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A Fond Look at Some Obsolete Ports

ScuttleMonkey posted about 6 years ago | from the tab-a-into-slot-b dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 528

StealMyWiFi writes "C-NET.co.uk has a lighthearted look at ten of the best obsolete ports. The biggest surprise is that C-NET claims Firewire is obsolete, which will come as a surprise to the millions of people worldwide who are still using it, especially in light of the story that Firewire is due to get a massive speed boost! The same could be said for their claims about SCSI, although from a consumer point of view I guess that's fairer."

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modem port? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22899536)

no modem port? phone line port?

C-Net (5, Funny)

Etrias (1121031) | about 6 years ago | (#22899552)

C-net couldn't find an obsolete port with two hands, a map and a flashlight.

Re:C-Net (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22900094)

C-net couldn't find an obsolete port with two hands, a map and a flashlight

In the daytime, standing in front of it.

SCSI isn't what it used to be (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | about 6 years ago | (#22899556)

SCSI wasn't any fun anymore once they put in auto termination anyway. Long ago are the days when you couldn't get your SCSI disks to show up, no matter how you chained them or where you put the terminator. The only way to get it working was to cut yourself trying to connect the third drive for the 500th time and bleed all over the cables while swearing loudly. After that, everything would work just fine. You see, the dark lord will not allow SCSI to work without a blood sacrifice.

Re:SCSI isn't what it used to be (2, Insightful)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | about 6 years ago | (#22899604)

I haven't purchased a SCSI part in nearly 10 years. Once SATA became relatively commonplace and 3Ware was shown to be reliable, I just never looked back. On the highest of the high end where budget isn't a constraint I guess it might still be useful. Otherwise, stick a fork in it.


Re:SCSI isn't what it used to be (5, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | about 6 years ago | (#22899896)

You can't get 15Krpm drives in SATA variants, and SAS will allow you to bond up to 4 3Gbps channels together into one bit 12Gbps channel. (Not that it does you much good unless you've got a fairly hefty array as otherwise there's no way a disk subsystem will sustain 3Gbps in random access usage).

This is going to sound strange... (4, Insightful)

an.echte.trilingue (1063180) | about 6 years ago | (#22899630)

This is going to sound really strange, but I always found that licking the connectors solved most of my problems.

Re:This is going to sound strange... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22899994)

I always found that licking the connectors solved most of my problems.

That's pretty much a good rule of thumb everywhere in life.

Re:This is going to sound strange... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22900128)

Did you lick the male connectors or the female connectors?

Re:SCSI isn't what it used to be (0, Redundant)

Coraon (1080675) | about 6 years ago | (#22899694)

I found it also helped if I sacrificed virgin RAM it helped also.

Re:SCSI isn't what it used to be (5, Funny)

calebt3 (1098475) | about 6 years ago | (#22899866)

I found it also helped if I sacrificed virgin RAM it helped also.
Brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department.

Seriously, since Sata does SCSI have any benefits (2, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | about 6 years ago | (#22899810)

anymore? I know the drives are built better but that comes with the price premium.

Less CPU usage? (Although with multiple cores, I assume something like that too becomes less and less important.)

Re:Seriously, since Sata does SCSI have any benefi (4, Insightful)

asuffield (111848) | about 6 years ago | (#22899898)

Vastly better performance on all counts, which matters when you're attaching fifty drives to your bus. Incidentally, the current generation is called SAS ("Serial-Attached SCSI") and uses the same connectors as SATA, running the SCSI wire protocol. Modern RAID cages will accept both SATA and SAS drives in the same bays.

Re:Seriously, since Sata does SCSI have any benefi (2, Interesting)

kithrup (778358) | about 6 years ago | (#22899924)

Sure... SCSI gives you the ability to have more drives per controller. And if you don't have NCQ on the SATA drive, SCSI is going to be quite a bit faster (assuming roughly-equivalent data rates, of course -- not comparing SCSI-I to SATA here :)).

For most people, however, SATA is probably good enough. And USB for when they need some extra (but much slower) storage.

Server people, however still like SCSI. Even if it's Serial-Attached SCSI these days ;). (But a bunch of SATA drives in a FibreChannel RAID box is still a way to go.)

Advantages of SAS (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | about 6 years ago | (#22900016)

Dual-ported drives
Expanders (128 drives per controller)
Wide ports (1200 MB/s)
Better external cabling (not like the kludge that is eSATA)

SCSI was better than IDE, and SAS is still better than SATA.

Re:SCSI isn't what it used to be (5, Funny)

NMerriam (15122) | about 6 years ago | (#22899844)

Oh, come on. SCSI will *always* be fun, termination or not. Just the act of putting an adaptor on an adaptor on another adaptor so that you can connect a controller to a disk is an adventure. Just calculating the minimum number of adaptors you need to own to be able to connect any two arbitrary SCSI devices could keep Stephen Hawking busy for an afternoon.

SCSI is one of those technologies where you inevitably wonder "how can engineers be so brilliant, and yet so colossally stupid, at the same time?"

My favorite obsolete port is #23 (4, Funny)

stuporglue (1167677) | about 6 years ago | (#22899578)

Although I've still had to use it in the last couple years for a couple of odd routers.

This cracks me up (5, Funny)

microbee (682094) | about 6 years ago | (#22899592)

Sadly, PS/2 was yet another victim of USB, which doesn't care what you plug into it, the electrical slut.

What about BSD ports? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | about 6 years ago | (#22899606)

Netcraft confirmed their obsoletism years ago.

Re:What about BSD ports? -- flamebait (1)

billsf (34378) | about 6 years ago | (#22900134)

We are mature enough not to do this, but this person doesn't know about source code. BSD is mostly MacOSX and hugely important in MSWindows, at least to XP. There are several more commercial implementations. This is not a bash to Linux. Linux is almost exclusively used in supercomputing today and a close look at "Top 500" will show the BSD niche is coming back in that area. The only non-level playing field is on the desktop. -- That's all your fault and you know who you are....

Very unfair to SCART (5, Insightful)

El Cabri (13930) | about 6 years ago | (#22899620)

Describing SCART as a bad idea is very unfair. It's true you couldn't tell which signals were being monitored (unless a sophisticated TV would tell you), but consider this : thanks to SCART compliance, all European TVs on from the early-to-mid 80s were component RGB monitors. This was great for the consoles and home computers of the time. In the US at the same time, TVs only had RF inputs, and only later on the mediocre composite and S-video inputs, and only in the late 90s - early 2000s, and on higher end TVs saw component input generalized. And then not RGB component, rather that inferior differential component. So SCART has forced european TVs a twenty years headstart on the quality of analog input and changed the experience of everyone with a TV-based home computer in the 80s.

Also it was bi-directionnal : a composite signal could travel from the TV to the peripheral and be simultaneously fed back from the peripheral to the TV. This allowed over-the-air pay-TV with a de-scrambler box that was simply plugged in on one of the SCARTs.

Re:Very unfair to SCART (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 6 years ago | (#22900018)

So SCART has forced european TVs a twenty years headstart on the quality of analog input and changed the experience of everyone with a TV-based home computer in the 80s.

Maybe it would be fairer to say that the Europeans were where they should have been at that point in time, while we were twenty years behind.

Re:Very unfair to SCART (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22900086)

The note about SCART is sheer idiocy: not knowing which kind of signal went in which direction is a problem caused by dirt-cheap cables with only the bare minimum number of connections soldered (5 out of the standard 21). If you buy standard cables (say, 15US$ instead of 5US$, and they will last a lifetime) these are clearly labeled and generally of good-enough quality. SCART, despite the clunky connector, was a god-send for interfacing consumer video equipment in a time when standardization was completely unknown, and still goes strong, at least in the analog domain.

Firewire's not obsolete (4, Insightful)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | about 6 years ago | (#22899644)

It has just not achieved the success of its nemesis USB. But there are niche areas where Firewire is huge, and will continue to be so.

After all, the recording industry, where Firewire is quite popular, still use god-awful MIDI.

Re:Firewire's not obsolete (1)

COMON$ (806135) | about 6 years ago | (#22899706)

Firewire is great because it gets its tech out just a little faster than USB, but USB is always right on its heels. With more and more mobile devices becoming USB dependent you will see manufacturers start cutting costs on video cameras and Motherboards by not including the niche only firewire. I used to be a huge firewire fan but when it comes down to it, USB just flat out beats the 1394 standards.

Re:Firewire's not obsolete (5, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | about 6 years ago | (#22899946)

When USB actually works for audio/video, I'll be impressed. If you've ever hung out on an audio board trying to help people with computer problems, you find two things are consistently true: 1. People with FireWire audio interfaces rarely have problems that can't be clearly and quickly pinned on a poor choice of FireWire card. 2. People with USB audio interfaces constantly have problems with random pops and crackles. There are exceptions to both rules, but the difference in reliability is staggering.

And video cameras basically just plain don't use USB at all. You might find a few camcorders that provide USB for reading still photos off of flash cards, but that's about it. Okay, so there are a few low-end flash-based MPEG solutions out there. None of the better gear (e.g. HDV) uses USB, though. It's all FireWire. Outside of really low-end gear, USB isn't even in the running.

The thing is, IMHO, what's really dead is USB 2. For disks, eSATA kicks its butt every day and twice on Sunday, bus-powered disks notwithstanding (and even that limitation is changing RSN). Thus, eSATA will likely obliterate USB for external drives in the fairly near future, for both cost and performance reasons. For A/V tasks, FireWire leaves USB in the dust. The only devices USB supports well are input devices like tablets, mice, and keyboards. As a result, USB 3 will probably be largely or completely stillborn, and USB will eventually be relegated to slow devices like flash sticks, keyboards, and mice, as it really doesn't do anything else very well....

Re:Firewire's not obsolete (2, Insightful)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | about 6 years ago | (#22900044)

>The thing is, IMHO, what's really dead is USB 2.

Not been using much in the way of tech recently? USB = Cable.

Regardless of specification, USB has a massive, almost ubiquitous presence, which translates to an unstoppable inertia. Only something which is 10x better, but can use the same sockets stands a chance. Which brings me to your other howler-

>USB 3 will probably be largely or completely stillborn

Are you the first /. cable fanboy?

Re:Firewire's not obsolete (4, Informative)

LaminatorX (410794) | about 6 years ago | (#22900032)

USB can never "flat out beat" Firewire for one reason: isochronas transfers. Firewire controllers have their own integrated timing/synch control, while USB lets the CPU play traffic cop and uses a buffer to make up the difference. That's fine for copying files or for low-quality streams, but when moving lots of high quality audio or video data, the buffer can run dry while the CPU is working on processing said data for output/playback, resulting in loss of synch, droped frames, and audio pops.

Re:Firewire's not obsolete (4, Interesting)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | about 6 years ago | (#22900034)

I used to be a huge firewire fan but when it comes down to it, USB just flat out beats the 1394 standards.
How so? I back up my system and synchronize my laptop to my desktop using both firewire 800 and USB 2.0 and the firewire is faster. One great thing about firewire is that I use it as an internet connection with my desktop as the server. Just enable internet sharing under preferences (Mac OS X) and the desktop acts as a DHCP server for anything plugged into the firewire. Then I just plug my laptop into my desktop and then run rsync. No foolin' around required. My opinion about the mac book air was that it looked cute, but no firewire 800 means I won't ever get it because I've grown so used to the ease of using it.

Re:Firewire's not obsolete (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22900088)

I thought it was better than USB because it has some kind of magical controller chip on each side ... saving vaulable... oh never mind I'll just cut and paste from wikipedia ...USB's reliance on the host-processor to manage low-level USB protocol, whereas FireWire automates the same tasks in the interface hardware.

Oddly Enough (1)

Paranatural (661514) | about 6 years ago | (#22899660)

I've never used a firewire anything. I've even made sure each motherboard I've gotten has had it as a built in port, JIC. But I've never had a periperal that needed it. Even digital cameras and MP3 players.

Re:Oddly Enough (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 6 years ago | (#22899892)

Some external harddrives use them (and usually take USB as well). It should cut down on the CPU usage if you do large file transfers.

Re:Oddly Enough (1)

anagama (611277) | about 6 years ago | (#22899914)

You should try it. My experience with USB and Firewire drives has been much more positive on the firewire side. I don't have technical data, just subjective perception, but firewire feels snappier and more stable. I can run an OS off a firewire drive and it feels like I'm running it off an internal drive. I haven't run an OS off a USB drive directly, but I have through virtualization, and it just doesn't feel as snappy compared to doing the same thing with firewire. Plus, with big file transfers, USB feels like it bogs down. Of course, others may have other experiences, but I love firewire.

not obsolete... (2, Interesting)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | about 6 years ago | (#22899670)

...Now only if it were secure [mooseyard.com]...

Re:not obsolete... (1)

asuffield (111848) | about 6 years ago | (#22900132)

That's not a problem with firewire, that's a problem with the BROKEN, RETARDED Windows firewire driver. The silly part is that Microsoft have known about it for years and haven't bothered to fix it.

Annoying 'article', here's the list (4, Informative)

hcdejong (561314) | about 6 years ago | (#22899678)

Without [next] the [next] stupid [next] clickthroughs [next] and [next] ads [next]:
1. DB-25 parallel port
2. PS/2
3. FireWire
6. ISA
7. AGP
9. Kryten's groin (from Red Dwarf)
10. game cartridge port

Re:Annoying 'article', here's the list (1)

discord5 (798235) | about 6 years ago | (#22900100)

2. PS/2

Wow, I guess I'm the only idiot left who still uses those


The death of SCSI predicted once again. Everyone keeps predicting it's death, but I can't seem to get rid of it in my serverroom. Guess what the last letter in SAS stands for?


Amazingly they still have those on recent television sets. Guess I wasted my money on that TV then

9. Kryten's groin (from Red Dwarf)

They ran out of ports they could deprecate? Good thing I didn't waste my time reading the article

SCSI? It just changed its face. (5, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | about 6 years ago | (#22899680)

SCSI is faaaar from dead. Actually, SCSI is dominating the market currently, killing all the competition. Except it's done with weird parallel buses with 50 different incompatible connectors. And it changed the name, but it's still the same old SCSI protocol.

* ATAPI is SCSI over ATA - all non-SATA (or non-SCSI ;) CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs use it.
* SATA is SCSI over a special serial cable. Meaning - only obsolete PATA disks are non-SCSI. All CD drives are SCSI this or another way.
* USB Storage (pendrives, external drives etc) are all SCSI.

Essentially mostly every mass storage device you connect to the computer is SCSI nowadays.

Re:SCSI? It just changed its face. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 6 years ago | (#22899814)

SATA is SCSI over a special serial cable. Meaning - only obsolete PATA disks are non-SCSI. All CD drives are SCSI this or another way.

Exactly where does that leave SAS (Serial Attached SCSI)?

I think another thing is that SATA can't be chained, and ATAPI could only allow two drives on a chain.

The protocol lives on, but the 40 pin, 68 pin or 80 pin SCSI ports are gone. I personally still use them, but there's almost no point in buying a new machine with it, unless you have a very special or obscure device. The machines I have are about five years old and they have a pair of U160 ports in them. I buy a 36GB 15k hard drive on eBay for $40 and I'm plenty good for holding my OS and data, and surprisingly, they aren't as terribly loud as some 10k hard drives. I keep my data on a server or a separate, larger, slower drive.

Re:SCSI? It just changed its face. (1)

boris111 (837756) | about 6 years ago | (#22899926)

In their defense they're talking about the ports, not the protocols. I can safely say Ethernet over coax is dead.

Re:SCSI? It just changed its face. (1)

asuffield (111848) | about 6 years ago | (#22900042)

In their defense they're talking about the ports, not the protocols.

If you're going to play it that way, then the obsolete ports are Centronics C50, SCSI-2, SCSI-3, SCA, and SCA-2. SCSI has had a whole lot of different cables and ports over the years, each one obsoleted by the next. The current SCSI connector is SFF8482, the same one that's used for SATA (although the Infiniband connector is also used for the same purpose).

Re:SCSI? It just changed its face. (5, Informative)

asuffield (111848) | about 6 years ago | (#22899976)

SATA is SCSI over a special serial cable. Meaning - only obsolete PATA disks are non-SCSI. All CD drives are SCSI this or another way.

Really isn't. The SATA and SCSI protocols are similar, but there is a real SCSI over serial cable, and it's called SAS (Serial-Attached SCSI). It's the same connectors and cables as SATA, running the real SCSI protocol. The drives are the same good old SCSI drives, costing ten times and much and running ten times as fast as their SATA cousins. It has replaced Ultra-640 SCSI as the system of choice for high-end RAID cages.

USB Storage (pendrives, external drives etc) are all SCSI

Not even close. USB mass storage is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike SCSI.


That one's true though.

Re:SCSI? It just changed its face. (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 6 years ago | (#22900012)

Add FibreChannel to that list, though technically you can run IP and HIPPI over FC as well, SCSI seems to be the most popular.

Re:SCSI? It just changed its face. (1)

kithrup (778358) | about 6 years ago | (#22900048)

ATAPI (aka IDE) and SATA are not SCSI... they just use a subset of the same commands. So does Firewire, by the way.

(E.g., the command for "write data at block #foo" is the same sequence of bytes in IDE and SCSI. This is roughly equivalent to building an editor that uses the vi commands for insertion and deletion, but the emacs commands for cursor movement and searching. Okay, not a great analogy, but it's short notice :).)

Having a large command-set overlap is very nice for driver writers -- it means that they don't have to learn a whole lot of new semantics, and can just crib some of the existing code they have. But the protocols involved are vastly different -- you can't just port a SCSI driver to run on IDE; you have to write an IDE driver, where the requests just happen to be the same as the SCSI ones.

(Unless you write your SCSi code that way. FreeBSD, for example, uses the umass framework to provide USB and FireWire storage functionality. But that code was written to send the requests off to be encapsulated as needed.)

Serial ports and AT keyboard? (1)

CowboyNealOption (1262194) | about 6 years ago | (#22899696)

I guess they are so old no one remembers them anymore :-( I wonder if the serial mouse I have at home would work with a serial->atx converter, plugged into a atx->usb converter?

Re:Serial ports and AT keyboard? (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 6 years ago | (#22899922)

Serial ports are obsolete for home use but they are still used with legacy softare in test and measurement environments. My employer still uses good ol' serial in conjuction with Hyperterminal to send commands to embedded devices, even as the test equipment is controlled with GPIB.

Re:Serial ports and AT keyboard? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 6 years ago | (#22900142)

I use my HP laptop as a terminal when I work at customer sites. It has one serial port on a 9 pin D connector. A lot of people use windows/hyper terminal for that but I prefer pretty much any unix like OS (currently ubuntu) with UUCP installed.

cu -l /dev/ttyS0 ...is as close as I can go to set host/dte on VMS.

Though those legacy unix serial line applications are funny with all the stuff they have for sending AT commands and storing information about remote systems, not to mention queueing serial file transfers. All very quaint. The classic is minicom which will do practically everything except give me a raw connection to the serial port without a lot of configuration.

Re:Serial ports and AT keyboard? (1)

anagama (611277) | about 6 years ago | (#22899998)

I love serial ports for their simplicity. I do some simple data acquisition on a kiln I fire with some digital multimeters and thermocouples. It's very helpful to watch the temperature over time graph while firing a kiln that requires manual stoking of firewood. Anyway, the serial port is easy to read writing scripts to stuff with that isn't wildly hard (although every time I need to write such a script, I have to refresh myself).

Why is Kryten's groin on the list? (5, Funny)

jameskojiro (705701) | about 6 years ago | (#22899702)

He is going to built in the future, he is like totally super advanced by today's standards. Can a USB port whisk an omelette? NO! Can a SATA port trim a hedge? NO! Can a PCI-Express port vaccum off the sofa? NO!!!!

If you want a port that can interface with anything and do almost anything and plug into almost any sort of appliance, just ask Kryten to dry hump it and your wish will be fulfilled!

Re:Why is Kryten's groin on the list? (1)

NerveGas (168686) | about 6 years ago | (#22899900)

It's a *fond* look at the ports. You know, some dude *fondly* looking at Kryten's groin...


nozzo (851371) | about 6 years ago | (#22899708)

they got SCART spot on - it is s**t and I hate the oversize connectors and the way it never seems to click in so that if you actually move anything they pop out at an angle because to get a decent signal you need to buy a stupidly priced 'quality' cable that's as thick as a ships rope and is too heavy for the friction held connector - hmphhhh

oh but HDMI cable, you sleek sexy thang, you're my new interconnect friend

How about 113? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22899710)

Ident? Who uses that besides IRC (in which case you generally fake it)?

LPT port *sigh* oh them good ol' days (2, Funny)

beckerist (985855) | about 6 years ago | (#22899718)

My FIRST "networked environment:" Two computers, a bi-directional crossover LPT cable and some REALLY crappy Novell software. Definitely some frustrating times just to play Warcraft I against a single friend!

SCSI is not dead (1)

billsf (34378) | about 6 years ago | (#22899730)

The standard 50, 68 and 84pin variety is headed for the heap. It will be many years (ten or more) until legacy SCSI is no longer supported. In the meantime, just about the only way to talk to a high-speed external device is the SCSI protocol. There is SAS (Serial attached SCSI) and SATA which is slightly simplified SAS. SCSI is almost exclusively used for all USB UMASS ports. It is also the protocol most likely on the IEEE-1394 port, but its dead already. (good riddance)

Let me take exception with the first (real) poster's remarks. The phone port, perhaps you were thinking "WIN/LINmodem" is also a standard two-wire to four-wire converter (hybrid) with digital in and out. (sound card.) This, for the forseeable future will have use in VoIP and test applications for as long as copper is use. A 'phone port' could be very handy for traveling.

Finally: Who slipped the "Cowboy Neil" port in this discussion?


FCC mandate (4, Insightful)

Chris Snook (872473) | about 6 years ago | (#22899738)

Firewire is certainly more niche than USB, but in its niche, it's very good. That may be why the FCC has mandated that hi-def digital cable providers in the United States provide firewire-equipped cable boxes to any customers that ask for them. If you're doing media capture, it's really an excellent interface. If you want to plug in general purpose peripherals, USB is usually a better fit.

PS/2 (1)

genesus (1049556) | about 6 years ago | (#22899754)

It is getting harder and harder to find standard built pcs with ps/2; however, I always make sure I get one. No mushy rubber dome with fading sticky keys and too many buttons can ever replace my mid 80's model m space saver.

And in regards to the above comment about USB not caring what you plug into it, many ps/2 to usb adaptors simply don't work. USB can be especially picky with some hardware requiring an actual ps/2 to usb signal converter, which, funny enough, usually look exactly the same as the non-working adapters.

Seriously? (-1, Troll)

nuzak (959558) | about 6 years ago | (#22899764)

A list of obsolete ports? Seriously? People get paid to write this stuff?

No wonder C|Net is laying people off.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22899870)

A list of obsolete ports? Seriously? People get paid to write this stuff?

Why not? People get paid to run a forum you discuss it in.

Missing option (4, Interesting)

hcdejong (561314) | about 6 years ago | (#22899772)

ADB. It was brilliant in its day, better than USB in some areas, e.g. it included the ability to switch your computer on/off from the keyboard.
Also, Apple made a habit of including ADB ports in its monitors, so you could plug your keyboard and mouse into the monitor. Pity that never caught on either.

how about USB? (1)

Chirs (87576) | about 6 years ago | (#22900014)

With USB keyboards and mice, and the number of monitors with USB ports on them now, I think we've got the equivalent.

Anyone ever rip a running scsi drive out? (4, Interesting)

Neil Blender (555885) | about 6 years ago | (#22899776)

If you ever get the chance, pull a running scsi drive out of a computer. Hold it your hand and try rotating your wrist. Very nice angular momentum demonstration. The platters are spinning so fast the drive will counter your wrist rotation quite forcibly.

Firewire is getting to be like Beta (1, Insightful)

snowwrestler (896305) | about 6 years ago | (#22899778)

Technically superior, but losing in the consumer marketplace to a cheaper standard that has better market penetration. While at the same time, video pros continue to use and rely on it (and will for many years).

No Centronics or RS232. (4, Insightful)

starling (26204) | about 6 years ago | (#22899784)

Where's the love?

Parallel and serial great for hobbyists (1)

langelgjm (860756) | about 6 years ago | (#22900040)

Well if by "Centronics" you mean the other side of the printer cable, they did mention the parallel port. As for RS-232, one big use for these "legacy" ports (parallel and serial) is for hobbyists.

For example, I'm lucky to have a motherboard that includes a serial header, which is attached to my PIC programmer. Also, for simple projects, interfacing directly to a parallel port is often simpler than interfacing to a serial port. Hopefully there will always be add-on cards for those of us who use these "legacy" ports.

Re:No Centronics or RS232. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22900080)

Oh come on... Centronics is in there... it is just named SCSI, because well, they didn't want to deal with all the 50pin/68pin/80pin/SCA/SCA2 versions... to them, it is simply SCSI....

Re:No Centronics or RS232. (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 6 years ago | (#22900136)

I agree. missing from the article:

RS232 (DB25 and DB9)
Centronics B-36 (IEEE 1284)
AT keyboard (DIN-5) - remember when every keyboard came with an adapter for this instead of USB?
VESA Local Bus [wikipedia.org]
DB13W3 [slashdot.org] - always wondered why this wasn't universally used for VGA
1/8" stereo jack (aka TRS [wikipedia.org])

All of these were fairly common and fairly obsolete (although TRS is still used by musicians)

Firewire sucks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22899786)

I've had quite a few computer illiterate friends buy some kind of device for their PC that uses firewire, only to find out that they don't have firewire. Just another crappy technology put out by Apple who would like everyone to use their one type of everything and pay a hefty royalty for the privilege.

Re:Firewire sucks... (1)

primalamn (716272) | about 6 years ago | (#22899916)

why is it crappy? any documentation on that? Do you even know where FW has strength? Who uses it? Your anecdote is weak and incomplete to be useful.

Last night a Firewire saved my life in a disco (4, Informative)

theolein (316044) | about 6 years ago | (#22899794)

Actually, it was this morning. I had trashed a colleague's external drive, and along with it 100GB of data. In a flat panic, I hauled my Firewire 800 RAID enclosure from Lacie, and together with the totally amazing Data Rescue II from Prosoft, I had almost all of his data back back by Lunch today. The sheer speed of a Firewire 800 drive compared to a USB 2.0 drive made it all worth the while. USB simply doesn't compare in terms of reliability and speed.

SCSI is dead, long live SAS (1)

Chris Snook (872473) | about 6 years ago | (#22899796)

Parallel SCSI is very, very dead, but it's being killed off by SAS, not SATA. SAS is also killing off Fibre Channel disk drives, as it makes more sense these days to use SAS within the RAID array, and then use Fibre Channel to connect to the hosts.

I don't know what they're smoking that makes them think infiniband will replace all of this, but I want some. Infiniband is great for clusters, but putting it inside a laptop is idiotic.

Is PCMCIA really dead? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 6 years ago | (#22899808)

The say that PCMCIA is dead and anyway most laptops have wi-fi built it. Of the two fairly new laptops I own, the built in wi-fi sucks. Is PCMCIA really dead?

Re:Is PCMCIA really dead? (2)

Tamerz (702147) | about 6 years ago | (#22899990)

No, PCMCIA is not dead. New laptops come with ExpressCard slots which is a PCMCIA specification. It is not backwards compatible though, but I have seen adapters.

Voting machines, too (1)

langelgjm (860756) | about 6 years ago | (#22900118)

PCMCIA also seems to be alive and well in most modern e-voting machines, which I always found weird.

for nerds... (4, Funny)

nguy (1207026) | about 6 years ago | (#22899818)

For nerds, it's obviously the "P" (male) and "V" (female) ports that are, for practical purposes, never used and hence obsolete.

I know, people like to make sure that their "P" port remains gleaming and in good shape by regularly polishing it, but, seriously, give it up guys.

Firewire dead? (3, Insightful)

jdb2 (800046) | about 6 years ago | (#22899836)

I don't think so. We already know about the upcoming 3.2GB/s standard, but there is more.
They plan on doubling the speed to 6.4GB/s -- google for S6400. Also, the new standard(s)
extend firwire so as to allow it to operate over other mediums, such as Ethernet, Coax, and Fiber.

Yes, Firewire looks really dead to me. No matter what country a Cnet editor comes from, he/she's
probably an idiot. (eg. why didn't they include 32-bit PCI?)


Re:Firewire dead? (1)

jdb2 (800046) | about 6 years ago | (#22899968)

Oops. Replace all uppercase "B"'s with lowercase ones. Or, if you prefer, s/B/b/ ;)


Oh, *that* sort of port. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22899850)

Am I the only person who was expecting things like port 17 (motd), port 70 (gopher) and port 23 (telnet - well, we can hope).

I have to admit... (1)

NerveGas (168686) | about 6 years ago | (#22899868)

as much as I love my firewire - especially firewire 800 - the vast majority of people say "firewha?" All they know is USB. And just like Beta vs. VHS. the technially superior standard is not the winner, but the one that wins widespread adoption.

Of the average folks that I know, the only ones I know who have even heard of firewire are folks that transfer from their camcorder to their PC - and those aren't many.

A few more (1)

huxrules (649822) | about 6 years ago | (#22899872)

If they were going to go with ISA then they should have talked about VESA. Which I remembered was crap. And what about VGA (DB-15) ports and serial (DB-9). (honestly serial is still used in many many industrial applications- but not so much in the home). And I don't agree with the firewire- I just bought a 1tb external drive and was happy to see firewire still on it. Also usb 1.1 should have been included- boy was that crap! And remember those gamer ports of the past (DA-15)- for joysticks- those were silly.

Seems C|Net could have cut some more. (1)

CatOne (655161) | about 6 years ago | (#22899874)

And caught the author of this cheezeball article in their round of layoffs yesterday.

Firewire (IEEE1394) is dead, but.... (1)

billsf (34378) | about 6 years ago | (#22899894)

Future extreme 'firewire' ports will use a fibre pair and two pieces of copper to carry the power. Please standardise the voltage that uses the copper. Also make it AC at >20kHz. It should be below 48V, AC or DC no matter what, for safety reasons. "Firewire" in the form of IEEE1394, as we know it, is dead, but some concept of a general purpose port that can carry more than 2.5W could live on for quite some time.

Missing from List (1, Informative)

surata (958203) | about 6 years ago | (#22899928)

My RS232 serial connectors in 25 and 9 pin incarnations are just as functional and now obsolete as any parallel port. AT Keyboard connectors are even more obsolete than the ps/2 connectors that replaced them Are Game ports obsolete? I have not looked at joysticks lately, but look that they would be fine with USB Technology - except of course in terms of backwards computability. Those silly audio in/out ports ought to be obsolete IDE connectors are pretty much obsolete: I won't buy a pc without SATA any more. VGA has been replaced with HDMI The only connectors on the back of a PC that are not obsolete are Power, USB, Network, and HDMI. Well we still need the audio.

Oh, that kind of port (1)

noidentity (188756) | about 6 years ago | (#22899930)

I thought it was going to be about obsolete TCP ports, like 21, 70, 79, etc. Does this earn me an upgrade to my geek card?

FireWire and dorky kids (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | about 6 years ago | (#22900010)

For some reason, despite the incredibly shaky start USB had...it still managed to beat FireWire to be the most popular data-transfer system. Sure, you could argue popularity isn't everything, but try telling that to all the dorky kids at schools across the world.
I'm sure those dorky kids are fans of FireWire, so they'll probably like hearing that.

Missing Option (1)

dkf (304284) | about 6 years ago | (#22900052)

RS-232 [wikipedia.org]! Another port killed by (the frankly much better) USB, it had the interesting feature of coming in two widths of connector. The only uses for it I ever had were for connecting my (ultra-fast at the time) 14,400 baud modem, and for programming the Mindstorms brick [lego.com]. (That went to USB with v2, but v1 and 1.5 used RS-232.)

Missing from the list: Atari SIO (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | about 6 years ago | (#22900060)

Atari SIO was the predecessor [atarimuseum.com] to USB:

These computers had a large assortment of "Intelligent" peripherals which communicated through a custom bus called the "SIO" (Serial I/O) which compared to today standards is a rather simplistic version of the USB (Universal Serial Bus). In fact the USB and the Atari SIO have a lot more in common then many would think. One of Atari's original computer engineers, Joe Decuir who created the Atari SIO bus is also one of the team of engineers at Microsoft to help design and holds patents on the USB.

I'm still alive .... and .... I'm not dead (-1, Offtopic)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 6 years ago | (#22900076)

http://www.vgcats.com/comics/extras/stillalive.php [vgcats.com]


The Dead Collector: Bring out yer dead.
[a man puts a body on the cart]
Large Man with Dead Body: Here's one.
The Dead Collector: That'll be ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not dead.
The Dead Collector: What?
Large Man with Dead Body: Nothing. There's your ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not dead.
The Dead Collector: 'Ere, he says he's not dead.
Large Man with Dead Body: Yes he is.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not.
The Dead Collector: He isn't.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm getting better.
Large Man with Dead Body: No you're not, you'll be stone dead in a moment.
The Dead Collector: Well, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I don't want to go on the cart.
Large Man with Dead Body: Oh, don't be such a baby.
The Dead Collector: I can't take him.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I feel fine.
Large Man with Dead Body: Oh, do me a favor.
The Dead Collector: I can't.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, can you hang around for a couple of minutes? He won't be long.
The Dead Collector: I promised I'd be at the Robinsons'. They've lost nine today.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, when's your next round?
The Dead Collector: Thursday.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I think I'll go for a walk.
Large Man with Dead Body: You're not fooling anyone, you know. Isn't there anything you could do?
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I feel happy. I feel happy.
[the Dead Collector glances up and down the street furtively, then silences the Body with his a whack of his club]
Large Man with Dead Body: Ah, thank you very much.
The Dead Collector: Not at all. See you on Thursday.
Large Man with Dead Body: Right.
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