Outdated Tech Things That Actually Still Work

You can still buy a dot matrix printer -- but it'll cost you a bundle.

Microsoft's MSN Messenger, the poor man's AIM when it was first released in 1999, is getting sent to that great outdated tech heaven in the sky. 

After 15 years, Microsoft is shutting down the instant messaging service and forcing all of its users over to Skype. The big news is not that MSN Messenger is closing down, but that anyone still uses it. 

When we started to using the Internet to connect with others in the 1990s, a slew of basic services, tech toys and rudimentary social networks popped up. You won't believe how many of them still exist. Who possibly uses these?


We imagine Friendster's inventors have a big vendetta against Mark Zuckerberg. A precursor to Facebook, Friendster connected people in a similar way. But then Facebook came along and, like the Betamax vs. VHS battle, lost and withered away. 

But it never actually died. Friendster managed to hold on to some users (whether they just never bothered to cancel their account is a fair question). In 2011 it finally, successfully reinvented itself as a gaming platform, popular in many east Asian countries.


Speaking of the AIM vs. MSN Messenger battle, AIM is still around too. AOL even prides itself on its old-school service: apparently AIM has been OMG since 1997. Even the classic running man still makes an appearance in the logo. 

AIM tries to remain relevant with platforms on the iPhone and Android -- but why wouldn't you just text? 

AOL Dial-Up Service

Yet another nod for AOL: people still actually pay for its dial-up service. We'll give you a second to stop sputtering.

Every mid-'90s AOL client remembers the extremely painful wait, and sounds, of the dial-up service as it trundled and screeched its way to a shaky Internet connection -- one that could be broken if your pesky siblings picked up the phone. 

Believe it or not, AOL still rakes in plenty of cash from its dial-up customers. Around 2.3 million customers (!!) pay, and that revenue makes up the bulk of AOL's profits. Unbelievable.


At a time when we could only dream of owning a cell phone as cool as Zack Morris', beepers were all the rage. How convenient! First you call a service and have your friend beeped. Then you wait around for him to get the page, find a phone and call you back. Such an easy process. 

Obviously, cell phones and our near-constant connectedness make beepers obsolete. But not only can you still buy beepers (for $9.99!), you can get on a $99/year service plan. Hey, you can't argue with the huge savings over a cell phone. 

Dot Matrix Printers

Printing itself is going the way of the dodo, but when we do print something out, it's on an ink jet printer -- right? Not everyone. 

Dot matrix printers are still alive and kicking. But be warned, you'll pay for the privilege of watching your print job come out one painful line at a time. Dot matrix printers can cost roughly twice as much as their faster, superior ink jet cousins. And that doesn't even include finding the paper with the tear away, holed margins. 

Floppy Disks

Floppy disks are at least three steps back from current technology. If you're not using the cloud, surely you use a thumb drive. No? Then a CD-ROM, right? No?!

Floppy disks are currently on sale on Amazon for about a $1 each, depending on how many outdated disks you want. But don't forget the adapter -- computers barely come with CD drives anymore; forget a floppy disk drive. 


OK, you don't have to go too far back in time for this one. Google rolled out Google+ in 2011, but it certainly hasn't dethroned any other social media site, including Facebook and Twitter engagement. 

Google itself has possibly one of the most valuable brands worldwide. And it has no shortage of general users for everything from Gmail to YouTube.

But Google+ has just sort of always been ... there. Sure, you could join. But why bother?

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