all posts tagged 'maintenance'

The Disappearing Art Of Maintenance

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

Whatever comes next must take responsibility for that legacy, while also articulating something new and perhaps even bolder than what came before. There is a useful lesson drably concealed in the MTA’s maintenance facility in Queens: What we inherit comes with responsibility. Vintage machines are owed our best efforts, and our ingenuity in keeping them running should at least be equal to our ingenuity in forging them. 

The work of maintenance is ultimately a way of parsing and knowing a thing and deciding, over and over, what it’s worth. “Maintenance should be seen as a noble craft,” said Rossmann, the boot-strapping repair man who learned the secrets of the iPhone’s circuits. “It should be seen as something that teaches people not just how to repair, but how to think.”

This article reinforced one of my core tenets of software engineering: the simpler, the better.

It also supplies an important distinction between repair and maintenance. Repair is when you fix something that’s broken. Maintenance is about making something last.

The article calls for finding a way to better incentivize acts of maintenance in our economic system, and the more I reflect on that, the more I find it reasonable.

Building new stuff is cool and often necessary, but finding a way to make our old stuff last longer is equally cool.

Not just with our bridges and train cars and iPhones, but with our elderly too.

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We Spoke With the Last Person Standing in the Floppy Disk Business

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

Imagine it’s 1990, and you’re building a big industrial machine of one kind or another. You design it to last 50 years and you’d want to use the best technology available. At the time this was a 3.5-inch floppy disk.

Take the airline industry for example. Probably half of the air fleet in the world today is more than 20 years old and still uses floppy disks in some of the avionics. That’s a huge consumer.

There’s also medical equipment, which requires floppy disks to get the information in and out of medical devices.

The biggest customer of all is probably the embroidery business though. Thousands and thousands of machines that use floppy disks were made for this, and they still use these.

There are even some industrial companies that still use Sony Mavica cameras to take photographs.

I found some floppy disks at my parents house a few years back and was able to get nearly all the data off of them.

One included photographs taken by a Sony Mavica.

This whole article made me appreciate the impermanence of our digital lives, and is also making me consider getting some photo books printed.

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