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Anecdote of unusable decade-old proprietary technology

In a column called
Dead Media Everywhere
, writer John C. Dvorak highlights a problem we at FGI have written about before – proprietary digital formats that quickly become unusable. In this case, the propritery technologies are late 1990s digital cameras and their associated proprietary file formats:

So I’m digging around the archives (aka closet) and I find two old digital cameras that cost $500 to $1,000 when new and now cannot even be used unless I can find the old software and cables. This is a new form of dead media: old digital cameras. I was actually hoping to take some pictures with these “antiques” to post on my blog. No dice.

The first camera is the fascinating Agfa 1680. It still works, but so far I have been unable to find any way to read its SmartMedia cards, since the camera uses a strange file format. And I have long since lost the cables that would let me transfer the photos directly from the camera. The other classic I unearthed was an old Olympus D300-L. This 1996 camera has no removable media. I was never a fan of this, but was always assured that it wasn’t important. Yes, it’s not important if you can ever find the extremely weird cable that hooked to the camera to transfer pictures (slowly). See the images here:

Dvorak has a few other dead media stories in a column that is well worth reading.

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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