[nSLUG] Slightly OT: icons and how we sometimes feel

Dop Ganger nslug at fop.ns.ca
Sun Apr 15 21:39:30 ADT 2007

On Sat, 14 Apr 2007, George N. White III wrote:

> I think the key factor is not so much the generational difference as
> it is the greater complexity of things people buy.  When I was growing
> up, the big technology choice was the brand of bicycle.  There really
> wasn't much difference between brands, although some used metric and
> some English parts, so it was easier to find a wrench that fit if your
> friend's bike had the same size nuts.

The similarities are only superficial; the bicycle was the first mass 
produced item that brought planned obsolescence into play. Items like 
wheel nuts might be the same, but when you start digging deeper things go 
haywire. For example, with the bottom bracket (pedals attach to cranks 
which attach to each other by the bottom bracket) there's:

* British ISO, 1.370" x 24 threads per inch or 1.375" x 24 tpi
* Italian, 36mm x 24 tpi
* French, 35 x 1mm
* Swiss, 35 x 1mm (but with opposite threading to French because the 
French design tends to unscrew itself)
* Raleigh, 1 3/8" x 26tpi
* Ashtabula, 24tpi or 28tpi
* ISIS Overdrive, 48 x 1.5mm

On top of the different types of threading there's also the width of the 
bottom bracket, which varies from design to design.

Another oddity is gearing; standard derailleur type systems started off 
with 5 sprockets (although there were some early designs with fewer), then 
it went up to 6, 7 and 8, then 9 (requiring new chain designs) and now 10 
(with really expensive chain designs). Each generation requires different 
shifters for indexed shifting to work, essentially requiring a new 
drivetrain (or, as the bike industry would prefer, a new bike).

Pretty much anything that can be changed has different standards and 
sizes; stems, handlebars, seatposts, racks, panniers, you name it. It 
changes every year, too.

Just remember next time you're cursing a piece of DDR ram for not being 
the right speed that you've got it easy!

Cheers... Dop.


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