Posts in category 'technology'

  • Chesterton's Fence

    The last few months have me thinking a lot about technology, disruption, and the metaphor Chesterton’s Fence, or why you need to think about systems before reforming them.

    Back in 1929, G. K. Chesterton, an English writer and philosopher, described what is now known as Chesterton’s Fence, a metaphor about reforming systems:

    In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, ‘I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.’ To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: ‘If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.’

    In the context of his writings, G. K. Chesterton was using this as an argument in favour of certain socially conservative views (hence the title of the essay “The Drift from Domesticity”). But the core principle–that it’s important to understand systems before you change them–is far more broadly applicable (and apolitical!), and is something that I think the technology industry would be wise to adopt.

    Continue reading...
  • The Framework Laptop

    I received my Framework laptop and after a few of days with it I’ve written down my impressions comparing it to my X1 Carbon (tl;dr okay battery, otherwise wow!)

    Modern consumer electronics, including phones, tablets, and laptops, rely on copious amounts of glue, security screws, plastic tabs, soldered components, and other design elements that make repair and service darn near impossible. Thanks to the likes of Apple, we’ve been sold the idea that this lack of serviceability was necessary in order to deliver devices that are thin, light, sturdy, and performant. The result is an electronics market dominated by devices costing upwards of a thousand dollars while being treated as essentially disposable.

    It wasn’t always like this!

    There was a time when PCs were a thing people built and maintained, replacing and upgrading components as needed to keep a device functioning. After all, who could possibly justify throwing away a whole machine just because a component went bad?

    Well, for folks who are not aware, Framework is a new entrant in the consumer laptop space that has a unique and, to me, very compelling mission: to build a thin, light, high quality laptop that’s also highly modular, repairable, and critically, user serviceable.

    For context, I’ve long been a big fan of Lenovo, and my daily driver up to this point was a Lenovo X1 Carbon I bought in 2017. The X1 is, at least in my opinion, the absolute pinnacle of PC ultrabooks. They’re small, light, fast, incredibly sturdy, and compared to the rest of the market, pretty user serviceable.

    But when I heard about Framework and the mission of the company, I knew I had to give them a chance, so I decided to pre-order the DIY version of their first generation device. The following is a write-up of my impressions after a couple of days of use.

    In short: while battery life leaves something to be desired, the Framework laptop compares extremely favourably with the X1 at a fraction of the price.

    Continue reading...