https://frrl.wordpress.com

A site of endless curiosity

Posts Tagged ‘Hallicrafters WR600

Some thoughts on Apple and average products for average people

leave a comment »

I’ve had my Mac Mini for 1 day. But seeing it sitting there on my desk next to my PC I thought of something Steve Jobs said in an interview back in the 1990’s when he was CEO of NeXT.

The only problem with Microsoft is that they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste and what that means is – and I don’t mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way – in the sense that they don’t think of original ideas and they don’t bring much culture into their product… Why is that important?  Proportionately spaced fonts comes from typesetting and beautiful books – that’s where one gets the idea.  If it weren’t for the Mac they [Microsoft] would never have that.  I am saddened not by Microsoft’s success – I have no problem with their success; they have earned their success for the most part. I have a problem with the fact they make really third-rate products. – Steve Jobs

The Mac mini, a single piece of sculpted aluminum 7.7-inches square and 1.4-inches tall, is sitting next to my behemoth PC.  The PC’s case was made by forcing a sheet of cheap steel into a rectangular box.  I remember the NeXT Cube that I had on my desk in the early 1990’s.  The case was a cube of magnesium and inside was the NeXT Step operating system based on the Mach Kernel.  The GUI was clean and crisp based on display postscript.  One cable brought power and video to the monitor from the cube.

What do consumer products really tell you?

I collect old radios.  I recently acquired a Hallicrafters WR600.  It’s a 4 band shortwave receiver.  The WR600’s were produced between 1961 and 1964.   What do these radio’s represent?

On first pass, these radio’s represent something of the history of radio.  The WR600 is a tube radio (fire bottles).  For as long as there are RF radio broadcasts these radios are both collectible and usable every day.

On second pass, and thinking of the quote above from Jobs, take a look at the radio (links below).  Take a look at the cabinet.  This is another example of someone bashing out a piece of sheet metal and forming it into a rectangular box.

The real icing on the cake of the Hallicrafters WR600 is that someone at Hallicrafters decided it would be a good idea to apply a wood grain to the sheet metal cabinet.  So, you have a radio that has an obvious sheet metal case covered with a picture of perfect wood grain.  Is anyone being fooled by this?

Add to this the fact that the Hallicrafters WR600 has no power transformer.  This means that one side of the power cord is soldered to the metal case.  It also has a non-polarized plug.  So, plug the radio in and you might end up with the chassis and case at 110 volts.  Touch the radio and something at ground potential at the same time and you will find the value of cutting corners by not using a power transformer – at your expense.  Shocking!

Take a look around you for mediocre products.  How many pieces of furniture do you see made out of particle board covered with a veneer?

What do consumer products tell you about manufacturers, the buyer, and the culture?

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by frrl

June 1, 2011 at 5:17 am

%d bloggers like this: