[Videolib] TNBT - Good enough is the new Great

From: Deg Farrelly <deg.farrelly@asu.edu>
Date: Tue Dec 15 2009 - 12:15:07 PST

Thanx Gary for a new acronym! And I think you are completely correct with using the word "foist"

I'm not a luddite. I think that many of the tech advances of the past few years are great. But there is definitely an element of planned obsolescence and hucksterism in the way some technologies are advanced and pushed on the consumer.

I recall reading a severe criticism of Toshiba (I think) several years ago when they "donated" DVD players to public libraries. That of course created a demand for the libraries to buy DVDs, and the patrons, to use the DVDs, to buy players. All masked in the cloak of philanthropy, but completely self-serving.

It's not that consumers clamored for better DVD players. But now that Blu-Ray DVD players have hit a price point, that's what they will buy (as some have pointed out, why not, as they are backward compatible. But soon that's ALL the consumer will be able to buy.

In addition to the article on Blu-Ray player sales, last Sunday the NYT magazine ran an article of the best new ideas of the year. One of those is the notion that "Good Enough is the new Great" It's based on Robert Capps article "The Good Enough Revolution" from _Wired _, September 2009, Vol. 17, No 9, Page 110.

For those that don't have access to the NYT Magazine here is the entry paragraph for the article and the summary of "Good Enough":

Once again, The Times Magazine looks back on the past year from our favored perch: ideas. Like a magpie building its nest, we have hunted eclectically, though not without discrimination, for noteworthy notions of 2009 - the twigs and sticks and shiny paper scraps of human ingenuity, which, when collected and woven together, form a sort of cognitive shelter, in which the curious mind can incubate, hatch and feather. Unlike birds, we can also alphabetize. And so we hereby present, from A to Z, the most clever, important, silly and just plain weird innovations we carried back from all corners of the thinking world.

Good Enough is the New Great
  "Cheap, fast, simple tools are suddenly everywhere," Robert Capps of Wired magazine wrote this summer in an essay called "The Good-Enough Revolution." Companies that had focused mainly on improving the technical quality of their products have started to notice that, for many consumers, "ease of use, continuous availability and low price" are more important.

High-definition televisions have turned every living room into a home cinema, yet millions of us choose to watch small, blurry videos on our computers and our mobile devices. Cameras capture images in a dozen megapixels, yet Flickr is filled with snapshots taken with phone cameras that we can neither focus nor zoom. And at war, a country that has a fleet of F-16 fighter jets that can cover 1,500 miles an hour is now using more and more remote-controlled Predator drones that are powered by snowmobile engines.

Lo-fi solutions are now available for a range of problems that couldn't be solved with high-tech tools. Music played from a compact disc is of higher quality than what comes out of an iPod - but you can't easily carry 4,000 CDs with you on the subway or to the gym. Similarly, a professional television camera will produce a higher-quality image than a phone, but when something important happens, from the landing of a jet on the Hudson River to the murder of an Iranian protester, and there are no TV cameras around, images recorded on phones are good enough.

In February, a music professor at Stanford, Jonathan Berger, revealed that he has found evidence that younger listeners have come to prefer lo-fi versions of rock songs to hi-fi ones. For six years, Berger played different versions of the same rock songs to his students and asked them to say which ones they liked best. Each year, more students said that they liked what they heard from MP3s better than what came from CDs. To a new generation of iPod listeners, rock music is supposed to sound lo-fi. Good enough is now better than great. ROBERT MACKEY

We have been seeing other evidence of this acceptance of "good enough" in students for some time. (Herbert Simon coined the term "satisficing" ) With regard to student expectations for research, it doesn't have to be the BEST resources for their papers, just "good enough"

-deg farrelly (who still uses VHS to record "view and erase" cr*p from TV)

deg farrelly, Associate Librarian
Arizona State University at the West campus
PO Box 37100
Phoenix, Arizona  85069-7100
Phone:  602.543.8522
Email:  deg.farrelly@asu.edu
VIDEOLIB is intended to encourage the broad and lively discussion of issues relating to the selection, evaluation, acquisition,bibliographic control, preservation, and use of current and evolving video formats in libraries and related institutions. It is hoped that the list will serve as an effective working tool for video librarians, as well as a channel of communication between libraries,educational institutions, and video producers and distributors.
Received on Tue Dec 15 12:18:00 2009

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