Old school versus new

Analog and digital

Created on
Writing Time
Reading Time
2 mins
Word Count
460 approx.

I got a feeling that I might write this at some point. For more than ten years, I rode the metro almost every day. I commute most of the time via the Island Line and I don’t even need to pay attention or listening to the next station announcement. I just know when to take off the train.

They had an analog panel installed above each door inside all of the train cars. A route map is printed on it, which covers most of the stations. Each station is represented by an LED light, and their names are displayed bilingually in Chinese and English next to it. The LED light will blink, which indicates the next station. I think the designer or whoever created that did a good job at that. It’s because there’s very limited space and new stations open up every year or so. Squeezing every bit of information into the panel does not always work. But I think it manages to do the job.

I had recently changed my routine. There were new train cars with gleaming LCD displays for the route map. I hate it. The screen will display some information for a few seconds, showing a close-up of the route map, then zoom out, and repeat. The whole panel is emitting light, so I can’t tell which station I’m currently at. No. I want instant access to the entire route map. I don’t like to stare at the screen and wait for the information I’m looking for while I have no control over it.

For analog, it works most of the time. I don’t even need to “read” the text on the route map; I just glance at the blinking light to know when to get off the train without missing it. It works even if you’re looking from a distance. Those LED lights are extremely useful because they provide a general idea of where you are. It’s just better.

And, of course, they’ve got TVs installed as well to exploit every bit of opportunity to force-feed you advertisements that you don’t want to see. It’s near Christmas, and ads from Nintendo Switch are all over the place. It seems to me it’s nearly impossible to enjoy a quieter environment. They have a plethora of ways to infiltrate your mind. People never stop talking, the TV shows keep broadcasting, and whatever you’re playing on your headphones—their voices overlap with each other. It’s just too noisy.

I constantly pretend to be in Zen mode. Wait—fuck. I missed the destined station again.

This is #Day87 of #100DaysToOffload.


  1. The metro is just like the subway in the US and underground in the UK but much cleaner and safer which are based on my personal opinion. ↩︎