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Digital Generation, Analog Retro Chic

Hemos posted about 10 years ago | from the the-joy-of-old-skool dept.

Technology 419

securitas writes "The New York Times' Juliet Chung writes about the latest technology trend: the growing popularity of analog technology with a generation that has grown up digital. 'Yesterday's technology designs are becoming popular among those in their teens and 20's eager to usher back a time they experienced only barely, if at all.' An MIT graduate student interviewed for the article, Ali Rahimi, was tired of the 'impersonal, unthinking' nature of modern technology, so he hacked an old telephone handset together with his mobile phone with the rationale, 'The handset has been going through about a hundred years of evolution in design and ... have the perfect shape.' According to Brown University technology historian Steven Lubar, 'When the available technology converges at a certain performance threshold ... consumers begin to base their choices on nontechnical considerations'. Chung also includes a sidebar that lists some of the new retro analog devices and interpretations, ranging from radio PC case mods to ancient clunker cell phones. Any other cool or interesting retro analog devices or hacks out there?" I've personally enjoyed owning tube amps on and off - the sound warmth, whether it be psychological or real, is definitely different then solid state amps.

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Frosty post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10296881)

YEY!

n+1th post (-1, Offtopic)

LiMikeTnux (770345) | about 10 years ago | (#10296882)

n+1th post, bitches, oh and microsoft SUCKS

Re:n+1th post (-1, Offtopic)

dabneyd (538616) | about 10 years ago | (#10296894)

Please die.

Re:n+1th post (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10296949)

got any crack? i like smoking it all day

Anyone (5, Funny)

JaffaKREE (766802) | about 10 years ago | (#10296890)

Anyone else reminded of the Futurama episodes where Bender rebelled against technology ? And de-upgraded himself to wood ? I know you are. I really want one of those RX-1000 robot workers.

Re:Anyone (4, Funny)

Baron Eekman (713784) | about 10 years ago | (#10297038)

It reminds me of a joke in the Dutch comic series "Fokke & Sukke [foksuk.nl] ", which goes something like this:

Fokke & Sukke are amazed by today's technology

(picture of them listening to a radio)

"Incredible, you hear music instantly"
reply: "Without having to log on to the internet"

Re:Anyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10297083)

Fokke and Sukke?

That sounds like a porno!

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10296892)

noonch

First fecal post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10296893)

Oh my! My anus flutters like a butterfly - at the thought of having a first post!

Re:First fecal post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10296973)

i like anal too

GOATS
GOATS CLICKEY [goat.cx] WOOT

Its briefly not barely (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10296896)

"usher back a time they experienced only barely, if at all.' " it should say briefly not barely. Learn grammer..

Re:Its briefly not barely (0, Troll)

JaffaKREE (766802) | about 10 years ago | (#10296951)

usher back a time they experienced only barely, if at all
It should say briefly, not barely. Learn grammar.

pwned?

Re:Its briefly not barely (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10296953)

Learn to spell grammar.

Pot... Kettle... (-1, Troll)

garcia (6573) | about 10 years ago | (#10296956)

it's grammar, learn to spell.

Re:Pot... Kettle... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10297008)

Please stop spreading your racist hatemongering here on Slashdot.

Attention Moderators: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10297137)

User garcia is a known troll. Please mod down.

For the sake of grammar pedantics, you did not capitalize the first letter of your sentence. Hypocrite.

Re:Its briefly not barely (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10296982)

it's 'grammar', not 'grammer'. Learn spelling...

Re:Its briefly not barely (1)

julesh (229690) | about 10 years ago | (#10297057)

"usher back a time they experienced only barely, if at all.' " it should say briefly not barely. Learn grammer..

That sentence is perfectly valid, from a grammatical basis. (Or should I say grammetical?)

Perhaps you should suggest they learn better vocabulary, but then again, that's even harder to spell...

I disagree, anyway. Barely is a valid choice in that sentence. It isn't as _good_ as briefly, which is more precise in its meaning, but it does the job adequately, I feel.

it's true (3, Funny)

Transient0 (175617) | about 10 years ago | (#10296900)

everyone i klnow wears an anolg watch.

now if i only someone would release Doom 3 for my fluid-dynamics-based analog computer.

Re:it's true (1)

m2bord (781676) | about 10 years ago | (#10296942)

i would love an analog watch with the same functionality of my casio (planner/phonebook/multi-timers).

i strongly suspect this all goes back to the comfort things that people are seeking in our post 9-11 world.

and let's face it...sometimes the things that brought us comfort or made us feel at home as children can sooth our battered nerves as adults.

Re:it's true (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10297070)

Yeah, cause obviously all modern trends can be traced back to a single incident that didn't kill even a tenth of the number of Bangladeshis who have died from floods over the same period.

Honestly, stop whining about 9-11, OK? We're sick of hearing about it.

Sincerely yours,
The Rest of the World

"Post 9/11"??? (5, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 10 years ago | (#10297093)

i strongly suspect this all goes back to the comfort things that people are seeking in our post 9-11 world.

I'm fed up of the phrase "post 9/11" being used to explain changes in fashion and taste. Frankly, it would be easy to 'explain' most trends in this way, and I believe it's impact in this area has been grossly overstated.

Fact is, digital watches have not been "cool" since sometime in the 1980s, and they are now coming back into fashion, this time as *retro*.

I don't accept that *this* is down to 9-11; it is more likely to be another retro trend. The early 80s were a *long* time ago now; too long ago to be passe' any more, so let's revive it, goes the reasoning.

Re:it's true (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10296959)

a fluidic computer would most likely be digital

Re:it's true (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 10 years ago | (#10296977)

everyone i klnow wears an anolg watch.

Alas, how many are wind up vs. quartz?

Re:it's true (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 10 years ago | (#10297105)

And even the good wind-ups are quartz nowadays.

Re:it's true (1)

Zog The Undeniable (632031) | about 10 years ago | (#10297011)

I know the parent was modded Funny, but when I did my chemical engineering degree analog controls based on compressed air were running 99% of plant. They were reliable, gave smooth operation and didn't burn out like electric motors if, for example, a valve became jammed.

These days PLCs and stepper motors are taking over because they're cheaper and easier to hook up to computers. Oh well.

Actually (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10297039)

It is damned hard to use a digital watch as a compass, bet you dorks did not know you could use one as a compass. When your GPS crud fails, and it will, I can still navigate using an analog watch.

Watches? Just say no. (2, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | about 10 years ago | (#10297061)

everyone i klnow wears an [analog] watch.

Well, it's true you don't know me but I haven't worn a watch in about five years. I feel a lot less stressed without one, and I'm still able to keep track of time. I need to know when to leave the house - my ordinary clocks will tell me that (as will my body clock), I need to know what time it is at work - my computer will tell me that. I need to know what time it is to catch my train - the station clocks will tell me that. And, if it any moment I need to know the time I can look at my mobile phone, or simply ask someone if my phone isn't charged.

I imagine there'll always be someone for whom it's absolutely vital, but for the rest of you - try this for a while. Feels odd at firt, but you soon find it quite liberating not caring if you're running 1 minute 23 seconds late as compared to yesterday. Relaxation is sure to follow.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:it's true (4, Insightful)

vrai (521708) | about 10 years ago | (#10297079)

People wear analogue watches because they look much nicer than tacky digitals. Wrist watches are essentially jewellery that is culturally acceptable for both men and women to wear. That fact that analogue displays are more readable at glance is merely a bonus.

WALL STREET (1, Funny)

_PimpDaddy7_ (415866) | about 10 years ago | (#10296902)

...ranging from radio PC case mods to ancient clunker cell phones.

YES! Now I can own that same model cell phone Gordon Gecko used on his beach front property in the movie Wall Street! I've been waiting to use a cell phone just like that!

Re:WALL STREET (2, Funny)

genka (148122) | about 10 years ago | (#10296930)

And I want my cell phone with built in film camera!

Re:WALL STREET (2, Funny)

DogDude (805747) | about 10 years ago | (#10296940)

Since I was a little kid, I've always aspired to be a high stress, coke-snorting, morally-bankrupt NYC corporate pirate screaming into a giant bag phone, on the verge on an anneurism and a heart attack. Ah the 80's.... Good times. Good times.

analog is obsolete (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10296903)

fact it, if you only know analog, your career as an EE is numbered. I fired my last analog EE last week - the guy was stark raving mad, mumbling about some type of sea-moss. Those analog only guys belong in an old folks home

Re:analog is obsolete (1)

FLOOBYDUST (737287) | about 10 years ago | (#10296975)

OK i'll bite an obvious troll post... After I picked myself up off the floor from laughing so hard I just have one question...... What is at the root of all your lovely digital toys??? cough cough.. sputter sputter .. transistors.... FETs or bipolar.... cough cough...

Re:analog is obsolete (4, Insightful)

bsd4me (759597) | about 10 years ago | (#10297000)

It is also interesting how many digital problems turn out to be analog in nature: termination, noise, signal coupling, power, etc.

It's novelty, not design (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10296908)

People want something different, not something better. The handset of an old analog phone is by no means better or more ergonomic than a good cellphone, but it looks odd and you can't buy it, so it sets its owner apart.

Re:It's novelty, not design (1)

Roadkills-R-Us (122219) | about 10 years ago | (#10296995)

TI agree that some people want different instead of better, but certainly not all.

And the fact is that (some of) the old handsets are more ergonomic; they just fit the purpose perfectly.

This is no way mitigates the fact that some folks want different or "cool".

Most choices that people look at as mutually exclusive (exclusive or) turn out to be either/or (inclusive or). This is one of them.

i agree .. (1)

torpor (458) | about 10 years ago | (#10296999)

.. its not 'better', its just 'different'.

face it, there really isn't any good reason for technologys' made pace. its fed by the consumerican 'keeping up with the joneses' white-picket fence factor, and pretty much not much else.

most people, for example, hardly even use %30 of the average power their computing devices are capable of producing.

it is consumericanism, plain and simple, to even compare analog to digital. all that so-called 'old tech' is still just as applicable today as it was X-days ago.

old tech isn't! its still tech! tech is what works, no matter how old it is!

stop the race to the cliff, everyone! technology updates at the speed of light are not needed and not required for us all to live happy, productive, enriched lives ...

(i'd be quite happy to have an 'old' analog stereo system right now. as long as i could control it without getting out of my chair/web-browser, that is ... ]wink[)

Re:i agree .. (0, Offtopic)

tony_gardner (533494) | about 10 years ago | (#10297092)

I realise this is a bit offtopic, bit I moderated in the discussion on word frequency before I saw your post:

I have to learn German. I need the 86,000 most-commonly used German words. This would give me a nice target of words to get to know in the process of learning it ...

And since I'm also an English speaker in Germany I thought I'd note that typing "word"+"rank"+"german" into google returns plenty of sites including:
http://german.about.com/library/blwfreq01.htm [about.com]
which only has the top 1000, but that's not a bad start.

In all honesty, I find that the word frequency depends a lot on your environment. Are you speaking in a pub with a bunch of welders or are you reading scientific literature? You'd be much better off just keeping a little notebook and writing down words you see more than once.

I also find that leo http://dict.leo.org/ [leo.org] is pretty good for a lot of stuff that doesn't make it into standard dictionaries.

Good luck,

Tony.

Re:It's novelty, not design (3, Insightful)

julesh (229690) | about 10 years ago | (#10297090)

The handset of an old analog phone is by no means better or more ergonomic than a good cellphone, but it looks odd and you can't buy it, so it sets its owner apart.

I disagree. Standard phone handsets have been designed to be comfortable to use. They fit around the side of your head, and can be pressed against your ear while the mouthpiece is reasonably close to your mouth. You can hold on to them by gripping between your shoulder and your head.

Mobile phones are designed to fit in your pocket. They're too small, they're flat and they have buttons on them, all of which prevent them from being as good for the purpose of being a handset as a proper handset is. But of course, proper handsets aren't ideal for putting in your pocket...

Nothing says retro like tube amps (5, Interesting)

KennyP (724304) | about 10 years ago | (#10296913)

And all of the ones I've built in the past 5 years have no cases - the tubes are exposed so you can see them. Real retro. Real power (400W/Ch). Real sound. Even makes 128kbps MP3s sound good!

Kenny P.
Visualize Whirled P.'s

Vacuum Tube Logic and Analog Computing (2, Interesting)

Alien54 (180860) | about 10 years ago | (#10297058)

Cool, now all we need is to return to programming in Tube Logic [stanford.edu] . This is definitely not programing in Binary, because you can program logic conditions with varying values of "1". although you usually didn't

Be sure to check out the analog computer museum [vwh.net] , among [play-hookey.com] others [wikipedia.org]

And don't forget about relay logic [ibiblio.org]

Re:Nothing says retro like tube amps (3, Funny)

brxndxn (461473) | about 10 years ago | (#10297134)

So, by going from original analog to analog recording to digital CD to lossless mp3 to digital sound card that produces analog out to analog tube amp, the quality of sound increases? Hrm.. maybe I don't need to re-code all those 32kbps mp3s after all.

And... (2, Funny)

josh3736 (745265) | about 10 years ago | (#10296918)

I've personally enjoyed owning tube amps on and off - the sound warmth, whether it be psychological or real, is definitely different then solid state amps.
...let the flamewar.... COMMENCE!

i hereby name this thread (0)

RMH101 (636144) | about 10 years ago | (#10296929)

well and truly Godwinated. The end!

Re:And... (1)

julesh (229690) | about 10 years ago | (#10297014)

...let the flamewar.... COMMENCE!

If you insist ;)

the sound warmth, whether it be psychological or real, is definitely different then solid state amps.

Yes. It's called distortion. It's usually considered undesirable, because it makes the music not sound like it was intended to sound like. If the producer wanted you to hear it like that, he'd have added it to the recording.

I like the retro feel of slashdot (1)

stratjakt (596332) | about 10 years ago | (#10296922)

It's like something Oscar Wilde would have wrote.

Analog is better... (1)

NoseBag (243097) | about 10 years ago | (#10296923)

...The sampling rate is higher!

Seriously, this is good news. IMHO the real fun is in designing analog "functions" and adding smarts and calibration via a uC hardware controller.

Re:Analog is better... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10296960)

Too bad the noise floor is higher too. Wouldn't it be great if you could hear those bat sounds without the rumbling of the turntable and the crackling of dust and electrostatic?

Re:Analog is better... (5, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | about 10 years ago | (#10296985)

In a lot of cases, analog is better.

There are reel-to-reel tape recorders from the 60s that still sound better than a CD. And the best digital cameras are lightyears from the best optical ones.

Besides that, there's the matter of how the signals behave when being degraded, which is the best thing about analog.

Take analog TV.. You can have a ridiculously weak signal, and still have something watchable. The static manifests itself as white fuzz, but you can still see the image and hear the voices. I know because I watched plenty of New York TV when I lived in Toronto.

A digital signal just cuts out. You either recieve it or you dont. It's either stuttery sound, blocky movement or gone altogether.

I've had rabbit ears and DirecTV. I'll tell you, if there was some sort of catastrophic weather thing going on (tornados or hurricanes or typhoons, whatver), I know I'd have my rabbit ears hooked up to get my updates.

Same goes for radio. How well would XM come in when the skies pitch black from tornados?

Re:Analog is better... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10297084)

Too bad the noise floor is higher too. Wouldn't it be great if you could hear those bat sounds without the rumbling of the turntable and the crackling of dust and electrostatic?

Tune up the bass (4, Interesting)

Azghoul (25786) | about 10 years ago | (#10296932)

It's all psychological. Or settings. I've heard a few people say they didn't care for their CD systems' sound. Turns out, they aren't using their equalizers for anything.

Turn up the bass, and poof, sounds warmer.

Analog Clocks (2, Interesting)

alatesystems (51331) | about 10 years ago | (#10296936)

Analog clocks are the best, because they go "tick tick" to let you know when each second of your life expires.

Analog still rules the cell phone airwaves, because when you're out in the middle of the boonies(not on the interstate), you'll be glad your have a dual or tri band phone(US).

I preferred my "analog" carbuerator to fuel injection as well. It felt better to be able to actually look at what mixed my air and gas and be able to mess with it, even though I am car-ignorant.

Chris

Re:Analog Clocks (1)

hb253 (764272) | about 10 years ago | (#10297094)

You can have it both ways! Back in the 70's when I was in my middle school, I wanted a digital watch badly (this was when the TI red LED watches were coming out). Instead of buying me a TI (which was expensive), my parent's bought me a wind up watch with a "digital" display. Basically, it was two wheels, one for hours and the other for minutes, that rotated through two windows to show the time.

Resurgence of old (4, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | about 10 years ago | (#10296937)

Certainly there has been a resurgence of old lately, but you will find this trend among any time where there has been a mass revolution in the way things are. For instance, the whole arts and crafts (Gustav Stickly, Morris, Green and Green, etc....etc...etc...) movement which in some part was a reaction or rebelling against the industrial movement of the early 19th century and celebrated the individual craftsman, designer and artist.

Right now we certainly have a rebellion against the "digital world" in many senses with a resurgence of what is warm and old including the use of tubes in stereo equipment and musical instruments to growing popularity of "old phone styles", to automobile designs borrowed from older elements and Hollywood has been borrowing every theme and idea from movies in the past for many of its current releases in an effort to come up with something successful.

Imagine that... (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | about 10 years ago | (#10296938)

it's really hard to believe that old trends are coming back! It's never ever been fashionable to wear/use items that existed before you could remember them.

No one wore bell bottoms before the late 1990s. No one wore sweat shirts cut strange so they would hang off one shoulder before 2004. No one wore Daisy Duke cutoffs before 2002!

Sadly, in this day and age everything that comes back into style isn't original. It's made by companies that are out looking to make a buck. So yeah, it's going to start out that trendsetters will make their own stuff for free but companies will pick up on it and resell "retro stuff" for the same amount as it costs to have something "modern".

Bah.

Re:Imagine that... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10297009)

Imagine a Beowolf cluster of Babbage Differential Engines!

Re:Imagine that... (1)

micromoog (206608) | about 10 years ago | (#10297160)

companies will pick up on it and resell "retro stuff" for the same amount as it costs to have something "modern".

Actually, more.

Tubes are our friends (2, Insightful)

samberdoo (812366) | about 10 years ago | (#10296944)

Actually, solid-state does not equivocate to "digital". Tubes did produce a slightly "warmer" sound. Audiophiles have for years advocated the old analog vinyl and tape technology over digital CD or DVD for the quality of sound. Of course, mp3's and other compressed digital media are even poorer quality. Humans are predominantly analog (except for politicians).

tubes (2, Interesting)

cruel_elevator (533309) | about 10 years ago | (#10296948)

Or valves, as British people prefer saying, are making a comeback. Some people tend to prefer the warm sound produced by tubes. Of course, tubes were always there in the audio production end, however, tubes are increasingly being used on the playback end. Some [norh.com] manufacturers [decware.com] are still selling tube gear, and they appear to be quite popular.

Although not very cheap, I think that tubes look pretty cool.

Speaking of analog being better (2, Funny)

markov_chain (202465) | about 10 years ago | (#10296950)

Everyone knows that records sound better than CDs. Too bad they don't sell video content on records.

Re:Speaking of analog being better (2, Interesting)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | about 10 years ago | (#10297050)

Three years ago, I would have laughed at you. That was until my friend (we'll call him analog-freak) sat me down in his listening chair and asked me to close my eyes.

He started playing music - it was very clear, so I figured it was a CD. It sounded amazing, though. Then I heard him click the A/B switch. The whole room seemed to open up and I could have sworn it was a live show, synchronized with the CD. I knew right away that this was vinyl; there were a few clicks and pops, but the sound was undeniably better than the CD. He switched back and forth a few times to let me hear the difference.

Now hear's the kicker: he's got a ridiculous system in house. He writes reviews for audiophile magazines, invests most of his free time and money in this stuff, and could sell his home system and pay off the house. The record he played was virgin, perfect vinyl - it was heavier than any record I've held. He said he paid just over $100 for the thing on eBay.

Since most of my listening is through my Honda Civic factory-installed CD player or through mp3s on my computer's crappy sound card, I don't get the opportunity to experience these amazing sound differences. So few people have the kind of equipment, knowledge, or money required to enjoy it at that level that I wouldn't even argue about it. Of course, this is Slashdot and audiophiles are an especially argumentative group of geeks.

Re:Speaking of analog being better (5, Funny)

prisonercx (40652) | about 10 years ago | (#10297143)

Reminds me of an old joke.

Audiophile (n): A person who listens to the equipment rather than the music.

Re:Speaking of analog being better (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10297159)

That's just it.

The advantage of vinyl goes away after the first time you play it, because the needle wears the grooves.

If you play a recording exactly once and then throw it away, then vinyl is the way to go.

Re:Speaking of analog being better (1)

32bitwonder (684603) | about 10 years ago | (#10297054)

Re: Video on records.

They did, they're called VideoDiscs CED Magic - The RCA SelectaVision VideoDisc Web Site [cedmagic.com]

Given your logic I'd suggest you pick up one of these and play with it for a while, then come back and post how much better the video quality is on these vs modern DVD's!

Re:Speaking of analog being better (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10297096)

And thanks to the warping effect of diamond on vinyl, you'll never have to hear the exact same audio twice.

But if you prefer analog video, there's always Laserdisk.

Re:Speaking of analog being better (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 10 years ago | (#10297149)

Everyone knows that records sound better than CDs. Too bad they don't sell video content on records.

What about these [nmsi.ac.uk] ?

Re:Speaking of analog being better (1)

gsf789 (760934) | about 10 years ago | (#10297154)

Seriously, what about the future of analog?

I want analog audio storage devices that will fit in my pocket and not get scratched by my keys.

I want a player the size of an iPod with vinyl-quality output.

I want non-linear analog audio recording.

An unrealistic dream, right? As long as every innovation in audio is in digital, it will be.

retro or not bring back the dial control (2, Interesting)

cabazorro (601004) | about 10 years ago | (#10296965)

Go to compusa or any computer store and try to find a dial control ( you know like the one used in games like Tempest or Pong ). I've been looking for years for a $20+ dial control that would allow me to navigate through horizontal menu's and play games like Breakout! and they don't exist unless you look from an old retro-fitted junk from ebay or some 200 Dlls over-kill X-Arcade control set.
Bring back the dial control.
Now I just counted to three and made my peace.

Re:retro or not bring back the dial control (1)

jeaton (44965) | about 10 years ago | (#10297020)

You mean, something like the Powermate [griffintechnology.com] ?

Re:retro or not bring back the dial control (1)

Mgdm (586001) | about 10 years ago | (#10297035)

Check this out:
http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/powermat e/ [griffintechnology.com]

Not sure if it's quite what you're after, but it looks interesting. I almost bought one recently.

Yes, that's what he wants. (2, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | about 10 years ago | (#10297132)

(Link to Griffin Powermate) [griffintechnology.com] ...Not sure if it's quite what you're after, but it looks interesting. I almost bought one recently.

I bought one recently, in fact I'm using it now. Accept no substitutes as an iTunes control (volume, scrolling through lists, pausing etc.) or movie editor. And it's great for Tempest under MAME.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:retro or not bring back the dial control (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10297055)

You do realize that those are just potentiometers with a case?

Re:retro or not bring back the dial control (1)

BearJ (783382) | about 10 years ago | (#10297064)

Uh...how about the Griffin Powermate [griffintechnology.com] ? It's amazing!

My interpretation (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10296966)

"'When the available technology converges at a certain performance threshold ... consumers begin to base their choices on nontechnical considerations'"

Electrical engineering is OVER, folks, unless you enjoy spending your whole life in front of a computer trying to get that 0.01% edge over your competitor, until you lose your job to outsourcing and STILL have to pay the cult dues, errr student loans.

Analog brick? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10296970)

"Imagine this: I'll walk into a bar and ask for a girl's number, then break out my phone," he said. "How could you say no to that?"

Um, not to piss on the chaps fire or anything, but how is he expecting to get a service with that analog phone? Are there still analog services over in the US?

tube amps Vs digital amps (2, Interesting)

Astro-pilot (765980) | about 10 years ago | (#10296979)

I keep hearing this statement about tube-amps being better than digital amps because of their warmer sound etc etc. Why doesn't someone do a spectral sound analysis for tube amps that outlines the differences with digital amps and settles the argument once and for all? Is there such an analysis somewhere out there already? I would do it myself except that I don't have access to either tube amps or spectral analyzers...

Wow! A Genius! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10297021)

That would settle it once and for all! And you're the FIRST person to think of it!

Hurry, go apply for a patent!

Re:tube amps Vs digital amps (2, Interesting)

johnnyblade111 (787375) | about 10 years ago | (#10297032)

Audio is subjective. Hearing is a feeling. No spectrum analyzer's results provide better data than my own hearing. Tube amps (and their limitless analog tone variations) can only be digitally mimicked at certain intervals. With that in mind, a tube amp has never be (and probably won't ever be) matched by a solid state POS.

Re:tube amps Vs digital amps (1)

Aphexian (29497) | about 10 years ago | (#10297127)

Audio is subjective.
That's true, because our ears are flawed, and our minds are not purely analytical.
Hearing is a feeling.
Yes, and smelling is a seeing. WTF? Hearing is a sense, and its a different one from feeling.
No spectrum analyzer's results provide better data than my own hearing.
WHA? Okay superman. So I suppose if your dog can hear a note, and a spectrum analyzer can pick it up, but you can't hear it - Then the world is mad and you're the only sane one left.
Tube amps (and their limitless analog tone variations) can only be digitally mimicked at certain intervals.
Much like it would be difficult for a computer with good memory to match the output of one that has bad memory. There's so much random bullshit in the stream it impossible to mimic. And why would you try?
a tube amp has never be (and probably won't ever be) matched by a solid state POS.
You know, you started and ended on very good statements. I wonder if I could get a computer to mimic all that bullshit in between.

Re:tube amps Vs digital amps (1)

prisonercx (40652) | about 10 years ago | (#10297087)

It's not just the warmer sound, however. For guitar playing, at least, it's also the way the amp reacts to dynamics. A tube amp feels "spongy" in a way, it almost feels like the tubes push back at your playing slightly. I would imagine that if you played bass-heavy music through a tube power amp, it would react in the same manner. Admittedly, it's a very subjective feeling, you have to experience it to know what I'm talking about. It's just as subjective, in fact, as the tube vs. solid-state debate. ;-)

Re:tube amps Vs digital amps (1)

pe1rxq (141710) | about 10 years ago | (#10297107)

Large part of the 'Warm' feeling is actually a ring effect. You won't see that on a spectrum analysis execpt maybe for a longer decay.

Jeroen

Vinyl (1)

Zog The Undeniable (632031) | about 10 years ago | (#10296981)

Hasn't anyone come up with a way of using a PC to drive a cutter which makes LPs from vinyl blanks? Besides being a cool hack, club DJs would love you for it.

Re:Vinyl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10297030)

You mean a lathe? WAY too demanding for home use! But there were home vinyl recorders in the 60s that people used blank records on to record voice messages and stuff like that.

I believe this is a result of... (2, Insightful)

Dagny Taggert (785517) | about 10 years ago | (#10296989)

...the commoditization of so many high tech items (cell phones, PCs, etc.). We all want something a little different from the beige box or the grey flip-phone. Manufacturers (check out Nokia's new stuff, for example) try to hit us with "out there" styles, but retro is cool because, at least for a while, tech companies won't touch it. After all, we're not going to see a Pentium4 boxed up in an IBM PCjr box any time soon.

Gibson Retro? (3, Interesting)

dapulli (725620) | about 10 years ago | (#10296994)

I remember a section of the story from William Gibson's "Idoru" where one of the main characters has a retro styled computer made by "Harley Davidson". Ever since reading that book I have been waiting for a company to start designing electronics that doesn't look like another piece of hardware. Considering how much I use my MP3 player and digital camera, you would think more companies would have a range of styles. Basically I want "retro styling" to be a step towards be getting my mp3 player to look like my watch.

free gmail (-1, Offtopic)

LiMikeTnux (770345) | about 10 years ago | (#10297007)

please dont mod me - just leave it at 0 cause i got free gmail

email computertechie@gmail.com i got 6 of em to give

Stupid Mac users (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10297013)

I'll bet they're all mac users.

what dya mean retro (1)

mikieboy (661018) | about 10 years ago | (#10297015)

i got a couple of these when they came out http://www.aopen.nl/Products/MB/AX4B-533Tube.htm and the output stage is very nice to listen to, prolly becouse of the lovely even order harmonics

Analog digital clock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10297016)

Sure, we've all seen digital analog clocks, where a digital display renders the hands of the clock.

I'd really like to see an analog digital clock, i.e. a clock with wooden hands that physically move to display the time as digits.

Sometimes analog is just plain better, dammit (2, Insightful)

brxndxn (461473) | about 10 years ago | (#10297041)

It seems to me that in the digital bandwagon, many companies ignore the potential utility in analog. A lot of our technology is mere digital representations of an analog data.

I know I really miss the analog dials for quickly finding radio stations. With analog, it was just spin the dial quick to get to your station fast; with digital, click and hold, click and hold some more, tap, tap, tap. Though, I do tend to like digital tuning, analog tuning sometimes allows you to get that pesky hard-to-tune station where digital tuning would just skip it.

Also, I have heard that analog amplifiers have better sound quality than digital. They should, if you just look at the basic properties of sound. Maybe if companies spent some new research money on making a better analog amplifier, analog would turn out to be better overall.

Vacuum Tubes (4, Funny)

leperkuhn (634833) | about 10 years ago | (#10297046)

That's why I've resurrected my old ENIAC to play Doom 3.

The future is analog for us! (2, Informative)

Garabito (720521) | about 10 years ago | (#10297082)

If those organizations like RIAA/MPAA/whatever keep pushing restrictions like rights managment systems on digital media, and corrupt goverments listen to them and pass shitty laws like DMCA/Super DMCA and such.

Who is preserving the trinkets of the 20th cent.? (5, Interesting)

gwizah (236406) | about 10 years ago | (#10297091)

I was wondering this the other day when I read some random posting on the internet about a guy who cleaned out a 1930's era RCA radio and crammed a miniITX board inside. What happened to the radio? He threw it in the trash.

This worries me because that radio was created during a time when Analog sets were state-of-the-art and cost upwards of hundreds of dollars. The PC components he placed inside that wooden case probably cost the same, but will be obsolete in a few years due to the speed at which we are updating technology these days. The radio however, was probably in use for well over 20+ years until a tube burned out and the previous owner could no longer get a replacement.

20+ years Vs. 2-3 years. I prefer keeping vintage electronics whole and in one piece. There are tons of resources [antiqueradios.com] out there for people who would love to get their hands on old sets and get them working again. The PC in an RCA case will probably be forgotten and discarded not soon after it's internals are considered yesterdays news. Much like it was decades ago, only that much sooner.

Telephones (5, Interesting)

Alioth (221270) | about 10 years ago | (#10297098)

After my grandmother died, the only thing I wanted to inherit was her old standard-issue GPO rotary-dial telephone. My grandparent's house was built at the tail end of the 1960s, and the phone was installed new in that house. My grandmother died at the tail end of last year. Since I want to keep it original (it's a reminder of my grandparents every time I use it) I haven't even changed the little paper disc in the dial that has their phone number and the usual 'Emergency: Fire, Police, Ambulance: 999' bit at the top.

The phone is one of these [ukonline.co.uk] and anyone who grew up in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s will remember them (and there's still quite a few around that have never been changed out for modern phones).

They are pretty much indestructable, having an electromechanical ringer and solidly-made mechanical parts (including the clockwork dial mechanism with generates the LD pulses). So as I didn't even have to change the wire that goes from the telephone to my modern RJ-45 jack - originally I had planned to just crimp on an RJ-45 plug to the cable - I managed to obtain an old GPO junction box from the same era. You just need to screw down the little connectors on the end of the telephone cable into one end, then crimp on some of those little fork-connectors to the free end of a piece of Cat5 with an RJ-45 at the other end, which you then screw down into the original junction box - then plug into the socket.

I'd also like an Ericofon, but I don't think without soldering resistors to the ringers of the phones to increase the impedance, the ringer current just won't make two phones with a real bell ring at the same time...and I don't want to modify the phones.

Imagine a Beowulf clusters of these things....... (0)

gelfling (6534) | about 10 years ago | (#10297116)

\got nuthin. that's all

"Analog" not an issue; ergonomics is (2, Interesting)

mwood (25379) | about 10 years ago | (#10297136)

The good old desk phone handset was designed to fit the human hand and head. The contemporary cell phone is designed to be as small as they can make it, to win cool-points. But engineering will eventually triumph over decoration when people settle down and *use* these artifacts. I think that more people are beginning to realize that machines should first of all be fit for their function.

Some of the new stuff is much better than the old. I would never willingly go back to the old LC FM tuners now that I've used PLL types. But I want a radio that's big enough for my hands to operate, no matter what is inside. The use of pinheads masquerading as switch buttons is the opposite of engineering.

Rotary Phones (2, Interesting)

Graemee (524726) | about 10 years ago | (#10297158)

I love my old rotary phone. It funny to see someone try to figure out how to dial it. They keep pushing the "buttons" in the dial. Silly kids.

I do have to hit the mouth piece every so often to loosen up the carbon in the mic.

It's even more retro in that it's a Commodore phone that came with my VIC modem.
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