Technology is not magic and sometimes in the rush to get the latest toys we forget some simple truths. The biggest is KISS. As Sipp points out here.
This is the latest in a long and entertaining series about having to deal with a clog and the worst part of pluming and waste removal.
Thanks to the way that plumbing is modular and that even century old pipes can be repaired with stuff that fits into the old pipe, the job was straight forward as plumbing ever gets. Of course all too many plumbing tasks are not straight forward. Sometimes plumbing tasks get made less straight forward by succeeding generations of plumbers. I would really like to know which plumber removed the shutoff valves that were installed in my shower to enable the washers to be changed. That one turned a ten minute DIY job into a plumber job because the main had to be shut off at the tap outside.
The fact is that the simple light switch is pretty unhackable, unlike say an android pad. there comes a time when there is just too much technology.
Now, the trend in tech, at least mostly in electronics has been ever more unitary designs. It’s been the trend to make things unrepairable. I recently tore down an old Kodak printer who’s only real problem was a broken rubber wheel. Yet there was no way to take it apart to make the replacement and the printer needed to be thrown out. Good For Kodak, maybe, not so good for the user. Of course what happens it the user changes brands? Then Kodak, HP or Canon no longer sells inks to that customer. A few design changes and the wheel could have been made replaceable. admittedly that would have meant keeping a parts inventory, but the extra inks sold might have made the difference. Smartphones are probably the worst case for this because you have to change them frequently. There’s also the issue of the broken glass screen.
In a way the smartphone is a victim of it’s own success. The two top companies have so much invested in them that they can’t change the architecture very much. So each new phone is pretty much like the last one. as opposed to the chaos of China. The thing is that due to the closing in by IP protection of even the simple parts of the phones construction, nobody can hack one into something new. That isn’t helped by the lack of a part and kit electronics industry here in the states that can handle retail electronics. like in out computers, DIY and self repair is discouraged.
I think that we lose a lot in making things more complicated. when PC’s were fairly new back in the early 1990’s I could do just about everything that needed to be done from replacing boards and hard drives to manipulating the operating system. I wouldn’t feel comfortable opening up my laptop and I’m not sure what improvements I could make or what would happen if I screwed up. It’s probably going to have to wait until I can get a new machine. As for the OS, fuhgedatboutit.
In many ways by making ever more sophisticated and complicated devices we seem to have lost our send of technical adventure. The good news is that it seems to be coming back. the maker movement is growing stronger seemingly every day. I do see one problem though. There are all too many selling maker products that want to get away from the KISS open source model and back to the restricted proprietary model. Which is wrong because the whole point is to have an adventure creating new things.
Here’s some more maker posts.
And the ongoing Let’s Build series.
Update: Adam Savages first car.
Of course cars have reached the point that the owner may not fully own the software and working on anything is a huge pain in the butt.