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Car Cassette Decks Get Final Ejection

Are you one of those people who's kept your eight-track cassette player on the closet shelf alongside a Beta cassette and your rotary dial phone? If so, it's time to carve out some room for your car's audiocassette player. It too has gone the way of archaic technologies that were once cutting edge.

In fact, the only new car in which you can find this soon-to-be dinosaur is the 2010 Lexus CS 430. It has the last factory-installed tape deck available to buyers.

The once advanced technology, introduced in the 1970s, had improved over the years with better tape quality and Dolby noise reduction, but the magnetic tapes were subject to heat and wear and often found themselves tangled through the innards of the player's mechanisms.

But it was the CD that ultimately unwound the tape deck. The new technology delivers less distortion, as it is generated by a laser and never makes contact with the player itself.

But the CD's reign will prove indefinite, as ever-evolving technologies are seeking to overthrow it as well. Ipods and similar digital music devices that use MP3s and similar file formats, are quickly becoming the preferred source of music in cars. And the so-called "cloud," internet-based computing, is gaining popularity as well with websites such as Pandora, the internet radio station that lets users customize music programming. Ford's Sync infotainment system, developed with Microsoft, is using this service in many of its new models.

So if you're still in the market for a technological pterodactyl, run out and by a Lexus CS 430 while they're still being manufactured. If not, you might as well stay home and listen to some of your LPs.

To which antiquated technologies are you still clinging? Let me know here, or email me at

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