Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Why Retro Technology Never Dies
The demise of the pay phone came a bit after the end of the typewriter, but I think the two sort of show how the things that were really commonplace twenty or thirty years ago are all but gone today. Finding typewriter ribbons is a chore in and of itself (unless you're using Amazon.com, of course) and finding a working pay phone is somewhat similar to that. Five or six years ago, it was evident that pay phones were being unceremoniously ripped from poles and removed from places like convenience store parking lots and things of that nature. Now, it's considered news to see people using one.
This does arc back to technical writing--specifically, how useful is technology when it is more than evident that the limitations of that technology will send people back to a retrograde device like a pay phone? I would say that everything that is done, with regards to some sort of technology study or to a study about evolving consumer trends, should come with some sort of realization that many of the new technologies we have come to accept and use everyday are, at best, simply upgrades on things that worked pretty darned well back in the day.