Brian's Blog

…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World

Pointless Technology

I’ve been meaning to write this topic for so long but what really spurred me on to finally get it posted was the increasing shared cynicism coming from a magazine that generally pushes what seems to me to be “pointless technology.” In a review on Intel’s latest processor offering CustomPC (which gives the CPU an award) writes on page 19 of this month’s edition:

Intel has always charged a premium for its latest, top-end multi-core chips, but [now it] brings this premium to into a new level of silliness.

It’s as if Intel is just experimenting to see how far it can push people who want the latest and greatest tech…

I’m not sure when or why I grew out of being in awe of “cool stuff”. I remember getting my first PC and being all smug about its then huge 10GB Hard Drive. I was an early adopter of a web cam, back when dial-up and Netmeeting were pretty much the only (unreliable) way of putting it to use, and I filled my first MP3 Player with 128MB of music (and that’s after I had already doubled its capacity).

Maybe my cynicism was because it became a money thing; I had a PC that worked and did what I wanted of it, and I had a car to keep on the road, so spending money on gadgets or expensive mobile phones wasn’t a priority. My first mobile phone was given to me and was only capable of being a phone and sending text messages and while my second phone could at first allow me to check my e-mails, it was very slow to do this and in the end something changed with Hotmail and from then on I couldn’t do anything. I once bought a ‘smart phone’ but the one I selected turned out to be so fragile and problematic (phoning people when I put it in my pocket) that I sent it back – the one I have now seems to have the same issue accessing Hotmail as my earlier one, but it works fine for phoning, texting and playing music. The thought of spending £100s on a smart-phone seems utterly silly, but you can always put it to good use by catching Pokemon, apparently.

As for computers (and this is where the cynic turns into a hypocrite) I have ones (yes more than one) that allow me stable access to SecondLife and give me the ability to heat my home in the winter whist searching for aliens, which sounds silly and pointless, but I really have no desire for the top end processors or graphics cards. I have also dabbled with computer modding but that to seems far too extravagant to do well, with modders either spending days ‘braiding cables’ or being given parts to help promote to other would-be modders.

While I can appreciate the work and creativity of some computer modding I consider the expense. After all, the value of all the kit inside of a computer case made of plexi-glass could feed a family of four for a year or more. I turn to the modding section of CustomPC and they list eleven things you will need in order to show off your SSD from behind a sheet of clear acrylic stuck to the inside of your computer case with double-sided sticky tape. Cool. Mod a case well enough and you might be flown all over the world, all expenses paid, to show off your abilities.

The problem is, I’m in the computer business myself! I try to do this as honestly as possible; by not selling what I don’t think people really need; if they’re wondering why their computer is so slow with only 1GB of RAM, then I tell them straight, equally so when they just need to leave their computer on, and hog their internet access for a few hours, because their operating system wants them to install 250 updates…

And then there are those that buy a tablet computer, like a ‘feed a family of four for a few months job’, without putting any thought into actually what they want to use it for… seriously, people do this. “Will you show me how to use it?”… “Well, what do you want to use it for??” … *blank look* “Heard of Pokemon?”

Further reading…


3 comments on “Pointless Technology

  1. declutteringthestuff
    13 August, 2016

    HAHAHA first computer with 10 GB! Our first computer, purchased in 1986, had a 20MB hard drive. That was so awesome at the time!! And so expensive! ($2500 US) I can’t imagine how much we’ve spent on technology and internet access over the years!

    • Brian
      15 August, 2016

      Yup, 10GB, I thought it was huge until a year or so after I needed to add a 20GB drive for extra space. When things break, that’s one thing, when they just become old and ‘out of date’ or no longer ‘compatible’, that’s another.

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This entry was posted on 11 August, 2016 by in Computers, Internet, Second_Life, SETI@home, Technology and tagged , , , , .
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