Why I’m starting to hate technology again

Back in 2001 I’d just about had enough of computers, the internet, clever phones, the whole ruddy mess of it all. I dropped off the ‘net and let all my domains expire. For nearly five years I used a Nokia 3310 and a battered old 286 laptop that could just about run F29 Retaliator and emulate an Amstrad CPC to run The Bard’s Tale and Gryzor.

I only came back because a friend had a Dell Latitude X-300 for sale for £100, and I figured that would be cheaper than buying a DVD player and a telly. Yes, I was also without a TV. Hey, I read a lot of books and own a radio.

Then I won a phone that could be used as a modem (Motorola V600), and it all started going downhill again.

Now, once again, it is getting to the point that I am starting to hate the whole thing again. I have my reasons, and here they are. In no particular order.

Smartphones

Oh, where to start. I’m not going to target any specific maker or platform, as I’m saving that for later, but the whole smartphone concept annoys the hell out of me.

I’ve had a few smartphones, and I broke them. I didn’t particularly miss them afterwards. Really, I consider them little more than toys.

People tell me the amazing things they can do with such devices, and it bores me. I care not about photo editing on a screen less than the size of my palm, or any of the things that you think are earth-shattering.

Ok, so I have in the past installed loads of apps (and I really hate that term) which were cool looking for about 10 minutes. Then I deleted them.

I must admit to owning a not-so-smartphone. I use it for these things only: Making and receiving calls (which it isn’t really that good at), as an alarm clock, keeping track of doctors appointments using Google Calendar and pissing about with Facebook. And I hate myself for the last one.

Fondleslabs

Apple, Samsung, HTC, HP,  it doesn’t matter who made it, but I guarantee that you will be annoying with it.

As an ex-programmer and sometime systems admin, I can’t really think of anything less useful than a computer without a keyboard. Even as a gamer I find the whole concept without merit.

It seems to me, based on people that I know who own such things, that all they are used for is web browsing and running the same cutesy cool apps (spit!) as on their smartphones, but on a bigger screen.

Oh, and this:

I was round at a friend’s house to sort out a problem with his printer. It actually turned out that the ink cartridge was duff, but thats not the issue. All the time I was there, he was staring at his iGalaxyPad thing as if his eyeballs would explode if they strayed from it.

I asked him what he was doing and he told me he was watching TV.

I then asked him why he was watching TV on a small screen whilst sitting less than 10 feet from a 50 inch HD Plasma TV.

His reply was, “why watch it on that when I can watch it on this?”

I rest my case.

The Cutting Edge

I worked in IT for a fair few years. I’ve suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous upgades. I’ve learned that as sure as eggs is eggs and all odd numbered Star Trek films are shit, upgrading to a new version of any Operating System when it is released is a stupid idea.

It took Windows XP until SP2 to be worthwhile, and gods help anyone who suffered though last year’s iOS update. I think quite a lot of people were close to entering the local equivalent of Arkham Asylum over that episode.

Who fell for Vista? Ok, Windows 7 was slighty better, but I bet the same people fell for Windows 8 and are now falling for 8.1

Ubuntu LTS 12.04 worked fine when it came out, but that was 18 months ago and it still gets weekly updates.

As for smartphone operating systems. Well, I’m bitter on this. My crappy Europa worked fine until I upgraded the OS. Then the microphone stopped working except when on speaker mode. So I reset the phone back to the factory settings. And now it tries to upgrade everytime I switch it on.

Anyway, I kind of lost the point a bit. Nothing works first time.

Fanboys

Time was, when I was a kid, you were a fan of a sports team or Preston North End. In Australia you could be a fan of Holden or Ford cars (this is one of the reason why I love Aussies). But never, ever, would you become obsessive and evangelical about the manufacturer of some bit of electric tat.

Nobody actually gave a shit if their VCR was made by Bush or Phillips. The closest we ever got was the Betamax/VHS format debate (we didn’t have format wars in the 80s, the internet invented those).

Nowadays, of course, anyone who buys the latest piece of consumer trash immediately becomes an obnoxious advocate for whatever badge they’ve just adopted.

Be it phones, laptops, whatever. Some bugger will no doubt want to tell you why his (and it is always his) latest money-sink is better that everyone elses’.

(The day after I started writing this, I witnessed two friends having a heated argument about the merits of the iPhone and the Nokia Lumina. Neither owner had the latest version. And both, sadly, were on the high side of their 50th birthday)

All-In-1 PCs

If you haven’t cottoned on to this shit-fad yet, an “All-In-1” Pc is a slender laptop that you can detach the keyboard from to make it a Fondleslab. I can’t think of a worse idea, unless Aardman Animation suddenly decide that Wallace and Grommitt will somehow work without the dog.

The sort of people who buy skinny laptops are insufferable enough without giving them the ability to shed the entire point of buying a a laptop in the first place.

The term “All-In-1” PC is a misnomer. It isn’t a Desktop, and even if you put it on your desktop you’re going to have serious problems when you want to upgrade bits of it. Which you will before the year is out.

I remember a time when we had the term “Multi-Media PC”, which purportedly refered to an its ability to play music and video.  Some less than scrupulous sales droids (Dixons – AKA Currys/PC World these days) used the term to refer to PCs that had both 3 1/2″ and 5 1/4″ disk drives. Technically true, but still misleading. Par for the course for that company though.

Bellends On The Train

See all of the above.

 

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