_Blank_ Is Dead

Why the obsession with death? When did the tech industry turn into Goth?

There are so many blogs and websites declaring the death of this, or that. (PCs, Macs, Silverlight, GIS, Privacy, Google+, MySpace, SEO, Poerty, Facebook, As400 ) It’s like they want to be the first who called it. Arrogance and pride drives the need to be right or first. (That’s soooo 12 seconds ago) I understand, No one wants to be holding the HD DVD or Betamax player, but can we all just relax and take a deep breath? Who started this trend anyway? In 1790 Edmund Burke declared “The age of chivalry is gone.” Ever since then we have been scrambling all over each other to be the first to notice the decline of something.

Now, I’m all for change. I like change. Change is a part technology as much as aging is a part of life. As a society of technologists and geographers we have to accept and advance with change. But how pretentious is it to outright delcare the end of an idea, product or movement ahead of it’s time and without ever being a part of it? Granted, everything and everyone is replaceable. Also, because of entropy eventually everything will be replaced. However, change is no more death than the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly is. Did the caterpillar die? No. Did he change? Completely.

How do you know if something is slowly dying or simply changing? I think there’s two ways; Authoritative Decisions and/or Time. Authoritative example: HP deciding to discontinue their touchpad tablet. It’s dead because the company who makes them says so. (even then they doubled in price on eBay) Also in this category is Google Buzz and Wave, if the company pulls the plug, it’s done. End of story. Time example: School Filmstrips and  Ditto Machines. They’re dead because there is a cheap, viable replacement and no one (other than your hipster-etsy-sister-in-law) uses them anymore. Current school aged children will never know that ding of the filmstrip audio or the smell of that purple ink on a ditto paper.

On the other hand, overhead projectors have changed. My kids kept talking about their teachers using overhead projectors. I said, “WOW really?! like they  write on the clear transparency film and crank the roll to a new clean place for notes?” <rolls eyes> “No Dad, it’s a document camera, You are so old!” Seems the company that made those hot and dangerous overhead projectors now makes a cheap portable document camera. Change, not death.

Silverlight is not dead, Flash is not dead. Sometime in the future we will stop using these technologies (both parent companies have stated their sunset plans), but it’s a few years away. HTML5 may be the future but it isn’t for now. GIS is not dead, nor are PCs.  These things are changing. We really need to get over this pretentious obsession with being the first to declare something dead, it’s morbid.

Edit: in searching links for this entry I found this other great post from a few short weeks ago. Seems like I’m not the only one annoyed with this trend.