An amazing-looking contraption built for the Soviet space program with a mechanical spinning globe and more cogs than an Enigma device.
It's not your imagination, products you buy are worse now. Fashion falls apart. Gadgets become unusable, etc. Mainly due to accelerating market changes rather than a deliberate reduction in material quality alone.
Fast-forward a handful of decades, and now several generations of people are conditioned to buy the new thing and to keep replacing it. Companies, in turn, amp up production accordingly. It’s less so that objects are intended to break — functional planned obsolescence, if you will — but rather that consumer mindsets are oriented around finding the better object
Not The Onion:
When Tahmima Anam set out to write her popular new novel The Startup Wife, she created a world for its characters to live in, including a secretive incubator called Utopia and the fictional startups it helped launch, complete with website. One of those fake companies has captured the imagination of VCs and other investors who don't know it's a fake -- and are interested in funding it.
A long read, but worth it, on how technology reviews have pretty much turned into design fetishism rather than proper evaluation of functionality. It's true that bad reviews have become exceedingly rare.
This report argues that consumer technology reviewers have failed their basic nominal purpose of critiquing tools. Instead, inspired by values introduced by Apple in the late 1990s, the tech review industry prioritizes aesthetic lust as the primary critical factor for evaluating objects. The reification of these values in their scoring system is transmitted to consumers and manufacturers alike. Like other prurient things, the objects designed within this paradigm are optimized not for usefulness but for photogenic and telegenic properties, a framework that finds its fullest realization in YouTube reviews and unboxing videos.
The ubiquitous blinking cursor that we all see without seeing has a long history. It's probably one of the oldest remnants of historical computing that's still there today.
An interesting look at the hype cycle in the tech world using the Theranos story as a starting point.
More generally, many of us have become ground down by tech’s promise to radically rewrite our future, only to find that it’s little more than a rebranding of the past imbalances, designed to supplant one controlling power with another.