Linked by David Adams on Tue 13th Dec 2011 02:38 UTC, submitted by estherschindler
Geek stuff, sci-fi...

Carol Pinchefsky contemplates commercial skipping DVRs, and other tales of really good technology that vanished, in 7 Awesome Bits of Tech That Just Freakin' Disappeared. As Pinchefsky writes: "...It got me thinking about awesome technology that we somehow ditched. The airship? Awesome. Slide rules? Awesome awesome. Mir Space Station? Boss-level awesome. And now just thinking about wristwatches with calculators makes me suffer a sense of short-term nostalgia (as in Douglas Coupland's Generation X). Here are some of the coolest features and products that we’ve lost along the way to 2012.

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Comment by Laurence
by Laurence on Tue 13th Dec 2011 09:32 UTC
Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

IR beaming

Before the days of ubiquitous WiFi, the Treo (see Graffiti, below) and the Palm III used a unique method to transfer files between two phones: infrared beaming. To send files from one phone to another, we just placed them near each other, pointed them at one another, and selected “Beam” from the Treo’s menu. These files were as simple as business cards and as complex as applications.

Seriously, it was totally cool to beam a business card to a potential client, although certain potential dates were less impressed. (It wouldn’t have worked out with that guy anyhow. He obviously wasn’t geeky enough.)

What the hell happened?

Just as video killed the radio star, IR beaming was effectively eliminated by the Apple App Store, which replaced the ability to download apps from a centrally controlled system, rather than peer to peer.


Errr no. Bluetooth killed IR beaming, and for good reason too.

Bluetooth has a higher bandwidth for faster transfers and didn't require direct line of sight (which was a royal pain in the arse!).

Reply Score: 10

RE: Comment by Laurence
by Kivada on Tue 13th Dec 2011 09:43 in reply to "Comment by Laurence"
Kivada Member since:
2010-07-07

I miss having the IR though since the real fun was making it a universal remote.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Laurence
by Laurence on Tue 13th Dec 2011 09:46 in reply to "RE: Comment by Laurence"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

I miss having the IR though since the real fun was making it a universal remote.

True, but these days you can get iOS / Android apps for set top boxes and HTPCs. Granted it's not as fun though

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Laurence
by Morgan on Wed 14th Dec 2011 15:30 in reply to "RE: Comment by Laurence"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

That was one of the reasons my third Palm device was a Sony Clie, it had a built in high output CIR transmitter that worked with Sony's own universal remote app. It also worked with custom apps available around the 'net. It made for a great replacement for the three remotes in my living room.

Time was when I could whip out my PDA in a lobby, and while browsing the (admittedly limited) mobile web via WiFi, I could surreptitiously change the TV to something besides Bloomberg or the Country Music Channel.

Yes, I've grown up since then. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2