Monday, March 5, 2012

Tech fatigue

I heard the tech news today, oh boy.

If that sounds as if I'm bored, like in The Beatles "A Day in a Life," well I am.

This week, Apple announces the iPad 3 and who knows what else. Apple iTV?

Last week, Microsoft introduced Windows 8. Plug-and-play becomes touch-and-play.

Google, which has barely released its "Ice Cream Sandwich" software on smart phones, is now talking about the next iteration called "Jelly Bean" followed by "Key Lime Pie."

Enough. Please. Let's take it down a notch.

Afterall, we're still in a recession. Unemployment remains ridiculously high and gas prices are going through the dashboard.

Who can afford all this stuff?

Well, apparently millions of Americans.

Apple introduced the iPad during the depths of the Great Recession and, of course, it was an instant hit. It created a whole new tech category overnight.

The fact that millions of Americans have expendable income to buy iPads, iPhones and Android phones during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, is proof that things aren't really that bad afterall.

When a toy that sells for $500 is a must-have gadget while the under-employed level reaches 20 percent, we know that we live in unusual economic times.

It's definitely not a Depression, but rather an extension of the credit card culture.

I'm typing this rant on a 14-inch laptop manufactured by Samsung purchased on an American Express card.

An original iPad sits idle nearby.

Okay, I know that admitting I occasionally use my daughter's iPad 1 is like saying I use a "horse and buggy" to get around town. It's hopelessly behind the times.

I mean, the original iPad doesn't even have a camera. Shame.

Such is the case with these crazy, techno-disposable times.

It's great that the "early adopters" buy all these things because it paves the way for better technology at lower prices later on.

I didn't buy a CD player until they stopped selling LPs, or about 10 years after CDs were introduced.

I bought a DVD player only when the video store stopped stocking VHS tapes.

In other words, like most Americans, I only change when I have to. I was fine with Windows XP.

I still use a smart-ass phone while everyone around me, it seems, plays with their smart-phones, particularly while spending time with friends or family.

Yesterday, while eating an early dinner at an Italian restaurant, I noticed the couple in the booth across the way.

They were in their mid-60s and both were using iPads/netbooks while dining.

The family that surfs the web together, stays together.

Anyway, the woman was using an iPad that was held upright by a folding cover.

The man was using what looked like a netbook, but proved to be an iPad docked into a keyboard that made it resemble a netbook.

In other words, it would be great to see someone have the foresight to introduce a product that combined an iPad and a netbook. They could call it a laptop, notebook or iPadbook, I don't care. It would be revolutionary. Yes, there is the Asus Transformer, but the model is a netbook.

Except that the netbook revolution has passed.

Microsoft ensured this development when the iPad was introduced by only allowing Windows 7 Starter on netbooks. It killed a great tech development during its infancy.

For me, a 10-, or 12-inch netbook with a nine-hour battery life is all that I need to get by.

The iPad is great for consuming, but not producing.

Thank god we live in a consumer society or else Apple would be in trouble.

Instead, Apple is now worth more than Exxon-Mobil or Microsoft and Google combined.

We consume, they provide.

Ain't we got fun.

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