Iomega Zip Drive - Voted 15th Worst Tech Ever
I've got to take issue with PC World's list of the 25 Worst Tech Products Of All Time. I usually don't pay attention to such lists, but their slant on the ZIP drive irked me. From the tone of the article, you might think that the ZIP was never useful and never worked properly (there were tech problems with some ZIP's, but I never ran into any) - nothing could be further from the truth.
The ZIP was introduced in 1994 as a kind of super-floppy. Much the same size as a 3.5" disk, it held 100 megs of info (later versions held up to 750 megs). ZIP's are rugged, portable, and the drives are kind of cute (this is before the iMac brought the idea of "cute" into computing). While the PC World article mentions the existence of CD-R's in '94, they were actually quite rare and expensive to use. I was a teacher at a major university at the time, and we had a single CD burner on campus.
ZIP's were essential in my workflow for years as it was a large sized medium that was platform agnostic. It was often the only reliable way to get info from the PC to the Amiga. A great bragging point was that a ZIP drive easily connected to a 1985 Amiga - could you say the same about a Mac or PC from that era?
Today the ZIP has been supplanted by burnable CD's and flash media, but there are still times when I could really use a small recyclable storage medium. ZIP's were perfect for mailing to service bureaus, and floppies still have a lot of use in just transporting documents, drivers, etc. The PC World article was an unpleasant reminder of how some people worship only at the altar of the latest tech, relegating everything that came before it as a useless joke.