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Regarding "Old Technology"

Updated: Jun 17, 2022


'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 really is a 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 18 year old truck has about 14 computers in it, a cast iron block, and with over a quarter million miles on it still has factory compression. The current year model has over 250 computers, an aluminum block and will steer on its own if it thinks you might depart your lane. Complexity degrades reliability and mission worthiness. It's math. 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 cause/effect-fluent minority in the larger population. They are always "old technology". The Western Electric telephone.. the DC3.. the Mercedes W123.. the M1.. the XR400... and the Farmall.. Things that to an extraordinarily large probability will work when you ask them too, often for decades after being first placed into service. "As dependable as gravity". To read further, the reader is gently referred to the Lindy Effect. 

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