Is Progress overrated?


Do we still use outdated things? I used to think the business card would go the same way as the Beastie Boys, the cheque book and New Coca-Cola….. However whilst the three I mentioned are pretty well dead and buried I found myself ordering new business cards. It seems so strange that in a paperless world, with the only thing written on a piece of paper are all your passwords (and that’s f&*cked up if you think about it), why do we still persist in handing over a rectangle of cardboard? I suppose it’s giving a physical thing that underlines the fact you have actually met the person. It’s also a chance to make an impression with the card having a clever design or fancy shape. You know as soon as the person is in the tube or taxi leaving the meeting they will enter the details in their phone and throw the card away…..and yet I just recoil when I meet someone and they simply say, “Give me your email and I’ll send over my details.” It’s a synthetic introduction and you just think the relationship will equally be as false. Which is also why I am not sure sex robots will catch on!

...and another thing

Why can I not bring myself to jettison the contents of three trunks full to the brim with L.P.s, VHS,CDs and DVDs. None are needed anymore. Hard drives save everything now and these things just take up space. And yet…

I think we underestimate the disjointed nature of having something that you really cannot feel or touch yet represents something physical; be it sound alone or in conjunction with moving pictures. I have already remarked on a previous blog (Smile… say cheese… But ♫ hey…you, get off of my cloud) that we will take one trillion photos in 2015 alone, more than 10% of the entire total of photos ever taken. But I still look at my photo albums. In fact I look at these albums far more that the multi megabytes of pictures from the past five years I have on some hard drive. Maybe our brains cannot relate to physical reproduction via something we cannot see and most don’t understand.

...and another thing

I took a pause writing this, with no idea what to say next so went to get a drink. Looking round the house I was struck by the things we still buy; outdated everyday things. Matches not lighters, candles not bulbs, notebooks not iPad, paperbacks not Kindle, newspapers not downloads, a house phone not cell phone and razors not shavers. And then some things that have been around for a while and just not able to be improved on. Umbrellas, mousetraps and the even the loo.

Yet maybe the last one is due for an upgrade. Your loo seat could be a lot more comfortable, with armrests, places to keep magazines and plug in for your iPod. I’m still not convinced about the Japanese loos that seem to do everything from heating the seat to giving you an enema but it is interesting to note that for years they have been banned in the UK. The reason is apparently we cannot be trusted with electrical equipment in the bathroom. Now that’s an idea that is antiquated and outdated that needs to be consigned to history….and flushed away.

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  1. Peter Clark says:

    Excellent blog. The reason business cards are still useful is it gives you an opportunity to decide whether or not you want to keep the details presented. I certainly do not want my phone cluttered up with all and sundry just because I bumped into them at a conference. I actually do think that loos could be improved. I would like mine integrated with a talking book. I could stay in there forever. Even better would be a video device and then I could watch endless Netflix series!

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