Sunday, December 5, 2010

:) Reformat Me!

Reformat Me!

Technology is "crack", it seems. When the Beatles released their “new stuff” on iTunes, I shook my head, again.

Technology is based upon planned obsolescence: designed to last a few years, to be replaced by the next "shiny gotta-have-it-gadget". Seems like most line up for the new toys. "Got to be first, so I can be different, like all the other different people".

Wish they lined up to vote or help save the planet, like that. Perhaps the GOP will give a “free” “Shiney9000” preloaded with Conservapedia for each "smart" Palin voter in 2012? Maybe that is against the law, so , will they have to stick to just "corporate funded lies" again?

I have designed many systems: some corporations would "joke around" and ask to make it “kinda breakable" or "moderately robust" so it goes "bust" when it hits the ground. Oops, did I say that? I have a book on it (Making Technology Happen). Lots of charts and math to "maximize innovation". This book discusses high technology, mostly.

Most technology breaks when it hits the ground. Designers plan it like that, that is their instruction from the "product marketing experts". When a cellphone is dropped or dropped in the toilet, it is designed to fail. Why? So you buy it again. The cost of repair is “prohibitive”. That is why we have $500 "throw away" phones. People love “the next one” more. I have seen girls that pray their phones break, so they can upgrade to the new "pink" one. Even more entertaining are vegans with cellphones.

Makes you wonder about that "old hardcore" Beatles fan: They bought: the original vinyl records, the 8 tracks, the cassettes, the CD's, the MP3s, now the iTunes. Amazing "free market" business model!

See, markets are leveraged on overconsumption and this “planned obsolescence” to “stay in the black” for next quarter. Being able to repair electronics is a no-no. They need all “the lemmings” to go and by the next “bleeding edge” of technology. Is this “sustainable”? Some marketing firms tell you that Apple is “sustainable”. How their operations are sustainable and their products are recyclable. What about the resources to make them? Are they sustainable? Now, I see "green" cellphones: 30% recycled plastic. Wow! But what about the electronics? That is where the energy is burned, the most.

Is it "sustainable": what does that mean, exactly? Is it "green"? There is no standard definition, something the marketing firms use for "schlep-ization".

Poor Willie Lowman, if only he had planned obsolescence and a website!

When you buy your music, by law, you own the rights to play the song? You cannot copy it or copy to sell it. Okay, that sounds fair. So, why do people have to buy "the same songs six times"? It makes the corporations tons of money using forced innovation. Why create new stuff when you can innovate the format and sell it all again? Better yet, get the music industry and electronic industry together to form a "mutually beneficial partnership". All you need is an MBA and no conscience for our planet.

Same with televisions: CRT, plasma, projection, LCD, HD and now 3D TV. Keep innovating in small steps and let the consumer gobble up the new shiny stuff. Some buyers are very keen to do it. Cannot wait to watch Dr. Strangelove in 3D! "Ridem' cowboy"! Or even this!

I remember living in Windsor, Ont. The CBC channel sucked, when I was there. I did not buy cable, all I had was TVO / CBC and Fox News. It was fun to contrast the three, for quality. TVO: loaded with information. CBC: all fuzzy and vacant. Fox News: I called it "the murder channel". I could watch the Fox “news”, which was a "fear-based murder role call for the day" and maybe a "cute Christian puppy story" for that "ounce of hope".

My “rabbit ears” system, on my TV, was totally ghosted. I would watch a hockey game, not a sports fan anymore, and I saw two pucks. Irritating? Kind of, for a few minutes. Our brains adapt to the visual, we take in, then the image is corrected in our minds. Our "imaginations take over". After 2 or 3 minutes, I would “forget” that there were 2 pucks and my brain fixed it. Amazing! After you are watching an HD image, same thing. Wow, at first, then our brains interpret the story, not the quality of the image. Our imaginations are in “4D-Ultra Non-Linear Picture Quality”**** and they can "guess the next scenes".

Our consumption habits need to be upgraded to “Reality 1.1”? Yes.

So, really, do we need all this reformatting? Filling the landfills with the “passe” and passing our cash over for the “Next Thing 1.1”.

If you are a "product channel executive", at an electronics company, talk to me. Our company used to design military laptops that could drop 25 feet onto concrete, waterproof and could have components upgraded, quickly. See, in battle, they need reliable equipment, so thats what the government regulated, quality. "They" were the customer, and with "tax dollars in hand", no expense was spared. The old “if it saves just one life” bit? Do we have the choice?

Do you think the government would define regulations, that would benefit “Joe the Consumer”, the way they regulate the "quality standards of military equipment"? Would they improve product requirements to help protect our investments in products and our environment? They do it for military, why not us? Because “regulations hurt the economy”. Interesting? Not really. "Same 'ole", for me.

Wake up, make changes and say no! Say “I will not keep buying this stuff to support the destruction of our environment”. I dream of the day Apple comes out with the iNewspaper 1.0 and consumers boycott buying on the launch date, by 3 months. Apple would be "kaput", out of business. Can humans possibly resist such new toys? No. When Hannah Montana is schilling the next “Disney Pop-Culture Upgrade”, the teen girls feed on it. Do the boys look and say “I need that to attract girls”? Not sure. Not going to get into “product peer pressure” psychology. Its actually a science for maximizing consumption habits.

I love music. I bought a reasonable stereo with very high quality sound (Class A Amplifier, an old military specification) and incredible speakers made in Canada ( Energy Connoisseur Series: A “monitor” speaker). My CD player is a bit junky. Never buy a NAD CD player. I could buy another, but, it does the job.

My Amp is only 35Watts, but high current. It weighs a lot, heavy. Loaded with transformers and high power solid state electronics. No treble, bass, nothing. Just a switch and a volume knob, and of course a channel selections switch. Simple quality.

35 Watts sounds wimpy, but it can deliver ~450 Watt “Dynamic Bursts” due to its high current. Compare this to you standard IC amplifier ( “the chip amp” in all electronics ). My system always puts them to shame. But, even "my kinda" equipment attracts the super-over consumer ( 1000W Mono-block Class A amplifier usually starts at $80,000 to $160,000 a pop, and you need two of them, one for each speaker) don't forget your $30,000 8 foot speaker cables. Would not want "the guys to laugh at you".

Of course, this is completely unnecessary, but, remember, buying quality items that perform well and last, is less harmful to our environment. My stereo is now over 10 years old. Spent $1,200 bucks for a complete 35 Watt system. Works great! I am happy. It has lasted. Music, for me, is listening to what the artists recorded. No signal processing to pretend I am “in a cave” or “in the concert hall”. Just an honest representation of what the “mixing dude” put with the artist.

So, look at your next purchases. How long will they last? How well do they perform? How does cheap equipment stack up to buying quality? In the long run, you will thank yourself for thinking it through. Consume smarter!

Glenn Gould never sounded better! Thats what I wanted! Thats what I got! Some people think I am a music snob, but, in reality, I just want my simple music. I have loaded my "Glenn Collection" on my computer, but, it sounds terrible. I have heard the sound quality on iPods, same thing. That is my opinion. Some audiophiles shutter at the quality of CD's, but, they last longer than "Master Vinyl" records at $100 a pop.


P.S. - Genius is curiosity? Genius is sharing ? Makes you wonder why Glenn “disliked people”.

**** - December 7th Brain News! More self validation! Thanks Duke University! You guys are sma-rt!

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