Showing posts from March, 2012

Round-the-World cities: Seattle

The most recent city in the Round-the-World series is one that I got to spend a day in during my most recent America trip; having a free weekend, and friends from Sydney who recently moved to the area, I flew my way north from San Jose up to Seattle, Washington, home of the Space Needle (pictured left).

It's an interesting place - being located so far North (bordering Canada) it's much closer to my preferred environment (dark-green trees, mountains, snow peaks, ...) and a welcome change from California - what's more, being winter, I did get to experience snow / frozen-rain, a climate I actually quite enjoy.

Before visiting, I didn't really know what to expect - I'd heard of Sleepless in Seattle, but having not watched it, the only cultural reference that gave me any insight into what it would be like was Grey's Anatomy, based in a fictional Seattle hospital -  so I'd heard of the Space Needle, but that was about it.

My first impression was that the public tran…

Planned Obsolesence #2: Future

This is a follow-up on my first post on Planned Obsolesence - the design principle of making things last shorter than they need in order to drive demand and increase production. There's some good discussion on the related Google+ post on both negatives and positives; e.g the increase in waste vs the extra cost of inventing/making materials that will last that long and providing support.

Today's post instead features something I've mused about before - automation of jobs. You see, as mentioned last post, we have the Man-in-the-White-Suit issues where making stuff that lasts longer negatively impacts both manufacturing companies (selling fewer things) and their employees (less stuff to get paid for making). With the increase in automation, we're still making as much stuff, but the employees don't get to make it.

It's easy to see why it's happening, but hard to know whether it's good or not - take content distribution for example. It used to be that an autho…