The following article is based entirely on my experiences and my opinions about different companies and products. Please don’t take offence at anything I rant about. I have already covered High definition and 3D televisions so it’s time for some other things to comne under the spotlight
This week I have been thinking about what I love and what I enjoy. I love playing with my two year old niece Lilly, I love watching films with my mother, I love watching Jurassic Park with my sister, I love walking along the Thames river with my other half and I love playing computer games with my best friend. I am lucky to have these people and they give me my reasons to love life.
Of course, there are other reasons to enjoy life too. Namely my other true loves - film, technology and playing with new gadgets that get thought up by clever business men/women with a plan. With the recession, we all know that having a plan can enable us to survive, so with careful thought and deliberation I have figured out this plan that allows manufacturers to cope with this recession.
Distraction. Showing the public shiny things and this will distract us all from the fact that none of us have any money to pay for them. We are constantly pummelled with advertisements telling us not that we want something, but that we need something. These products aren’t food, water or other essential things that human beings need to live – they are the iPad, smartphones and 3D Televisions.
Although I love technology, I am conflicted by what I genuinely like and what I am being forced to like. Unfortunately I believe that Apple is one of those things. I know that it is supposed to be better in all ways, but I just can’t take something seriously when I imagine executives sitting around a table asking ‘how can we be better than Microsoft’ and another answering ‘I know – let’s do the same thing that they do, only backwards’. Those who have used an apple computer know what I’m talking about.
I’m not sure whether the dislike comes from not understanding it or being aggravated by the constant feeling of experiencing their advertisements differently from other consumers e.g. me seeing an Apple advert is the equivalent to being pursued down the street by those people with charity collecting tins in Southend high street (don’t get me wrong, I give to various charities - I just do not want to be bullied into something or chased on the street). I know that some of you out there think the same way.
So, I found myself thinking about technology – the good, the bad and the ugly. I want to understand what is new on the market now and what is coming for us in the future. I want to conduct an investigation into what I would be proud in owning. Most of all however, I want to write all of my thoughts down so that you, dear readers, can make an informed decision about what new phone or television to buy instead of feeling like you were forced into it.
My name is Penelope Louise Glen and I do not own an iPhone. So what?
1. The Amazon Kindle
You’ve probably all heard of this new piece of tech by now, but what I can’t understand is why people of the world want things in a smaller package. Everything has to be lighter, thinner, and sexier. Hmmmm. The mentality of the western world I suppose.
If you love reading and want to enjoy a book on the go without carrying around a load of them in your bag – then you may be interested in the Kindle. Barely bigger than an average paperback, you can download several thousand books (depending on the digital storage space) and read whatever they want to on the go on an average sized screen. Instead of turning pages, you can press a button and read the words digitally. With 3G (wireless internet) technology, you can also download a book immediately from the web to start reading then and there.
It is one of the biggest selling products on Amazon.com (and the U.K. branch) and I guess I can see why. There are many advantages e.g. university students not having to break their backs carrying around textbooks, someone seeing an advert for a book, downloading it and reading it in under 15 minutes, or...ok, I can’t think of anything else. I just spent ten minutes thinking of another advantage, but I couldn’t.
This was probably due to a mind-block, but the truth is that I don’t like the Kindle. It is a fantastic idea, but I love books. I love turning the pages and having a collection on a bookshelf. However, being a traditionalist does not allow one to move with the times like everyone else – it is quite a hindrance. I can appreciate the device and see how people would like it, but unfortunately I am quite fussy.
My favourite book is size A3 when opened and has some beautiful pictures/works of art on almost every page. In this respect, the Kindle will only be useful for those who like reading novels and not art books because the pictures cannot fit on the screen in their full splendour. The price is quite reasonable depending on whether you want the 3G or not (between the ranges of a hundred to a hundred and fifty pounds). Try it guys, you may be surprised or end up thinking the same as me.
Touch-screen technology is all the rage these days – but I remember that they were mainly used in the retail sector for tills in places like Tesco etc. Manufacturers didn’t really catch on until a couple of years ago that perhaps the public might like to do away with buttons on handheld devices and touch the icons on a screen instead. We’ve all probably had a go with a touch-screen phone, but tablet devices are an entirely new kettle of fish. Basically they are like oversized phones that operate using one large display and employ an entirely touch-screen interface.
They are primarily intended for members of business boards to display things to colleagues like statistics instead of printing them out. The smaller versions for the public are just so that they can be used like mini touch-screen laptops – as they are supposed to be able to do anything computers can.
The most popular type of tablet at this moment in time is probably the iPad 2 by Apple, but there are many versions. Of course, because Apple like to be number one – they overcharge for something that is not that different to what other manufacturers have on the market. On Amazon.co.uk, the iPad 2 with 16GB of memory is near to £500 pounds, but other tablets are more than half the price – yet they almost certainly do the same thing.
I can’t deny that I’d like to at least play with a tablet, but overall I’m not too keen on touch-screen technology. I’ve had my Nokia for about a year now but I’ve had to replace it three times for different reasons – the most annoying being that the touch-screen either didn’t respond or started doing whatever it wanted. I can imagine a tablet acting the same way to be honest, with the slightest donk or perhaps pressing the screen too hard.
Who misses the simple task of putting pen to paper? Unfortunately, I know that these devices are the future – so I’m jumping on board and going to save up for one after I get my Playstation 4. I’m a technology junkie, what can I say?
3. Online Dating and Social Networking
Apparently the task of finding a mate is getting easier for us homo-sapiens. All we need to do is turn on our computers, have an internet connection and sign up to a social networking/dating web-site. We all know the ones, because their adverts are all over television, there are obnoxious films about them (where one of my favourite artists can win an Oscar for best soundtrack – oh yeah) and all of your friends have been sucked into them.
I’ve even tried it, but it must have been the web-sites that I visited – because all I got pummelled with were obscene requests on webcam. Most of us know that we don’t have to be ourselves online, so essentially we can become anyone we want to and it’s difficult to trust anyone. Online dating sites do however allow people to search for partners across the oceans and virtually go anywhere they want in pursuit of love (or whatever else you’re after). I don’t particularly have a problem with getting to know someone online, as I did this with my current partner (we met in Birmingham, but when I came back here – we used Facebook.com to communicate) – so I know this can be a very good tool. This is especially true when it comes to people like myself in a long distance relationship – where many miles don’t mean a thing if you have the Internet.
Should this however be a replacement to simple human interaction? Are we doomed to send an email to a friend sitting right next to us in order to greet them? I shudder to think.
4. Plastic Surgery
Now this technology I do have a problem with. Not the actual surgeries, but the advertisements that seem to be popping up everywhere e.g. for MYA (Make Yourself Amazing – eh?). I feel as though some cosmic force is telling me that I simply need to enhance the size of my breasts or make my lips bigger, or hips smaller to suit what is considered to be ‘sexy’ these days. I fully support people that need surgery if they have a birth defect or perhaps have been in an accident that resulted in disfigurement, or have had a disfiguring disease. People who choose to spend stupid amounts of money on breast augmentation, or liposuction or anything stupid like that because they can – do not have my sympathy.
This technology is being abused, especially since I have seen more adverts for changing breast size, rather than the advantages of buying something like a Hybrid car to save the environment. Why can’t we use these several thousands of pounds to find a cure for cancer? If a woman has breast cancer – she cannot have breast augmentation anyway!
Ugh, I really do hate the way I’m sounding now – all preachy and whatnot, but commercialism really does annoy me. As soon as Christmas is over, there are television advertisements showing ways to save money for the next holiday season. Things like this do not matter in the grand scheme, but to this western society it does. Let me make this clear though – I am not an environmentalist or a feminist, I’m just angry at the world and what a waste of time things can be sometimes. Plastic Surgery is one of those wastes of time.
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