Friday, January 08, 2010

Built-in obsolescence...

I love technology and I admire good design but I dunno about Nexus Ones. I dunno about iPhones either. I certainly baulk when I walk past Currys Digital and see the POS signage telling me that it's time to buy a new PC. This constant need to update and upgrade and have the latest model and the constant 'development' in incremental steps that never really enhances our lives or significantly changes the way we go about our day-to-day business infuriates me. You buy the latest model today, it's obsolete by the time you've got it out of the box. It's always been thus, of course. If it hadn't been, cars would be rust proof and their parts would never need replacing. These are different days, though, aren't they? Yet the march of technology, to me, seems strangely detached from the everyday reality, needs and requirements of people. At its worst, that superb technology that we're informed (or persuaded) we crave is overpriced and, by being so, is dividing society, creating an even greater gulf between the haves and have nots. So, yes, these should be different days. Aside from the utter pointlessness of accumulating a lot of material goods and the futility of spending an ever-decreasing amount of disposable cash on said goods, there's a need to be green, to develop products that don't become obsolete, that last beyond a small part of a single year. Maybe the iPhone or the Nexus One will be that, if we're allowed to update their operating systems in perpetuity. Maybe they won't. But at some point we'll have to draw the line and start demanding goods that last, well, a lifetime. That would be a good thing, wouldn't it?

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