Sunday, February 15, 2015

#181 - Technology - For Better or Worse

After breakfast this morning, our son starting talking (yet again) about some particular figure he wanted to get for his Wii U console. I then tried to have a conversation with him about spending so much money on these things and the fact that Nintendo would probably not make these figures (known as Amibos) or the games forever, especially given that the Wii U is a distant third in the video game arena behind XBOX 360 and Play Station 4.

That got me to thinking about technology, both the good and bad. Developers are always coming up with some new way to do things. Often, the new way is an improvement. However, there are times when perhaps the better technology loses out to a lesser technology simpler because the marketing and PR effort was not as strong.

Anyone remember the Beta vs. VHS wars back in the 1980s? I came down on the Beta side since, working in television as I did at the time, I was convinced Beta was a better recording technology. Many experts and reviewers agreed. However, VHS had a bigger and better marketing push behind it, and Beta recording technology became but a footnote.

I suspect my son must somewhere possess a fondness for underdog technology, something he must get from me. Stored in a closet in one of our bedrooms now used as office space we have an old Iomega Zip drive (remember those?) and about a dozen Zip disks. They were going to replace floppy disks (yes, we also have working external floppy drive) for users who needed more storage space than a floppy could offer. That lasted a few months until writable CDs hit the market. Another technological footnote.

However, not all of our technology is stuck in the past. I am typing this blog entry on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 using a stylus and the on-screen keyboard. If I get the hang of this, I may get a Bluetooth keyboard to make this progress even easier. At that point, my tablet may relate my four-year old laptop for many of my everyday technology needs. It also looks like Android is big enough and ubiquitous enough that it is not destined to become a technological footnote anytime soon. Thank goodness.

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