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Why So Much Fail in the Digital World?
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Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Why So Much Fail in the Digital World? on 02/07/2010 13:38:07 MST Print View

A good read about gadgets and their effects on us. Obviously, it's productivity and problematic both. But methinks the good thing is that individually, we all actually have a very high degree of control over all this -- if we choose to. Your thoughts?

John Whynot

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: Why So Much Fail in the Digital World? on 02/07/2010 14:27:56 MST Print View

I liked this line:
"People have come to depend too much on gadgets, and fail to plan for the logical possibility that they will occasionally break down."

Perhaps having more realistic expectations about the performance of a gadget would lead to less frustration...

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Why So Much Fail in the Digital World? on 02/07/2010 14:44:00 MST Print View

Forget the 'digital' bit: it isn't the critical bit.

One of the early astronauts was asked how he felt about riding the rocket into orbit and beyond. He replied that it was interesting, BUT he had this concern that the entire thing was built using the minimum cost tender approach.

You want cheap? You get cheap.


Nick Truax
(nicktruax) - F

Locale: SW Montana
Re:Re: Why So Much Fail in the Digital World? on 02/07/2010 20:49:44 MST Print View

"You want cheap? You get cheap."

Says it all. Amen.

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Why So Much Fail in the Digital World? on 02/07/2010 21:01:54 MST Print View

I just can't live w/o tweets telling me that the Doritos commercial was the best of this year's Super Bowl.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
You'd be surprised on 02/08/2010 18:24:04 MST Print View

how few gadgets actually perform a critical function that you can't perform unassisted. Not healthy for the human organism, IMO.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: You'd be surprised on 02/08/2010 19:55:45 MST Print View

I'd argue that NO gadgets perform "critical functions." I consider critical functions as finding shelter, food, water, and companionship. Find a gadget that is essential to that!

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: You'd be surprised on 02/09/2010 13:39:14 MST Print View

+1 for Travis' comment. Gadgets are fun, and sometimes make life easier (though often not), but not essential outside of maybe medical care that could save your life, or a PLB if you end up in a really critical situation.

Mark Regalia
(markr) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz
Actually stuff is very reliable today on 02/09/2010 15:52:48 MST Print View

There was a time in 90's when retailers were seeing something like 25% of new electronics failing out of the box. I remember buying a number of good brands that were defective at turn on. You see that so much today. Part of it is that things are so much more electronic, and digital. This is a good thing for reliability.

But no matter what, there will be failures, and they will stick out. I've been manufacturing electronics for decades. Even the super expensive, extremely heavily tested and screened military hardware fails.

Of course some brands and manufacturers are better than others. And the price doesn't necessarily have any relation to quality. Just ask audiophiles. We'll spend thousands on a amp that the equivalent mass market product costs a couple of hundred and the audiophile stuff is generally less reliable.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Actually stuff is very reliable today on 02/09/2010 16:55:12 MST Print View

Mark makes several good points.

A list of stuff that was once gadgets but that have been made reliable and are now routinely carried could include stoves, mattresses, flashlights, watches, water filters, lighters... heck, matches if you'd like to go that far back (but I'll leave those off my personal list, thanks). Time and refinement have earned them a place in our packs.

The initial post's focus is on digital devices but singling them out might simply be a product of our era and not a telling point of demarcation. Conversely, modern electronics have made many items better rather than worse--e.g., digital watches, solid state flashlights and digital radios perform better and are vastly more dependable than their predecessors.

There's sometimes a squeamishness about "relying on stuff that uses batteries" but that often seems like a canard. Yes, a gps can break or run out of juice. Likewise, a compass can be smashed and a map can be ripped out of a hand by a gale and blown to an adjacent county (ask me how I know). Isn't the important question always, "So, what's your plan when you don't have one of these any longer?"

I'll guess within three or four years backcountry communications will be largely resolved and no longer a question of whether there will be cell reception, whether SPOT will "phone home" or whether yuppies will have S&R running ragged being summoned by their PLBs. Then we can sterss over something completely new.