Life and death of information technology

    In this article, I would like to talk about technologies, devices, and other interesting pieces from the IT world that have not become popular, have ceded or will soon cede their place under the sun during evolution.

    Why does Windows disk numbering begin with the letter C?

    The question “What are the Windows A: and B: drives used for?” Was recently asked on the popular Q&A website , which currently leads in the number of votes.

    One of the best comments is: “Knowing the answer makes me feel so old ...”.

    I don’t know how old you can feel, but not so long ago, CP / M and IBM PC computers did not have hard disks, and all that was available to users was one floppy disk (for an additional $ 1,000 you could put another ) Over time, all computers had two floppy disks, and with the advent of hard disks, they began to use the letter C as the first after the already occupied A and B. I note that all floppy disks initially had a size of 5 inches (later they were replaced with more familiar 3 , 5-inch) and could store first 180 kb, then 360 kb, then 720 kb, and only then as much as 1.44 MB.

    Now it looks ridiculous, but you could only dream of terabytes of data in the clouds. In the real modern world, it is extremely rare to meet a computer with a drive (educational and government institutions do not count, we are still talking about the real world!).

    The fate of floppy disks was repeated by COMBO drives, and DVD drives are increasingly losing their meaning due to the cheapness of cloud technology, P2P networks and good internet.

    PS But the vinyl is again “in trend” :-)

    Scroll Lock Key

    This key is present on almost all modern keyboards. Initially, it appeared on an 83-button IBM PC / XT keyboard and an 84-button IBM PC A, and only then it got on the “advanced” 101-button keyboards.

    I honestly admit that the purpose of the button was spied on Wikipedia: the Scroll Lock button is designed to change the behavior of the cursor keys; when Scroll Lock mode is enabled, the cursor keys perform the function of moving the screen (up, down, left, right), and when disabled, changes the cursor position.

    Some software vendors use Scroll Lock for internal purposes. For example, in Yandex Punto Switcher, using the Alt + Scroll Lock combination, you can transliterate the selected text (I just checked it works), and in the Cossacks computer game, Scroll Lock is used to create missions for the game.

    Mostly they used a PC and did not even suspect the existence of this button on their keyboards.


    Many more remember how all the country's radio stations used the famous “dhabi-dhabi” or “three doubles” in commercials. ”

    In the distant past, when not only the http protocol was used to view pages, the third-level domain “www” in the site names was almost mandatory - it indicated that the page belonged to the World Wide Web Internet space. But in the future, protocols like gopher were no longer used, and only the http protocol remained for displaying pages (and all pages by default began to belong to the World Wide Web). The "www" domain has become optional, but it has continued to be used out of habit and continues to be used until now.

    In modern browsers, you do not need to specify the alias "www" or the protocol "http" (this does not apply to other protocols, so https will still have to be specified). But since, from the point of view of search engines, and are two different domains, administrators need to correctly configure the web server and DNS (as a rule, using a redirect from one option to another).

    Infrared port

    I think that many people know what it is, but I’m sure that not many people use it or have used it regularly.

    The infrared port (IP) appeared in the early 1990s. It is a transmitter in the form of an LED and a receiver in the form of a photodiode, which operate in the infrared range (wavelengths from 850 to 880 nanometers).

    The brightest moment of using the infrared port in my life is when the children in the yard and at school dropped ringtones, audio and video jokes and pictures with blackjacks on each other’s phones and ... Well, I see. To do this, it was necessary to put two phones side by side and wait until the coveted 200-300 kb downloaded to your phone.

    Tell me, does this not remind anything of the modern world? Of course, NFC works similarly. Although now it is considered a breakthrough technology and not all modern phones have started up with NFC support.

    On the other hand, there is also Bluetooth, which allows you to not position devices and connect them at a distance of up to 10 m, or even up to 100 m from each other. Despite the active use of Bluetooth in headphones, transmitters and other devices, technology is practically not used in modern phones, smartphones and computers. The same can be said about infrared ports. They were replaced by USB, NFC, Wi-Fi and cloud technology.

    And a little more about the change of "generations"

    Futurologists prophesy soon oblivion to many technologies and devices, and the last half century is a good confirmation of this.

    Storage and data transfer. Radio, analog television, mail, faxes, landlines - in the modern world, people are less and less using this. It was replaced by digital and satellite television, fiber optic Internet, as well as smartphones and laptop computers. Already in the near future, we are unlikely to see companies that will offer to hold a radio or landline phone in your new apartment or house. In just a few generations, we have gone from floppy disks to SSDs, from Dial-up to fiber optic Internet, from black-and-white television to satellite. Does anyone else remember pagers? The same thing awaits flash drives.

    Interface ManagementMice and keyboards have been indispensable assistants for two or three decades, but now the era of touch screens, virtual keyboards has come, so the role of the mouse and keyboard will gradually decline. Voice control? Siri! Gloved dialing? In new Nokia models it is already available! Touch control on almost any laptop or monitor? Windows 8 gives this opportunity. There is even such a profession in cinema - the designer of interfaces of the future. Many even get it right.

    Photo, audio and video.Now there is practically no need to buy a cheap camera, because any modern smartphone can easily cope with the “take me here” task. And (attention!) He is always with you, unlike the camera, which you probably take with you only on vacation. The development of digital technology has led to the fact that the well-known company Kodak recently went bankrupt, and the vast majority of manufacturers stopped producing film for cameras.

    The same can be said about playing music and video: first tape recorders and DVD and MP3 players are a thing of the past, and the need for a Zune or iPod is a big question. All this can now be obtained "out of the box" in your smartphone. But despite this, vinyl is now back in fashion.

    Instead of a conclusion

    By the way, the conservatism of many instances is still terrifying to all progressive humanity. Just two years ago, when defending my Ph.D. work, I was asked to bring all the important documents to a floppy disk, and when I submitted my work, to CD. And some time ago I was refused a Schengen visa only because the letter of invitation came to the embassy in the form of e-mail, and not a fax, as the embassy staff wanted.

    In the modern world, the average life of a technology or invention by historical standards is quite small. If earlier one invention could be used for centuries, now it is decades or even years. In any case, progress does not stand still, and we have the opportunity to use all the delights of this progress on ourselves in everyday life.

    As additional literature, I would like to recommend the book by Michio Kaku, “Physics of the Impossible,” where you can find out in an accessible and understandable way what to expect from researchers and scientists not only in the coming years, but also after several centuries:

    The famous physicist Michio Kaku explores technologies, phenomena, or devices that seem to be implausible today in terms of the possibility of their embodiment in the future. Talking about our near future, the scientist speaks in an accessible language about how the universe works. What is the big bang and black holes, phasers and antimatter. From the book “Physics of the Impossible” you will learn that already in the 21st century, during our lifetime, force fields, invisibility, reading of thoughts, communication with extraterrestrial civilizations, and even teleportation and interstellar travels may be realized.

    In the comments, I propose to discuss how technology changes have affected you, and which technologies and devices you personally expect the most.

    Thanks for attention!

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