Sunday, October 29, 2006

Technology and Capitalism

I set out to buy a digital camera and came home with something only a distinguished member of MENSA could fully operate. I wanted a Microwave to heat up my food, bought one and to this day only use about 3 buttons, even though it will decipher advanced mathematics and quantum physics, whatever that is. Remote controls? I got a whole herd of them and they are as much of a mystery to me now, as they were the day I unwrapped the plastic they came in. Gawd forbid I actually hit the wrong button!

K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “keep it simple, stupid” and its one manufacturers of electronics have long forgotten. Every company is attempting with success to pack as many features into their gadgets as is humanly possible and we, like the techno-geeks we think we will become, throw down our hard earned money like a crazed gambler at the horse tracks. It beats all logic I can muster, to figure out how we got in this predicament.

I recently decided I did not want to pay for cell phone features I hardly used. Bear with me please, because I know many people “just can’t live without my cell”, but I’m trying to make a point. My phone had all the gadgets, camera, text, blah, blah, blah! Phooey! I just want to make a phone call occasionally and maybe receive one. I called all the phone companies and told them I wanted a simple plan and simple phone, no extra stuff that I couldn’t figure out how to use and wouldn’t anyway and was told by all they could not give me what I wanted. I told them the Israeli’s have a “kosher” phone that comes free with the contract is about $15 per month…unlimited minutes. No cigar.

Is Google the Anti-Christ? Come on! I say that jokingly, but computers and the Internet are being forced down the throats of 75% of this country and before long, you won’t be able to buy, sell or trade unless you have the Internet. Sounds bizarre don’t it, but wait a couple of years and you can throw your cable modem bill away, because the Internet will be free. You will HAVE to have the Internet, because it will too expensive to talk to a computerized voice, so you will need to key it in…then you will get the computerized voice so you can repeat everything AND you will have the option to hear it in Spanish most likely.

My 1989 Honda Civic Wagon has 200,000 miles on it and I have the original manual, which has about 60 pages and 6 inches by 9 inches in size. My wife’s car, which is already 3 years old, has three manuals and each one has, oh, about a gazillion pages, give or take a few. I’m surprised her car doesn’t fly it has so many gadgets!

Back to my digital camera! My camera has close to 200 settings and I use maybe 5 of them and it takes fantastic pictures! I could have bought the entry model that was $200 less and only had 75 features, but I did not want the entry model, which incidentally has the exact same 5 features I use and looks pretty much the same.

A friend at work asked my advice because he was buying a new laptop for classes he’s taking at college and I’m the local PC guru. I asked him what his requirements were and since he has two desktop computers already, he told me he was pretty sure he needed wireless capability and maybe CD writing function and he was going to use it for college only, no music, no movies, just basic Office software. We pulled out the Dell catalog and the entry-level laptop was about 50 times more computer than he needed and would last him well through his college courses. I told him $399 plus shipping and the laptop would be his. Perfect, easy and simple. More than he could use.

He came to work today with news of his new $750 plus shipping laptop and he told me he decided to go with this one because it had so many more features and “was a better deal”. I told him “I surrender” and throwing my hands up in the air, I walked away laughing.

When is the madness going to stop? More features that no one bothers to use or learn are not a deal, nor is it needed. Technology and Capitalism are driving me to derision, folks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i bought a palm pilot 3-4 years ago. it's still in the box. somehow, my life has continued.

It can only happen while shopping!

As the big man is my witness, every word of this is unquestionable and void of hyperbolic incredibility. With that taken into consid...