Saturday, January 1, 2011

Old vs. New, pt. 2

Home-made fireworks. I make a good-looking round, don't I?

I went shooting the other day. I shot .45 ACP and .38 Special, 100 rounds of each. In terms of caliber, the .45 ACP has been around since 1905, the .38 Special since 1902. There have been no significant changes in their designs in a century, yet they work fine. I was certainly able to hit the target with both.

(I actually shot four guns, two of each caliber. It took three hours to clean them. Ugh. I gotta stop shooting so many guns at once.)

Anyway, I don't totally want to bust on new things. For example, my 1911-type .45 is a classic design, yet has more parts than my .45 Ruger. This is because the 1911 hasn't been changed significantly since the 30's, while the Ruger is a more modern design.

Ruger P-97, stripped. Ain't much to it, is there?

Para 1911-type, stripped. Ain't a whole lot more, but I count two more parts to it than the Ruger has. Also, it's harder to strip as you pretty much need a tool to get it to this point.

So, not all modern things are crap. Still though, the improvement(s) of the Ruger over the 1911 are pretty slight; some people might even prefer the 1911. Also, the Ruger is based on the 1911 (almost all pistols today are).

So, one could say that the Ruger is an old design. Though that's debatable, there's one thing that's not: barring natural disaster, both guns will be working long after both my t.v.'s have crapped out.

Old vs. New, pt. 1

My 19" RCA still works. I bought it around '92, and until '07 or '08 it was my only t.v. That's at least fifteen years of daily duty, and it's still trucking.

Meanwhile, my 42" Vizio crapped out after about 18 months. So, while I'm waiting for it to get fixed (they apparently take their time on warranty work) I'm back watching my little t.v.

I can't believe this was my only t.v.--for fifteen years. Good God, it seems tiny now.

Anyway, is there something about new technology that causes it to become worthless quickly? Why is it that hardcore bikers can roar around on 50's era Harleys while cars made today won't last even twenty years? Is it due to an overbearing urge to make things work better today, even at the expense of longevity?

I recently had to rent a car for a week. It was a 2011 Nissan something or other, with almost no miles on it. First off, I was blown-away at all the controls the thing had. Its dashboard looked like the Space Shuttle's, and even more functions were on one of two turn-signal type levers that required the dexterity of a brain-surgeon to use correctly. It took me almost the entire week to find out how to open the rear hatchback. (It this wonderful futureland, there will be no mechanical button or latch to open your trunk. Oh no, it's a hidden electronic-type button that only works if you first push the "unlock" button twice on your keyfob.) Opening the gas-cap required serious study (that button is down near the driver's knees), and, well...the entire car was nice but overly-complex.

So, how long before all that crap breaks? Does anyone care? I'm guessing not. After all, isn't the name of the game to sell people even more crap that they don't really need?