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Regarding "Old" Technology and Mission-Worthiness




I've regularly heard those who sell newer models of things (boats, cars, machine tools, electronics, guns, watches, etc.) comment that you don't want something because it's "old technology". Let me reply to this standard utterance in advance. That is a talking-haircut's/hobby-thinker's pure fluff comment plucked from thin air which they hope sticks so you buy their shiny new thing. It is literally why "so what?" was invented. Hell yes, it’s old technology... that is actually the point and sorry, I don't feel bad for knowing that. Technology has its place. I work in tech. I actually own a tech company. My hostility is towards the existence and the ignorant acceptance of pointless complexity, and the old/new thing relates to that in that old tech far and away tends to be reduced complexity and thus has a huge list of ways it can't possibly break because those parts and those system states aren't there. My 21 year old truck has ~14 computers in it, a cast iron block, and with 300k miles on it and when I checked last spring, still has factory compression. Of course, I long ago ripped out designed-in mission vulnerabilities like the stupid electro-viscous shocks and replaced the air suspension with archaic springs (mounted in delrin spring perches I made in 30 min in my shop) and still regularly change the eco-utopian "lifetime" transmission fluid. The current year model has over 250 computers, an aluminum block, will (I have personally experienced with their service loaners) steer on its own if it "thinks" you might depart your lane, and its ECU firmware is brimming with many, many more lines of barely considered behavior-defining code written by low-hours millennials/computer-camp grads that defines dozens or thousands or more additional corner cases you don't need to discover at 2am, in the rain, 500 miles from home, and out of cell range. Complexity degrades reliability and mission worthiness and no brand-aware yuppie has ever argued that point and not come out looking like an idiot. Math takes no prisoners despite what fans of "agree to disagree" think. I'll keep mine and I'll take good care of it because I don't want the new one.


Truly notable examples of products with rock star levels of mission-worthiness are simply uncommon and generally not well known or appreciated beyond the tiny cause/effect-fluent minority in the larger population. They are overwhelmingly "old technology". The Western Electric telephone.. the DC3/B52/A10.. the Mercedes W123.. the M1.. the XR400... the Farmall.. and........... the Cummins 6CT. Things that to an extraordinarily large probability will work when you ask them to, often decades after being first placed into service and beyond their initially projected service life. "As dependable as gravity".. no luxury EV brochure will ever say.


To explore further, the reader is gently referred to the Lindy Effect. 




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