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Pleasures in a New Phone and Computer

It is human nature not to appreciate the difficulties of anybody else's job. I bought a new phone recently. And once again I am rolling my eyes at how underwhelmed I am by the work of the "IT" departments of the world, that is, by software engineers, search engine designers, and computer geeks in general.

In the last month I have "upgraded" from an Android 7 phone to an Android 9, and from a Windows 7 laptop to a Windows 10. In both examples, there was a bit of fun in learning a new system. 

But real progress is not obvious. It is harder to find what you are looking for, in a new system. What REAL improvement could they possibly come up with that would overcome the disadvantage of struggling to find things?! Most of the vaunted improvements in software or operating systems are of the same type as switching your socks in drawer A and underwear in drawer B.

But there are compensations. It's great fun to obliterate the "bloatware" that the manufacturers load into the gadget. 

Similarly it is fun to uninstall an app that hits you up for yet another sign-in process.

Everybody wants to know how I rate my experience. Believe it or not, I get suckered into some of these surveys. But then they ask irrelevant question after question after question...  So I abort this process, as well.


My favorite pleasure comes after giving the benefit of the doubt to a new app, and then being immediately serenaded with Facebook advertisements. I side-step the ad, with great gusto, and start looking how to make the app do something useful. But all I do is drown in a menu. Then I immediately uninstall the app. The more ruthless I am, the better.

In case this sounds churlish, remember how puny and helpless the individual is when dealing with giant organizations. Saying "nyet" or "enough of this bullshit" is the first step to becoming a living human being.

How many of these time-consuming frustrations ... excuse me, "improvements"... are nothing more than good old-fashioned planned obsolescence?

On the other hand there are real improvements in new gadgets, but they are usually hardware, not software. For instance, the era of spinning hard drives is finally over, for me, since my new laptop has semiconductor memory. But those spinning magnetic disks sure had a good run, didn't they? It is a miracle they worked as well as they did.

The cost of thumb drives (aka, flash drives) has come down to the cost of a candy bar. I can't believe that they are still trying to sell "cloud storage."

Fingerprint readers are a great convenience. 

The new phone screen is more readable in the Southwestern sun.

The new laptop uses so little power, that it barely needs to be turned off.

On the other hand, the new phone will no doubt break just as easily as the old phone, after dropping.

But of course, all of these gadgets ultimately come down to battery life, the Achilles Heel in the tech world, and therefore, a taboo topic. My new phone has an unusually big battery -- 5000 milliAmp-Hours -- and that was the deciding factor in choosing it. Oddly enough, it doesn't feel that heavy.


Bob said…
Get a case for that new phone, one with an extra battery even better.
"The cost of thumb drives (aka, flash drives) has come down to the cost of a candy bar. I can't believe that they are still trying to sell "cloud storage.""

I like thumb drives until I forget to update them, forget the secret place I hide them or simply lose them.
Then I'm glad I have that automated "cloud storage". 15 gigs free from Google and others. "All' you need to do is give them permission to track everything you do and sell the info. to who-knows. :-)

Whatever. The day you signed up for internet service was the day you surrendered your privacy.

Enjoy your new toys.
Yes, Ed, Carol, and Gopher, there ARE advantages to cloud storage. I gave a one-sided assessment.
Ed said…
I side with Ed, Carol and Gopher the dog about Google Drive cloud storage. I have been using a Chromebook for 2.5 years now that has no spinning disk hard drive. In fact it has almost no hard drive at all so a user needs to use the cloud or some external hard drive.

I find that the cloud works very well for me. So far I have used 1.3GB of storage and have only 13.7GB remaining before it will cost me anything. One of the advantages that I have found is that I can access the cloud using my Chromebook OR my Toshiba with Ubuntu OR my Kindle Fire. I guess there are ways to sync those devices but for my purposes I can move files from one device to another using the cloud.
Ed, you have a tolerance of multiple operating systems that far surpasses mine!

My point about the cloud storage is that it makes no economic sense: a huge flash drive now costs $10. So why would you want to shift the workload from a $10 part to an $80/month phone plan that consumes gigabytes every time you move stuff to the cloud?

Ed, Carol, and Gopher: why should it be so hard to remember where you store the flash drive, if you store it in the same place?

Why is it hard to remember to do backups if you have a calendar on your phone or computer that remind you to do the backup, on the first day of the month, or whenever. These vaunted operating systems are supposed to be so GREAT, so why are you depending on your own memory?
Bob, don't worry, a case is on the way. The damn dog got frisky at the end of her leash and jerked my hand. So the new phone dropped on day 3 of its life.
Anonymous said…
Yes forget the cloud. One of the joys of being a nomad is cruising the country using
everybody & their uncles WiFi. So way give the NSA access to your life by using the Cloud!