Douglas Rushkoff is a guest blogger.
The New York Times reports that MTA city buses are losing the yellow rubber electronic strip in favor of the good ol' pull string connected to a bell. The electronic strip technology costs more to make and to maintain.
For those of us who are old enough to remember the cord-pull system, it's a welcome return of a technology with more depth, character and dependability than the rubber strip. Perhaps the best thing about the pull wire is that you can really yank on it when you're mad or frustrated – as if to ring the bell louder – even though, for the driver, the bell has the same sound. So you get to express frustration in a fully gestural way, without actually annoying anyone, or spreading the anxiety any further.