Thursday, December 1, 2011


An interesting article on the BBC website ranges far and wide, anchored on the concept of what makes sense for the pace of technological change, and what may actually be 'necessary' replacement rates for gadgets and tools. It's very thought provoking, I think.

If technological change feels like a blur now, what'll it be like in 20 years? Night lights, Vancouver. [James]

(Angela Saini's article includes thoughts on sewing machines, the creativity of making and repairing 'stuff' and the ownership of your technology. Unfortunately the dreadful picture selection was done in someone's smoko.)

Much of what the author's got to say makes a lot of sense, but one thing I'd like to have seen is what seems to me to be the benchmark requirement. Personally, I want tools that work, and stay working for a reasonable period of time, without fiddling or demands.

Using Macs, in the personal computing sphere, this has been our experience for getting on for a couple of decades now*. However I recognise that this slow change has been enabled by a remarkably aggressive development and replacement cycle that needs the 'early adapters' our author talks about. The iPad and iPhone and their developed versions may be crack-cocaine for tech-heads, but they are also useful tools and both Bev and I have found the i-tool we use worth having as a tool.

Missing the full command?

I'm happy to take things apart and see how they go; occasionally repairing them too, but I'm not kidding myself I'd ever be able to repair even a dial-telephone, nor am I in a society where me being able to repair one is necessary. On the other hand I'm not interested in the latest tool to impress others, but I appreciate that drive has accelerated technical solutions at affordable prices for many of us. Between the make-do-and menders and the tech-heads may be technonormal?

James - not iJames

*Bev and I both used 'tombstone' Macs for many years, Bev's mother having one before that even. In the late 1990s we had Duncan the iMac, joined by Penny the iBook in 1998 and 1999. Duncan was retired when we emigrated in 2004 and an unnamed flat screen iMac was bought in 2005, and an iBook in 2008 for an around the world trip to replace Penny which didn't have a CD burner etc. Adding to these this year are my iPhone and Bev's iPad 2, both of which have been invaluable and very flexible work and leisure tools. Penny still works, and only Duncan has died, in his case after we'd passed it on.


eileenr said...

RIP Duncan

Taccola said...

Luckily we were never tempted to call the replacement Mac 'Beth'. Geddit?