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Sometimes change isn't an advantage.

By Tigger_Two ·
I really do hate to be a whiner...

As I have gotten older and decrepitude has gotten significantly more pervasive, I find that I have less and less ability to deal with changes that are being made with- what appears to be- less and less regard for those who use a product.

I try to embrace change. I fail miserably when that change comes wrapped in a sense that it is inflicted, rather than granted, on we who must use the new and improved... rather than the old and antiquated that worked so much better.

I live with an iPhone and an iPad. I also live with a MacBook Pro and an iMac. This disregards the XP net book and 17" Windows laptop that also share my space. Since I come from a time that believes that redundancy is good, I don't question this. However, I begin to wonder what benefit- if any- is brought to the table.

I don't recall the last time I answered my cell phone. I recall the last time I used it- the first week of December, when poor weather and driving conditions combined with an insane GPS (can you get therapy for a GPS?) required me to phone a friend for more reliable directions than Google Maps (and my insane GPS) could provide. I try to remember to keep the darned thing charged.

I actually use my iPad. I was looking for a specific book at Barnes and couldn't find it where I assumed it would be... so I pulled out my iPad to find the section THEY thought was appropriate. Found what I was looking for, too.

Somehow, I don't want to believe that this is what they designed this tool for...

We've become a nation of inanity and absurdity. Worse, we accept and embrace this. Our social reality is encompassed by Facebook and Twitter, we think in concepts that can be embraced in 160 characters or less, and our "networks" are comprised of people we have never met- and never want to.

I find myself avoiding my computer and refusing to answer my phone. I don't recall the last time someone emailed me because they wanted to talk to me- the email I get is more often notifications of things I don't care about and frequently from people I don't know. At some point, technology stopped serving me and began to assume I would serve IT.

What did I miss?

I understand the idea that one must grow with the times. In general, this doesn't bother me much. But to think that "Dance Moms", "Toddlers and Tiaras", "Dancing with the Stars", and "The Bachelor" are a part of what is considered to be "the social fabric" makes me ill. That a fundamentally flawed search is the best tool I have to find content on an otherwise beloved site irritates me to my soul. That people who think like me are being driven deeper into hiding spaces tells me that perhaps the promised change is nothing more than an empty promise that is not kept.

I long for simplicity. I long for a day when I can actually find content that is relevant for what I search for. I long for the days when thinking was a requirement and not optional.

I long for changes that provide an advantage to the user... and are not merely changes for the sake of some ill-conceived marketing notion of "what's best" for the consumer.

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My electronic leash

by AV . In reply to Sometimes change isn't an ...

After spending 25+ years running networks, I have to admit, I'm a computer junkie. I've developed a case of OCD because of the need to check things and poke around on the network at work, and at night I do things like pay the bills, shop, read TR, etc. I always have to have internet access. Thats how I run my life. Years ago, I used to get out the checkbook to pay my bills, but now I just go online and do it. Shopping is a dream. No longer do I have to bother going to the mall for most things. I think thats great.

I draw the line when it comes to the cell phone. I don't answer it most times. I let it go to voicemail and call them back when I want to talk (unless its an emergency). The younger members in my family are all into texting. I really don't do it much. I just don't feel the need to be in touch with everyone all the time. They make fun of me sometimes because I don't text. I don't tweet either. What's the point of that? I have a Facebook page, but I rarely go on it. I just don't have time, unless I want to give up sleeping.

I am just amazed at people and their phones. They can't put them down. Everyone does want everything NOW and if they can't get it, its a major problem. I work with attorneys and they now work 24/7 thanks to smart phones and terminal server access to the network. They're always connected. They have Bluetooth in the car and some even have Bluetooth headsets so they can talk on the phone while they're pouring a cup of coffee in the office kitchen. Its just sickness. I have a basic, dumb phone and I'm pretty happy with it. I can make phone calls and do a basic text if I want to. Still, I am going to trade it in for an iPhone, though I refuse to become one of those people that walk into walls looking at their phones.

I think the technology companies have so permeated our culture, there is no looking back. The olden days that we remember are gone forever. The best advice I can give is to use technology in moderation so it doesn't take over your life.


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Moderation and generations

by Tigger_Two In reply to Sometimes change isn't an ...

I agree completely with the premise that technology should be savored, not squandered. I have said for years that I will respond to my phone when and if I care to and not just because it rings. If I am upstairs, I don't know if it rings anyway- I leave it in my purse... downstairs.

I don't think my plan includes text messages... much to my step-son's dismay. While not aggressively connected, he responds MUCH more quickly to a text than an email or call. The other side of that is that he has had texting capability for WAY longer than I have.

Is this all generational? Could it be that I am stuck in a world of change primarily because of my age? I'm not that old- not yet 50.

Still, I have seen my industry morph repeatedly since I entered it. The pace of change has been breath-taking and in fewer than 20 years. I've been out of technology for three years or so and find that I no longer bring a skill set to the table that a prospective employer wants or needs. I have become irrelevant and I don't even know when this happened.

I'm not saying that change is inherently bad. I think that I am asking if change for the sake of change is good.

Take TR- no, I'm not kvetching about TR, just using an example. When they changed the way TR works, they were trying to bring the look and feel of the site up to date. Is that bad? The result was that many community old-timers just stopped making the site an important part of their day. Is that bad? Were those who walked away simply not willing/able to change? Was the change too much, too soon? Was it a change that wasn't necessary in order to keep the doors open? Was it desperately needed in order to maintain business viability?

What started this rant was not being able to use a website to do something I have done frequently and with little thought or effort. The website had changed- changed dramatically. It is virtually impossible to do anything functional on it at all. What is touted as an enhancement is, for me, a limitation to functionality. I began to wonder if I have become inflexible or if there is some mindset in operation that I don't understand.

What gets me, though, is that my kid probably hardly notices the changes that stymied me.

Have I truly become obsolete?

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Well, I'm in my early 30's

by cmiller5400 In reply to Moderation and generation ...

And I feel like things are getting out of hand.

Change is good, but only when it enhances upon a function or adds a new function that enhances your "experience". Change for the sake of change is not productive. I relate it to BIOS updates, if there isn't something that is fixed in a new release that I am currently having an issue with, I don't update. It isn't worth the time if the update goes sour (which has happened and is a HUGE pain to deal with.)

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Oh dear heaven!

by Tigger_Two In reply to Well, I'm in my early 30' ...

CMiller, you aren't that much older than my kid.


I agree with you- don't fix what isn't broken. Due diligence is a necessary step and any proposed change should be tested for viability prior to implementation. In virtually every change management team I have ever interacted with, there was a guy we were sure had been put on the team specifically to deny proposed changes.

Lion OS has been out for my Mac for months. I haven't upgraded to it and have no plans to at this time. Snow Leopard has been stable and functional. The new interface brings nothing to my functionality table and could potentially break or disrupt things that I have, use and need. The change makes no sense.

That said, I know that a great percentage of the user base upgrades reflexively. A pop up shows up and tells them to. Frankly, I blame IT for that to an extent- we TOLD users to do as they were told by the machine. It would appear that we successfully transmitted that message.

Getting out of hand? Yep. I'll pack an extra blanket and you can join Palmie and I on the porch, yelling at the kids on the lawn.

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Partly generational

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Moderation and generation ...

It's not so much that we grew up with certain technologies, it's that we grew up WITHOUT certain ones.

I got along fine for decades before cell phones and GPS became affordable to the general public, or before DARPA cut the Internet loose and you had a way to get television beside three networks and an antenna. As such, I grew up comfortably (by the standards of the time) without what much now take for granted. I never had them so I don't miss them.

I've adopted the technologies I find useful to me (DVRs, MP3 players, a basic cell phone on a 'pay as you go' plan, satellite-delivered TV) and ignored or remained on the sidelines for those I don't perceive as wants or needs (game consoles, 'smart' phones, Internet-delivered streamed entertainment, social networks). That's not unique to my generation or technology; this has been ongoing since the Industrial Revolution or maybe the Renaissance. Prior to those, tools and methods didn't change as rapidly.

Who knows, I may find a use for some of these geegaws in the next few years. I didn't get a cell phone until about nine months ago, when I found a model and payment plan cheap enough to suit me. Even now I only use it on long trips. I may find a tablet to be a viable option one day if the hardware and connectivity costs drop by about 70%. I may hook a computer to the TV to stream content, if there's every anything I want to watch that isn't available via my existing delivery methods.

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It's too much to think about

by NickNielsen In reply to Sometimes change isn't an ...

The hardest thing for most humans to do is nothing. All those people who have to be doing something never quite grasp the idea that just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD do that thing. And too many humans have to be doing SOMETHING, even if it's make-work. (I have a sister-in-law who can't sit for more than a few seconds without thinking of something else that "needs" to be done and popping right back up to do it. Watching her wears me out!) Other people base their self-image on what they have or what they do rather than on who they are. People like these are the people buying the new gadget every time the "latest and greatest" hits the street.

Another contributing factor is our increasing cultural selfishness ("alone in the world" syndrome). People just don't care about others as long they have what they want. (Maybe that's too far. Americans will dig deep to contribute to victims of disasters, so they do care. Let's try "don't think about others.") This attitude is epitomized by the texting driver, blithely oblivious to anything but the latest from one of his (or her) dozens of "friends."

Finally, there's the sales pitch from the technology companies, trying to convince us that if we only have enough technology, we won't need anything else. But what is overlooked by the in-duh-vidual is that, while having technology may make you look smarter, it doesn't actually make you smarter. If the only poetry you could write with a pen and paper was inane free verse, a computer and MS Word will only help you create more inanity, faster. If you are the king of asinine one-liners, all you will post on Twitter and Facebook is—surprise! :0 —asinine one-liners.

Throw these factors into society, shake well, and you get what we've got: change for the sake of change. Unfortunately, change for its own sake is now comparatively inexpensive, enabled by the technology humans have created over the past several decades.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not against change. I've been working with electronics and computers since I was in high school. The changes have been immense over the past 40 years:
* discrete transistors are gone. They've been combined into integrated circuits.
* My first transistor radio was three inches by six inches and almost two inches deep. All that circuitry now fits onto a one-micrometer square piece of silicon, with room to spare.
* My cell phone has more memory and processing power than the first mainframe I worked on. That mainframe consumed most of the floor space in a 30 x 24 room; the phone fits into my pocket. One hard drive assembly alone consumed almost 20 square feet of floor space...and provided less than half the storage available on my phone.
* Floppy disks, Zip drives, analog tape cassettes. All gone, replaced by optical media and thumbdrives.
I have embraced these changes, not just because it's part of my job, but because they were an improvement over the previous technology.

Other changes, not so much.

Twitter? Remember all those throw-away one-liners? Now, they're part of the record; is that something to be proud of?
Facebook? Sure, it's an easy way to keep in touch with friends and acquaintances. It also reminds you why you really don't care if you hear from some of those people except at Christmas, when you pull the letter from the card, stand the card on the mantel with the others, and throw away the letter...unread. And let's not forget those friend requests from people you couldn't stand back then, but who seem to think they deserve your attention now.
Texting? One of the most pathetic things I've ever seen was a couple sitting on a park bench, both busy texting. As I watched them, I realized the text exchange that had them so enthralled was between the two of them! Rather than talking, they were texting. At the end of the "conversation", they even leaned over and kissed each other. Are you effing kidding me?

I love technology. I embrace technology. It pays my bills and it's fun to play with. But I have yet to figure out why it is more important to hold a texting conversation on your phone than it is to talk to the person sitting next to you at the dinner table...on the park the bar...or on the patio. (I miss the patio. :-( )

Yeah, I rambled...sue me. And I'm keeping my clamshell phone (that says Cingular) for as long as it works!

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I just hope

by AnsuGisalas In reply to It's too much to think ab ...

that maybe the texting couple were somehow shy about using their native Ameslan in public (because Ameslan can be "overheard" from quite a long way away ).
All other possibilities are straight out of ****...

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I still have my flip phone from Cingular as well!

by cmiller5400 In reply to It's too much to think ab ...

And I if I dug into the abyss of my closet, I'd probably find my old AT&T cell phone before they merged with Cingular

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You know you're really going back in time

by NickNielsen In reply to I still have my flip phon ...

When you find the phone that says "Cellular One"...

And, in case I wasn't clear enough, the clamshell I have is the active phone!

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Buying the latest and greatest.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to It's too much to think ab ...

I caught part of a radio story this morning about a near-riot over the Chinese release of the iPhone 4S.

I don't understand standing in line for something that isn't limited in quantity or shelf life. I can understand camping out for concert tickets or even ridiculously low priced special sales; I've done that a couple of times myself. But standing in line to fight over something just to be the first to have it, something that will continue to be available at the same price for months? Something that doesn't really do much different from another device you also stood in line for, often within the past couple of years?

Sorry, you lost me.

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