article is absolutely accurate. But then again, I'm posting this from a parallel universe on my Commodore 1024 running OS/2 XP in the Confederate States of America.

This guy is an IDIOT! (-1, Redundant)

Kjellander (163404) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954759)

Seriously. This guy has no idea what he is talking about. This is from the BeOS article. ... so Apple turned to a company called NeXT, set up by some nobody called Steve Jobs.

The guy who founded Apple and started the wave of personal copmuters is not a nobody.

Now, I've tried BeOS. It was good, but lacking a lot of apps. And there was not enough
room for more proprietary OSes for the PC market. Think of all the good OSes that died,
BeOS, OS2, MacOS, Plan9, NeXT (the latter surviving a bit because it was transformed into
MacOSX). The only two who can compete with BadVista and MacOSX is Linux and BSD cause
they have enough apps, userbase and a competitive edge in being cheaper to install.

And Amiga kicked AtariSTs butt!

Steve Jobs, big fat nobody (1)

herrison (635331) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954853)

That's British humour

Re:This guy is an IDIOT! (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954859)

The guy who founded Apple and started the wave of personal copmuters is not a nobody.

Irony []

(Yawn) Sour grapes, overenthusiasm... (5, Funny)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954761)

Every single one of these format wars is between two formats that were, in fact, reasonable comparable. This is all war stories and middle-aged nostalgia. As Pete Seeger put it (in his added stanza to "Both Sides, Now") "Something's lost and something's gained in living every day."

Each of the defeated formats had some nice stuff about it, but it's not as if there was anything so terrible about their passing, other than angst for those who bought into the orphaned formats. Some of his comments are just weird. For example, he praises 8-track tapes basically because of its being marginally easier to find individual songs on them... which is true only if you're comparing it to cassettes, not to CDs.

Yeahyeahyeah and what's more a B24 Liberator was soooo much better than a B17 Flying Fortress, the U. S. should have adopted PAL instead of NTSC, and a Pickett and Eckel slide rule was way better than a Keuffel and Esser.

I mean, it's not like Cinerama. Cinerama was great, so much better than CInemaScope or IMAX or any of the other wide-screen processes, and it just blew away anything you think you've seen on HDTV. Cinerama really mattered. The world would actually have been a better place if CInerama had won the format wars. In all likelihood, if only Cinerama had survived, movies would be better, the Beatles would never have broken up, and the Arabs and Israelis would have put aside their differences, united by the joy of watching widescreen movies.

Re:(Yawn) Sour grapes, overenthusiasm... (1)

Hellahulla (936042) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955809)

and a Pickett and Eckel slide rule was way better than a Keuffel and Esser.
Too right, although the Keuffel and Esser Decilon 68 was a piece of art. But nothing can beat the beauty that was the Pickett N4 (in ES)


Argh... (0, Offtopic)

DerCed (155038) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954765)

I just hate those multipage articles.. Aaaaargh!! No wonder no one on Slashdot reads the fucking articles if they are presented in such a dim-witted manner!

Re:Argh... (2, Funny)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955351)

I Agree - there's not even the usual "print this article" cheat to read it on one page. Hell even the NYT provides options to go from multipage to single page. CNet is desperate for page views. Well hell - make me editor. I'll make-em flip after every...

(click next page to continue>>)


(click next page to continue>>)


(click next page to continue>>)


(click next page to continue>>)


That's REAL revenue baby! Eyeballs - look at all those eyeballs! HA - take that Google!

Article is trash (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954771)

Lets see...

"The copy protection is good too, which means less of that pesky piracy the music industry keeps banging on about." - From the SACD/DVD-Audio page.

Oh yeah, everybody wants that. The only SACD player I ever saw didn't have a digital output, apparently because the standard didn't allow it due to copy fears. You had to connect a block of six analog outputs. Genius!

"Later on, further innovation came with the NetMD range, which allowed you to copy music on your computer to a MiniDisc at high speeds. MP3s would be transcoded in Sony's ATRAC format before being copied over to the MD recorder, and it was possible to use long-play modes to squeeze even more music on to the diminutive discs."

The transcoding sure wasn't high-speed on most computers of the day, compared to simply copying a CD.

8-Track? And a couple of other mistakes. (3, Interesting)

ishmalius (153450) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954775)

I guess that the author never actually used any of these things, as some of the fact or impressions are a bit off.

First of all, the 8-track was a -terrible- design. Having the 4 channels run physically parallel on the tape led to awful tracking and crosstalk problems. Also, the way that the tape feed operated was awful. As the tape played, it would be peeled out from the center of the tape spindle, run over the head, and then reeled back onto the spindle. This horrible way of feeding the tabe resulted in tangling, unravelling, and twisting. It also contributed to wear and tear on the tape and shortened the cartridge's life.

I didn't see any place where they compared the Atari ST to the Amiga. I only saw the passing reference to Amiga as an "also ran." Although both of these machines had their RAM configured as 8-bit or 16-bit, both operated on a 32-bit model. It didn't matter, since the MC68000 had a linear memory model. Either one was a joy to use. I learned MC68000 Assembly on the Amiga. IMHO, the Amiga was more advanced, though the Atari was faster. And in spite of their brand differences, a lot of the same people designed the multimedia capabilities of both. In speed and capability, these boxes were remarkably similar.

By the way, TOS was, maybe unofficially, the "Tramiel Operating System." AmigaDOS was fun, somewhere between DOS and Unix. Maybe more like MP/M.

Re:8-Track? And a couple of other mistakes. (1)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955515)

re:"Also, the way that the tape feed operated was awful. As the tape played, it would be peeled out from the center of the tape spindle, run over the head, and then reeled back onto the spindle. This horrible way of feeding the tabe resulted in tangling, unravelling, and twisting. It also contributed to wear and tear on the tape and shortened the cartridge's life"

Then why do they project film-based movies this way?

(probably because the tape in 8 tracks was pulled by the tension on the tape and not by the rotating platter - but still - it's an effective method used today)

Some right, mostly wrong (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19954849)

The BeOs claim sounds reasonable. It _was_ a much better OS than anything available at the time, except for NeXTStep. However, most of the rest of his claims miss the mark.

He gets it badly wrong in the VHS vs. Beta war. I was around. I remember clearly why VHS won -- you could record 4 hours on one VHS tape, whereas you could only record 1 hour on a comparably priced Beta tape. Sony fixed that eventually by adding Beta II, but by that time, VHS had added the SLP speed for 6 hour recording. Blank videotapes cost $30 each back in 1978, so it really mattered if you could record 4 TV shows, or just one, on a single videotape. That killed Beta and they never were able to catch up.

The Atari ST was a great machine. Shoot, I still own one. I even still use it. But the IBM PC and the Mac both had hugely popular killer apps (Lotus 1-2-3 for the PC, Pagemaker for the Mac) and the Atari ST never came up with a comparably popular killer app. The Atari ST boasted many fine apps, but they were always johnny-come-latelies churned out after the Mac or the PC scored a huge monster hit with some new application like PhotoShop. Ultimately, the ST never had a large enough developer community or a big enough user base to score a huge killer app. Also, the ST was always aclosed box -- you could never upgrade it. After 1987 the Mac changed to an open box and you could upgrade it with new video cards, more memory, etc., etc. With the ST, you bought a closed box and couldn't change it easily. (Ever try to install a 4 MB upgrade in a stock ST? Non trivial.)

8 track had a bunch of problems. The rumble, the wow and flutter, and worst of all, you had to FF through the whole bloody tape to get to the part you wanted.

MiniDisc, as everyone has noted, had rotten sound quality. Sony's ATRAC codec was initially very bad. It improved, but never anywhere near enough to compete with, say, LAME's mp3 encoding. CD remains the king for great sound quality. Nothing beats uncompressed 16 bit linear PCM.

Hi-def audio failed not because of format wars, but because no human can hear a difference between 24 bit 192 khz sampled hi-def audio and 16 bit 44.1 khz sampled audio. Double blind testing shows that listeners just can't hear any difference. A well-dithered modern CD playing 16-bit 44.khz sampled audio sounds as good as it gets. Bats may be able to hear a difference between that 20 khz rolloff and the 80 khz rolloff of hi-def audio, but humans can't.

I'm inclined to agree with him about laserdisc. Great format. I stil own a bunch of 'em and still play 'em. There's minor analog noise visible in the background by comparison with DVDs, but overall, laserdisc looks incredibly good -- worlds better than VHS or Beta. BTW, I've never been able to see a difference twixt Beta and VHS on an ordinary consumer SD TV set. On a studio TV monitor, yes, there's slight visible difference, but not on consumer televisions.

Re:Some right, mostly wrong (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955329)

I happen to think they were wrong about every single one. Even laserdisc-- who wants to pay $50 instead of $5 for a movie? And NeXTStep was certainly not better than BeOS-- Jobs was better than Gassee. (Heck, even today MacOS X is hobbled by NeXTstep's ObjectiveC slowness.)

You're spot-on with VHS vs Beta. I remember getting my hands on a pirated version of Star Wars on BetaMax-- which took 3-4 tapes. Swapping out tapes in the middle of a movie? No thanks, I'll take VHS.

And I wouldn't say DTS has lost any format wars. Not yet, anyway.

Re:Some right, mostly wrong (1)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955657)

re:"NeXTStep was certainly not better than BeOS"

Did you try both? I did. And I still own one of those boxes today. Hint: It's BLACK.

John Carmack seemed to enjoy making Doom on NeXTstep as did several other influental developers. Like Tim Berners-Lee. He did something called the world wide web: []

And BeOS. Um - hmm - nope - can't think of anything important that came out of that. Oh wait - there's Handbrake - that's a good one. AAAAaaaand....I got nothing.

8-track? (2, Interesting)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954879)

TFA is ludicrously positive about the 8-track. In practice, this is one format that deserved to die a quick death. The 'endless loop' cassette format meant that 8-track was very susceptible to jamming, and that the tape wore down rather quickly. It also makes fast-forwarding difficult, and rewinding impossible. Incredibly, TFA tries to sell this as an advantage.
Also, the cassettes were large and unwieldy. Had 8-track been the dominant format, the Walkman wouldn't have happened.

No, for once, this was a format war that ended as it should, with the superior format (Philips Compact Cassette) wiping out all competition.

Blah (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954895)

The piece makes some pretty spectacular claims,

It does. In fact they're really just listing the POSITIVE traits for any failed technologies, and ignoring the negatives. However, the ones listed in the summary aren't spectacular at all.

like if Apple had bought BeOS then there would have been no iPod and of course, no iPhone.

If Apple bought BeOS, instead of NEXT, they wouldn't have gotten Steve Jobs back in the deal. Certainly, that would have meant huge changes. Even if they still introduced the iMac and iPods, they certainly would have been far different from how we know them.

The article also claims that the Atari ST was better than the Amiga

They justify that quite well... Atari ST had better musical capabilities, was the first system with 1MB of RAM under $1,000, and had higher resolution than it's competitors. Obviously a matter of opinion, but it's not too spectacular a claim.

and that MiniDisc should have won over CD.

Can't argue with that. Better physical format, technologically light-years ahead of anything we have, even now, with a caddy to protect it and make it mind-numbingly easy to swap discs in the dark, over a million rewrite cycles, and based on Sony's extremely impressive billion dollar Magneto Optical technology. The audio quality of full bitrate ATRAC (v1/2) was as good as CD quality, Sony just fucked it up later on, reducing the bitrate to claim it could compete with MP3, rather than actually supporting MP3 or AAC files directly. The 1GB+ capacity of HD-MDs makes it likely they'd have done far better against MP3 players (like the iPod) than CDs have been able to, if not for Sony's mistakes.

Basically, it's EVERYTHING ELSE that Slashdot didn't quote, which was outlandish.

LaserDisc didn't have a snowball's chance in hell, thanks to it's size. Maybe if they'd waited a couple years, made the discs smaller with larger capacity, they could have been what DVD became, except without DRM.

8-tracks were a bitch, with albums having to be rearranged to fit, songs being split between channels (with a 5 second delay of silence in the middle), inherent weakness at the splice, large size, and no possible method of rewind. They were "neat" toys like anything else, but crap that I'm glad we're not stuck with.

HD-Audio failed because CDs reach the upper limit of human hearing to begin with, and surround-sound channels aren't much of an upgrade.

DTS isn't any better than AC3 by any stretch of the imagination. At any bitrate, compare the two, and AC3 will come out on top. It's companies with stock in DTS degrading the AC3 audio on DVDs that gives the idiotic perception otherwise. As for film, the DTS idea of syncing a CD was a good once, but could have been pulled off with any other audio format just as easily... Make that work with AC3, and maybe you'll get your multiple language reels.

BeOS had it's strong points over other OSes, but so did NEXT... Many more the latter than the former. How often did you even want to play 8 MPEG streams simultaneously on a 1995 era PC?

Atari ST (1, Flamebait)

Spacejock (727523) | more than 7 years ago | (#19954981)

The Atari ST WAS better than the Amiga, although not for gaming. I used to design full page ads and Yellow Pages ads on the ST, some of those ads costing $6000-$13000 each to place. A comparable PC to do the same job would have cost many, many thousands of dollars. (Just for comparison, two years later I was selling 386DX20 machines for $8000 each.)

Re:Atari ST (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955479)

You are claiming the Atari was better than the Amiga, but then you go onto compare it to the PC instead of the Amiga.

lol... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19954983)

This article is a bad joke. The comparisons show an incomplete/misinformed knowledge of computing history.

Format Wars (1)

NeoTerra (986979) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955003)

Other than the fact that he favors everything that Sony made, he missed out on what happened: Most everyone loves things that are readily accessible, not something they have to go find.

Minidisc - 'Better' compression, but we all had CDs at this point. No incentive for the average consumer to change.
Laserdisc - Just too expensive to the average consumer, need I say more?
Betamax - VHS became more readily available to the consumer, and so the consumer adopted it, plus the players were cheaper.

Seems like the guy is wining that the proprietary hardware didn't win out...Or he just bought everything he thought should win, and lost out. I wonder if he's still watching his movies by Laserdisc player.

DTS (1)

pimpforalivin (934434) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955009)

Why is DTS even on this list?

So much bad information (4, Informative)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955079)

So much bad information. Where to begin? ...

1) MiniDisc was never intended to replace audio CDs. It was intended to replace audio tapes . Yes, certainly Sony mismanaged the format, but what killed it mostly was the availability of small, portable CD players and the eventual availability of cheap CD burners and burnable discs.
2) DTS lost, sort of, but since a rather large number of DVDs have DTS soundtracks, it's not a terrible loss as DTS is still in business. Plus, it's not entirely correct to say that DTS uses "fractionally more space on a disc" unless 100 to 400% more meets your idea of "fractionally more". However, given the size of dual-layer DVDs, it's sort of accurate in that there's enough space to put a DTS soundtrack out there on most movies if they don't have too many extras on the disc.
3) As far as high definition audio goes, it does still survive, although many don't know that. SACD was horribly bungled by Sony, again, who at first said that it was "impossible" (I believe that is an exact quote) to make hybrid SACD discs which would also play in normal audio CD players. Strangely, smaller independent labels managed to make such discs almost from the beginning of the format. Lack of product, price, and lack of hybrid discs on Sony owned labels had strongly negative impacts on the format. SACD still survives in classical, jazz and some European pop recordings.
DVD-Audio is still alive on some classical and jazz labels, but it's not doing well. The lack of compatibility with CD audio players seems to have really hurt it. While the Dolby AC-3 part of a DVD-Audio disc is easily rippable and convertible to audio CD format, most consumers don't know that and just viewed it as another incompatible format.

I preferred the LotR in DTS (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955277)

Sounded like there was more going on, more details in the sound coming from behind me. This is compared to the Dolby soundtack on the same Extended Edition DVDs, listened to on fairly low-end consumer grade gear. The 5.1 speakers came in box together!

Sponsored by Sony? (1)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955135)

Surprised that they didn't add the PS3 to the list.

Boom boom.

Stop - just for a second (1)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955157)

Before you write a 9 paragraph essay claiming Atari was the best or Amiga was the best, let's look at the companies today.

Their both European held brands that have nothing to do with their origonal companies - except Atari. It's about to be delisted from NASDAQ. And perhaps Commodore because they're still not in American markets so they're dead to most of the origonal user base.

Apart from that - you can now slam your head against your monitor because it's now going to fill up with retro-flame wars that only applied to nerds in the late 80s.

Enjoy your flashback!

Back in My day... (2, Informative)

Subgenius (95662) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955275)

we had 1/2" EIAJ (and EIAJ-2) reel to reel videotape, and we liked it! Of course, there was 1" or 2" Quad that were better.... Hell, lets look at 3/4" (umatic) vs. VHS vs. Beta vs. Cartravision (hooray USA). The winner? UMATIC. Better resolution than VHS or Beta, more players than Cartravision, and it has been in use since (gasp....) 1974, and is still going strong.

But really, 8-track?

If the formats here had lost (1)

mlk (18543) | more than 7 years ago | (#19955799)

the very same author would have posted a near identical article.
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