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A Fond Look at Some Obsolete Ports 528

StealMyWiFi writes " 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 The biggest surprise is that C-NET claims Firewire is obsolete, which will come as a surprise to the millions of people worldwide who are still using it, especially in light of the story that Firewire is due to get a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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A Fond Look at Some Obsolete Ports

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  • by Ritz_Just_Ritz ( 883997 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @05:49PM (#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.

  • by El Cabri ( 13930 ) * on Friday March 28, 2008 @05:51PM (#22899620) Journal
    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.
  • by an.echte.trilingue ( 1063180 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @05:52PM (#22899630) Homepage
    This is going to sound really strange, but I always found that licking the connectors solved most of my problems.
  • by Naughty Bob ( 1004174 ) * on Friday March 28, 2008 @05:53PM (#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.
  • by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @05:56PM (#22899680) Homepage Journal
    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:modem port? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @05:57PM (#22899698)
    if you think dial up modems are obsolete, you evidently have never lived in a rural area in north america.
  • FCC mandate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chris Snook ( 872473 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @05:59PM (#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.
  • by snowwrestler ( 896305 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @06:02PM (#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).
  • by starling ( 26204 ) <> on Friday March 28, 2008 @06:02PM (#22899784)
    Where's the love?
  • Firewire dead? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jdb2 ( 800046 ) * on Friday March 28, 2008 @06:08PM (#22899836) Journal
    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?)

  • 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.
  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @06:19PM (#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.
  • by Naughty Bob ( 1004174 ) * on Friday March 28, 2008 @06:21PM (#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:C-Net (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28, 2008 @06:35PM (#22900198)
    What exactly have flashlights been obsoleted by?
  • obsolete (Score:5, Insightful)

    by G3ckoG33k ( 647276 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @06:40PM (#22900258)
    Maybe I don't quite understand the word obsolete, but I thought that today dial up modems were obsolete regardless of where you live. A necessity perhaps, but outdated nonetheless. ;)
  • While you can argue back and forth whether or not SCSI is still faster than SATA, and which has the better transfer rates in what situation, they really missed one of the biggest advantages of SCSI hardware:


    SCSI drives have generally had 10x higher MTBF ratings, which means a lot when you're installing a drive in a server that needs to run for five nines. Sure, the difference in access is great, but its really the longevity that counts. Your gaming box can cope with a drive that is only supposed to stand up to a year or two of usage - you'll need more storage for your porn by then anyways - but server hard drives need to be able to take a beating constantly, and longer.

    That was why I was always willing to dish out the extra coin for SCSI drives for my servers back when I was an admin.
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @07:14PM (#22900608) Homepage
    Well, since they include internal "ports" like ISA and AGP, I'll tell you the one I wish they DID get rid of and it's the 4-pin AT power connector. It'll get stuck like it's glued on with superglue, and is my #1 cause of cuts, bruises, yanked cables and general mayhem inside a computer case. There's nothing like finally dragging it loose only to have your hand go ballistic through the cabinet while snagging other cables along the way so the entire machine needs checking afterwards. That and the 40-pin ATA cables and drives with with no notches and pin 1 marked by invisible ink, but that's fortunately long ago.
  • Re:C-Net (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zombywuf ( 1064778 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @07:49PM (#22900908)
    Over here in Europe everything has them. As mentioned in the article. Just below the bit where it says they're obsolete.

    Has obsolete been redefined?

    And where is RS232? What about midi/joystick ports? This is just blatant C-Net karma^Hpagerank whoring and it was allowed in without a second thought.
  • Re:modem port? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by node 3 ( 115640 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @08:06PM (#22901064)

    if you think dial up modems are obsolete, you evidently have never lived in a rural area in north america.
    Are there seriously any American cities that has cable TV and/or POTS phone service but does not offer cable internet or DSL? The number can't be that large.

    Or, more apt, what percentage of the US population lives in an area without DSL or cable internet coverage? I'll bet it's smaller than the percentage that use FireWire.

    WiFi is the new modem.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28, 2008 @08:24PM (#22901186)
    No. USB is inferior to Firewire in every single way except for one: Cost to implement.

    Original designs for USB was one chip; firewire was six. The only way USB 'beats' firewire is in availability.
  • by Ogi_UnixNut ( 916982 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @08:30PM (#22901220) Homepage
    Am I the only one who still thinks parallel ports are useful? They are a great introduction to PC interfacing for electronics. I remember getting into electronics from software when I learned how to program the parallel port to light up some LED's.

    Looking at it now, something that would have needed not much else than an old printer cable, LED's and some diodes now would require a micro controller for USB interfacing and a bunch of other components, not to mention added programming complexity. And all those "USB to Parallel port" devices only work with printers, and do not function like a real Parallel port at all. I guess you could argue that the Parallel ports have become a niche, but I would not say that they are obsolete just yet.
  • or (Score:3, Insightful)

    by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) * on Friday March 28, 2008 @08:38PM (#22901268)
    or ever had to use your computer as a fax machine?
  • by Tim Browse ( 9263 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @08:53PM (#22901388)

    They design a digital interface in 2000s and forget to put such thing in spec.

    They got it in eventually in HDMI v1.2a, according to wikipedia (the CEC channel []). Of course, it's completely optional and hence I've yet to meet a piece of eqpt that supports it.

    This may also have something to do with it:

    Alternative names for CEC are Anynet (Samsung), Aquos Link (Sharp), BRAVIA Theatre Sync (Sony), Regza Link (Toshiba), RIHD (Onkyo), Simplink (LG), Viera Link/EZ-Sync (Panasonic/JVC), Easylink (Philips) and NetCommand for HDMI (Mitsubishi).


    It's like they were trying to outdo Bluetooth in the 'dead in the water launch' awards.

  • Re:modem port? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @09:29PM (#22901622)
    Quite right. There are and will remain many gaps in broadband coverage. Also, price pushes many poor folks away from broadband and to dialup.
  • Re:C-Net (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lgw ( 121541 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @09:30PM (#22901632) Journal
    SCSI is a very interesting case: the SCSI port is dead and gone, but the SCSI protocol is used more than ever. In addition to iSCSI and SAS and Fibre Channel storage in the datacenter, USB storage all uses the SCSI command set for some reason.
  • by vought ( 160908 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @09:52PM (#22901754)

    NASA's Space Shuttle also uses IEEE 1394b to monitor debris (foam, ice) which may hit the vehicle during launch.

    Way to quote out of context.

    1394b Firewire as implemented by NASA is a secure local bus that provides time accurate signaling and data transfer. Something which no other local bus technology could provide at that speed.

    I appreciate your snarkyness, but typically, NASA doesn't choose stuff on a whim.
  • Re:C-Net (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @09:58PM (#22901792)
    Yeah they missed some pretty other obvious:

    qotd 17/udp Quote of the Day
    gopher 70/tcp Gopher
    finger 79/tcp Finger
    pcmail-srv 158/tcp PCMail Server
    audit 182/tcp Unisys Audit SITP
  • Re:C-Net (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MorePower ( 581188 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @10:11PM (#22901874)
    And where is RS232?

    That's the port that computer makers keep trying to force into obsolescence, despite the fact that we still desperately need them to talk to all the tons of legacy industrial equipment installed all over the world in the last 20 years. Don't encourage them, I need my RS232 ports.

    Oh yeah, USB to RS232 works, sometimes.

  • by Dannkape ( 1195229 ) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @12:21AM (#22902572)

    we'd invent a whole new way of getting video from a DVD player or other device to our TVs.
    I didn't know we had DVD-players back in 1977 when SCART first appeared...
  • Re:C-Net (Score:4, Insightful)

    by adolf ( 21054 ) <> on Saturday March 29, 2008 @03:07AM (#22903162) Journal
    I miss finger. Back when the net was much more naive -- when everyone's mail server had port port 25 open and would gladly relay mail for anyone -- one could find some hapless nit on IRC, finger their ISP's terminal server, snag their user name, derive from that their real name, find their home address in a telephone directory, and fire up Mapblast or Terraserver and spook the hell out them by saying things like "That's a nice lake that you live next to. The water is very pretty this time of night, isn't it?"

    Now that I think of it, it's really surprising that I didn't wind up in jail when I was a kid.

    I think I'll install fingerd on my WRT54G and stuff some random information into it, just for old time's sake.

  • by mmyrfield ( 1157811 ) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @06:23AM (#22903626)
    I really want to shoot the guy that decided to make the ps/2 ports ROUND. Wonder how that management meeting went?
    PHB: "So guys, we've built this thing for connecting mice and keyboards, now we just need to decide what shape to make the connectors... brainstorm?"
    Mike from engineering: "Maybe we should make them trapezoidal so that they can easily be plugged without looking"
    Bob from marketing: "You know what would make a great value-add? If it were shaped like a circle, because circles are the future. "
    PHB: "Go on Bob, I like where this is going..."
    Bob: "And if we make sure that it plugs in at the back of the computer so that you have to pull it out every time you want to plug/unplug it that would force people to see the cool-factor that we've incorporated into it!"
    PHB: "I think we have a winner with that one Bob. Mike, you need to stop living in the past. Usability is for chumps."

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