back to article This product is terrible. Can you deliver it in 20 years’ time when it becomes popular?

"It will never catch on." The next thing you know, you’re staring at a badly drawn zob scrawled over Shakespeare's shimoneta*. The technology in question is collaborative whiteboard software. The fool claiming that such a thing would fail to ignite the interest of the common person is me. The zob is, of course, a zob. Online …

  1. Dave 126 Silver badge

    If any of Mr Dabbs' loved ones are reading, it would appear that for Christmas he would like a LCD TV screen rehoused into the case of a big old CRT TV, with the space that would once have housed the CR tube instead filled with loud speakers. (Those 32" 4:3 Sony Trinitrons sounded great)

    Whilst he claims to like IR remote controls, he evidently has forgotten the virtues of ultrasonic remote controls, namely a, they don't require line-of-sight so perfect for watching TV from behind the sofa (good for Dr Who) and b, they annoy the cat. Wired remote controls too are sadly underrated, since a, they are impossible to lose, b, discourage people from walking in front of the TV set, and c, don't require batteries.

    1. juice

      > Whilst he claims to like IR remote controls, he evidently has forgotten the virtues of ultrasonic remote controls

      Virgin's remote is a bit odd - it has IR, but it also seems to have some sort of bluetooth connection. Presumably because it's designed to be held sideways and used as a "game" controller, for the various low-quality arcade clones built into the box.

      Unfortunately, once said remote has been BT-sync'd, it seems to turn off the IR transmitter (or at least, link it to that specific box). As I discovered when my original box died (two days after installation), and Virgin sent me a new one. I ended up having to search the web to discover the magic combination of button presses required to delete the old pairing and link the remote to the new box...

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        I think the idea behind the wireless pairing of the remote is so that the TV box can be put in a cupboard, or wherever, out of the way, rather than gathering dust on a bit of surface you could otherwise use to situate any other small shiny black TV peripheral, possibly one you can play actual proper games on.

        Of course, that still requires the wired connections to both the TV and power supply, as well as the patch cable to the router (why would you put a $0.50 wi-fi chip in such a thing?) I, for one, won't be putting something that generates heat into a cupboard, it doesn't sound like a good way to extend its lifespan.

        1. juice

          > I think the idea behind the wireless pairing of the remote is so that the TV box can be put in a cupboard

          Yeah - I think it's partially about the fact that the box is physically small and potentially easily obscured when it comes to direct line of sights.

          But as I understand it, the Virgin V6 box is basically a rebadged Tivo, which was designed at a time when lots of people were trying to break into the games market by offering cheap hardware which could plug into the TV. E.g. Ouya.

          So another driver was the fact that you can hold the remote sideways and use it as a game controller. At which point your hand is over the IR transmitter... and that's how we end up saddled with overengineered remote controls with poor ergonomics, a decade or so down the line.

          Either way, the fact that an unpaired box will ignore the IR transmissions from a paired remote is a royal PITA. Especially since Virgin don't send out new remotes with replacement boxes.

          At the very least, a note in the box to tell you how to reset the pairing would be nice...

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            At the very least, a note in the box to tell you how to reset the pairing would be nice...

            Indeed, as I recall it, this thing came in a lot of brightly-coloured cardboard, with a couple of four-colour-glossies about all the "amazing" stuff it can do, and detailed instructions about how to unwrap it and plug it in, which terminate pretty much at the point where you turn it on.

            Don't get me started on the hideous UI this thing has, which looks like it was designed by an advertiser.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "I, for one, won't be putting something that generates heat into a cupboard, it doesn't sound like a good way to extend its lifespan."

          After replacing a second fried motherboard I discovered that the PC's owner was keeping it in a furniture cupboard. In use the door was only ajar enough to accommodate the cables. Apparently he didn't want passers-by in the apartment block to see he had something worth stealing.

      2. simonlb Silver badge

        Virgin's Tivo box remote looks like someone shoved as many buttons as they could find into a blunderbuss barrel and fired the lot at a lump of black plastic at point blank range.

        1. Wallsy

          And after having one for three years I still end up inevitably holding it upside down and pushing completely the wrong button.

          Making the thing completely symmetrical doesn't seem to be a great idea, given that many people like watching movies with the lights off...

    2. KBeee

      Many years ago, a friend of mine bought a secondhand CRT telly. It didn't come with a remote control, but he discovered that by sniffing violently through his nose he could change channels.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        ...and by farting loudly he could switch it to BBC Parliament?

    3. mmonroe

      Wired remote controls

      When I was a poor uni student late 1970s Australia, colour TVs were getting more affordable, and TV shops were accepting old b/w sets as trade-ins. What happened to the old sets? They sat out the back of the shop for the taking. The share house had a big console model, all polished wood, with doors to hide the TV screen. The wired remote would roll up automatically when you pulled the cable. The remote even have two 3.5mm headphone jacks, so two people could watch TV and not annoy anybody else in the room.

    4. Alistair Dabbs


      The best thing about line-of-sight remote controls is that they don't upload your button presses to a server in California.

      1. Mark 85

        Re: Infra-red

        The best thing about line-of-sight remote controls is that they don't upload your button presses to a server in California.

        Which is why they're considered "obsolete" by the industry.

      2. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Infra-red

        "The best thing about line-of-sight remote controls is that they don't upload your button presses to a server in California."

        That's what you think. Unless you have a WiFi remote control, the thing that you have to worry about is the device receiving the commands from it. Nothing prevents a television relaying your IR remote commands any more than it's not prevented from sending commands sent over an RF protocol.

        1. Mage Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Infra-red

          I don't connect any TV set to WiFi or ethernet. I use a laptop or tablet for that. Android TV by default sends titles of discs played by HDMI and selected TV channels as well as all other usage to up to three companies.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Infra-red

            But again, in that situation, it's the box on the television, not the remote, that's of concern. Whether the remote you use uses IR, Bluetooth, a custom RF protocol, or loud beeps for a microphone doesn't matter; only the Android TV box has the connection needed to snoop on them. The risk and therefore any remediation steps need to happen on the receiver end and the remote's implementation is meaningless.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "[...] the virtues of ultrasonic remote controls,"

      Including random channels changes if you accidentally jangled your door keys.

    6. AW-S

      I remember my gran had an ultrasonic remote in the mid-70s. Just one button, which switched sequentially through the 3 channels.

  2. Dave 126 Silver badge

    If anybody here does decide to 3D print a phallus, it's only good manners to coat it with silicone conform spray. Intended for potting circuit boards, conform spray cures to give a smooth, waterproof finish to your creation, making it much more hygienic and, one imagines, comfortable.

    1. CAPS LOCK

      "much more hygienic and, one imagines, comfortable."

      That was an excellently detailed and thoughtful reply. I wish I could give more than one upvote. So does my wife.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "much more hygienic and, one imagines, comfortable."

        let me be the first to give your wife one

        1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

          Re: "much more hygienic and, one imagines, comfortable."

          Fnar! Fnar!

    2. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Well ribbed used to be a popular option. Er, so I'm told.

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Well there's ribbed, then there's "wrapped in sandpaper". I suspect the raw 3d-printed options are closer to the latter.

        1. Stoneshop

          "wrapped in sandpaper"

          Rubbing it[0] down with some acetone on a cloth will get rid of that.

          [0] the 3D print, that is.

          1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Paris Hilton

            Re: "wrapped in sandpaper"

            ABS not PLA.

            Anyway don't the ladies (Icon) appreciate a bit of rough!

            1. Alistair Dabbs

              Re: "wrapped in sandpaper"

              >> don't the ladies (Icon) appreciate a bit of rough!


              1. Dave 126 Silver badge

                Re: "wrapped in sandpaper"

                Acetone will dissolve ABS, but not PLA - and both are commonly used in 3D printers. The desired surface finish for the above use case can be achieved by Acetone Vapour Polishing, though it should go without saying that you should only do it if you know what you are doing and have the correct ventilation equipment. It will produce, in ABS parts, a smooth, near mirror finish, and potentially negate the need for a smoothing, waterproof coat of silicone.

                PLA parts tend to be harder, sharper, and near impossible to sand to a smooth finish. Nor does kissing it with a flame make it smooth (flame polishing is used for acrylic parts. )

                Additionally, PLA degrades in contact with water - so a silicone or similar coating would be required.

                Another approach of course is to print a negative mould, and then cast the male part in a suitable material. It is possible that the fine ribbing of the printed mould would, when rendered in a flexible material, actually be desirable, though making the end part harder to clean.

      2. ItWasn'tMe

        "A cheese and onion union jack tickler it is."

        Sorry, not allowed to add as a url yet.

    3. Warm Braw

      Silicone conform spray

      Do you prefer it in an Aerosol?

      1. DJV Silver badge

        Re: Silicone conform spray

        Is it sad that I knew exactly what you'd linked to before clicking the link?

    4. Druidian

      whatever you do dont look at the naughties section on the Cults3d site it will make your eyes water in more than one way

  3. b0llchit Silver badge

    Recognizable sentiment

    I can so mush relate to that! Junk products for junk people. Now with a dick pre-drawn on the box.

    Also, we are modern digital people and call the digital drawers hackers. Because they so much are into that hacking business by drawing on a computer. What a hack!

  4. macjules

    "It will never catch on"

    Is the bleat from "Tom from MySpace" when confronted by Facebook.

    As for junk for junk buyers. Reginald Iolanthe Perrin was doing this in 1975 with Grot (now ©2020 Amazon, Inc).

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: "It will never catch on"

      I fancy a bottle of nettle wine now.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: "It will never catch on"

        Sorry, bit of a cockup on the wine bottling front...

      2. Blofeld's Cat
        Thumb Up

        Re: "It will never catch on"

        I've ordered a case of the Sprout wine for a relative who is a wine snob.

        (22 minutes late: Escaped puma at Shepherd's Bush)

        1. macjules

          Re: "It will never catch on"

          Would love to see a 2020 fall and rise. Just think of a Reginald Perrin who tries to not sell Chinese-made crap to the public that just buys more and more of until he is the richest man on the planet.

  5. Franco

    Interactive whiteboards were a brilliant idea, but only from a marketing point of view. People rushed to buy them, then never used them, because they were a solution in search of a problem.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      The only ones I've ever seen all (and I mean ALL) had small squiggles on them in some place or another, where someone (no doubt in the marketing department) had used a permanent marker on them before realising it doesn't wipe off, and that it isn't advisable to use strong solvents on them.

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        The solution to permanent marker on a white board is ........ permanent marker!!!

        Go over the top of the permanent marker with a permanent marker, and then wipe off before the solvent evaporates.


        1. Steve K

          Dry marker should work too

          Dry marker should work too for this.

        2. the spectacularly refined chap

          My boss did this a few weeks ago and when he realised what he'd done asked one of the girls for some hairspray to shift it. Wouldn't budge, but to be fair it often does work. I pointed out the hand sanitisers dotted about have to be 70%+ booze in order to be effective, to a first approximation that's meths. Came off effortlessly.

  6. RockBurner

    I feel you pain Dabsy - well - somewhat.

    I have a long and distinguished history of being able to utterly kill the production, sales, and marketing of any given product: simply by purchasing one example of the item and expressing a liking for it. My praise for a product is enough to somehow, through the vagaries of eddies in the space-time continuum, add it to the manufacturer's kill lists almost instantaneously.

    It's become so bad that as soon as I realise I like something when trying it on, or testing it in the shop, I'll buy their entire stockline, just to ensure that in X years time when the product wears out or breaks* I know I can source a replacement/spare parts.

    * as all products do

    1. Anonymous Custard

      So Eddie is a secret spy for Google?

      1. b0llchit Silver badge


        No, Eddie is equipped with GPP(*). We must thank the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation for being the ultimate producers of the we don't really need that product line. That is, except for Marvin, because his GPP implementation is surely to advance Google to the most depressing experience in the known universe.

        (*) Genuine People Personality

      2. Chris G

        "So Eddie is a secret spy for Google?"

        And he's got vagaries?

        A two week course of penisillin should fix that.

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Paris Hilton


          I think I'll skip those injections - TYVM!

          1. David 132 Silver badge

            Re: penisillin

            But it's just a little prick!

    2. Anonymous Coward


      I am a product jinx too, RockBurner. My specialty is video. Sony Beta and Super Beta, Laserdisc, Plasma TV, camcorders; been there, killed them.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Jinx

        Super Beta - you had a 950?

        I have some Mini Disc kit as well.

        My first video camera plugged into a portable VCR of the same brand and even though the tube has worn out the portable still works and is next to my PC.

        So JVC I can take the pee and state that my Sony portable and Sanyo HiFi deck still work!

    3. David Hicklin Bronze badge


      My wife and I seem to be cursed that every time we find a real nice restaurant (not one of those national pub types) and start eating there, the damm place either goes out of business, gets taken over and turned into something else or re-brands into food tastes we don't like

  7. juice

    Back when the Nintendo DS was king...

    We used to have an annual retro-gaming meetup in a pub; we'd trot up on the Thursday/Friday, fill it with a variety of antiquated video game devices (and Guitar Hero, which was probably played more than the rest of the gear put together), and then spend the next few days literally drinking the pub dry[*].

    Naturally, by Sunday dinnertime, this often led to large lumps of mildly hungover gamers sprawled over the furnishings, waiting for the pub to deliver several dozen full sunday lunches.

    And the DS had Pictochat, which used some sort of mesh-network technology to allow DS owners to send messages and little scribbles to each other.

    Needless to say, after a very brief period of creativity, it pretty much just ended up being used to send large numbers of genital drawings back and forth. For a good hour or two...

    [*] On one memorable occasion, the landlord had to make an emergency trip to the local cash and carry on the Saturday. And they'd just had a beer delivery on the Wednesday before...

  8. Gerhard den Hollander

    I just want to thank you for introducing the word ``zob'' to my vocabulary ..

    Ah ... zodd off you silly english k-nig-hts ...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Oi cloggy, stop waving your zob in me face 8)

  9. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Gotta hand it to them

    I have to thank the fools who buy tat that's all promise and no delivery. Their misplaced enthusiasm has funded the development of proper versions.

    Now I have:

    * An affordable DSLR that outperforms my 35mm archive, Kodak Ektar ISO 25 excluded.

    * An Android phablet that's surely sharper than the crap they print paperbacks on.

    * Had a five colour inkjet that produced very nice photos. Until I decided it was less faff to take them to the nice (sufficiently broad-minded) lady in the town centre.

    I look forward to the 3D printers reaching a level of maturity.

    1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

      Re: Gotta hand it to them

      It shouldn't be that far for the 3D printers, I just got a mail today from a retailer touting it as one of the "must have" for technology enthusiasts this Christmas...

  10. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Nice One, Dabbsy

    Or a disruptive video conferencing system that absolutely refuses to let anyone go on mute, and fills embarrassed silences with random prerecorded audio clips of police sirens, dogs barking or the neighbours having sex on the other side of the party wall.

    If anybody wishes to invest in his disruptive schemes, he accepts Bitcoin only. In the event of failure to deliver the product, refunds will be paid in used champagne corks.

    Such Registered gems are what makes Fridays so especially enjoyable and worthwhile here :-)

    In moments of quiet reflection, I often like to wonder about such as that and how it might relate to future planned activities and/or current events and live streaming presentations.

  11. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    "All the modern burglar needs today is a photo of you holding your door keys outside your house"

    Simpsons have done it.

    1. dvd

      So where is this brilliant burglar who can make a key from a photo with a snot printer, when Timpson can't reliably make one with £10000 of kit and the ACTUAL KEY in their hands?

      I'll go to him in future.

      1. Druidian

        it can be done search for copy keys from photo on youtube you will get a lot of hits

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Don't waste time.

      Modern doors are PVC and vulnerable to any portable plumbing blow torch using disposable butane cylinders

    3. Nugry Horace
  12. NATTtrash
    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Just for the record...

      And the sports field of a NZ school which showed a giant member, after miscreants unknown applied weedkiller.

      Also, the Cerne Abbas giant, rendered in chalk on a Dorset hillside.

  13. c1ue

    Harris Kupperman at called this bubble and even spelled out how it progresses.

    Financial arbitrage of the Grayscale Trust, now we're into FOMO by institutions and consumer plus institutional pumping and dumping.

    Bitcoin in 2017 was all about Ponzi/pyramid/consumer pumping and dumping.

    1. Intractable Potsherd

      This my be an interesting post. Is there a translation into English anywhere?

  14. Persona

    You never know what might catch on

    I remember my days in the research labs in the late 70's when we laughed at what those folks over at Xerox were doing. They had this network with a huge fat continuous cable up to 500m long that couldn't be bent less that 2ft radius and you could only tap into it at precise 2.5 meter intervals. T connections were not allowed. The interface board cost about $1000 and had a laser trimmed memory device on it containing the nodes unique address. The speed at 10mbps however was ok. A huge overkill really.

    We confidently predicted that this "ethernet" thing didn't have a future.

    1. swm

      Re: You never know what might catch on

      Unfortunately, the Xerox management also laughed and ignored the fine work PARC was doing.

      1. The Central Scrutinizer

        Re: You never know what might catch on

        As Steve Jobs said in an interview, "they were a bunch of copier heads who basically had no idea what the guys at PARC were doing".

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I’m the opposite.

    Sorry. Can’t reveal any more right now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I’m the opposite.

      Still can’t. Sorry. More info when I have it. I did this for you Miss Reynaldo. You will know what I mean.

  16. jason 7

    I thought...

    ...this would be a article on how crap DAB radio is.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: I thought...

      reading the comments, it's a cock and bull story

    2. DrXym

      Re: I thought...

      The UK jumped the gun on DAB when it used a crap codec and hasn't corrected the error by sunsetting DAB for DAB+

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: I thought...

        In theory DAB+ gives better quality at same bit rate.

        OF COURSE they use half the bit rate to fit twice the number of channels at slightly less quality.

        Regular DAB would be OK if there were x2 as many masts and 256 k bit rate. Greed has made it Garbage, though even then less good than decent FM (without excessive compression and enough masts) which could have been expanded to 76 - 108. Many sets actually do that. Some even do 64 to 108 (for old Eastern Europe band) and some even have 138 MHz to 275 MHz. A £5 converter would have added Band III and Band I to existing FM HiFi.

        DAB was oversold, not enough muxes (to save money) thus stupidly low 128 k and 64K, and not enough fill in lower power masts. The SFN was hyped to save spectrum, except there was no need to save Band III spectrum and also that's only any use for National Muxes.

    3. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

      Re: I thought...

      Waiting for DABBS radio in 20 years

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: I thought...

        Every station will just be whinging. Funny whinging, mind you.

  17. Blofeld's Cat

    Er ...

    My friend's uncle was a good weather-gauge for new technologies, in that you looked at what he bought and then selected any rival product.

    This theory was established shortly after he upgraded his Philips 2000 VCR for a Sony Betamax one, proving once again that the better technology is not always the commercial winner.

    He also owned a "PC Junior" ...

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Er ...

      I went Beta too, was a dry spot for a few years then DVD took up the slack.

      I remember getting a DVD player £100 off for £500.

      I retired my Beta HiFi deck when freeview PVRs arrived.

  18. DrXym

    Been there

    A very long time ago I contracted for IBM in Hursley and worked on a collaborative desktop product that was variously called SHARC or Lakes. IIRC it had address book, videoconferencing, chat, screen sharing, collaborative drawing. Clients for Windows and OS/2. All the kind of crap you'd see nowaways in the like of MS Team Chat or Zoom. Slight snag was it intended for ISDN lines on PCs that couldn't do realtime video without expensive ISDN video overlay cards (i.e. chain linking VGA cables in and out of the card) and therefore went pretty much nowhere.

    I was mostly involved with the screen sharing software so I don't know how they tested the collaborative drawing app, but I bet dicks featured extensively.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Been there

      Teams is shit.

  19. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    12 inch CDs?

    I still have the old technology where you could play a CD by just winding the CD player up (no batteries needed) and it will play great music from the CD by rubbing a little thorn over the surface. Have you ever shown your kids an old 78rpm record?

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: 12 inch CDs?

      You can still buy new single play steel needles. It was used for about 60 years but even in 1930s the deluxe models playing a stack, or even able to play both sides of a stack used sapphire or diamond.

      You can get a stylus for almost any pickup, except the suitcase style junk in the supermarket todat, though Chinese sellers have complete cartridges with a stylus cheaply. Also despite having a 78rpm speed, they usually don't have a suitable stylus for a 78.

      1. Simian Surprise

        Re: 12 inch CDs?

        Why would I want a steel needle, if I could only play one thing with it?

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: Why would I want a steel needle

          Five boxes of a 100 each was cheaper than a Sapphire stylus. Also many people don't/didn't realise they are short life. Electronic amplification was used from the 1920s, though there was a mechanical amplifier that used compressed air. The steel needle has a high output for acoustic only players. They come in loud and quiet versions. The loud version wears out the record faster.

          The acoustic amp used a pair of comb like structures. One fixed and one driven by the needle vibrations. A large electric motor supplied compressed air. You could go deaf or have bleeding ears if too close. The modern version is still used to stress test aero engine and spacecraft parts. No electronics was needed for the record player.

        2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: 12 inch CDs?

          I had a little gramophone

          I would it round and round

          And with a sharpish needle

          It made a cheerful sound

          But then they amplified it

          It was much louder then

          So we sharpened fibre needles

          To make it soft again...

          (Flanders and Swann)

      2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: 12 inch CDs?-- LA-AAZZZERRRR

        I personally love the combo of raw analogue tech of the Record with the modern (ish) tech of CD/DVD.

        The record is by definition better than any digital recording, since it is automatically at the theoretical maximum of 100% signal-recording to -replication ratio.

        Problem: the stylus damages the record on every playing.

        Solution : a bright spark twigged that CDs/DVDs' lasers could be twiddled slightly to simply barf the full landscape of the vinyl in analogue. Bingo: a non-contact stylus and no more record degradation.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 12 inch CDs?-- LA-AAZZZERRRR

          "[...] a non-contact stylus and no more record degradation."

          I remember a study that found that record grooves momentarily melted in contact with the needle/stylus. This apparently explained a few of the observed sound characteristics of records. IIRC it was considered a good thing for the sound quality. Not sure if that was vinyl or shellac records. Many of the latter were recycled as indoor plant pots by judicious warming in an oven to allow a shape change.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 12 inch CDs?

      "Have you ever shown your kids an old 78rpm record?"

      The 78rpm 12" standard came later - as did records with a B side. Early discs were arbitrary sizes and speeds - and the turntable had a lever to adjust the speed. My grandfather didn't appreciate us kids playing his Hallelujah Chorus record*** while constantly sliding the speed between chipmunks and an expiring HAL. The volume could be controlled by opening and closing the front doors of the gramophone cabinet.

      *** Handel's Messiah came in a very heavy bound file containing many sleeves of 12" shellac records.

    3. David Woodhead

      Re: 12 inch CDs?

      ... a little thorn ...

      You may jest. Back in the 50s my father had heard that playing 78s with a steel needle wore them out, as indeed it did. So, at the right season of the year, he would go out and collect a year's worth of blackthorn (sloe) thorns which he used instead, changing them after every half dozen or so uses.

      I have no idea whether this was better or worse for the records, but I do recall being amazed the first time I saw the almost shameless luxury of records being played with needles that you actually had to pay for.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 12 inch CDs?

        You could buy thorn needles - can't remember how they were priced compared to steel ones..

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On a project in Stockholm in 1978 we became used to the large billboard adverts featuring an enormous yellow erect phallus. It was the trademark of a popular magazine whose content wasn't entirely pr0n.

    The Simpsons Movie slipped in something similar when Bart was skateboarding.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Berlin streets have many adverts for DildoKing - including rotating and internally illuminated variants. They're all yellow, too. Probably not much else to do in lockdown...

  21. PhilipN Silver badge

    Tobacco tin??

    Notice nobody commented on this because nobody knows what they are these days.

    How about young Dabbsy? Roll yer owns behind the bike shed with Harold Wilson’s favourite, Ermine Hunt?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tobacco tin??

      When grandfather had emptied a tin they were useful as small electronic device boxes. Then in the 1960s the industry changed to plastic pouches.

      1. jtaylor

        Re: Tobacco tin??

        I use Altoids tins to hold those curiously small electronic bits.

  22. Bruce Ordway


    On the flip side, it seems like anything I REALLY like will be discontinued.

    e.g. GE Saf-T-Gard floodlights with the built in light sensors, Star Gate Universe, etc...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Conversly

      When you shop for something the storekeeper says "You're the tenth person I've told today - there isn't any call for that any more".

  23. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    In a nutshell, the Innovators Dilemma

    Companies that lead the field were top notch at using anything that improved their existing product.

    What they didn't see coming was the inferior competitor that served a market they ignored.

    That got better at serving that market.

    And then started coming for their market instead. Or put another way.

    "Do not look down on the snake, for who is to say one day it might yet become a dragon?" *

    * RIP Burt.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In a nutshell, the Innovators Dilemma

      A disruptor has no legacy investment and can concentrate on their innovation. A market leader has a high legacy investment and therefore a high inertia to changing their product. Their reaction is often to squash or buy-out the disruptor to kill the innovation.

      A good example of successful disruption was the introduction of nylon - instead of steel - cording in car tyres. Kodak and digital photography is also an example.

    2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: In a nutshell, the Innovators Dilemma

      +1 just for the Water Margin quotation!

  24. Sparkus

    is the writer retiring?

    he's just made a very good case for being 'put out to pasture'.......

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes, whiteboards...

    We had one of those at the office.

    Quite an expensive version, too.

    The SW was a bugger to install, so you knew it was the good stuff...

    Then, for some reason they needed it removed from the room for something. A remodel or repaint or whatever.

    Anyway, we in It had no hurry to set it up again, and when no one came looking for it for over a year, it got recycled.

    I don't think anyone ever used it more than once.

    Anonymous because I don't want the higher ups to be able to find this post if they ever learn to search the net...

  26. Druidian

    Ah yes we called the officers Zobs in the RAF as who doesnt appreciate a little french

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