The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

August 8, 2008

In Defense of the Traditional Shopping Mall – Part 1: The Reports of the Mall’s Death are Greaty Exaggerated

Filed under: Culture, Malls, shopping — Tags: , , , — Brian Lutz @ 2:57 pm

Over the past couple of days, I have noted that a significant number of visitors have arrived at this site from an article posted over at WorldChanging Seattle that was linked by BoingBoing.  As seems to be the case withmost of the incoming links to this site, the article deals with the decline of the traditional enclosed shopping mall, and the open-air “Town Center” type developments that are taking their place.  The article specifically touches on a few subjects (from something of an Urbanist, and to a lesser extent environmentalist perspective) that I have had sitting on my “to do” list for a while now, and there are some topics in the article that I would like to comment on.

The article over at WorldChanging (an activity that generally falls well outside of the scope of this particular website) cites a number of local malls as examples, but focuses primarily on Factoria and its upcoming redevelopment.  The overall tone of the article seems to suggest that the area’s shopping malls are on a rapid descent toward oblivion, which just isn’t the case.   The article’s claims that the malls in the area are headed down the proverbial tubes is greatly exaggerated, and even though the mixed use “town center” paradigm that the article discusses is becoming increasingly popular in the area’s shopping centers, the Seattle area’s traditional malls aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.  In the article below, I’ll explain why this is the case.  Since this seems to be turning out to be far longer than I originally anticipated, I will split this into several parts.  The next part will discuss some of what makes malls go into decline, and a third part will discuss some of the goals of the Urbanists with regards to “Town Center” type developments, and explain why things may not work out there quite the way that they would like them to. 

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If it Had a Warranty, It’s Void Now

Filed under: Technology — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 1:10 am

Once again, I seem to find myself meddling with things that I can’t comprehend, with predictable results.  a couple of weeks ago, the digitizer on my Axim X50v started acting up, to the point that it was no longer possible to get some areas of the screen to respond,.  This is usually a sign that the digitizer is going bad, which basically means that I’d need to pay a bunch of money to get it replaced.  This wouldn’t really be a big deal, except for the fact that my X5 seems to have done the same thing, rendering it somewhat useless at the moment as well.

Searching for a somewhat less costly alternative, I turned to eBay, where I managed to find a replacement from some random seller in Hong Kong.  About fifteen bucks later, the replacement part arrived today, complete with a screwdriver that just happened to be the wrong size and some sort of prying tool that broke right away.  Having already dealt with the screws on this thing once before (and finding that they required a T5 Torx driver, which seems to be just beyond the reach of most of the “everything but the one you need to take apart the kitchen sink” screwdriver kits out there,) it took a trip out to Harbor Freight to find a driver kit that could actually handle the thing.

After taking apart the unit, I got to the LCD/digitizer combo, which was glued together with some sort of adhesive that prevented the two from coming apart.  In theory, this is what the prying tool was supposed to be used for, but since that had already bit the dust some time ago, it was time to resort to a slightly less elegant solution, as seen above.  The letter opener (In spite of the fancy little Swiss Army logo on the thing, I think you’d be hard pressed to qualify the thing as a knife) handled the job reasonably well, even though the digitizer ended up coming off in pieces.  Oh well, it was broken anyway, right?  As long as the LCD screen was intact, all was well… Or so it would seem.

After getting everything back together, by some miracle the thing still actually works…  To the point of “the thing isn’t broken beyond repair,” at least.  As far as actually being usable?  Not so much.  For some reason, the replacement touchscreen doesn’t seem to be working correctly, and the device seems to be getting stuck at the screen alignment page during the startup sequence.  This probably means that I’ll have to go ahead and send it in and let someone who might actually know what they’re doing take a crack at it.  This wouldn’t be a big deal if not for the fact that hardly anyone makes standalone PDAs anymore, and the applications I run on this don’t really work well on a phone.  I suppose I can’t complain too much though, since this particular PDA has lasted me quite a few years with no problems, it’s just that this one was my backup for when my other one broke, and I’m not sure if I’ve managed to find myself a plan C yet.  If I don’t find a solution to this problem soon I may have to resort to such drastic measures as doing my reading out of books…

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