Convenience trumps quality

Already Happened Digital Photograpy overtook Film
  CDs overtook Records
  MP3s overtook CDs
  Email overtook Physical Mail
In Transition Digital Streaming overtaking Blu-ray Disks
  Digital Books overtaking Physical Books
  Digital Movies overtaking Film Movies


People are lazy, impatient and cheap. Any technology that addresses these issues will eventually win. It doesn’t matter that the old way is higher quality, convenience will win in the end.

I know there are passionate people on the edges that will stick to the traditional ways. There will always be film shooters, people who will listen to CDs or records and people who appreciate a paper bound book. However, they will be increasingly marginalized. A casualty of changing technologies.

Where are you in this transition?

12 thoughts on “Convenience trumps quality

  1. It’s their perceived choice. I know one guy who bought a Sony Rx100 and he’s saving everything at the smallest file size to get the most number of photos on a card. What a waste.

    Should we discuss food too? Hot Pockets anyone?

    1. Never thought of using a RX100 in that way. I know people who shoot a Nikon D800 is JPEG because the RAWs are too damn large.

      Lucky for the slow foods movement…. though I fear it is probably one of those non-mainstream movements.

  2. I prefer DVDs and CDs to streaming because I like owning my own stuff and prefer to not be entirely dependent on having an Internet connection. I tend to find myself in places that don’t have WIFI.

    On the other hand, I buy 95% digital books, reserving paper books for signed first editions, rare books, reference books, and books with a lot of pictures. The reason? Out of room!

    I don’t like watching movies on my computer. Although mostly we watch movies on cable (we have a huge cable package), we buy our favorite movies on DVD, these days on Blu-ray.

    I listen to a lot of audiobooks and these I listen to either on my computer (while I do other things) or on my Kindle.

    I send legal documents and packages by snail mail, everything by email.

    I am entirely digital photographically but of course we still have a great many pre-digital prints in albums.

    I don’t own an MP3 player and hate earphones. I can’t wear ear buds (they fall out) and the big earphones get tangled with my glasses and make my head sore. I know a LOT of people like me, including many of my granddaughter’s friends.

    We finally gave up our vinyl records. They were just taking up space.

    I guess that puts us solidly in the center of the wave. Interesting question!

    1. I’m not necessarily an early adopter but my movie/TV viewing, what little I do is almost all streamed, from Netflix or Amazon prime. I haven’t bought a DVD in years. We also got rid of cable TV.

      All the streamed content I watch on a TV and the MP3s I listen on a stereo instead of headphones.

      I’ll probably do a post in the future on my transition to a digital world.

  3. True story. The other day, I was putting stamps on an envelope and my 13 year old asked what I was doing. He did not know that you had to pay for physical mail delivery with stamps.

    I don’t think he ever mailed anything in his life. About the only thing we still “mail” is Christmas/Holiday Cards. We haven’t gone digital for the cards…. yet.

  4. I’m all for the digital world. Heck, if I could plug myself into the Matrix (if we’re not already), I’d do it!

    Unlike my wife – she couldn’t care less about it – I embrace every aspect of modern technology. My photo’s go onto a NAS and sync with a 200Gb Google Drive, we watch movies and series from a digital library via PS3 on a wireless Bravia EX-1, I can’t find a new place without a GPS, my entire life is inside my pocket on a Motorola Atrix 4G and my kid worships an iPad.

    BUT we have a wired retro home phone, read on paper, I listen to the radio every day and – yeah, baby! – we send out physical Christmas/NY cards every year too! Our friends and family really look forward to that last bit, I traditionally put a lot of effort in a very personal Photoshopped card.

    I guess we all still have some analogue affection left 🙂

    1. I love the responses, such an interesting mix.

      Those retro wired phones are essential during power outages. I think we keep an old phone somewhere, just in case.

      1. Actually, that’s exactly what we thought but it turns out my telecom provider works with VOIP technology. Alas, we’re cut off nonetheless when an outage occurs. But hey, we got a pretty cool phone! ^_^

  5. Put me down as a curmudgeon who doesn’t like where things are headed. 🙂 I have a love/hate relationship with technology.

    I love having my music collection with me. I hate that things sound different, if not inferior now. I’ve recorded music to 2 inch tape in recording studios. I’ve also recorded to hard drives. Digital recordings sound sterile me. Something is missing. Analogue has a “warmth” to it. Digital sounds “cold.” I can’t explain it. I miss album art. We used to hang album sleeves as wall art. Not the same with CDs. Digital…yeah…

    I love the convenience and power of digital photography. I’m a late comer to the art and learned on digital. It was a huge help being able to experiment and see instantly what I did right or wrong. That’s sill a cool thing. Lately I get giddy waiting for film to come back from processing. I hate how commoditized cameras have become. Everyone has a digital camera in their pocket and few appreciate the art anymore. Pictures are easily captured, processed, posted, and forgotten.

    I love the vivid color and dynamic range of a good computer monitor. I hate staring at computer screens for extended time though. I do it all day. I do it quite a bit at night in post processing. Necessary evil these days. Lately I’m always looking for printed portfolio books. I buy one almost every time I go into Half Price Books lately. I’m going to print more this year. I need to hold more images in my hands.

    I love being able to look something up on the web on my phone at any time. But I hate the feeling of never getting away from the digital world. Social media becomes more and more like white noise to me.

    I see a value to most, if not all of the modern technology advances that we have grown accustomed and probably addicted to. Technology has brought us things that are convenient and cheap but do they truly enrich our lives or do they just fuel our insatiable desire for instant gratification? I question that a lot lately. Hey Morpheus, maybe I’ll take that red pill!

    1. Mike, I expected no less from you. I perfectly understand where you are coming from.

      The subtext of my post, as you might have guessed, is that the old way is typically higher quality… now we are being drawn to or force into the convenience.

      It may be a losing battle but something that we should decide consciously .

  6. People are not cheap! They are buying, paying for every single so called convenience. Books, magazines, journals ans web sites are not sold! They are lent at a cost. One morning they won’t be there.The computer keeps evolving and soon we may find our cards, our drives no longer connect to the “system..CD /DVD somehow become blank or have distorted images or data. Already early digital cameras either have no batteries available, the memory cards are now too big to be able to use,The list goes on.

    Make actual prints. Use film. If one is a pro think about the future. If your work is important to YOU, show it, store it. We hold the future.

    Sure digital photography is convenient. Really? How much work on a PC to see, adjust, correct all the failings. That’s without going to Raw. In a blog i mentioned the DNG. Many purchasers, will NOT be bothered with another system..The cameras are made to fail and be replaced. Trust me on that. The newer items with IC circuits have a termination point.
    The cameras are mostly a pain. We tolerate all the crap of menus, waiting like good escorts outside the washrooms, waiting for a “Go” from Japan or Germany.
    Old cameras are faster. My Nikon-F has a faster response in release to the latest D model.. Sure after that shot, i am history. So what!
    Film can be used (for prints or whatever) in 200 years. easily. Your Cd/DVD/Hard Drive/Floppy/ whatever..?

    1. I agree with you. However out of convenience and other reasons most people do not. They are going with new technologies that may be inferior in some ways but more convenient.

      What is interesting, I think, is where each person, who responded on this post, is on the technology spectrum.

      Thanks all for an interesting discussion!

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