10 Failed Tech Trends of 2005

Interesting article in an old Extreme Tech issue. By interesting, I mean more than a little galling.


It’s amazing how much contempt people actually have for “average Americans.” On the one hand, you have the writer pointing to the consumer as THE arbiter in all things tech, as in noting that we (the consumer) don’t want multiple standards. This is absolutely true: when I buy a DVD, or a laptop, I want the thing to Just Work; it’s why people are still buying Apple Computers. The things Just Work.

On the other hand, this constant harping on the public’s inability to “understand” what “good audio” is absolutely insulting. It’s like this: people don’t care. They just don’t. People don’t want “high fidelity” sound because the sound they have is good enough.

Does vinyl sound better than CD? Arguably. Do CDs sound better than mp3s? If the mp3 is ripped at a low bitrate, sure. At 160 kbps or above, does it really matter? Stop for a minute and listen to your surroundings; it’s probably pretty loud. Is that extra dynamic range really gonna make much of a difference on your evening commute, sitting next to a cattle truck on 494? Not really.

It’s not that I don’t care; as I guy who is into all things audio, I want my music and movies to sound great. That they don’t is lamentable. But don’t blame the technology, and don’t blame the public. Blame the people producing all of that crass, relentlessly mediocre material, and the executives who have so much contempt for their audience that they’re convinced that’s what we really want.