Tuesday, January 16, 2007

New technology

I hate when a new technology comes out, developers and designers spend additional resources with the new technology, just to mimic some imperfection of an old technology. This statement is best illustrated with examples

  • Some digital cameras make the noise that is similar to a mechanical shutter at the time of shooting. All the user needs is a confirmation that the picture is taken. A simple beep will do just fine. Now that someone needs to make/record/synthesize a sound file to mimic that. What's next? When I put in a new memory card, the camera will make the noise of film being scrolled?
  • There is a world clock widget in Apple's Dashboard. I am not against analog clocks on computers, but if you look closely at Apple's widget, when the second hand moves every second, it shakes back and forth a little before landing on the next second. This is a perfect example of the imperfection of a traditional analog clock. How does this reproduced inaccuracy enhance time measuring? What's next? A pendulum below the clock?
  • Cell phones show reception strength in bars, usually from 0 to 5 bars. I would guess that the actual measurement of the signal strength is a numeric value, but not from 0 to 5. So now the developers have to convert the strength to a 0 to 5 scale, and then draw bars on the screen with increasing sizes? Isn't it easier just to display a percentage number? A 2 digit number will take about just as much space on the screen. Why sacrifice the precision?
  • Some calculator programs on computers display digits like a green 日 shape LCD. Again, it would be easier just to print the digits with regular fonts! Apple's Dashboard again falls into this category.

Doing things like these is just a waste of hardware and human resource. These examples are not so different from a flat screen TV morphing the picture so that the rectangular video frame would have round corners.

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