Monday, June 13, 2011

Techie wannabees and cheapskates....

PhotobucketIt used to be that techheads and geeks were few and far between. And that's still true, as far as the real techies are concerned. As for "wannabe techies", they seem to coming out all over the place, and worse, they're multiplying like rabbits.

We have the decreasing cost of technology to thank for that. It used to be that tech gadgets cost an arm and a leg. Not anymore. Desktop PCs, notebooks, netbooks, digital cameras, MP3 players, cellphones, etc., have been commoditized to the point that you can buy a perfectly decent sample of any of these things for just a reasonable amount of money. And if it breaks, it's probably even cheaper to just buy new instead of having it repaired. Tablets are likely to be the next big thing to be turned into mere commodities. Manufacturers are launching new models left and right, and the makers who deal in huge volumes like Acer, Asus, HP, etc. are getting in on the action. It's a safe bet that in a year or two, tablets, regardless of make, will be as common as cellphones are now.

I'm not complaining about that. It's good that tech has gone mainstream. Technology should be accessible to everyone, not only to a select few. But still, it has its drawbacks.

Like the emergence of the new breed of "techie wannabees". People who a year or two ago would probably not even bother to or dare buy a new PC, tablet or smartphone are now buying in droves, driven by the techno-lust inspired by the new generation of relatively inexpensive, easy-to-use, and fashionable must-have tech doodads. That's all well and good, but as with all things, a little knowledge still remains a dangerous thing.

Like this person I know who used to lust over an iPhone and a Galaxy S smartphone. Now he wants a Galaxy S II. That's just dandy and all, but he only uses his phone to call and text. He doesn't have a data plan, doesn't intend to get a data plan, and he's not even that interested in browsing the net or even reading his email on the go. He's not into social networks, and on top of that, he's farsighted so he can hardly read his phone without his reading glasses or squinting like Jan-Michael Vincent, if you're old enough to remember him. Despite this, he would evangelize to me how a particular model is so much better because it has an AMOLED display, or this model is better because its processor is 1 GHz while a competing product runs as 800 MHz. When window shopping for a new phone he would dress down a hapless store clerk for suggesting a model without an AMOLED screen when he probably doesn't even know what AMOLED stands for (it stands for Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode). I spotted him a few days ago, and he's using a cheap myPhone. Not that there's anything wrong about using a cheap phone...but you do have to ask yourself what the fuss was all about. Go figure.

Then there's this other person, who bought an iPad 2 even before it was formally introduced here. He bought the top-of-the-line WiFi+3G model, and carries it with him everywhere he goes. On one occasion, a colleague inquired on how much his baby cost. He replied that he bought it in excess of 1,000 USD (converted for clarity from local currency) from a gray market vendor. When asked if he has a data plan for it, he said no, adding that he only uses prepaid credits, and there's no need, since he (braggingly) said that he had a broadband connection at home. To my mind, he's just showing off, and failing miserably at it, showing in the process how much of a techie wannabe and cheapskate he is at the same time. If you can afford to buy an expensive 3G tablet, it's a no-brainer to get a data plan (even a cheap one) for it. If you only plan to use it with your home internet connection, then don't even bother getting a 3G model. And if you can afford a $1,000 tablet, you can afford to buy a cheap data plan. It's like buying an expensive exotic car then mounting cheap wheels and tires on it, just because you claim you don't get out much. Absolutely pointless.

Then there's the time when two people I know were insisting that getting an external keyboard for a tablet was a good idea. Frankly, I think the whole thing is as pointless as watering your plants during a rainstorm. One of them insisted that you can do office work on it if you had a keyboard. You buy a tablet for its portability. You use it to consume content. Tablets, no matter what size, were never really intended for users who create content. Aside from the basics, there really isn't much you can do with it with it...but that's perfectly alright, because that's how tablets were designed in the first place. If you were to go through the trouble of getting a tablet and carrying an external keyboard with you wherever you go and try to do office work on it, then you might as well should have bought a notebook or netbook computer from the start. It's like buying a sleek sports car and fitting it with an offroad suspension and wheels and tires, when you could have opted to just a buy an SUV from the start.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I could go on and on with all the arguments and discussions (friendly ones to be sure) I've had with techie wannabees. Frankly, I'm just getting tired of listening to and dealing with these people.

Oh well. That's progress for you.

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