Monday, April 29, 2013

Going Back To The Old Skool


I wouldn't call myself old, but I do find myself old enough to remember the last time we had certain things that now seem to be in vogue.

In the 1970s we had cameras that took shots that look just like Instagram's.  In the 1980s, Sony unveiled the Trinitron FST, which had a "Flatter, Squarer, Tube" because we were trying to get away from convex screens.  Once we got very good flat screens, LG unveiled a concave LCD.

We appear to be going back to the Old Skool.

If this keeps up, soon you'll have Netflix with VHS scan-lines and iTunes with record needle popping sounds or CD jumps.  How about a new eBook reader with "page jam" technology?  

Some things from the old days make sense today:  Wind-up items are incredibly important, especially in developing countries, and to be perfectly honest there should be wind-up flashlights and radios in every home in the developed world, too.

We seem to be over-relying on electronics and this is becoming very apparent.

Over the weekend I had to repair a Fisher Price motorised swing. The motor component that failed was available from Fisher Price for quite the fee.  The same component was inside a Freshmatic air freshener from AirWick.  It took all of 10 minutes to dismantle the Freshmatic, which for $12 had provided two AA batteries, a can of manual air freshener spray and the crucial motor I needed for the fisher-price swing.  

When I saw how much circuitry was inside the air-conditioner, my immediate reaction was "Why isn't this wind up?".  Not only would it be greener, but it'd also be cheaper.  We're going down a road where everything seems to be battery powered, motorized, CPU controlled and most importantly, everything is prone to failing in wet conditions.  

I think we need to wake up and re-evaluate where we've ended up here, because it's not immediately apparent until you find yourself in my situation where you're dismantling air-fresheners for electronics parts to repair your baby swing.  What next? Dismantling electric fly-swats so you can repair your photo-frame?

Whilst I find going back to the 70's and 80's humorous from a quality standpoint, there's a certain irony in how we've "progressed" since then.  I can only assume that 30 years from now we'll have things like electric toilet-roll dispensers and other stuff that's also supposed to make life better even though it's inconceivable right now.