Raiders Of The Lost Walmart Find Surprisingly Relevant Technology

The Raiders of the Lost Walmart seek out the finest and most hilarious pieces of archaic technology still on the shelves in the nation’s discount stores. Only sometimes, the items they find aren’t so ancient. Sometimes they seem laughably old to our tech-savvy readers, but have a real use to some customers.

casette

Vincent sent us this cassette recorder, available at Kmart for $24.99. That’s some pretty obsolete technology, isn’t it? Not if you want to make recordings that are easily playable on consumer equipment, such as recording a child’s musical instrument practice or making an audio recording for someone who doesn’t have access to a computer to listen to digital voice files.

Not everyone has a CD burner, after all, and sometimes we don’t want to fuss with recording files, then transferring them to a computer, then burning them to a CD. The regular cassette was the perfect technology for recording voice or music or barking dogs at home, then giving them to someone else to listen to.

faster56K

Todd found this 56K modem at Walmart, with a few different pricing stickers on it. While this item has been there for a while, that doesn’t mean that no one has any use for it.

The last time we featured a dialup modem in a Raiders segment, people wrote in to let us know how ignorant we were. Sadly, there are a lot of people who have no access to broadband, many of whom live in rural areas. One reader wrote in about his parents, who live in rural Michigan and can’t get service from Comcast. “None of the companies would bother to run services out there for only 20 houses or so even thought we had everyone sign a petition guaranteeing that they would get the service if it was offered.” Sad.

It’s not just rural America, either. Another reader wrote in to explain:

There’s a reason those are still available. Older pieces of hardware require a modem connection to dial in for remote access because that’s how they were originally designed. Since modern computers don’t have modems, the USB modem is the best solution.I didn’t know this until I ran into it for work (I was trying to call in remotely to some monitoring equipment for environmental work).

It’s more of a niche product than something completely antiquated.

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  1. GnRJosh says:

    While yes, USB modems are still used today, that doesn’t mean that, in this particular instance, this isn’t a relic worthy of the Raiders’ find. That modem in the picture doesn’t have official Win7/Win8 driver support and the most recent drivers are for Vista and below. While there may be rudimentary functionality based on default drivers, it is not guaranteed to work with the modern OS (http://www.usr.com/support/product-template.asp?prod=5633a). Plus, look how massive that sucker is compared to the only USB modem US Robotics currently sells (http://www.usr.com/products/modem/modem-product.asp?sku=USR5637)

    While it still has practical applications, that particular piece of hardware is ancient, relatively-speaking, and might not even work. And that still doesn’t change the fact that they’re charging $50 for it when it’s replacement I showed above has an MSRP of $49.99 and IS compatible with Win7 and Win8. You’re setting yourself up for failure if you buy what Walmart is peddling and have a relatively modern PC.