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Comment: Might as well add (Score 1) 661

by 50000BTU_barbecue (#46792637) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?
my bike. It was a higher end carbon fiber frame Look and I put on Spinergy wheels with the PBO spokes. It's 12 years old now, might as well call it an antique from a performance bike POV. Yet everyone who's biked with me has commented on how good it still looks and it rides great. I know people who bought newer bikes that simply failed after a few weeks. Either the hydraulic brakes failed or the chain jumped and took a chunk off the frame, etc. The only thing I've done is keep it very clean. That really makes a bike last.

Comment: Old electronics lab stuff (Score 1) 661

by 50000BTU_barbecue (#46789981) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?
It's not fair to compare commercial lab equipment to consumer-level stuff, but I will anyways. I have a lot of test gear from the 1960s and 70s.

Tektronix 547 oscilloscope mainframe, early '60s

Plugins for the above giving me 4 traces, or 1GHz sampling, 10GHz spectrum, sensitive differential input

P6042 DC-50MHz clip-on current probe

HP 6284A DC power supply

HP 5316A 1GHz counter

HP 3468A 6 digit DMM

It's important and easy to get the documentation. As it is, most of these things just need maintenance, and the occasional burnt parts are still available. Except for the esoteric stuff like tunnel diodes and the current transformer assembly for the P6042.

The 547 is going on half a century. This stuff was built like a car, lots of metal, a thick chassis, very large components.

Comment: Re:Automating away bureaucracy... (Score 1) 416

"Think about this: thanks to incomes growing faster"

Stopped there. I make less than I did 15 years ago, and when you include the fact I no longer have a health care plan and matched retirement contributions, I make even less than that. And who the hell drinks milk anyways?

+ - If We're So Bad At Tech Predictions, Why Do We Believe Them?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Just following on the heels of the "bad predictions" story of a 1981 computer magazine, I wonder why the predictions about space must never be questioned or mocked?

The space future predicted in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s is equally as laughable in retrospect. Yet many people have invested so much emotional weight to these predictions that they can't let them go. Is that because the enticing imagery was shown to us as kids and not put into context?

The various excuses are something like government interference even though government is the only agency that managed to start anything in space so far. The other great denial is that somehow, millionaires would have explored space on their own if it wasn't for that meddling government. The fact that space is empty isn't much of a barrier apparently. And mere millions are enough. (lol ya right)

None of the over-optimistic space predictions make any sense. We used to predict casting special alloys in free-fall to allow strange mixes you can't make on the surface. Yet 3D printing now allows to create just that, but right here. Perfect ball bearings cast in orbital factories! We don't need perfect ball bearings! "Good enough" ball bearings made right here seem to work just fine in the latest and greatest jet engines.

Orbiting space habitats to escape the dying Earth! Oh the Gothic doom and gloom and romance! Yet if we had the technology to sustain a completely isolated biosphere, we'd damn well have the technology to fix the one we already have right here! Right? Because technology always gets better, remember?

Why does advancing technology somehow make technological predictions laughable, except the space predictions that are immune to this skepticism? What's the world-view behind the overly optimistic 1960s space predictions? And why is it so bad to dream about a realistic future for everyone right here on Earth?"

Ma Bell is a mean mother!