Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Resisting Obsolescence

Note: This is a Caitlan Post. I know it is confusing because I am a contributor to this blog but rarely post

This is going to be a post about my cell phone and obsolescence. (obsolescence is simply things becoming obsolete, that is, useless or unwanted, because they break down over time or are replaced by more desirable products. I suppose it is inevitable for a lot of things, but also it is deliberate (planned obsolescence) on the part of marketers and producers, which is manipulative to consumers, and bad for the environment.

In a way obsolescence is just part of progress, and entropy, but it is taken to a massive extreme for the middle class in the US. I am very taken by the little rhyme "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" but also, incidentally, I am not content owning old boring things. I think this is a clash of my desire to be in charge of my own purchasing decisions and the desire to have new awesome things instilled in me by, idk, society.

So, obsolescence in the case of my cell phone (I have the kind on the right in the image at the top):
The motorola RAZR phone debuted in 2004, 5 years ago. The hot pink version came out in 2006. By 2007, the nicest phone everyone wanted was an iPhone, but at my high school everyone still wanted a pink razr because not that many phones are pink. My friend Dr. Danielle gave me her Dad's pink razr, and I was very excited. Then in 2 years it got a little scuffed, and also everyone has got an iphone and razrs are old now. But I think they are the best cell phone for calls because of the shape when opened (they are a bit slow for texting compared to the ones with keypads).

So basically, it is still a good phone but it is obsolete because
1. function: people like to text more than they call people (I am always vaguely surprised to hear my ringtone, in fact)
2. form/style:
A. It looks very distinctively like the phone people wanted in 2004, and is thus "old" (ok, I would not wear jeans from 'o5...)
B. Also, the color of pink is out of style now- (yes, really. pink phones released recently are either a silvery metallic pale pink, a pale pearly pink, or have tones of coral or something. My phone is bright pink.)

So. I could just carry on liking my phone. But, I didn't.

Nice, right? I think it is hard to throw away (or even want to) a little cyclops even if you have had it for 2 years, can't send photos, and the iphone can navigate with a gps.* So, yeah, this is an example I guess of revamping something/recommitting to it by investing a bit of effort.

*I *love* driving new places when my passenger has an iphone. GPS is so cool. Instead I am making a set of direction cards (like the boxes of recipe cards)to keep in my car. Because a GPS is I think $200, and google maps is free. I am using obsolete card catalog cards and I am going to make them a little box decorated with a map that I use for collages. They are pierced on one side and I am wondering if I could make a tiny stick semi permanently fixed to the dash so I can post them. If my steering wheel were magnetic this would be more straightforward.

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