Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's crazy - Part 1

It's crazy

I guarantee that next week's headlines for every major media outlet will include a least a blip about the release of the IPAD3. 

We don't often hear about the latest model of refrigerator even if it uses half the energy of its predecessor.  Auto makers will drown you in commercials in a vain attempt to convince you of the relevance of their product but unless it blows up or spontaneously accelerates it will never make the news.

Let Apple release something, however, and it's a global event on par with the Olympics or unrest in the middle east. 

That's what's crazy.  The next installment of Apple mania has already started.  Technically oriented news sites wrote weeks of columns based on leaked photos of parts.  Traditional media outlets even gave the blurry photos a mention.  All over a tablet.

It's not much better with smartphones either.  Apple has a strong presence in this market but the Internet is lousy with reviews of Android based phones as well.  It seems all the technical innovation is focused on mobile devices.   Apparently we're always on the go and are individuals of such great importance that our every move must be reported.

The average consumer apparently needs all of this mobile convenience just to function.  They tell themselves that a day without a facebook update, a twitter feed or an updated Google plus stream is a tragedy.  Woe to the car rental company who rents a subcompact  whose radio doesn't have Pandora support or an input for an Iphone.

I've been called a troglodyte, the definition of which is:

a member of any of various peoples (as in antiquity) who lived or were reputed to live chiefly in caves

I embrace that characterization.  Why?  Because people who lived in caves didn't bother themselves with things unrelated to survival.  I'm all for convenience but with the advent of ever more powerful mobile devices we've managed to crowd our lives with unnecessary nonsense. 

The arguments are of course the level of communication previously impossible without the technology. Proponents will point to the Arab spring of 2011 and the vital role SMS played in reporting the unfolding events.  I can't argue the contribution but I also don't believe the outcome would have been any different without it. 

The world hasn't changed as much as we are led to believe.  We will still be as selfish or magnanimous as we care to be regardless of our little devices.  Technology doesn't change the world so much as it allows more people to know about it. 

Continued in Part 2