The Null Device

Coming soon to a landfill near you

First we had disposable mobile phones (did those ever take off?); and now the latest development in disposable technology is self-destructing DVDs, engineered to become unreadable within 48 hours, thus protecting the integrity of the intellectual property encoded thereon.

Isn't it amazing that so much effort is being put into removing value from objects and making things more fragile and less usable. First there were intentionally broken CDs, sadomasochistic "digital rights management" file formats and software "copy-protection" systems which impede upward compatibility (aside: the main reason why MacOS X software can't run MacOS 9 VST plug-ins is because, with commercial ones being copy-protected (i.e., engineered to depend on low-level quirks of MacOS 9; anywhere else, this would be considered bad programming), they would be unable to run, and there was no point running just the free ones). And now, the wonder of modern technology allows us to have products which turn into garbage within 48 hours, taking up space in landfills and leaching god knows what toxins into the groundwater. But that's just the price we have to pay for protecting the basis of civilized society, the inviolate rule that intellectual property is sacrosanct.

There are 5 comments on "Coming soon to a landfill near you":

Posted by: dicklin http:// Wed Sep 10 14:06:03 2003

there was a "CD eating fungus" that was found. More info here: Possible use in bio-degrading landfill CDs?

Posted by: acb Wed Sep 10 14:24:36 2003

Apparently it only consumed the aluminium substrate in the CDs, not the polycarbonate. If it ate the whole CD, that would be quite a trick.

Posted by: Dr Eldon Tyrell http:// Wed Sep 10 23:33:06 2003

The CD that's burned twice as much lasts half as long - and you have burned so very, very many.

Posted by: mark Thu Sep 11 15:32:42 2003

I've always been taught that obsolescence is a bad thing, that having to buy a new watch every nine months is obscene, that... yeah. Have I been Living A Lie?

Posted by: acb Fri Sep 12 01:25:37 2003

If you keep things for years and get them repaired when they break down rather than tossing them and buying new ones, you are undermining capitalism, and the terrorists will have won.

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