The Value of Change by Itself

When "they" open this time capsule in 2100, I'll bet they will be disgusted that we wrote news stories on CRT monitors, one of which is in this time capsule.
When “they” open this time capsule in 2100, I’ll bet they will be disgusted that we wrote news stories on CRT monitors, one of which is in this time capsule.

Once in a while, I think about changing the theme of this web site. Presently I use a theme called “Panorama,” so named because of the thin image at the top of the page that changes with each page view. (Reload the page if you want to see it change.) I’ll log into my test blog and play around with various themes, but so far, anyway, I haven’t found a compelling reason to change. Changing the theme, after all, is a completely superficial change. It has no important effect on my content.

This post isn’t about fear of change. It’s about looking at the real purpose of change in the modern world. It also might be a commentary of the nature of creative thought, and its key question might be: are we completely out of original ideas? Some items…

Facebook made some stupid software change recently that resulted in needing to repeatedly reload the page to get a photo to upload in a link, even if the link doesn't contain anything else.
Facebook made some stupid software change recently that resulted in needing to repeatedly reload the page to get a photo to upload in a link, even if the link doesn’t contain anything else.
  • Constantly moving the controls on electronic devices like phones and cameras without regard to ergonomics. Left, right, up down. Same controls.
  • Constantly requiring “updates” or “upgrades” to our electronic lives, like applications (“apps”) that are updated without improving anything, or operating systems that are updated without improving anything. Example: Mac OS X 10.10 (which isn’t even a real number)… icons changed for no reason, controls moved for no reason, etc.
  • Reboots and/or remakes of movies and television shows that were fine in the first place, or that sucked in the first place and sucked in the remake too. Examples: Red Dawn, The Andromeda Strain, Planet of the Apes.
  • “All New” car models that are more, not less, like other models by that car maker or other car makers. Example: Nissan Pathfinder, an edgy, different vehicle that was changed to look like every other SUV on the road.
  • Layout and design changes to publications that don’t actually make any changes to the content.
  • Changes in web sites that make the site more difficult to use, but more like competitor’s sites. Example: Flickr.
  • Changes to fashion that makes people look demonstrably uglier and stupider. Examples: Uggs, trucker hats, being a Republican.
  • Stupid new products or activities the world was fine without. Examples: Etsy, scrapbooking.
  • Making expensive equipment smaller or larger to sell it to the same customer again. Example: iPads, cell phones.
  • Claiming that you aren’t doing it right any more. Example: the shooting community’s constant change in the way they hold their AR-15s.

Some dude on Photo.net asked the world the other day if he should buy a $2500 camera so he could “take better pictures in low light, especially of his cat,” which sort of set me off. Yes, my talentless photo.net friend, you should piss away an entire house payment because you are bored with your toys.

See, it's always a mistake to criticize trends.
See, it’s always a mistake to criticize trends.
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3 Comments

  1. My wife is more incensed by the movie reboots than I am. I just tell her: “Then don’t watch it.” I do have a nagging fear they’re going to remake The Princess Bride and ruin it forever.

    I’m with you on the pointless changes. There’s a lot of effort (and money) expended to redesign icons and UIs of every app and OS that could be better spent on usability and compatibility.

    Instead of carmakers constantly moving the windshield wiper controls from left to right, why not create a standard location for it, so any driver can find it without looking even in a strange car? Same goes for headlight controls, cruise control buttons, etc. A standard would be safer and less expensive (no one gets a salary for redesigning it every two years).

    Since you mentioned your blog theme… My personal website has gone through several design changes over the past several years. Each one was for usability’s sake (function over form). If a design change can make navigation easier, page loads faster, or some other quantifiable, tangible improvement, then go for it.

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