Life’s short – and keeps getting shorter

Broken toys of small and big boys

My matey Gary is a pretty sharp guy and always knows when there’s a bargain available. He sees things long term and seeks value for money. So I was quite surprised when he told me that his Sony digital camera broke after three years and he bought the follow-on model, an exact lookalike, but with updated innards.

Personally I find three years not a very long time. My Canon G2 is also starting to get a little funny after three years (original cost 75.000 yen). Me, I would have reservations buying the same manufacturer again after only three years. Then Gary says:

you’re right about the memory stick lock-in. Not sure about ‘only’ 3 years. I think that most consumer electronics are built for a shorter span than that. I was pretty happy to get 3 years use out of it, really…

Another surprise: low expectations! Then it dawned on me: digital cameras are no longer cameras, they are consumer electronics. Wow. So a whole generation of snappers, who probably never experienced a traditional, and usually well-built, camera may feel completely different about their digital kit.

No, this is not going to be another Red L reference; just think about other, relatively contemporary cameras. I bought my Canon EOS 5 in 1996 for around 400 pounds – used. It still works the same today. And isn’t it ironic that in the much praised age of “no moving parts” such a device breaks down even faster?

Puzzled I am!