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tech

Too digital too fast?

In the Feburary 2d issue of BusinessWeek, Robert D. Hof has a column on why the latest technology isn’t always the best (paid registration required). No Luddite, Hof is just worried that our culture may be on so much of a digital kick, that we push too soon to the wayside analog technologies that are time-tested and, in some cases, still superior.
The latter example Hof focuses on is photography, and film. For most people, there isn’t much difference between a 4×6 print from a digital camera versus a 35mm camera. Not much of a difference, that is, unless you’re shooting for detail, where even the top-of-the-line digital cameras still can’t match up against their film counterparts. My wife and I still tote a 35mm camera with us on vacation, as sort of a backup to our digital.
On our first trip to Kaua’i, I took two shots of the Kalalua Valley, the most widely photographed spot in the South Pacific. One was with my digital, the other with Kelly’s 35mm film camera. I’m so glad I took the second picture with the film camera. For one, it came out much better than the one from my digital, as some of the clouds in the area had moved out (the trade winds there move those clouds in and out pretty quick). Second, I have plans to get the print blown up, courtesy of a friend and his plotter. I couldn’t do the latter with the digital photo, as its resolution limits its print size. Hof’s point is well taken.
He also mentions the audio realm, which hearkened me back to a discussion we had on the ATPM staff list. We have several audiophiles on staff, notably Evan, whose latest audio fetish is reel-to-reels dubbed from the studio masters. While most of us couldn’t tell the difference between a MP3, the CD it was ripped from, or the master, guys like Evan, David, and others won’t touch the compressed digital stuff, especially when it comes to genres like classical, jazz, blues, and other non-mainstream music.
Like Hof, I still have a battery-powered, non-digital timepiece, which, unlike my Mac, has never gotten out of sync except when the battery actually died. There are some analog things worth hanging on to, as the digital world still has a long way to go. Nothing Luddite in using what still works the best.