The Flaws in Tech Products!

dog-camera-adad found on Yahoo Finance, Dec 17, 2016

You have found tech products you love over the past decade.  But have a vague sense something is wrong.  Maybe you blame it on the death of Steve Jobs.  But I have the sensation too, even though I do not use Apple products, and I concede Windows 10 has the turn-on speed we’ve always wanted and works generally well, and I even have an 8″ tablet that runs both Win10 and Android.  I see advertisements for all sorts of stuff, like lost item locators, telephoto lenses for phones (which I bought), etc.

The above ad is an interesting foil against which to perform a critical analysis.  Take a moment to think for yourself … what is wrong with it from the get go?

  1. The photo is not actually taken with the device, but some other camera.
  2. The dog is not in the field of view of the device, so it’s not apparent the device even could work.
  3. The Christmas hat (sorry, “Holiday Hat” to be politically correct) was painted on.  The photo is entirely fake.
  4. It costs a lot more than a phone which does a lot more.
  5. It probably uses a phone camera which doesn’t focus fast enough to capture a fast moving tiny dog.
  6. The “X” didn’t work.  The “close ad” button brought up an ad for a Jaguar, the original highly-desirable but not-usually-working technology item.

In other words, a great gift for someone you are willing to spend $174 to annoy, but not really a very good idea.  Certainly don’t buy one for yourself.

We’ve seen gift ideas marketed like this for ages, but ALL technology was ALWAYS marketed like this.  The original PCs were going to change your life, remember?

Well, they did.  They took all your spare time.  Later they took all your non-spare time, leaving your family and perhaps your job in the dust.  They kept promising the next generation would offer more and actually work, and we kept buying them, even as they shrunk to the size of phones, and replaced phones, even though some of they time they wouldn’t even answer or make a call.  Certainly not after a year of automatic upgrades and loss of all their memory.  Not to mention the hazard of exploding batteries, and increased risk of automobile accidents (whether you are the user or the other guy).

I now buy on average 2 of each new device.  I got lucky with a new $89 HomTom 5″ Android phone.  I think it works well enough.  Tablet computers?  I’m hitting 1 out of 3 or less.  True, they cost 1/3’d to 1/6th as much as a high end Microsoft Surface or Apple iPad.  I’ve tried using my relatives’ iPads and cannot, so I wouldn’t bat any better with the high end products.  They just explode more frequently.

I bought a very simple micro-USB hub for my tablet, something you can’t find in stores.  One of the ports doesn’t work.  Cost $30 to return it to China.  I just ordered another brand.  If it works I’ll still have spent less than what it would cost in Fry’s, if Fry’s had them.

Speaking of Fry’s, I went there for a DVI to HDMI adaptor that the Internet said they had in stock for $4.99.  They had some for $14.99, but not that one.  I talked with a sales person and their computer also said they had it in stock.  There was no peg for it in any of three possible locations, including one where the same brand was present, meaning the devices were not stolen, they simply were not in stock as the computer indicated.  A new marketing variant called the “loss-less” leader?  Or the “lost leader”?  The first very young white sales associate acted like I had stolen them.  The second, an old white guy who confided this was a temp job and he was resigning the next day to be rehired as a system administrator, put out a great deal of effort and reconnected me with the manager of the appropriate department (who had actually been the first person I’d asked and had given me the row number to look on).  The manager was a very friendly mid-career smiling black man who offered me the more expensive one for about half price.  I took it.

I mention these people’s demographics, by the way, to illustrate that by and large demographics has nothing to do with it.  I want to say the old guy’s general world experience and position was correlated with his behavior.  But I’ve seen young guys go the extra mile also.

Try buying a lamp.  That was high technology at one time.  You plug it in, and it works.  Maybe one in a hundred or a thousand might have a problem.

But if our “future” depends in any way on “technology” we are in deep trouble.  Self-driving cars?  I don’t want them on the road with me.

Hey!  The good news is one old white guy already got his job back, and Trump hasn’t even been sworn in yet.


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