Building a Treehouse

A friend of mine was going to build a treehouse, and he called me over to brag about his new project.

Friend: “I’m going to make this awesome treehouse, and I’m building all of it with this tri-wing screwdriver”

Me: “Wait, what? Why would you use a tri-wing screwdriver?”

Friend: “Well, I just read about it, and it seems pretty cool. Besides, Nintendo uses it for all their hardware and I really like Nintendo.”

Me: “Oh. Why does Nintendo use it though? What is a tri-wing screwdriver good for?”

Friend: “It’s got this different shape from most other screwdrivers, and Nintendo is a pretty big company so it’s gotta be pretty good.”

Me: “Yeah, but isn’t it mostly good for screwing game consoles together? I don’t think it’s really meant to work at a treehouse scale. Why wouldn’t you use a hammer and nails like other people who have built treehouses have?”

Friend: “You obviously aren’t up to date with technology. Everyone is talking about tri-wing screwdrivers now, hammers are so 1990.”

Me: “Yeah, but hammers are a proven tool to address the problem you’re solving. I’ve looked into tri-wing screwdrivers a little bit and it seems like they’d be better for small projects, and won’t really perform as well for your project.”

Friend: “Listen, there’s all sorts of articles on the internet saying that hammers don’t perform as well as tri-wing screwdrivers. Can you cite any articles saying you need to use a hammer to build a treehouse?”

I won’t stretch this analogy any further, but hopefully you get the point. When a new technology emerges, there are all of a sudden dozens of articles proclaiming the death of all previous technology to make way for this new best thing in the world. Technology is a tool, and just like every tool there’s things that it’s good at and thigs it’s terrible at. Having a “religious debate” about a tool is just silly.

Note: I’m not advocating sticking with technology X because it’s been used before, but rather to analyse new technology Y before blindly applying it to every situation