Technalysis Research
Previous Blogs

July 15, 2014
Digital Generation Gap

July 8, 2014
Virtualization Reborn

July 1, 2014
Portable Digital Identities

June 24, 2014
The Future of UI: Contextual Intelligence

June 17, 2014
Moving to Markets of One

June 16, 2014
Insider Extra: Dell and the Battle for Business

June 10, 2014
Screen Overload to Drive Screen-less Devices

June 3, 2014
Apple Drives Vision of Seamless Multi-Device Computing

May 27, 2014
Surface Pro 3: The Future of PCs?

May 22, 2014
Insider Extra: SanDisk: The Many Faces of Flash

May 20, 2014
The Technological Divining Rod

May 13, 2014
Computing in the Cloud

May 6, 2014
Device Usage a Question of Degree

April 29, 2014
The Next Smartphone Battleground: Durability

April 22, 2014
BYOD: A Work in Progress

April 18, 2014
Insider Extra: AMD Back in the Groove

April 15, 2014
The Mobility Myth

April 9, 2014
BYOD Dilemma: Devices vs. Data

April 8, 2014
Insider Extra: Qualcomm's Evolving Story

April 1, 2014
A Wearables Forecast

March 25, 2014
Measuring Success in Wearables? It's Thousands of Thousands

March 24, 2014
Insider Extra: Intel Strategy Moves Forward

March 18, 2014
IOT: Islands of Isolated Things?

March 11, 2014
Wearables Cautionary Tale

March 4, 2014
The New Platform Battle

February 25, 2014
Watch What Happens

February 18, 2014
Talkin' 'bout Touchpads

February 11, 2014
The MultiOS Conundrum

February 4, 2014
Computing Redefined

January 28, 2014
The Apple Problem

January 21, 2014
The 2-in-1s People Might Want

January 14, 2014
The Post Tablet Era

January 7, 2014
The Innovation Asymptote

December 31, 2013
Top 5 2014 Predictions

December 17, 2013
Holiday Shoppers Gifting Themselves

December 10, 2013
Companion Apps

December 3, 2013
Aisle Check

TECHnalysis Research Blog

July 22, 2014
The Joy of Vintage Tech

Our general obsession with all the latest technology and gadgets is a relatively natural phenomena that reflects our interest in keeping up with what’s new. Unfortunately, it also tends to imply that older technology isn’t very good, with value considered to be roughly inversely proportional to the age of the device.

While in some cases, that sentiment is justified; there are instances where that just isn’t true. Technology-based products have been around long enough now that I think you can make the argument for some true technology gems from the past—vintage tech that was not only cutting-edge for its time, but still offers value today.

From early HP and TI calculators, to early game consoles, like the Atari 2600, there are numerous examples of digital antiques that many people still find compelling, useful and/or entertaining even today (in some cases, almost 40 years later!)

As a musician, there’s also an impressive number of early electronic music products that still have value and still see active use even today. In fact, there’s been a growing movement and interest in trying to find or recreate music technology products from the past 25+ or even 35+ years, because people are “rediscovering” the unique benefits of these older products.

I’m fortunate enough to own a Yamaha G10 MIDI guitar from the late 1980s and, after a long period of storage in the closet, I have started rediscovering the unique capabilities of this oddly-shaped but very flexible musical instrument. Yamaha originally designed the G10 to be paired up with one of two rack-mount synthesizers from the same era: the TX802 and the TX81Z, both of which feature variations on the FM synthesis technology first made famous by Yamaha’s DX7. I had never purchased one of those potential companion devices, so I decided that to fully experience in the G10 in all its original glory, I would need to pick up one of those devices.

I started my digital antiquing expedition, as many do, on the world’s largest flea market: eBay. Happily, I found numerous TX81Zs available for sale, in various ranges of quality at fairly wide range of prices (some of them approaching ½ of the unit’s original retail price!)
During my research phase, I also discovered a number of active software programs that still support the TX81Z, as well as numerous companies who still sell original patches, or sounds, for the device.

The whole experience made me realized that there’s a wealth of vintage tech products out there being actively used, bought and sold on a very regular basis. While some are undoubtedly looking at these older devices more from a collectors’ perspective, there are also quite a few who still find these 25+-year old digital antiques to be eminently practical, even today.

Clearly, these kinds of products have lasted the test of time and have essentially become “classics.” Of course, this begs the question, which of today’s tech products will be viewed as truly valuable devices 25+ years from now?

Regardless of your answers to that question (and I’m sure there’s a wide range of opinions on that one), while there’s no denying the incredible capability of today’s latest and greatest tech devices, every now and then it’s good to take a look back and evaluate where we’ve been to help us understood where we’re likely to go.

Here's a link to the original column:

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