Technological Foot-Dragging

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Technological Foot-Dragging

Postby Skinjob » Mon Dec 25, 2006 12:00 pm

Form does not always follow function. This is evident by the technological foot-dragging.

Let me explain. When automobiles first hit the market, the manufacturers didn’t want to cause any buyer-shock by deviating too much from the wagon idea. People were comfortable with horse and wagons, so they made the cars look like a wagon without a horse. Soon people started getting used to cars, and the cars morphed into a more functional appearance.

Yet, for a while cars also had hand cranks to start the blasted things. After awhile, electric starters were added, but the crank remained because the electrics were not reliable. But, it wasn’t long before the electrics were reliable, and the engines were too large to crank, even for a gorilla. But the crank remained. People wanted the crank for backup, and also if they wanted a broken arm when it kicked back, and it did. (I never used to see anyone have much luck hand cranking a 1930s V8 Ford back then.) Finally people got used to it, and the crank went away.

Industrial designers of the 1930s and 1940s had a field day playing with symbolism, art, and perceived value. (Yes, when you see something you like in the store, it was designed that way to fit the current fads, and to make you want to buy it.) During the 1920s and 1930s, Art Deco was the in thing; and everything from toasters, cameras, furniture, and cars were all styled in Art Deco, which was a commercial design the had a slight resemblance to “Art Nouveau” which preceded it.

Anyway, Argus camera company had a field day making Deco style cameras that appealed to the public, but were not too good, but good enough. Their greatest success was a camera that was the Volkswagen Beetle of cameras, the “Argus C3”; we all wanted one; and in those days they were the poor man’s “slide camera” because it took 35mm color slides, expensive in those days. But since we didn’t have TV or much else, slide shows were fun. It had enough gadgets and knobs to be interesting, and it looked to the novice what they thought a good camera should look like, and it was cheap. A good step up from the box cameras used by rank amateurs. ... ges/c3.jpg
Marketing followed function, not form.

So now this brings me up to present times where there is confusion in the market place about what a digital still camera should look like. Instead of letting form follow function, the manufacturers are pandering to people’s SLR film fixation from the past. Single Lens Reflex digitals are beginning to look like 35mm Single Lens Reflexes, bulky, awkward, boat anchors. This is technological foot-dragging again. Get rid of the crank, folks! Digital photography is a medium of it’s own, and should develop along its own lines. We don’t need no stinkin buggy whips, hand cranks, and slide rules, no more. Get over it! Let the technology develop in it’s own direction.
Sixty miles per gallon? Not really. Cheap? Nope. Phoney and stupid? Yes, the Prius is global warming on 4 wheels.
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