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Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures #3016205 11/14/19 10:36 PM
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Anderton Offline OP
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I found this very interesting: Take a stroll down memory lane, and see the much-hyped products that haven't stood the test of time.

Feel like any candidates from the world of music technology? We can start with mLAN, whose passing was coincident with the demise of FireWire. It did seem like a good idea at the time...

Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Anderton] #3016215 11/14/19 11:41 PM
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Interesting! There were some things i had either forgotten about, or never knew, in the first place.


I have nothing to say, and I am saying it, and that is poetry as I need it!
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Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Anderton] #3016223 11/15/19 12:51 AM
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My thought when going through the slide show was "written by a teen ager." Everything is in the last 15 years. Where is Betamax, My Space, Yahoo, etc...

Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Anderton] #3016239 11/15/19 03:19 AM
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Quadraphonic sound comes to mind.

And what happened to those midi controllers in the form of sensing gloves?

And when I was a kid, there was a toy called a potato gun. You jammed the business end of the plastic gun into a raw potato and a plug of the potato would remain in the barrel. Which of course you could then shoot at your siblings, pets, TV screen, neighborhood kids, and for that matter, any handy rear end within range.

I'm sure within a day or two the house smelled of rotten potato which rivals a pig farm for foulness. Gee, I wonder why they didn't catch on for the long run?

nat

Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Nowarezman] #3016248 11/15/19 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Nowarezman
Quadraphonic sound comes to mind.

And what happened to those midi controllers in the form of sensing gloves?

And when I was a kid, there was a toy called a potato gun. You jammed the business end of the plastic gun into a raw potato and a plug of the potato would remain in the barrel. Which of course you could then shoot at your siblings, pets, TV screen, neighborhood kids, and for that matter, any handy rear end within range.

I'm sure within a day or two the house smelled of rotten potato which rivals a pig farm for foulness. Gee, I wonder why they didn't catch on for the long run?

nat



Old school - APS film. It lived a short life and died a quick death. I found a Canon EOS 1x at Goodwill the other day for a couple of bucks. It had a nice lens on it, EF mount so I bought it. Possibly the most expensive interchangeable lens point and shoot ever made, stupid.

What about those lenses that went dark in bright light and took forever to lighten back up in dark places so you could not see anything for 20 minutes? Those didn't stay popular long.

As to potato guns, a friend of mine made a "potato bazooka" that used starting ether and a spark plug for propulsion. We hit a metal garbage can about 45 feet out and put a dent in it the size of your head. Good times!!!!

Oops, off topic....

Last edited by KuruPrionz; 11/16/19 03:52 PM. Reason: boo boo

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Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: RABid] #3016255 11/15/19 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by RABid
My thought when going through the slide show was "written by a teen ager." Everything is in the last 15 years.


Well, it's been so much easier to invent and make dumb things in the last 15 years than in Edison's time. People thought that phonograph records had gone away, but they're coming back.

"It's the Internet, stupid!"

Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Anderton] #3016257 11/15/19 12:54 PM
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WRT mLan..... not a bad idea. Ahead of its time really. I mean we're now looking at MIDI 2.0, AVB with protocols like Dante. Clearly Yammy saw that Ethernet was a physical layer that could support MIDI and audio and do far more than what was currently supported. IMHO, their biggest flaw was making it proprietary. Think about early versions of things like Roland....what was it, DCB?....and the stuff folks like Dave Smith were doing that lead to MIDI by opening it up. Yamaha could have lead the way much earlier on to a standard protocol over Ethernet by opening it up.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: J. Dead] #3016262 11/15/19 02:43 PM
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ADAT - I remember a lot of hype surrounding it.


"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

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Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Mike Rivers] #3016302 11/15/19 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers

Well, it's been so much easier to invent and make dumb things in the last 15 years than in Edison's time. People thought that phonograph records had gone away, but they're coming back.

"It's the Internet, stupid!"


I knew that Edison took credit for a lot of inventions that were not his. Didn't know that included Betamax, Myspace and Yahoo. smile

Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: RABid] #3016305 11/15/19 10:17 PM
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Aphex Aural Exciter and BBE Sonic Maximizer. I seem to recall a turning point when these were deemed artificial sounding and unprofessional.

Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Markyboard] #3016311 11/15/19 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard
Aphex Aural Exciter and BBE Sonic Maximizer. I seem to recall a turning point when these were deemed artificial sounding and unprofessional.


That was when computers replaced tape recorders as an audio recorder. Aural exciters helped to clean up tape recordings. After DAWs they became a solution looking for a problem.

Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Anderton] #3016312 11/15/19 11:46 PM
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ARP Avatar, a 1977 guitar synthesizer designed to use the guitar to play the synthesizer. All you had to do was install the special pickup on your guitar.

ARP bet the farm on the principle that there were 10x more guitar players than keyboard players. Intriguing market opportunity, but market research failed to answer whether guitar players used to buying $50 pedals and $300 amps were willing to dole out $3000 (in 1977 dollars!) for a guitar synthesizer that almost never worked with a guitar. The Avatar failed because the crucial pitch-to-voltage converter was unreliable; the technical difficulties of converting the pitch of a guitar string to a voltage that can control a synthesizer could not be overcome with 1970s technology. ARP never recovered the R&D costs from the poor sales, and the hole was too deep for them to recover. Many former ARP employees point to the Avatar as the reason why ARP went bankrupt.

The Avatar was the orphan child for decades until keyboard players in the vintage synth renaissance realized it had the same synthesizer guts of an ARP Odyssey, and only recently has begun to see an appreciation as an "Odyssey module".

Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Winston Psmith] #3016313 11/15/19 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Winston Psmith
ADAT - I remember a lot of hype surrounding it.


It's alive and well as a multi-channel optical data connector.

Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: The Real MC] #3016320 11/16/19 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by The Real MC
ARP Avatar, a 1977 guitar synthesizer designed to use the guitar to play the synthesizer. All you had to do was install the special pickup on your guitar.

ARP bet the farm on the principle that there were 10x more guitar players than keyboard players. Intriguing market opportunity, but market research failed to answer whether guitar players used to buying $50 pedals and $300 amps were willing to dole out $3000 (in 1977 dollars!) for a guitar synthesizer that almost never worked with a guitar. The Avatar failed because the crucial pitch-to-voltage converter was unreliable; the technical difficulties of converting the pitch of a guitar string to a voltage that can control a synthesizer could not be overcome with 1970s technology. ARP never recovered the R&D costs from the poor sales, and the hole was too deep for them to recover. Many former ARP employees point to the Avatar as the reason why ARP went bankrupt.

The Avatar was the orphan child for decades until keyboard players in the vintage synth renaissance realized it had the same synthesizer guts of an ARP Odyssey, and only recently has begun to see an appreciation as an "Odyssey module".


As I recall, its first incarnation was overstuffed with iffy 70s circuit boards and had an Infant Failure Mode measurable in the time it took to smoke a cigarette out back. I had a good technician tell me he refused ARP repairs because "Its like chewing on an oyster." I shrug, grin and recall the time a pal and I meshed our early rigs for a while, which included his ARP Sequencer and white Odyssey. We were such noobs, but the ARPs held up pretty dependably. Tales from the trenches.


"Its like catching an evangelist in a whore house. That was the best Christmas ever." ~ "Futurama"
Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: David Emm] #3016342 11/16/19 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by David Emm
Originally Posted by The Real MC
ARP Avatar, a 1977 guitar synthesizer designed to use the guitar to play the synthesizer. All you had to do was install the special pickup on your guitar.

ARP bet the farm on the principle that there were 10x more guitar players than keyboard players. Intriguing market opportunity, but market research failed to answer whether guitar players used to buying $50 pedals and $300 amps were willing to dole out $3000 (in 1977 dollars!) for a guitar synthesizer that almost never worked with a guitar. The Avatar failed because the crucial pitch-to-voltage converter was unreliable; the technical difficulties of converting the pitch of a guitar string to a voltage that can control a synthesizer could not be overcome with 1970s technology. ARP never recovered the R&D costs from the poor sales, and the hole was too deep for them to recover. Many former ARP employees point to the Avatar as the reason why ARP went bankrupt.

The Avatar was the orphan child for decades until keyboard players in the vintage synth renaissance realized it had the same synthesizer guts of an ARP Odyssey, and only recently has begun to see an appreciation as an "Odyssey module".


As I recall, its first incarnation was overstuffed with iffy 70s circuit boards and had an Infant Failure Mode measurable in the time it took to smoke a cigarette out back.


That was the ARP Centaur, the polyphonic guitar synth. Two prototypes were built, they had 115 printed circuit boards but was never finished because they generated too much heat which doomed them to failure by breaking down in about two hours. Their wherabouts are unknown.

Quote
I had a good technician tell me he refused ARP repairs because "Its like chewing on an oyster."


He was hardly alone, I knew another tech who also refused ARP repairs. They have many parts that do not age well.

Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Anderton] #3016371 11/16/19 03:54 PM
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CD burners, who uses those now to dstribute their music?


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Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Anderton] #3016378 11/16/19 04:43 PM
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Some failures become the building blocks for important successes.
Sun tried to develop a new set top box, and for it developed "Oak". See: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oak_(programming_language)
The set top box project failed, but Oak was renamed and became Java.

It somehow reminds me how of The Who's album "Who's Next" (for me, greatest rock album ever), which emerged from their aborted Lifehouse project.

Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Anderton] #3016453 11/17/19 03:31 PM
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zip and jaz drives/discs

DynaMO

RealAudio

Atari computers

8 track audio cassettes (I couldn't see listening to something that changed tracks mid-song)


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Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Anderton] #3016459 11/17/19 04:26 PM
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Yamaha "guitar" synth
https://soundprogramming.net/guitar-synthesizers/yamaha/yamaha-ez-ag/

Casio "guitar" synth
https://www.myrareguitars.com/1987-casio-dg-20-digital-guitar

I tried the Yamaha at a guitar shop. Did. not. like.
I bought a Casio at a thrift store for $45 (sold it for $70). Did. not. like.

They were both doomed on paper but became reality, briefly.
Now they are "collectable", go figure.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: RABid] #3016471 11/17/19 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by RABid
My thought when going through the slide show was "written by a teen ager." Everything is in the last 15 years. Where is Betamax, My Space, Yahoo, etc...


Well to be fair, the article's title was tech products from the start of the decade. So it's talking only about recent failures - and there were still plenty of those smile But it's still worth discussing the oldies but goodies. For example, ohw you can forget the CBS CopyCode copy protection system for CDs? Or maybe the better question is...who would want to remember it?

Last edited by Anderton; 11/17/19 06:15 PM.
Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Anderton] #3016475 11/17/19 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by RABid
My thought when going through the slide show was "written by a teen ager." Everything is in the last 15 years. Where is Betamax, My Space, Yahoo, etc...


Well to be fair, the article's title was tech products from the start of the decade. So it's talking only about recent failures - and there were still plenty of those smile But it's still worth discussing the oldies but goodies. For example, ohw you can forget the CBS CopyCode copy protection system for CDs? Or maybe the better question is...who would want to remember it?


What's funny is that you could make a disc image of the CD on a Mac, open that and burn a CD of it, complete with "copy protection." So easy to hack it was stupid!!!

I worked at Kinko's back in the day and System 9 allowed you to just make a copy of an application onto a disk and then transfer it to another Mac and it would work fine.
Then, they made an adjustment on the Kinko's installation disc for OS X that prevented the computer renter from entering the system folder. Also, OSX put a piece in the Library that you needed to run the app.

I showed our manager that you could just open the app that made .zip files (or something like that, memory fails me), navigate into the Applications folder and the Library and compress those files onto the Desktop.
Took me about 5 minutes to figure it out. They'd built a fence but the gate was open!!!! :- D

It was Stuffit, which somehow still exists although functional versions are free. Ugh.

Last edited by KuruPrionz; 11/18/19 07:21 AM. Reason: Remembered something irrelevant...

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Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Anderton] #3016478 11/17/19 06:40 PM
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Speaking of computers...Apple's Lightning connector was dumb, and Microsoft introducing 452 different native audio drivers (all of which pretty much sucked) wasn't a shining moment in computer science. At least ASIO cleaned up the mess...and Windows has finally come up with a Core Audio-like spec that companies are adopting (slowly).

SACD was a definite failure, and so were the variants on surround.

Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Anderton] #3016484 11/17/19 09:04 PM
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Also, to be fair, many of the things mentioned here weren't really failures, they served a needed purpose at the time, but then something came along that made them obsolete. The horse drawn buggy wasn't a failure because the internal combustion engine came along. Similarly, Firewire wasn't a failure because USB came along, though some may consider that Thunderbolt was a failure because it didn't really solve any problems with Firewire. I still have several computers and audio interfaces that use Firewire and I haven't found a reason to replace them.

Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Anderton] #3016507 11/18/19 12:36 AM
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The BlackBerry PlayBook added quite a few nails in Blackberry's coffin. It diverted massive R & D away from Blackberry's smartphone innovation which allowed the competition to surpass them. The Playbook's ROI was nonexistent. It was the beginning of the end.

Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Mike Rivers] #3016519 11/18/19 03:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Also, to be fair, many of the things mentioned here weren't really failures, they served a needed purpose at the time, but then something came along that made them obsolete.


Very true. I think the bar to be considered a failure should be massive amounts of hype, followed by little to no consumer acceptance, followed by a fairly fast descent into oblivion. Digital Compact Cassette and the Elcaset come to mind as shining examples of meeting that bar.

Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Anderton] #3016614 11/18/19 07:50 PM
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Agreed, a stepping stone can't be considered a failure.

So I'll take back everything but the 8 track tape player and the Atari/ST computer.

smile


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Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Notes_Norton] #3016634 11/18/19 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
Agreed, a stepping stone can't be considered a failure.

So I'll take back everything but the 8 track tape player and the Atari/ST computer.

smile



We don't stand on ceremony around here, it's all interesting on some level smile

Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Anderton] #3016636 11/18/19 09:26 PM
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I'd have to add the J-Con speaker cable adapters as an epic tech fail. They basically connected an Edison AC connector to a 1/4" plug so you could use inexpensive AC cables instead of speaker cables. I'm not sure plugging a speaker or 1/4" connector into an AC outlet accidentally is a good idea. However, it would definitely add a worthy element to any light show - there's nothing quite like flames, sparks, smoke, and exploding speakers to add excitement!

Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Anderton] #3016649 11/18/19 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
I'd have to add the J-Con speaker cable adapters as an epic tech fail. They basically connected an Edison AC connector to a 1/4" plug so you could use inexpensive AC cables instead of speaker cables. I'm not sure plugging a speaker or 1/4" connector into an AC outlet accidentally is a good idea. However, it would definitely add a worthy element to any light show - there's nothing quite like flames, sparks, smoke, and exploding speakers to add excitement!



Yikes!!!! Most speakers would just have an open circuit almost instantly, some would trigger the breaker first and maybe one or two would radiate a 60hz tone as a death rattle.
If one was lucky, they could smell the yellow smoke!!!!


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Re: Rogue's Gallery of Tech Failures [Re: Anderton] #3016670 11/19/19 02:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
I'd have to add the J-Con speaker cable adapters as an epic tech fail.


I actually thought of that before they did. When I needed some long speaker cables for a powered mixer based system, it occurred to me that I could use heavy duty AC extension cords with adapters to 1/4" phone plugs on both ends, and still use them as extension cords. I thought I was really brilliant. Since I was the only one handling the setup (a benefit of gigs that don't pay enough to afford helpers) nothing ever went wrong. The trick is to put the adapters on the extension cord before you take it out in the field. Then it's just like any other speaker cable.

But I indeed saw the idiot potential for releasing this idea on the general public, and commented as such in my NAMM show report the year they showed up. But I don't really think it's an epic failure. It was such a dumb idea that it never had a chance to fail.

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