Is the old way really better?
For a while now I have been thinking about ageing and retro concepts that refuse to die, if they actually need(ed) to exist at all and whether there is an already pre-defined in the cosmic order, a final utopian manner in which to execute most ideas?
In a parallel universe, where the process of discovery and invention evolved in a different order, we may well have devised the technology to develop the perfectly executed whatever it is right away without first going through a lengthy process of design evolution.
Think about the spherical bath plugs in the movie Brazil. Far more practical than our flat plugs that only fit specific hole sizes and pop out too easily. In the world of Brazil, they got it right first time!
Balls to that!
Let’s consider vinyl audio recordings. No matter how much nostalgia you have for their tactility, be realistic, they are subject to dust, static crackles, wearing, breakage, storage requirements and are not exactly that convenient to transport. Digital audio recorded at a high bit rate and available on demand from almost any device at any location offers a far superior value proposition – even if the business model is still controversial. Of course, DJs understandably prefer the aforementioned tactile ease by which vinyl records can be scratched and mixed, something only the latest all digital ‘turntables’ (such as those from Pioneer) can replicate if you do not want to lug your SL-1200s and vinyl collection around any more.
So hard to let go
Likewise, the tabloid newspaper. Inconvenient to read (with the one exception, when you’re in bed), blown away if you’re outside, tickling your fellow passenger on the tube train, has to be disposed of, stories can become obsolete the second something changes – and if you do let the corner touch that candle, there goes your house! Not to mention trying to find a specific item of content is, as per vinyl records, an effort in time wasting reality searching – whereby keyword searching would make things a tad easier and even help you discover related content.
Reading a news story on an iPad, Nexus 7, Kindle, Galaxy Note or other suitably sized electronic display equipped device is not only more convenient, but in the long term, better for the environment too.
What made me break away from work and finally express my thoughts on this was watching this video put together by Adobe to promote their latest Digital Publishing Suite (at work we subscribe to their excellent Creative Suite), where you see an iPad being used to browse the designer’s portfolio. It is just so fluid, natural and intuitive! Content has been waiting for the (well executed) tablet, not the other way around.
Adobe currently publish countless apps to cope with the various mediums that content is pushed to, from Indesign(tm) for printed tabloids to their latest web friendly apps suited to tablets and other gadgets.
Truth is, why are we even wasting ONE more minute on this planet with paper based media?
1000 less books to box up when you next move
Can you honestly say that it is more convenient to read a colourful publication on a medium (paper) that is lacking in interactivity and so limited in capacity or sharing ability?
Why don’t we globally just stop wasting time with being embedded in a past that may not have happened anyway if we had invented the NOW before the THEN and in the process save a few trees and landfill/recycling energy wastage by accepting our digital fate?
Luddites of the world flame me.
Fight back(wards) club: Move on!
P.S. I don’t mention electric cars because they and the necessary infrastructure is not quite ready to provide a superior alternative to the old way, so the above arguments do not apply – yet.
P.P.S. Yup, I admit, even in 100 years, people will still read paper newspapers, and genetically enhanced 24 hour super DJ’s will still be spinning their thang with passionately preserved 1200s and vinyl.