unrefinery
Technology giveth and technology taketh away. While few of us could ever afford supersonic air travel before we lost the Concorde fleet, there are thankfully a few places left on Earth where everyone can still appreciate the split-flap transit display before we inevitably lose the last of their kind to LEDs. This is one of those cases—like margarine—where a new technology is convenient to produce but otherwise largely inferior to what it replaces. Consider: Split-Flap Displays are the original e-ink. Visible from almost any angle. Uses essentially no power when it's not being updated. That shuffling sound, a by-product of the device's mechanical action, could hardly be improved upon. It's unmistakable, non-obtrusive, yet clearly alerts all nearby of incoming information. Boston's new LED signs at South Station and North Station actually emit a digital replication of it. Can the last remaining vestiges of the romance of train travel be digitally replicated? Alas, the question answers itself.

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