Still Don't Want DCC

Many years ago I confused some readers and ruffled the feathers of others with an essay on why I didn't want to use DCC. Those who were confused knew that I'm a tech-savvy modeler: I used to earn my crust writing software for a major pharmaceutical company, and I've been an early adopter of many other forms of tech.

The DCC early adopters, meanwhile, called me a "dinosaur" and accused me of holding the industry back. Well, this could not be more absurd: For one thing, I've never expressed any objection to DCC; indeed, I've enthusiastically recommended it to modelers. And for another thing, how on Earth could little old me possibly "hold the industry back" by simply stating that I wasn't interested in using it? Let's be real, folks, and dial back the hate.

For those who may still be tempted to dust off their pitchforks and torches, allow me to spell this out  v-e-r-y  s-l-o-w-l-y: I have nothing against DCC. Nothing! Seriously! There are two very simple reasons I will not employ DCC on my layout.

1. I don't need it. I'm alone wolf, and I don't do operation. I confess (again, as I've been doing for decades): I'm a roundy-rounder! There, I said it. I'll be actively controlling one train, at most—and even then, only on occasion. The rest of the time, one train will be running continuously on its own.

2. I don't like it. I know that sounds pretty strange coming from someone who regularly pushes lots of buttons on fancy high-tech gear, and has even built some pretty sophisticated electronic devices from scratch. But, when I want to run a locomotive, I simply want to be able to place it on the track and, without punching any buttons or doing any other fiddling, make it go. Period. (I like to say I want Direct Control over my trains. Geddit?)

Recently I was visiting Rick Spano to shoot a video of his Sceniced and Undecided. As we have many times in the past, we got on the subject of DCC, and, as he has many times in the past, Rick expressed his confusion as to why a tech-savvy person such as myself would eschew DCC. And, as I have many times in the past, I tried my best to describe the frustration I feel when things come between me and an object I wish to control.

A few minutes later, as if on cue, Rick had some trouble getting a locomotive to behave and, based on the expletives he was muttering, I think my point may finally have sunk in. This sort of thing is immensely frustrating to me, particularly and especially since it's an unnecessary frustration. If I was building a large operations-oriented layout where operating sessions with multiple guests regularly take place, that's another kettle of fish; I fully appreciate the tremendous advantages DCC offers under those circumstances. But that's not what I'm building.

By the way, it's not just DCC that gets me frustrated. Other technology—particularly so-called "smart" tech—really turns my crank in a bad way. It's not to suggest technology is "bad"; it's that tech has become an addictive means to create more problems than it solves. But that's just me.

Just to reassure my DCC-happy readers, I still have nothing against DCC. I still wholeheartedly endorse it for those modelers who will benefit from its power. I'm simply not one of them. K?

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