opinion

The Mounting Cost of Bits and Bytes

Stephen Yagielowicz
If you’re anything like me, you have a growing collection of batteries and memory cards of all shapes and sizes – bits and bytes that can add a serious amount of money to the purchase price of modern electronic devices – demanding an investment that easily can become as obsolete as the equipment it enables.

To make the situation worse, interoperability isn’t what it could be, so the battery or memory from one device won’t necessarily work in another; even when it’s a similar item, such as two cameras from the same manufacturer.

For example, my smart phone, two digital cameras, two video cameras and PlayStation Portable all require different battery; charging; interface and memory options. Although both of my digital cameras are from Olympus, they use different memory and batteries; with my DSLR having a $500 battery pack, that while really very nice, was a bit pricey. The same thing goes for my video cameras; both from Panasonic and both requiring different battery packs and memory cards.

It’s easy to understand why manufacturers do this, as it can dramatically increase their revenue from a given product line, but the cost to consumers and to the environment is enormous and a needless waste of resources.

I’m on about this today because I just dropped another $90 on memory; picking up a new 4GB Memory Stick PRO Duo for my PSP. To be honest, I’ve been around long enough to remember PCs that came with “big” 20MB hard drives – and the expense of upgrading storage and memory in those days – so seeing sooo much memory in such a small form-factor and at such a “reasonable” price still impresses me.

And besides, since I’m too old for “Trick or Treat” tonight, I thought this would make up for my not getting a big bag of candy; so I’m off to format my new memory stick – and to you, I’ll say “Happy Halloween” – and watch out for the “bite” when you get your bytes…

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