What's The Oldest Tech You Have To Deal With At Work?

When I was getting a haircut a few weeks ago, I found myself in the chair, staring at the register from behind, and I couldn't help but notice how damn old their setup was. The CRT display looked to be 15 years old at least, the keyboard chunky and probably never cleaned, and all this attached by a rats' nest of cables crowded next to the enormous tower peeking out from under the desk.

I get that you don't need to replace your gear if what's there still gets the job done but man, sometime that stuff can feel excessively old. What's the oldest functioning piece of tech you have to interact with at your job?

Image: Carl Ballou/Shutterstock


    Old people

      I was about to say that. Some of the teachers I work with are pretty ancient.

    - Computers that are over 12 years old running on windows xp at Bunnings, god they're incredibly slow.
    - Receipt printers are huge and bulky and often have problems.
    - We have a book to find products if it doesn't have a barcode. It's missing hundreds of items, and the database we use comes up with nothing that you want ever, making customers get extremely frustrated and angry.

      yes, you forgot to mention the security aswell... which there is none

    Accounting program for local government from the 70s worked quite well, however entering mass amounts of data via green screen with no mouse gets complicated O.o

      Beg to differ. The old green screens were more efficient than a mouse, because you used precise movements via the keyboard and arrow keys. People would have learned the exact number of return hits to make, what code to enter, what the next screen would look like and where the cursor would be, etc. Putting a mouse in the equation slows everything down, you have move your hand from the keyboard, find the mouse pointer, move it to the field, select the drop down, then confirm it, return your hand to the keyboard and repeat. It sounds easy, but when you're doing repeatable work (think General Journal and Accounts Payable - it's repeatable entries), it's a fast path to RSI.

      I had bought a car once - the finance guy was swearing at the computer because they just replaced the green screen with a GUI version, and he hated it because it slowed everything down for him. He couldn't get all the details in fast enough, because he had to keep using the mouse to place the cursor in the right spot, to select options, etc. when all he needed was a few keystrokes.

      But GUI does allow more complex entries to make. I'm just saying that it's not the most efficient way to enter data.

        I remember a clerk at ANZ saying exactly the same thing when they upgraded their systems to be GUI based. That person may have just been complaining about change however.

        It's called the TAB key....try it some time.

    Still use old measurement equipment from the 80s. Analogue readouts. Huge metal cast bodies. They still work tho and are worth money. Replacement units would be upwards of $10,000. Not worth the money considering how often we use them.

    At the school I work at, we have a network switch from Ansett when they were selling there stuff when they went under (2002!)... we've also got a few Lenovo R51s and some Optima desktops around the place... and I have seen one of those old hard drives that had 3 disks about 5mm thick, 20cm diameter each and weighs 5kg and holds 25 mb!... just to top it off, we have a shipping container full of old stuff... at least 10 years worth... that we haven't gotten rid of yet...

    We have a spirometer that can connect to Windows 3.1/95 via an RS-232 port. The 3.5" floppy has the drivers for it and is floating around in the case. Needless to say it isn't connected to a PC at the moment and we just print out the readings on the built-in thermal paper roll.

    Vernier Calipers v0v

      How are vernier calipers old school?

        Well they are old school, but still totally relevant today. Admittedly I have a new digital one.

          Except analogue verniers can be just as accurate as digital ones.
          It's pretty much same difference between an analogue clock and a digital one, they'll both tell you the same time =P


      Paper is tech? Thats a very loose interpretation then.

        paper is something that could have been replaced by tech but hasnt been.

    Basically the computer that is shown in the above image......minus the mouse. It doesn't even have a mouse :( It's just mono-chrome green for accessing the ISP for doing item enquiry and printing RF unit reports, orders, various other reports. Basically the entire operation revolves around the ISP, most of the computers are HP Thin Clients that also access other programs but this one computer is just old and sad, it even loads a screen line by line. Bit like the computers from Fallout haha

    We have to use Apple products. It's horrible.

      Yeah, me too. our MacPros might only be from 2011, and they have 8 cores, but they feel so much slower than my ultrabook when it comes to doing anything. The cinema displays are quite a bit older and they all have a yellow tinge to them. Lucky we don't have to worry too much about accurate colours.

      Last edited 14/01/13 9:30 am

    PLC's from the mid 90's that still use dos based programming software. Showing up to site to troubleshoot one of these can really mess your day up

    Pens, paper, wheels, metals etc etc.

    Gizmodo with the tough questions on a Sunday night.

      By old they implied outdated and obselete.

      Sometimes i have to deal with an old Pentium 1 that some engineers use for troubleshooting in an aircraft from the 80's.

    1980's Mudlogging equipment running custom DOS, plus a whole heap of instruments from the 80's as well.

    The computer terminals at david jones, are 20 years old. but they never miss a beat

    Windows 2000 and receipt printers that are at least 15 years old.

    At my previous work place some of our machines still had tape drives. The fun of replacing those motors.

    Just last year I replaced a Dell Optiplex GX1 (http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/ban_gx1/specs.htm) that was running overly expensive laboratory equipment.
    Moving important files back and forward, and only having a floppy drive to do it with (running Windows 95).

    We have 3 things: one of our POS (point of sale or piece of sh*t depending on the day) computers is a pentium 1 running windows 95. Our company accounting/inventory/pos/sales/customer database system is from the late 80's. It runs on every operating system including windows 8, just gotta make sure the is is 32bit. The testing equipment that we only upgraded 3 months ago is from when our shop first opened in 1977. There had been 4 advances in technology that we could have upgraded to that replaced this original equipment, but our boss is somewhat set in his ways.

    I still have to pull out the good old microfiche sometimes to find information.

    Except ours doesn't do anything fancy like printing.
    I win.

    Last edited 14/01/13 8:12 am

    We have a system that uses label printers that connect vie com ports. Found out the system had been upgraded for use with normal network printers but the team controlling the software prefers the control of having a directly connected printer - but somehow forgot we moved onto USB an age ago for this kind of thing.

    Ah the joys of servicing a government department that still has some money left, no old tech.

      You definitely don't work for the education department then. Because we must be breaking records for old tech.

        one of hte schools i worked for, had a DC that was 6 years old, and that was the newest server!!!!

        my other one, has a server that is 4 years old, and has budgeted a new one for 2014....

        other schools are much much better equipped...

          It really just comes down to how new the school is. Newer schools are better equipped than a technology convention. The older schools are left behind.

    used to work for a major national retailer still running POS/ database software that was created in 1982. Pretty sure some of the terminals were from the 80s too...

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