Feb 7, 2010 at 12:38 pm #1254964
Ben 2 WorldBPL Member
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
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?Feb 7, 2010 at 1:27 pm #1570855
@jdw01776Locale: Southeast Texas
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…Feb 7, 2010 at 1:44 pm #1570866
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
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.
CheersFeb 7, 2010 at 7:49 pm #1570978
Nick TruaxBPL Member
@nicktruaxLocale: SW Montana
"You want cheap? You get cheap."
Says it all. Amen.Feb 7, 2010 at 8:01 pm #1570987
Tom CaldwellBPL Member
I just can't live w/o tweets telling me that the Doritos commercial was the best of this year's Super Bowl.Feb 8, 2010 at 5:24 pm #1571363
Tom KirchnerBPL Member
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
how few gadgets actually perform a critical function that you can't perform unassisted. Not healthy for the human organism, IMO.Feb 8, 2010 at 6:55 pm #1571406
Travis LeannaBPL Member
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!Feb 9, 2010 at 12:39 pm #1571699
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
+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.Feb 9, 2010 at 2:52 pm #1571745
Mark RegaliaBPL Member
@markrLocale: Santa Cruz
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.Feb 9, 2010 at 3:55 pm #1571764
Rick DreherBPL Member
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
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.
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