If you’ve purchased a high-end smartphone recently, you’ve had to make due with a major design change: the elimination of the headphone jack.
Manufacturers–led by Apple, of course–want to get rid of those unsightly holes and force is to move to wireless headphones/earbuds.
How are we feeling about that? The march of progress or forced obsolescence? This article at Medium.com discusses the situation.
Sometime in the mid-2000s, I was a freelance web developer in Philadelphia with some pretty crappy health insurance. I started having occasional heart palpitations, like skipped heart beats. My doctor said it was probably not serious, but she could do tests to rule out very unlikely potential complications for about $1,000. That seemed pretty expensive to rent a portable EKG for a single day, so I googled around for some schematics. Turned out you could build a basic three-lead EKG with about $5 worth of Radio Shack parts (I no longer have the exact schematic, but something like this). I didn’t really understand what the circuit did, but I followed the directions and soldered it together on some protoboard, connected a 9V battery, and used three pennies as electrodes that I taped to my chest. I hooked the output of the device to my laptop’s line in and pressed ‘record’.
Audacity displayed the heartbeat signal live as it recorded. Sure enough, I was having pretty common/harmless Premature Ventricular Contractions.
Calling the 1/8th inch connectors you’d find on pretty much every piece of consumer electronics until recently “audio jacks” does them a disservice. It’s like calling your car a “grocery machine”. Headphone and microphone ports are, at their most basic, tools for reading and producing voltages precisely and rapidly over time.