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