This was the title of an old letter I got published in a gaming magazine, regarding the annoyance of being forced to swtich components like we get rid of toilet paper. This was back in 2000 and it didn’t get any better now.
Now we are in 2007 and things are still the same. The inefficiency in production (which of course focuses on profit and not into quality or anything related to “What is my business?” as Peter Drucker used to said) is reaching unknown levels. I mean, did you estimate how long a cellphone, a new TV, a new mp3 player last? Not much to tell the truth. In fact, an I-pod shuffle (and this was real-life tested) may be cheap but is also a candidate for the trash bin as once the battery runs out (and it can run out in a matter of months), you need to almost re-pay it to get it back working or they sell you a “portable battery” device so you can keep using it, that if the buttons still work after six months of over-pressing them.
Should it be the situation of my country what drives me to focus on philosophic things and ramblings about stuff that is extremely hard to get here (there is only one fully official Apple Center in our capital, the rest are “importers” so I can assure it’s hard to get an Ipod here and if you find it, paying for it it’s a rip off) and also brutally expensive. I don’t know, but
Thus, it leads me to think, even if they cost less, are they worth? A friend of my father bought a supossedly excellent fridge. It worked pretty well but, a couple of months later (and following Murphy’s law, right when the guarantee expired!) the fridge stopped working. Some chip melted inside and the repairs costs were almost half of the cost of the fridge. Made in China for the win? No, do not blame China (although probably 85% of the tech stuff is built and assembled there), it’s not their fault alone.
It’s the whole vicious circle of the “BUY BUY BUY” and the necessity of creating necessities (Michael Porter and others talk of this I think) what drives people mad. You buy something, the next day is old. People keep saying it:
“It gets old.”
I can’t think of a phrase that can hurt more than that one (well, actually I can and it’s “Meh”, the other tactics are ignoring or silence). For a reason, I feel it’s used in a wrong way because it’s not that it gets old it’s just people get saturated with publicity bombardment and media-hammering (ie: jokes and such, which “get old” though I still laugh at some old tango jokes and those are from 1930.) I also sense it’s used not only to express that something is a couple of months old but also to tell people are, as I said, tired and saturated of it. Are people translating this to relationships too? They dump others in a matter of weeks like tissue paper because even a person “gets old”? Oh I will leave that for another rambling, je.
Mozart’s music, Shakespeare, Aristotle, Borges, Martín Fierro… They all have decades or even centuries with us and they don’t get old in terms of originality, etc. I also thought it could be due to a heavy focus on young people (like me) who supossedly only want cool new stuff permanently to shout about: “LYKE OMG NEWWWW!!!” (I’m only stating how the exclamation should be because I’m not english and I don’t know the true reactions) but the buy-buy-buy campaigns focus on everything, not only the young. They go for everyone, friend and foes alike.
From food to cars and beds and furniture. Tech stuff gets worse because everything is old as soon as its released.
Windows Vienna for 2009? One month after releasing Vista? Please. At this rate I will think about Linux or something else that doesn’t force me into an insane race to a bottomless pit. Each year we have to tolerate version something of the same program as usual. In games, you have the infamous “McDonalds” of gaming, Electronic Arts with their new 2008 versions of everything coming soon. Fear not, others do the same, with the 10th part of the 20th saga of the 5th era and more.
Going back to the fridges… We have two 1980 Siam fridges (OLD pieces of metal) and they still work perfectly, in fact, we keep using one of those since the “New” fridge died tragically after several years of use. No, I don’t think we want to go to a past were military regimes and WWII were close but, at least, I think the whole industry matter should turn on the brakes on the production. No, I’m not begging for less working places, I’m begging for a wise resource administration. The materials used to build this expendable items comes from nature and nature isn’t infinite. It is showing signs of exahustion (haha, it’s “getting old”!) and a rapid decay.
How much plastic and other materials are wasted every month for those unused cells and devices that are already useless as soon as they are out? And what about the tons of CRT monitors without recycling? Everyone may be happy with the LCD screenies but there are still tons of the “old” ones stored everywhere… Same with motherboards, the above-mentioned fridges, “discontinuated” DVD players, TVs… These are the hellish jumps. We are forced to jump to “better” stuff too fast. And at times I don’t think even the supossedly “First World” places can follow this insane races that only happen in the companies’ heads.
At this rate, I’m feeling like an awkward version of Al Gore talking in an awkward english.
Conclusion? Humanity is generating a planteary amount of tech and consumist trash. I think this should be quickly sorted out before we get drowned under 2.9 trillions of useless devices.
I also had a nightmare about this that may turn into a short story…
Sorry if I offended anyone but I wasn’t target people but targetting the ways and techniques of an extremely inefficient system that forces people to keep buying without foreseeing the future! Still, my apologies because I may not be able to discuss things pretty well since my lack of knowledge of the art of rethoric and related things.
Over and out. And despite what seems to be a big chunk of negativity, there are positive things. We are seeing devices that use power better, and others that seem more durable or rely on trust (in software, Mozilla keeps evolving, remains free and “trustable” doesn’t use some sort of invasive Validation and super-mega authentication that requires your ADN and soul to see if you have the right coloured original CD)