Over on Gizmodo, John Herrman takes TV manufacturers to task for pitching all these widget-enabled internet-connected “smart TVs.” He says:
So, here’s the idea: Just buy dumb TVs. Buy TVs with perfect pictures, nice speakers and and attractive finish. Let set top boxes or Blu-ray players or Apple TVs take care of all the amazing connectivity and content afforded to us by today’s best internet TVs. Spend money on what you know you’ll still want in a few years—a good screen—and let your A/V cabinet host the changing cast of disposable accessories. [...]
And TV manufacturers: Don’t just make more dumb TVs. Make them dumber.
I love the exhortation: Make them dumber! Yes, we want stuff that’s even dumber and more durable and more flexible. We want stuff we can plug into other stuff forever.
It does seem true that in the places where requirements are clear—this must make a good picture—and interfaces consistent, things you buy can actually find their footing and hold steady in the swirl of the shiny new.
I’d love a directory of these steadfast components. I feel like my Samsung TV (very dumb) might be a candidate. The 24″ Dell LCD I’ve had at home for five years would definitely go in that directory—I think these Dell monitors are widely recognized as the, like, basic black t-shirts of computer components at this point.
But what else? And what about other domains? Certainly, a good cast-iron frying pan is a kitchen component. There’s probably some classic kind of shoe that, thanks to its timelessness and durability, has reached component status (I do not know what it is). And there are probably some components in here, right?
We can’t expect stability in durability in every domain yet. There’s not going to be a component-caliber tablet computer for quite a while, obviously. But where components are available… where things are dumb and durable… man, that’s the good stuff. That’s the stuff I find myself wanting more and more of.
What are your favorite components—either things you have or things you’d like to get?
Another update: Tim Maly goes deeper with “shearing layers.”
1. pull a Carmody v. to leave a comment that exceeds the original post in insight and value.