Monday, May 6, 2013

Tablets,Technology And Our Sentimental Temptations

                During the 2011 holiday season, I made my first attempt in getting a tablet-in this case as a gift for under  the tree. This endeavor was an epic fail if ever there was one. The device was a Pandigital R70E200 "7inch eReader, with 2 GB of internal memory. It performed horribly. I took it back to Big Lots where I got it a month too late and at least had a decent gift card there for the trouble that lasted awhile. The entire affair was partly my fault however. At the time the tablet concept was relatively new. And I'd ended up making a purchase without taking any time to research the data. And fact was, at that time anyway was that an Android internet tablet and an eReader were two entirely different things. Times have changed however so,a couple of days ago I decided during my birthday month to try my hand at a tablet again.

                 Since the Kindle Fire HD and Samsung Galaxy tablets are,even on sale,still quite beyond my price bracket I again decided to go with Big Lots. This time I had the better knowledge of contemporary Androids on my side and decided to go for the Polaroid PMID705 Android tablet. This device has the style and look of a Windows 8 tablet and far, far more App options than the Pandigital ever did. Again it is not as  fast reacting as a Kindle,Nook or Galaxy tablet. And I am still as of this writing learning about it. However this article is not going to amount to a commercial for someone else s product: I haven't "gone commercial" as it were.  This story was merely a setup for the actual subject of this particular post. It basically has to do with how some people become angry or fearful of the very tools we use and even that which gives us pleasure.

               One place I hear this in particular is in regard to music. While there is very little debate that television broadcasting is substantially inferior and limited today compared to the way it was even a decade and a half ago,music is one of those places where individual taste is often guided by nostalgia. But likely the one place where this presents the most challenge is technology. You've got to admit that we live in a computer age. There is an internet. And its not a separate world; it IS the world. And its a growing world too. Often growing out of the need for the technology people use to access it. Economic realities also demand that such products be made affordably. So a lot of times form doesn't dictate functionality in such cases.

            Still the sentimentality towards older technology is common. I will give you one example here and, for the sake of privacy will not divulge the identity of the individual of whom I'm speaking. What happened was that said person purchased a Toshiba laptop with Windows XP installed from the defunct Circuit City in 2003. It was set up promptly and was this persons first computer. It worked perfectly for seven or eight years. Then a new modem had to be installed and,eventually a new wireless internet router. The router was too high powered to accommodate the older device. And another USB powered signal booster had to be purchased for the computer to use. 

             While this person eventually purchased a modern Toshiba laptop, they are still talking in terms of somehow adapting their original device to more modern specifications. Even though I've heard many people say that the shell of any laptop can be reused infinitely (baring inevitable circuit failure) with the proper installation of newer motherboards, this could be a potentially difficult and costly prospect. Most of the time it is simply more practical to upgrade. Over the years I have heard this exact same argument,from many different people on many topics of motor vehicles to household appliances. This idea of a "pastime paradise" and the "everything was so much easier and better years ago" are extremely flexible terms-combining undeniable truths with a huge degree of subjectivity.

            Personally I tend to feel that the trouble with the contemporary social environment is that there are far too many people complaining, but very few actually doing a whole lot to change what troubles them. Technology is a perfect example of this. When people purchase a technological tool they want and/or like, and it doesn't meet their needs in some way, they very seldom lodge any type of well rounded assessment/complaint to the manufacturer through either a letter or an email. The future is not yet here to render a verdict on how my second round with Android tablets will go. But I myself learned a great deal for my initial experience, and subsequent fail with the Pandigital tablet so that, if a similar thing were to occur another time I'd be better equipped to physically handle the situation. After all nobodies perfect. And that goes for the machines and tools we made for ourselves as well.


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