Photos of dead media


Arguably in most cases these media formats needed to die. They were replaced by vastly superior products. Maybe I’m alone in this, but it seems that increasingly I’m seeing new formats that might be better in small ways but that we’re really encouraged to adopt solely because they’re new.

Granted most of these changes are coming in the form of software “upgrades”. For instance the difference between my iPhone iOS 6 and 7 seems to be largely aesthetic–and one I’d undo if I could. But what happens when, for instance, Amazon stops supporting earlier versions of the Kindle, making it impossible to read new books on them, even if the new models are basically the same thing with an extra bell or whistle? These new formats are pushed because they’re new, even if they aren’t better, and with little if any thought about the impact of constant change.

The series coda should give us pause.

I find these gizmos fascinating. I grew up on 8-track tapes, which pretty much pins down my DOB to a 15-minute window. Maybe when I have a good deal of spare time and money I’ll make it my mission to buy and restore and actually program these fantods, because you know the day is coming when it will be the only way to stop Colossus.

I’ve got reel to reel tapes and vinyl records from 50 years ago that still function completely. Cant say the same for certain “non-relic” storage formats.

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In time you will learn to love Colossus.

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I don’t think this is in anyway a new phenomenon, though. Abandoning recently made tech for shiny new things is part of planned obsolescence and has really been around since the early 20th century, when we really started to become a consumer society. It’s what happens when you have an economy mostly based on consumerism. It’s why we were told to shop post-9/11, because that’s what our economy is based on - our ability to consume. And it’s driven by corporations, not just for their own profitability, but in order to keep the population able to buy their stuff. A smart corporation knows that they need a middle class with disposable income to be able to buy their stuff. This is why the prices for things like flat screen TVs, nice refrigerators, and certain kinds of poorly made, but fashionable clothes have kind of bottomed out, while the prices for actually necessities like food have been on the rise (by food, I mean good, healthy foods). I think I saw some charts on this phenomenon not too long ago, but I can’t remember where I saw them now… If I find them, I’ll update with a link to them.

But I think in the past decade, we’ve reached new heights on this capitalist logic. We’ll see where it takes us, this kind of disposable culture.

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