I got a fun reminder of this while taking a "daycation" yesterday. I stopped for gas at an independent (yes, they still exist) gas station just outside Cornwall, CT. The gas pump was, gasp, analog.
I actually watched the black lettering on metal enamel numbers roll along as the tank filled. There was something, not only pleasantly nostalgic, but reassuring to watch my tank fill in such a tangible way.
Of course, this was clearly a locally-owned small business (God Bless 'em) that is still nursing along the same gas pumps from literally a generation ago (maybe two).
How much money have they saved by not upgrading over the years?
How much longer will they hold out?
It made me think of another item I came across in the news recently. Apparantly, the New York Police Department's latest budget includes a line item for just under one million dollars in typewriters.
You read that right. NYPD is buying (not fixing or replacing) slightly less than a million dollars in new typewriters.
Apparantly, all those police reports that we always hear about on Law & Order (more dreaded than battling crime, at times) still have to be typed up in carbon copies. The forms have not been computerized; which I'm guessing would cost more than just buying more typewriters and dealing with retraining a bunch of cops who would resent computer training even more than typing up police reports.
Naturally, NYPD is getting skewered in the press for spending so much money on antiquated technology. Maybe like the analog gas pump in Cornwall, it still makes the best sense.
As we say in Texas; it ain't brokel, don't fix it!
Why are we so quick to assume digital is better?
Who among us has not wished for our old Smith-Corona to address a quick envelope?
Last updated: Aug 17, 2009
RENEE ORICCHIO is a technology writer and former supervising news producer for CNN Financial News. She has been covering the computer industry since 1987. @oricchio