What's the most instantly-obsolete gadget you ever bought?

A few years ago I bought a nifty new gadget - an MP3 player. It had a whopping 128MB of memory, expandable to 256MB if you bought a bulky add-on memory pack. Sure, you could get hard-disk MP3 players with much bigger capacity, but they were heavy and clunky and would skip if you tried to use them on the move.

Having forked out £180 or so on this wondrous electronic gizmo, I watched in dismay as within a matter of weeks the market was suddenly flooded with new MP3 players that were smaller, sleeker, lighter, cheaper, and held many times more music on gigabyte-sized flash memory.

What have you bought and instantly regretted as technology leaped ahead?

I’ve missed the “you bought too early but we’ll upgrade you for free” deadline (about 30 days) for new Macintoshes by one day.


I needed a printer back in 95 or thereabouts. I figured I would buy a “good one”, so I settled on an expensive (for me - $400+) Star SJ-144 color thermal printer.

It took expensive replacement cartridges, and really didn’t work too well. It soon horked and I was never able to get it to work again, even after reinstalling drivers.

My first DVD burner, the HP DVD Writer DVD200i. $300 - $50 mail-in rebate = $250. It didn’t write DVD-R, but wrote DVD+R and DVD+RW at 2.4x. It rivaled all the first generation drives that could only write at 1x. It didn’t take long before 4x and even 8x drives came on he market for much cheaper. My wallet is still growling at me for that one.

My first CD writer, an HP 8100. 4x speed, CDRW, $300. Just about instantly, the speeds went up and the prices went down. For instance, my most recent drive is a 52x CDRW, 8x dual-layer DVD all-format drive, which, after rebates, cost me $15.

Runner up: the HP 2 megapixel camera for $200.

Attunement to Naxxramas two weeks before The Burning Crusade was released…

I bought a CD player with 20 second anti-skip for $180 back in 1996. Within a few months, CD players started coming out with longer anti-skip time for about 1/4 of the price.

Not sure if it counts as “obsolete” but I’ve bought a good number of books, unaware that a new edition was being released soon.

My MD player, shortly before these new-fangled MP3-thingies started coming out.

I got a zip drive about 3 months before CD burners were suddenly ridiculously ubiquitous, cheap, and being bundled with new computers. Suddenly, expensive 100mb disks with a ridiculously slow transfer rate over the parallel port weren’t as enticing.

I also got (won, actually) a Minidisc player just a few years ago. It was the type that didn’t actually have any audio input, so the only way to get music onto it was to transfer it over USB using Sony’s proprietary software. It literally never worked, and I even joined a webforum only to find out that it didn’t work for anyone. I never managed to put a single song on it.

Vex Thal key about three weeks before my health went down the shitter and I couldn’t raid anymore.


I never really understood what that meant. 20 second anti-skip for what? You could bang it for 20 seconds then it would skip?

It was helpful for joggers who might be jostling the drive.



At least, I assume so, because I have no idea what you’re talking about.

The worst for me wasn’t so bad. I bought a 42 inch SD Plasma TV for AU$7000 with DVI inputs. A few months later the prices were half that.

Now you can buy 60 inch HD Plasma or LCD for about AU$4000 with HDMI.

Oh, I think you DO.

Sorry, I’ve never had this problem because I wait till things have been on the market for a while (read cheap) and usually go about middle price range (read cheaper). I stay away from cutting edge and higher priced goodies IOW. I think that’s the only way to avoid getting burned.
Upon edit, I did pay $99 for a CD walkman back '98 so I could take it to Jamaica. I haven’t used it much since.

It was also good for listening to in the car, for those of us who didn’t want to put a new stereo in the dash. You could route the sound through a cassette adapter or get a wireless FM transmitter. The anti-skip kept the player from skipping when you drove over bumps, railroad tracks, etc.

Tell me about it. I bought Harry Potter a while back and just found out version 7.0 is on the shelves. :smack:

Oh yeah, sometimes I buy a DVD locally, only to find a version in another country has a hundred bajillion special features! I hate that.

For example: Region 4 Deadwood DVDs don’t have any commentary!

Heh, I didn’t do that until after it was released. I know a few guildies want to go cream that place. The one time we went though, we picked the one boss that you kill by mind controlling his adds. All our extra gear meant squat.