We had an excellent day yesterday at Central Saint Martins, one of the University of the Arts London campuses, most associated with product design. We started the day with a lecture to second year students about what we have learned working with hundreds of frustrated electronics owners over the past nine months.
Our top 4 messages to future product designers… Continue reading
I am not a technical person.
It may seem strange, being one of the founders of this project, but perhaps that is always what makes me good for this. The technical stuff not only frustrates me – it also really intimidates me, just like most people.
When I first saw The Lightbulb Conspiracy, a documentary about planned obsolescence, I would have never imagined myself battling against one of the featured tricks of printer manufacturers – Epson’s dreaded internal counter/chip. It is an emblem of planned obsolescence, much like the first iPod, where Apple made it impossible to change the battery.
This Saturday, in Willesden Green, a frustrated participant to one of our Restart Parties brought her Epson Stylus D68. She said it died suddenly with no warning and two lights just blinked red and she could no longer print. She had just replaced both ink cartridges.
I did some Googling about her problem and quickly came across a number of people complaining about the dreaded “kill chip”.
UPDATE: The film will screen again on September, Thursday 13, 6:30pm at UCL – it is a free event.
Tonight the documentary “The Light Bulb Conspiracy” debuts in London at the Open City Documentary Festival. Watch the trailer here and join us at 6:45pm for the screening, plus discussion with Social Innovation Camp afterwards about combating obsolescence.
We are attending this event on “Apple Business Model” sponsored by the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (Cresc)
This workshop has a double aim. First, we aim to be more analytic about the Apple Inc’s company business model without assuming this is representative or transferable. Researchers will present argument and evidence about Apple’s multiple sources of advantage in manufacturing, sourcing, branding and architecture and focus on the consequences especially for the supply chain in China. Second, we aim to make the connection with broader academic and practitioner debates about the outcomes of globalization and financialization, specifically about where the good jobs and skills have gone and the effects of shareholder value in the high-income countries.
We enjoyed “Steve Jobs, Kraftwerk and The Curse of Beautiful Technology” by Joshua Kopstein on Motherboard. He touches on something really important here about the “man – machine relationship”, saying that “we must keep our desire for elegant technology in check.” He describes what he calls “the curse of beautiful technology”
the confinement which leaves us unable to pursue our own ideas of beauty and perfection. From within the confines of beautifully integrated systems, we see marketplaces, music services, everything the average person could possibly want. Everything, so you never have to leave. I’ve likened it to living inside a lavish resort hotel: spacious, convenient and attractive, but its walls stay the same color and you know you could never go out back and build a deck. Because it would have to be a white marble deck, with rounded edges, and you would have to be an officially licensed deck-builder.