CNet UK’s top ten obsolete ports

Those guys over at CNET.co.uk are smoking crack, or something! They have to be, or if they aren’t, they should be. With their latest trip down brain damaged lane is their top ten obsolete ports. Whey they reminisce about those long dead ports like SCART, SCSI, PS/2… and Firewire?

Yep folks, you read that right, their list of obsolete ports includes Firewire, which can still kick USB 2.0’s ass in file transfers! As for SCSI, you do know that SAS (which is often on high-end servers) is Serial Attached SCSI?

The stuff that is not useful, but not fully obsolete

Parallel – I will admit, you have to be holding on to one hell of an old HP LaserJet, but damn, those printers can still hold up to the test of time, don’t knock parallel for direct printing, especially with USB still acting like a persnickety bitch all the time

PS/2 – I know, a port that was remembered, and useful, long after the machine that invented it was forgotten

AGP – Sorry, but there are a lot of boards with this still coming out.

You call this obsolete? Are you insane!

Firewire – Really, you have to be kidding me. When you get into large numbers of files, Firewire can beat USB 2.0 somewhere in the 15% (write) to 30% (read), and when dealing with large files, that jumps to 50% and 70%

SCSI – Maybe this should have been a specific type of SCSI, like the HDI-30 or SCSI Centronics connectors.

PCMCIA – Hmmm… last time I looked, there were crap-loads of those cards at stores for people whose laptops didn’t come with some things, are because they had 802.11slow, and wanted a newer WiFi without a new laptop.

What are you on?

Kryten’s Groin – I think you should go back to the hash-pipe or something, cause this one is just right up there in weird.

MY TOP TEN LIST OF OBSOLETE PORTS AND/OR CONNECTORS

I am expanding this to include connectors, because ports would simply imply external connection points only, and I felt that this list would do so much better with internal connectors also.


  1. Dual Cable MFM – The predecessor to the IDE cable, using two cables, one data and one control. The drive technology is actually still in use today, in both IDE and SATA drives.
  2. DB25 Serial – This brings back memories of 25pin to 9pin RS-232 Null Modem cables and trying to figure out speed ratings that would get it all to work together. sniff.
  3. 5-Pin DIN connector Keyboard Connector – The mainstay for keyboards for the longest time. If you find an adapter that looks like a huge PS/2 to regular PS/2, you have found the 5-Pin DIN to PS/2 adapter so you could use your old keyboard on your newer computer, who needs F11 or F12 anyways.
  4. VESA Local Bus – Who really designs a high-end I/O bus that is tied directly to a particular processor design? Especially when we look back over our 20/20 hindsight vision and see that processor was the 486.
  5. SIMM Memory – It really doesn’t matter if we are talking about 30 or 72 pin, they are old, they were slow (well, all computer tech was slow) and they only went up to 16MB and 64MB.
  6. Low Insertion Force sockets – Back before there were levers on the side of CPU sockets to release the CPU, there was LIF. Simply pull the chip out, and push the new one in. About the only thing easy to it was bending or breaking pins. The NES used a variation of the LIF (but not truely a Zero Insertion Force socket) for their cartridges. OK, how many of you remember taking a NES cartridge out, blowing on it, and putting it back in and the game working?
  7. ISA – 8 or 16 bit doesn’t matter, this was the grand-daddy of computer expansion. After this came EISA, then VL Bus (see above), PCI, AGP, PCI-X, and PCIe. Yep, all of those can trace their roots back to the ISA, thankfully, we don’t have to fight around with IRQ assignments anymore.
  8. XJack – How about this for a great idea, don’t loose that adapter that connects your PCMCIA card to your modem or NIC, just use this pop-up connector that is basically just an outline of the plug and some pins. As you can guess, instead of dealing with lost cables, people now had to deal with broken jacks.
  9. AT Power Connector – Not a port per se, but damn annoying if you forget the simple rule of keeping the same colors together when you plugged it in. This was because it was two different cables, that went on like an annoying bitch (much like LIF sockets) and if you forgot to put the black wires side-by-side, then you ended up crossing up some +5V connections and ground connections. You can imagine what happened.
  10. Keyboard Lock – Look at the bottom right of the computer in the picture linked (left side of the picture), where there is a key lock. The idea was that turning the key lock, would lock out the keyboard, and stop any use of the computer. How foolish we were.

Well, that does it for now. Have fun.

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