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Hardware improved. I believe the guy's talking about software.

I believe he's talking about the whole lot of it. Software and hardware . I think USBs suffer their own issues (see http://wiki.gbatemp.net/wiki/USB_Devices_Compatibility_List as a simple example (hint see the ""If the Device does not work" section)).

This fits the OPs notion that no one really understand the crap underneath it all.

Which software was it exactly that was so great and just worked? MS-DOS? Windows 3.1? Windows Me? Some specifics would be nice, because across the board it seems everything is MUCH better now. It used to be that you would buy a computer game and 75% of the time it would not work out of the box.

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