Now Few Words From Ima
in 1982 I proudly purchased a 19" color TV. It was
a GE for which I forked over a veritable king's ransom
of $300 to the happy minions of K-Mart.
Over the ensuing years I watched as my friends bought ever larger TV sets, units
with digital tuners, projection TV's, plasma TVs, LCD TV's, 6-foot wide HD screens.
The mind boggled.
My friends always smiled at my little TV with its "clunk-clunk" tuner
whenever they dropped in for a visit but I felt no shame at owning a TV so old
that even the burglars wouldn't steal it, and they didn't. To me it was just
a TV, not a reflection of my, you know, grooviness. "Why replace what worked?" I
It eventually gave up the ghost in the Fall of '04, just as Vinny Testaverde
dropped back into the pocket. I had a suspicion it was a Redskins fan all along.
This is the way I typically approach technology in my life. I owned a wonderful
little cell phone for ten years, only replacing it when AT&T switched to
all-digital service, rendering my analog buddy useless. I have the same stereo,
a vintage Sansui, that I took to college in '77. My Apple G4 is seven years old
but I'd still be using my PowerMac 7500 if Apple hadn't abandoned OS9. Honest.
The major appliances in my home have all reached the quarter-century mark and
are doing just fine, thank you very much. I've driven the same car for 35 years.
Why bring this up?
Due to our inexhaustible
need to keep our personal Grooviness Index at enviable
levels we ceaselessly acquire the newest and shiniest
items possible. The sad result is that this good
Earth is rapidly running
out of some of the raw materials necessary to
employ teeming numbers of third-worlders feverishly
laboring at slave wages in order to keep Wal-Mart
open 24 hours a day.
This is especially true of the rare earth elements, the ones vital to the production
of the very computer on which you're now reading this screed of mine. Eventually
they'll disappear or become so rare that they'll be kept in reserve for national
security purposes. What then?
I guess what I'm saying is perhaps we need to dispense with the notion of "old-fashioned".
If something works, use it until it doesn't. There may come a time when we
won't have an alternative.
Oh, and I replaced the old TV with a 21" CRT. It came with a remote control
which I basically use to throw at the cat every time Jerry Jone's face appears.
Addendum: If think my little rant is ever-so-slightly smug
then check out The
Story of Electronics. It offers a bigger picture view of what's wrong with
electronics culture and what can be done to correct it.