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Opening Arguments

The magic in the box

The latest victim of the digital age:

I greeted today's news with an instinctive combination of shock, grief, and indignant fury: Polaroid has announced it's ceasing production of its instant film, which will become unavailable after 2009. What will I do when I need more film my trusty Polaroid? What will all those people buying new Polaroids do?

Then it dawned on me: While I took Polaroid photos well into the 1990s, it's been years since I last used my camera...and come to think of it, I have no idea where it is and am not positive I still own it. And reading coverage of the film plant shutdown, I learned that the company stopped making cameras a year ago. I didn't notice at the time, which is probably a sign that I don't really have the right to be livid about the film going away.

My reaction was pretty much the same, if a little milder: Oh, no! This is terrible! Wonder where mine is? Haven't seen it in years.

It's hard to overstate just how much fun it was to use a Polaroid for the first time. Yeah, they were crappy little photos, but we could see them immediately instead of taking the film someplace and waiting a few days to see how crappy they were. We accept all sorts of miraculous things as routine these days -- being able to talk to anybody from anywhere without benefit of a landline, for example, and being able to carry the biggest library in the world around in our laptop. There was a time, though, when we were awed by the magic and overwhelmed by the magic that might be just around the corner. I miss that.

Posted in: Science, Web/Tech