Hardware farewells Feb. 2019

A few long-serving tech items have gone into retirement, in the past week or so.

My trusty Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS finally bit the dust after nearly eight years. It might very well have matched or surpassed the service record of the Canon Pixma IP5000 inkjet printer, which lasted more than 10 years, except I dropped the camera fairly hard a while back. Function deteriorated thereafter, and finally it just stopped working.

I have replaced it with essentially a near-new modern version of the same thing, purchased for for about 2/3 the cost of the SD1200, because really a decent point-and-shoot digital camera is entirely adequate for my purposes.

Very possibly a smartphone camera would be adequate, except that many of them seem to take photos which are big but hopelessly smeary. Including the one which I now own because

I replaced my Samsung SCH-u340 fliphone after more than 11 years. This was my first and until now only mobile phone. Despite the fact that it was getting the same kind of looks as the Blackbird 520c Powerbook I once toted around, long after it had gone out of date, this phone is still in good working order and I would still be using it. Except I have decided to change mobile carriers and there is no wireless company which would support this phone, other than the one which inherited it years ago as a legacy. (SIM card? What SIM card?)

So now I have this black rectangle from Motorola, which is probably far more powerful than e.g. my first desktop Mac, but frankly seems pretty utilitarian and boring. (The main point of interest I can find in it is that Motorola has now sneaked back into my hardware line-up for the first time since Steve Jobs ditched them for Intel.)

Also, NASA officially gave up on the Opportunity Rover. Realistically, “Oppy” went offline several months ago. But mission control finally ended Opportunity operations last week, triggering many looks back at what was frankly an astounding working “life.”

Opportunity started roving around Mars in 2004, and what was supposed to be a months-long mission extended until last year.

Fourteen years is just crazy-long for technology. Granted that Opportunity was probably over-engineered to absurdity compared with the typical consumer device, but Opportunity also went to Mars. I read about the time it got stuck in the sand dune and had flashbacks to reading about that… long ago…

I was still in Des Moines when Opportunity got going on Mars. All the adventures since… moving to Ohio, traveling to Europe, health scares, career upheaval, political upheaval, traveling to Japan, more career upheaval, etc.

Wildtimes.

Meanwhile, I suppose that for now my old camera and fliphone will go into a drawer or something, until we figure out a real solution for e-waste. Opportunity, in an ideal world, will one day have a place of honor in the museum of humanity’s first colony on Mars… if human civilization makes it that far, which looks lately like a definite “if.”

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