Posts tagged “obsolescence”

Things that are obsolete

The modem sound has gone the way of the brabble.

Robert Fulford: When words die [] The Oxford Concise Dictionary has been forced to abandon words. Never fear, they will remain in the OED, which is not restrained by promises of concision!

The Concise has also set aside “threequel,” meaning the third book in a series; it never caught on, perhaps because trilogies are out of fashion. The Concise has likewise abandoned “brabble,” which means a paltry but noisy quarrel, and “growlery,” meaning the private den of a man. I knew none of these words in their prime and now must recognize that they are on their way out. It leaves an odd feeling, a cousin to the nebulous melancholy that accompanies the reading of an obituary of someone you would like to have known…Shouldn’t we have a category for endangered words? Perhaps we need a system of adopting words to keep them safe and well, the way people adopt favourite stretches of highway. We would sign up, promise to use our chosen words as often as possible and of course object when they are misused or threatened with abandonment.

Bleeoo! #RIPdialup [] That strange modem sound hasn’t been heard for awhile in most parts, and is not missed, at least by this former dialer-upper. Yet, another strange nostalgia breeds, even for this horrible sound. The bleeoo-crackle meant that you were just sitting there waiting, pointlessly, anticipating the blissful connection. We endured it only because we had to. I guess it’s today’s equivalent of having to walk to school through the snow uphill both ways. Kids today!

Remember the glory of dialing up? Kids today won’t know the shrill cry of a 9600 baud, or the magical “doodleeedoo” of a 28.8 modem. Help preserve our digital history. Join us in recording your best impression of a “modem handshake” sound.

(Thanks Steve, for the pointer to Bleeoo!)

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] Deconstructed: Aesir’s Perfect Cell Phone [Fast Company] – [What's this? Heirloom consumer electronics? Less is more? Is this a trend or an anomoly? Many products start out as carefully crafted one-offs and move towards disposable, commodity mass-products over time – watches, razors, even food. Are mobile phones playing this out in reverse? How will this gadget incorporate unpredictable technological advances that will enable must-have functionality? Does it need to?] "Instead of more, we proposed better and longer lasting," says designer Yves Béhar. "It became a way to answer questions like, Why do I need a new phone each year? And why does it have to be complicated?" For answers, Aesir founder Thomas Møller Jensen spent two-plus years gathering an army of materials specialists, engineers, and craftspeople. The result, the AE+Y, has exceptionally clear audio and parts that are fully replaceable ad infinitum. "We want the phone to be as interesting and relevant in 10 years' time as it is today," says Jensen.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] A Masterpiece of Nature? Yuck! [] – [The rapid calculation of stimulus described here is certainly not confined to the judging of ugly animals, but it is always as much a reflection of the subject as the object. This article is for you, if you like pictures of star-nosed moles, etc.!] As scientists see it, a comparative consideration of what we find freakish or unsettling in other species offers a fresh perspective on how we extract large amounts of visual information from a millisecond’s glance, and then spin, atomize and anthropomorphize that assessment into a revealing saga of ourselves.
  • [from julienorvaisas] Electronics Designers Struggle With Form, Function and Obsolescence [Bits Blog –] – [Planned obsolescence is nothing new, but does it necessarily follow that because electronic gadgets are not built to last we should expect to have to invest in products to address their obvious design flaws?] So is the fact that we all buy gadgets and then have to spend additional money to buy protective coverings for our electronics speak poorly of the design of these products? Jason Brush, executive VP of user experience design for Schematic, noted in an interview that the fragility of electronics today might not be a matter of form and function, but rather that gadgets are not meant to be long-lasting. “If you purchased a Leica camera a hundred years ago it would still work today. It was bulletproof,” he said. “But electronics today are not built with permanence in mind.”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • The iPad, the Kindle, and the future of books [The New Yorker] – Traditionally, publishers have sold books to stores, with the wholesale price for hardcovers set at fifty per cent of the cover price. Authors are paid royalties at a rate of about fifteen per cent of the cover price….E-books called the whole system into question. If there was no physical book, what would determine the price? Most publishers agreed, with some uncertainty, to give authors a royalty of twenty-five per cent, and began a long series of negotiations with Amazon over pricing. For months before Sargent’s visit, the publishers had talked about imposing an “agency model” for e-books. Under such a model, the publisher would be considered the seller, and an online vender like Amazon would act as an “agent,” in exchange for a thirty-per-cent fee. Yet none of the publishers seemed to think that they could act alone, and if they presented a unified demand to Amazon they risked being charged with price-fixing and collusion.
  • The End Is Near for BlackBerry’s Trackball [BusinessWeek] – The BlackBerry trackball, introduced in 2006, has always had issues. It accumulates grit and gunk. Tony Naftchi started from a small office on New York's 7th Ave. A stream of bankers, fashion models, and other high-end BlackBerry addicts pay $30 for new trackballs. "They need them fixed—'Now!' It should come as no surprise that the little sphere, flawed and strangely beloved, faces obsolescence. Trackball shipments in 2010 will fall short of last year's peak of 25 million. The last trackballs installed in new BlackBerrys will go in its Tour. Later versions have trackpads. By 2013, iSuppli predicts trackball shipments will have ceased altogether. Diehards will cling to trackballs. Nothing worth having ever goes away entirely. You can still buy a new manual typewriter on (AMZN) for $99.95. Betamax has its determined fans. And Westfield Whip Manufacturing in Westfield, Mass., produces more than 50,000 buggy whips annually. It's hard to kill a consumer icon.


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