Home > Leftovers > Mistakes… I've made a few. A life of bad technology decisions

Mistakes… I've made a few. A life of bad technology decisions

The other day, I was talking to someone about the Atari.  He said that it was a poor-man’s Intellivision, and so began one of the weirdest conversations I’ve ever had.  It wasn’t an argument, per se, but it was an out-of-the-blue chat about what made one video game system better than the other.

In the case of the Atari 2600, it was a fantastic piece of hardware.  But, it had some deficiences, and it led me to question my decision as an 8-year-old.  You see, nobody likes to be reminded of a bad purchase.  Especially when buying a techno gadget.  When the technology is changing that fast, you don’t want to compound the problem by hitching your wagon to the wrong horse.

Still, that conversation did get me to thinking about some of my technology purchases over time.  It’s not a pretty list, but let’s get into it.

5.  HD-DVD player (purchased in 2006) vs. Blu-Ray.  Sometimes, you see a dead technology coming.  Or you should.  In this case, when the wife comes home with an HD-DVD player that she got for a scant $100, my crap technology detector went off.  Sure enough, within six months, all of the major studios and production companies threw their weight behind Blu-Ray.  And I have a great reminder of a bad piece of technology in my entertainment center.

4. IBM PS/1 (purchased in 1993) vs. practically any Mac.  For those that don’t remember this machine, it was an OK computer.  Nothing fancy, but my embarrassment is more focused on the look and styling.  It was just a clunky IBM, when most of my friends in college had cool Mac Classics and such.  It did have early modem, so I could get America Online service.  Beyond that, it was a bad decision.  However, it was cheap.  My boy, Nipsey, had to buy his Mac on a payment plan and paid for it for about 10 years.

3. This jacked-assed Dell Latitude D800 (purchased in 2008) vs. taking $200 and lighting on fire.  This laptop was cheap.  It was one that my wife’s office leased, and at the end of the lease, they sold them to employees at “fair market value.”  This is one slow-ass, pissy, heavy and altogether unpleasant computer.  You hearing me as I type this, Mr. Latitude?  To hell with you.  See, it’s too stupid to even shock me when I typed that.

2. Whatever free “stick” mobile phone Verizon gave me with a two-year contract (purchased in 2000) vs. paying $50 for a decent flip phone.  Remember stick phones.  Little ones with the exposed keys like this one?  They were rubbish.  OK, some of them were fine, but the one I had at the beginning of this millenium was a pile of crap.  The keylock never worked, and I’d dial people from my pants (and not in a fun, naughty way).  Should have ponied up the extra money for a flip phone.

1. Atari 7800 (delivered by Santa in 1986) vs. Nintendo Entertainment System.  The mother of all bad choices.  After years of playing the Atari 2600, I had many, many game cartridges.  Hell, they were even selling them at the grocery store for $2 (true story).  That wasn’t a bad sign or anything, was it?  Still, I thought… Atari is getting it done, and the 7800 console looks TIGHT!

Flash forward to the spring of 1987.  I have one decent game for the 7800 – One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird.  So, the best game I had was a one-on-one basketball game.  I remember asking my mom to help me type up a letter to Atari asking how to get more 7800 game.  I got a response back… an order form.  We ordered a couple of more games, and they ended up returning the check – with no explanation.

Little did I know that Atari was cratering faster than the current stock market.  It was a bad, bad, bad, bad decision.  Bad.  But it feels cathartic to get this off my chest.

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Categories: Leftovers
  1. Brad
    April 2, 2009 at 9:30 am

    My two worst decisions (not counting HD-DVD…which I am guilty of as well) were SegaCD and ZIP discs.

    SegaCD looked like the next big step in video games. The graphics were crystal clear (for the mid 90s) and the games looked great. Only after I bought it did I find out all the videos were live action and because the console focused so much on graphics the only gameplay possible was following some stupid pattern…think of a video game version of Simon Says and you get the picture. The one exception was SonicCD which is still a great game to this day.

    Same thing happened with ZIP discs…floppy and hard-floppy discs had been around for so long, when the next iteration came through I thought they would last forever. Especially with a HUGE storage capacity of 100-250MB…riiiiight. one year later, ZIP discs and ZIP drives were obsolete. Replaced by some new technology called a flash drive…it’ll never last.

    Not trying to steal your blog…just venting a little.

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