The Downside of Modularity

I’m a big fan of modularity. I’ve even got a modular system in my living room. It consists of the following modules:

  • One module that converts a digital signal to a two-dimensional picture.
  • One module that reads a rotating plastic disk with a laser and produces a digital signal.
  • One module that gets a digital signal from a socket in the wall, stores it temporarily on magnetic disk, and sends it out again upon request.
  • One module that generates a digital signal based on a simulation of a virtual world, with which I can interact in real time using motion and pressure sensitive input devices.

In case you hadn’t guessed already, I was talking about my TV, DVD player, Hard-disk recorder, and Game Console.

Imagine if all of this came in one device. A TV+DVD+HDR+Console-in-one. Imagine what it would cost. If only one part broke, I would have to get everything anew. I would never be able to move it abroad, because the HDR is tied to my cable provider. I would never be able to get the games that do not involve Italian plumbers.

But to be fair, there are also disadvantages to modular systems. Just take a look at the remote control that comes with it:

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