yes, ISDN is widely used in europe. small businesses use multiple BRI with 2x64kbps payload each, large business use E1 carrying 30x64kbps. VoIP is gaining, but ISDN is clean, robust and gives excellent quality.
In Norway ISDN was widely used in private homes (probably also for businesses before that). You always had two 64 kbps lines, one for phone and one for the computer, but you could of course choose to use both for the computer and get 128 kbps. I had it some years ago (don't exactly remember when, 2001-ish maybe) and today I use the same copper wires with 30/5 Mbps VDSL.
OK Frank, I stand corrected - at least in the US. In Australia, and from what I gather in Europe (can anyone comment?) ISDN was used a lot - maybe not at the home level but for businesses, small PABXs, etc, and the company I work for still has quite a few basic rate (2-ch = 128k) services in use, and lots of E1s (30 chan - its a T1 - 22 channels? in the US). I too had an ISDN home connection from my employer - prior to that I had a 56K modem that actually got around 40K, so the ISDN was 3x faster, so at the time it was great....
How could anyone forget the Intel iAPX 432. Aside from putting Intel in the position where IBM needed to save then from bankruptcy, it caused all of their beta customers (GTE, among others) to write off 10's of millions of 1984 $'s.
I disagree. At least in the U.S., ISDN was a huge failure that was hardly deployed anywhere. I actually had an ISDN line for a few years, as did some of my colleagues -- it was provided by the company so we could work from home and put in even more hours :)
Outside of that small group of us, I never met anyone who had an ISDN line, whether for personal or for business use.
By the time 56K dial up modems arrived, any chance ISDN had of gaining traction quickly died.
I feel I need to clarify: Beta did not necessarily lose in the marketplace because of its technical shortcomings, compared with the earliest VHS players. But it should have, IMO. I don't buy that it was superior at all.
As another side note, the superiority of Beta is pure urban legend.
First off, if the Beta image was better than the VHS image, it was only because the initial Beta tape speeds were faster than the VHS speed. That's why VHS could manage 2 hours, where Beta could only record for 1 hour. But that advantage went away soon enough, as Beta and VHS went to multiple hour recordings.
Another technical difference is that Beta did not move the tape away from the heads, when it was put in rewind. Which is why all those stand-alone tape rewind trinkets were sold (even to hapless VHS owners, of course, gotta make a buck). To keep the tape from depositing oxide and wearing the heads, when rewinding.
The bit about stereo sound I already mentioned, which VHS supported, at least in their format, if not in all the players, from the beginning (and Beta did not).
Beta failed primarily, I think, because Sony wanted to make all the machines (i.e. they were more expensive), and they recorded for fewer hours. That's hardly a winning proposition. They never caught up again.
May I take a side trip and talk about service stations not checking oil or washing windows? When marketeers asked consumers if they'd buy from such a station, their response was an overwhelming, "No way!" That is, until some stations did just that with gas a few cents cheaper. People voted with their pocketbooks.
That was the same problem with VHS and Beta. Beta was far superior, but it cost more and recorded less. It was great for recording movies, but for time-delaying "I Love Lucy"? Get real.
Every time marketing makes a comment such as, "The customers won't buy it without ..." I ask, "What are they willing to pay for ...?" Some features almost come for free, but most do not.
Sure, a few people will buy luxury cars, watches, and techno-goodies just because of the snob value. Most of us are content to go to Walmart or Fry's and pay a lot less for just the features we need.
The trick is, ask the right questions. Don't get overwhelmed with 'gotta have's'. They're traps - turkey traps, if you will.
No list of technology turkeys would be complete without Microsoft Bob and the IBM PCjr.
The IBM PS2 architecture is pretty close to a turkey, though maybe not quite. The microchannel bus didn't take off and everyone else moved on to faster processors before the PS2s did. They were pretty amazingly put together with mostly snap together fastener-less construction.
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