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R.I.P CD & DVDs, USB & SD

R.I.P CD & DVDs, USB & SD

my father came to visit me at college in Portsmouth and we went to look at the new technology on the high street; the “Compact Disc”. Many years before he had gone with his father to look at electronic gramophones playing records at 33⅓ rpm … how time marches on. What relevance does this have I hear you ask? Well, this bit of tech has lasted no more than 40 years.

The advent of internet download and streaming has just about killed it off. New PCs and laptops rarely have a built-in CD player any more as even the install programs for computers are all downloadable today. The same can be said for DVDs. You don’t need to buy the latest movie on DVD any more, you just rent it and stream it from Netflix or Amazon. As for storing your pics on disc to show the family at the weekend … just email them or share them on Facebook.

The USB port on your computer has been a good friend for years, USB1, USB2 (10x faster) and now USB3 (100x faster) is even obsolete before we’ve started realising its benefits. Designed for connecting keyboards, mouses, printers, scanners, cameras etc., all of these devices now connect by Wi-fi or Bluetooth. What about your external hard disk and memory stick? … on-line storage and backup are now replacing these peripheral systems. Even cameras now come with built-in storage that simply connects to your Wi-fi and uploads automatically to cloud storage and social media.

So where does this leave us? The good old PC was originally made the width it was so it could incorporate the 5¼” CD drive, with this limitation removed we now see an increasing number of small form factor (SFF) computers over half the width of their predecessors. Then take away the old floppy disk drive and the card reader, add the energy efficient processor and smaller power supply needed as there is so much less to power, and you end up with a much more manageable package. Is it cheaper? Not really, computer prices have remained pretty static as the manufacturers have simply replaced all this with more memory and processing power. The same is true of laptops that are now smaller and thinner, but not much cheaper.

However nothing much changes today or tomorrow as this is progressive; you’ll only really notice the difference when you buy a new PC or laptop, and then you’ll just have to adapt your workings to suit the new technology. Occasionally, really old peripherals will need to be replaced as they simply won’t work with your newer equipment, but normally there is enough overlap between the old and the new to prevent this. “Progress?”, I hear you ask. Mostly, but not always! Isn’t that always the way?

As always, if you need help with this or anything else, you know where to come.

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Added: 5th June 2018

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