It’s Dead, Jim!

2016 marks the end of some of the most long-lasting names and devices in the technology world. We sadly mark the passing of:

  • Motorola: The company has had problems in the past several years, was sold twice, and as of 2016, the name no longer exists. Motorola had a long run, having invented the car radio (Hence the name), in 1930, then quickly moving on to the first walkie-talkie in 1940, the car phone in 1946, and the first commercial cell phone in 1983. They also, incidentally, provided the radio gear that allowed NASA astronauts to communicate from the Moon.
  • iPhone headphone jack: Probably in order to make their phones thinner, sleeker, lighter, and trendier, Apple has in their infinite wisdom eliminated the headphone jack from the latest iPhone, leaving users with no choice other than Bluetooth headphones, which cost a lot more and are not nearly as idiot-proof as wired headphones. Sigh.
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 7: Marketing a product that spontaneously catches fire is not too good for business, but, again, it has a lot to do with making products that emphasize trendiness over usability. If only the Galaxy Note 7 had a removable battery (A feature I insist upon in a phone), the problem could have been taken care of much more easily. But removable batteries make the phone thicker, heavier, and not quite so “cool,” so they’re out.
  • VCRs: It took 50 years, but they finally managed to kill the VCR. I pity all those folks with stuff on videotape that isn’t, and never will be, available on DVD.
  • Hoverboards: Cheap Chinese quality control and Lithium-Ion batteries don’t mix well, especially at the bleeding edge of battery capacity, when they have to be made thinner and with tighter tolerances than ever before. See Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
  • Google Picasa: My all-time favorite photo organizing program. The good news is, it still works, if you already have it; it just won’t be updated or downloaded anymore.

Well, there you have it. We’ll just have to struggle along somehow without these icons of the technology world.

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