Monday, April 5, 2010

Tech, in one sentence.

This about sums it up:

(13 Glaring iPad Shortcomings, Ker Than & Robert Roy Britt, via Yahoo! News, 04/05/10)
The iPad shows great promise. It's thin and sleek and not like any other gadget out there. It was also more hyped than any new device in recent memory. But is it worth buying?

Given the cost, and a slew of drawbacks, the answer boils down to how much you're willing to pay for a toy.

Unless you're working, either at home or in the office, all tech is pretty much nothing more than fancy toys for those with disposable income. My work PC is a tool, my laptop is a tool for my freelance writing but, when I'm blogging, playing on-line poker, searching the web etc. It becomes a shiny toy. My mobile device (toy) mp3 player (toy), video-cameras (toys) and a host of other devices don't do much to improve work productivity, but they're fun to play with.

Which brings us back to Apple products. Except for a few certain fields of work, Apple's entire product line qualifies as toys for most users. Not that there's anything wrong with buying an accessory for style, fun, etc...but let's call it what it is.

Over the weekend I got to play with a friend's iPad for around one hour. At the end of the hour I realized that it was fun but (for me) had no practical application. It was neither as powerful as my home laptop nor as easy to use as a netbook, as a matter of fact, when I finished I returned home and completed my income taxes, on my laptop.

In other words, playing on the iPad was fun, for a while but, when I needed to get something done, I dropped the glitz and the glamour and returned to my good ol' non-sexy productivity tool.

And I saved $500 to boot.

Bottom line: If you're comfortable buying a toy, albeit one with a very slick interface & beautiful design, for a minimum of $500 then go right ahead. But don't try and lord it over the rest of us that you're on the cutting edge of technology. That bird only flies with the fanbois. For the rest of us.....well...we've got work to do.


  1. My mobile device, an iPhone 3G, is not a toy. I use it every day for work . . . approving blog comments while I'm out of the office, taking photos to post on the blog or for reference in writing stories for print, checking out Twitter links that lead to story ideas. Oh, and making work-related phone calls.

  2. There's nothing about the iPhone that increases productivity to the point that it's additional cost is justified.

    Granted, it's cool, sometimes that's enough. I would argue that 98% of the populace job descriptions don't involve "approving blog comments" etc. Any old mobile device would suffice for making business calls.

  3. Actually, you don't need a laptop - or even a mobile phone. There is no reason why we couldn't continue to use mainframes and card decks for work computing (esp. in accounting), and rotary dial analog phones at home (or pay phones when not at home) for voice conversations. As far as writing goes, I am certain that an old Remington or Royal manual typewriter, along with plenty of sheets of white paper, would suffice.

    Of course, we could take this to an extreme, and declare that such things as refrigerators, washing machines, the automobile, and even indoor plumbing aren't really "necessary", as many people in the world make do without them even today (and my own mother remembered the days before such conveniences were available.)

    Me thinks fanbois/fangrrls should join their cousins the wingnuts/moonbats and have a cup of coffee - or a good stiff drink or 10. Whatever causes them to mellow out.


  4. "Actually, you don't need a laptop - or even a mobile phone."

    Correct, you don't, but those devices make life easier on us all. That's specifically stayed away from the word "need" as much as possible here.

    The question isn't whether or not we need technology to survive (we don't) but whether or not the benefit to productivity is worth the additional price? If it's not, then is it important enough to you to pay for what basically amounts to a toy?

    "Me thinks fanbois/fangrrls should join their cousins the wingnuts/moonbats and have a cup of coffee - or a good stiff drink or 10. Whatever causes them to mellow out."

    On this we agree. I like the iPhone, think it's a wonderful toy, but I prefer the productivity enhancement of my Samsung Jack. My next phone will be based on an Android platform because I see the potential for productivity improvement there.

    At the end of the day Most, not all, Apple products are toys for MOST people. That doesn't necessarily mean they're bad, but hardly worth freaking out over.

  5. Added: To be fair. The same could pretty much be said for Microsoft products, or most any other techie gadget as well: Hardly worth freaking out over.


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