Everything Old is New Again…

When I was growing up, I remember hearing my parents, or other adults, say something about a fashion or design trend coming back “into stye.” Fashion does have its own cycle. According to my research, there are five stages to the fashion cycle: introduction; rise; culmination; decline; obsolescence.

In some ways, this reminds me of the technology adoption curve with its early adopters and laggards. And both industries have planned obsolescence to some extent but there will always be the classics in fashion like white button down shirts. Technology doesn’t lend itself to a classic because the constant innovation and change mean you get left behind. Anybody still use their Iomega Zip Drive? SCSI printer cables? Even my not that old iBook powercable is of no use at this point. (Yes, I’m looking at you Apple with your USB-C only thunderbolt ports now making every cable I own useless)

But, despite planned “innovation” we do see resurgence of seemingly old technologies which I find interesting.

Take the podcast.

I first began listening to Daily Source Code with Adam Curry back around 2005-6. Curry is often credited with beginning the podcast as a medium. I”m sure there are others but he is certainly a name that should be attached to those early days. Then, I found Coverville, which is a great cover song “radio show” I enjoy when driving long distances or at the gym. I even tried my hand at podcasting at my college with limited output and even more limited listeners. And, as that waned, so did my consumption of podcasting. My iPod was jammed with my music and lived in my car so I didn’t have it everywhere anymore.

And now, EVERYBODY is podcasting and listening to podcasts. NPR, as an example, has podcasts for their shows as well as special interest topical podcasts. As a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I have enjoyed Buffering the Vampire Slayer in my resurgence of listening.

So, the podcast is back. (I won’t even mention Serial, whcih seemed to jump start the renewed interest but didn’t grab mine because I’m not a crime genre fan)

And now, for more in the “wait – what decade is this?” mode of thinking….

I bring you the animated gif.

The gif (graphics interchange format) began in 1987 and was used to greatly compress images for this new burgeoning, but very slow loading, world wide web. Everybody remembers the animated gif that loaded while you were waiting for something else to buffer and download.

Or, maybe the site was just:

 

At any rate, the animated gif was over used (Yes, dancing bears – I’m thinking about you) and went away. Especially when the new PNG format was created and eliminated the need for paying royalties for the GIF.

But, now, animated GIFs are everywhere. I even have a GIF keyboard on my phone so I can search and load the most perfect animated meme for any conversation.

And, its still all about speed.

  • Podcasts
  • Animated GIFs
  • Will and Grace and Murphy Brown are all on television again.

I really am wondering what decade we are living in. (don’t get me started on the political side)

PS. If you really dig the animated under construction gifs, someone has been collecting them from the 90s.