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Redundant technology

Started by greencalx, May 22, 2022, 05:02:27 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

Martin Van Buren Stan

Can't remember the last time I heard a house alarm going off. Ditto rape.

JesusAndYourBush

Quote from: JaDanketies on May 22, 2022, 07:28:15 PMMy house has loads of expensive obsolete technology in it, actually. There's this big electric unit in a cupboard and all these speakers in the ceilings

When my parents bought the house in the 60s there were speakers in several rooms because the previous owner wanted to be able to have music in every room.  When I was a kid there was still one remaining speaker in the kitchen (not wired up) and I think maybe one in the airing cupboard in the bathroom.  I imagine it never worked too well, the speakers were crappy and with the length of wire needed they'd probably have been a bit quiet.

touchingcloth

Dating sites for the Amish.

Jasha

Until recently work was still using as400

Sebastian Cobb

Quote from: JesusAndYourBush on May 22, 2022, 07:57:42 PMWhen my parents bought the house in the 60s there were speakers in several rooms because the previous owner wanted to be able to have music in every room.  When I was a kid there was still one remaining speaker in the kitchen (not wired up) and I think maybe one in the airing cupboard in the bathroom.  I imagine it never worked too well, the speakers were crappy and with the length of wire needed they'd probably have been a bit quiet.


I've seen some installations like that and I think they often run the amplifier through a transformer to use higher voltage and less current for long runs, it shoves the impedance up to around 70 ohms or higher. Doesn't sound great through and multiroom stuff these days probably relies on sonos or cast technology to carry most of it over ip. I've seen class D amps with Bluetooth and network that can fit in a normal light socket, and neodymium speakers (like what you get in minirigs) are a lot better these days although I think they use fancy dsps to make them pack a punch too.

Sebastian Cobb

Quote from: Jasha on May 22, 2022, 08:14:52 PMUntil recently work was still using as400

I had to manage systems that ran on Solaris a few years ago. It wasn't bad but everything seemed to be a bit more hard work compared to modern Linux distros. It doesn't help that Oracle torpedoed a lot of the online resources for greedy licencing reasons. The cunts.

Quote from: Jasha on May 22, 2022, 08:14:52 PMUntil recently work was still using as400

Work is still using as400

Sebastian Cobb

When I did Solaris stuff we found out in passing that at some point a thrifty project manager had decided to save a few quid by purchasing an x86 server while the customer was still on sparc. In practice we never really noticed a difference until they migrated to a redundant machine and asked us to send over Oracle database/client libraries and pro*c compilers but the fact this wasn't documented stuck me as a big feed flag. In practice Solaris interoperability was very good. But if you hit an edge case where it didn't you found yourself in a world of pain. Our legacy apps used oracle pipes and I think everyone relied on 'shotgun debugging' and blood sacrafices to keep them alive.

Sherringford Hovis

Quote from: Sebastian Cobb on May 22, 2022, 05:47:56 PMMy uncle also used to have one for when he was on-call with cave rescue but I imagine they use phones/message groups these days.

Most fire services and volunteer rescue organisations still use alerters/pagers. This little bastard disturbs me 300+ times a year to tell me to go deal with some fuckery or other.

Quote from: Sebastian Cobb on May 22, 2022, 05:47:56 PMEven the emergency services seem to be trying to utilise mobile data for delivery of a tetra replacement but I think they have problems with forward truncation when using push-to-talk which could have life or death implications

I have long ago given up knowing or caring about many of the specifics, but emergency services comms is a bottomless pit infested with rapacious scumfucks like Vodaphone and Crapita into which limitless money is enthusiastically shovelled without any improvements in tech, efficiency or connectivity. This year I've used WhatsApp from a personal phone to text the Air Ambulance helicopter with a What3Words designator of where to land, and on another occasion inform the rozzers that we've found a corpse. As firefighters we frequently have to dial 999 from the incident-ground to get an ambulance because it's a quicker solution than the 20 minutes it takes for our respective control rooms to make their systems interface without getting BSOD. 

Sebastian Cobb

I don't want to go into too many details, but my old man was involved in the initial West Midlands trial of Tetra, working for what was then called Simoco and there are massive parallels to buzby's story about GE and SystemX, in that they delivered a trial that worked and people were happy with then the powers that be chose a broken solution by a bigger name.

PlanktonSideburns

There's a 2 branch builders merchant in South Wales that does all of its stock and receipts on bbc micros

Dot matrix printers to o

gib


bgmnts

Quote from: PlanktonSideburns on May 22, 2022, 09:51:06 PMThere's a 2 branch builders merchant in South Wales that does all of its stock and receipts on bbc micros

Dot matrix printers to o

Does the system work?

canadagoose

Quote from: greencalx on May 22, 2022, 05:02:27 PMI tried to explain to the child the concept of the fax machine – about the best I could come up with was the two halves of a photocopier being connected by a phone line - and struggled to remember the last time I had to use one. It fell into that space of devices that I would use sufficiently rarely that I would have forgotten how it worked in between times. Each send was accompanied by a nagging doubt that I'd put the paper in the wrong way up, and the recipient would just get a set of blank sheets. Fax machines seemed to be loved by lawyers, but almost no-one else; although I think even they are now ok with emails.

Anyway, I'm now being pestered to come up with other examples of redundant technology. I guess the classic examples are data storage formats like floppy disks, MiniDisks, arguably CDs/DVDs in the streaming era (although I maintain they have their uses), but they're kind of dull and lack the charming mystique of the fax.

Any thoughts?
I used to use a fax at my old work until 2017. It's amazing how long they've survived.

It's not really "technology" as such but I think travellers' cheques are a bit obsolete. I haven't seen one in about 15 years.

PlanktonSideburns

Quote from: bgmnts on May 22, 2022, 11:48:17 PMDoes the system work?

Yea it's ok - I worked there years ago, and it's slow, but fine - I've certainly been to other big name builders merchants and their about as fast getting you out the door. I think because the loop of what you want to do is so basic:

Find customer's account

Add items bought from searchable list

PRINT

It does that fine - it requires the employee to have much more knowledge of what's in the store, and you can't do things you might do on other till computers, like check stock, look up spec, or scan barcodes, but in a small shop with old workers who are familiar with what they have in stock, it works well enough, - if they had to suddenly re-employ all the staff, they might be fucked

pigamus

Don't all the components burn out in something as old as a BBC Micro?

Elderly Sumo Prophecy

The torch? I'm not talking about big bastard torches where you require a lot of light, in which case you'll have a separate product, but your little handheld torch you'd use when you'd dropped your keys in the dark, or the power goes out, or you're rooting around the back of the telly trying to plug a cable in. Nowadays you'll grab your phone and turn the flashlight mode on instead.

In fact, there's a very long list of little devices that the smartphone has rendered mostly unnecessary. I've even got a spirit level app on mine. I've never used it, but it's there. Waiting.

Captain Poodle Basher

We have an ancient printer at work which does one important task - printing cheques that are incorporated into a letter. It's incredibly temperamental and has a dedicated 3 person team whose sole job is minding it.

Several large clients rely on this one antiquated device to ensure they are within compliance because, much as they would like to be rid of it, if someone doesn't want to sign up for EMTS, then cheque is the only other option.

I don't know if it still around but we used to have an ancient document scanner as well. We couldn't replace it with a newer one as there was a bespoke software programme which added a digital signature to the scans so that they had a locatable reference point on our database and the software would only work with this scanner and no other. The computer it was tethered to was pretty ancient as well. It was running Windows 7 but only just as the PC originally had XP on it.

The Mollusk

Re: ceiling speakers, I used to work nights in a hotel with them in the function rooms. Huge console behind the main reception desk area with a big old digital sound system. It was great tbh, used to take in my drum n bass mix CDs in and pump out DJ Hype whilst setting up wedding receptions and conferences.

Also, the place had an OHP stashed away which still occasionally got wheeled out for presentations. This was only about 15 years ago.



Not very environmentally friendly.

PlanktonSideburns

Quote from: pigamus on May 23, 2022, 03:31:39 AMDon't all the components burn out in something as old as a BBC Micro?

Good question, how in fuck are they still at it

Ceefax, pagers and cable telly are good uns. 

pigamus

Don't people still have cable telly?

greencalx

Quote from: PlanktonSideburns on May 23, 2022, 07:42:11 AMGood question, how in fuck are they still at it

My thoughts also. The Beebs were built like tanks but you'd have thought a capacitor or diode would have failed by now. Maybe someone has enough electronics know-how to fix problems like these.

OHPs - yes! Smartboards and data projectors have made these redundant in the places you mostly used to find them. When I started my career it was the norm to give presentations with handwritten acetates. Bonus points if you dropped your stack of slides on the floor before giving your talk. There was a brief period where we created the slides electronically and printed them out onto transparencies - only one of the four ways to insert them into the printer was correct and you'd either end up printing them onto the backing or jamming the printer. Then laptops and data projectors became widespread, although it took a few years for the two to reliably talk to each other, so for a long time I also took transparencies with me to conferences as a backup. A nice touch now is that people are starting to use tablets to draw diagrams etc for their talks, so handwriting lives on!

greencalx

Ps I'm not sure I'd trust my smartphone's gyroscope over gravity.

Quote from: pigamus on May 23, 2022, 07:54:22 AMDon't people still have cable telly?

yeah i guess they have cable tv over IP as the cables are now used by virgin media for tinternet, so probably not a valid example. 

Quote from: PlanktonSideburns on May 23, 2022, 07:42:11 AMGood question, how in fuck are they still at it

The usual thing which happens is that the capacitors in the power supply unit blow, and fill the room with a foul noxious acid smoke. It smells disgusting and sounds quite alarming! Most computers of the era need a PSU refurbishment and then they're good for another 40 years.

MojoJojo

The main problem with beebs would be the capacitors drying out; there is enough of a market for replacement packs of capacitors are sold specifically for different BBC models. There are replacement chips sold too - easy to switch as it used sockets - I would have thought they'd keep working but I guess static electricity/cosmic rays will get some.

I bet not many of you remember the telex. They became redundant when these newfangled fax machines came along in the early 80s.


PlanktonSideburns

Quote from: Voltan (Man of Steel) on May 23, 2022, 08:24:48 AMI bet not many of you remember the telex. They became redundant when these newfangled fax machines came along in the early 80s.



Back when buttons were fuckin BUTTONS

JaDanketies

Imgur wasn't working yesterday but I've got some pics of our obsolete home wiring system that lets you connect to the internet or play music ANYWHERE IN THE HOUSE for you today.

This is the main control panel:



These are the controllers on the wall:



And here's a roof speaker!



There's no reason not to use the speaker system, except for that they're turned off, and that my little Bluetooth speaker (Wonderboom - it's waterproof too!) is significantly more convenient.