Vista's command prompt still uses DOS commands.
In Romania, certain high-school programming contests are still happening in Borland C (on DOS), and many high-school students are still learning programming in Borland Pascal (on DOS).
A few weeks ago a 1990s program didn't work in dosemu with a USB-to-RS-232 converter. Was it failing because of the high clock speed, like the Pascal library? Was it written like the guy's code? Was it failing because the serial converter wasn't emulated accurately enough? I don't know.
Anyway, I thank Microsoft for removing the serial ports from desktop PCs and notebooks (they're not called laptops anymore, because some dissipate too much heat to allow comfortable use in one's lap).
Apart from the once ubiquitous but now outdated dial-up modems and serial mice, serial ports are actually useful for a huge lot of devices and tasks, such as:
- dial-up modems. Over mobile GPRS or satellite.
- serial mice. Why occupy a hi-speed USB port with a low-speed mouse? (if you happen to want 2 or 3 mice on your system)
- serial barcode scanners
- small serial printers (frequently used for printing receipts)
- uninterruptible power supplies
- networking (wireless modules for interfacing low-power sensor networks, for instance. The networks run IPv6, btw.)
- GPS receivers
- mobile phones and PDAs (some mobile phone "USB data cables" are actually USB-serial converters)
- a huge variety of industrial and laboratory instruments (meters, process controllers etcetera)
- infrared communication (with mobile phones, PDAs, instruments etc)
- serial console for configuring and debugging routers and other embedded systems and screenless devices. Frequently used by network administrators.
- microcontroller programming, homebrew hardware, firmware upgrade for various devices
- small auxiliary text-mode LCD screens to display what song you're playing or what mail you've got or whatever
- infrared remote control receivers (for controlling your computer from the comfort of your bed/armchair/whatever)
- low cost, easy to build laser links between buildings (with enough speed - 92kb/s - to stream medium-quality audio, transfer documents or work in a remote shell)