Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Take it away

Ralph presents plenty of good reasons why I shouldn't get myself in a twist about the mega-storage capacity of the new Tivos, and he's right -- there's no logical reason why I should worry about it. But the Tivo is symptomatic of larger issues.

In our consumer-centric society we gather more and more moss as we roll through life, stuffing our garages, sheds, attics, and rented storage buildings full of stuff that we had to get, don't use now, but can't bear to get rid of. Now, even digital storage devices have to get bigger to hold all of our crap. And, make no mistake, once we've got the space, we'll fill it up.

When I need a new Tivo, I won't get a choice -- it'll have loads of storage whether I like it or not. But spare a moment, Ralph, for someone who wants to take the exit ramp off of the consumer super-highway, who strives to simplify and reduce their footprint, living for the moment rather than tied down with his possessions. It's not that I don't want good things, it's just that having too much dilutes the quality of the experience of that good thing, whatever it is.

I'm not perfect -- one look in my garage will tell you that -- put I keep trying. I'm reminded of this quote from the French author and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery: "A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."

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