Speed of Technological Change: Rant v. 2.3

As mentioned in my last post (or two), I have been feeling quite overwhelmed with the speed that technology has been developing. Well. To be fair, I have no problems with the speed of development, just the speed of expected upgrading on behalf of the consumer. This goes for pretty all consumer products – not just tech stuff… I remember way back when we bought our first “used” appliance, a fridge – we went to a second hand store and I remember them telling me that if I wanted a fridge that would last (all eco/environment issues asides), then our best bet was to buy one that was made BEFORE 1985. Although not as environmentally sound, they were built to last forever – while the newer models are designed with a 10-12 yr life in mind so that people could ‘upgrade’ and buy more.

I feel the same way with my Ipod – the first one I had, I got in 2003 – a nice iVideo – I adored it – until the drive died in it about 2 years later. Then I bought an ipod Classic – a few short years later – the drive died, and I had to replace it. So on and so forth… I now have a nano – i love the size and the features, but fear it is an expensive two year solution to my personal musical listening needs.

But this is not a rant about apple. It is about the speed that we are expected to upgrade and change. This expectation is oddly in conflict with the concept of cell phone contracts … Case in point – my daughters both have cell phones on 3 year contracts. Yes, I know that’s bad of me, but for the phones they wanted, I could not afford the purchase outright… Before I go any further with this story – I just want to say, I hate all cell phone companies equally, and everyone has a story why XX company rocks or sucks…. moving on…. So – When I was with Rogers, I could upgrade my phone almost every 6 months, but it would reset the contract term. Boo Rogers. I eventually went to Bell. I can make changes to my phones without affecting my contract, but even having 3 phones on 3 year contracts (2 of which are smartphones), I am not offered ANY upgrading for the entire three years! (I have argued and asked for explanations many times). The thing is, I wouldn’t care so much (I don’t need to upgrade), if the companies themselves weren’t constantly shoving new phones down our throats and convincing the general population that every two weeks you need XX new phone for XX new service on XX new network blah blah blah (4g LTE anyone!?)

So – my youngest daughter is stuck with her Samsung Reclaim – an perfectly acceptable phone for a 13 yr old (when she got it) but now that she is 15 she wants something new and hip…

For myself, I am happy with my phone (much to the chagrin of a few of my friends). I love my blackberry. But they seem to be suffering from this upgrade upgrade upgrade mentality – fixing things that aren’t broken, and changing things to compete with other smartphones (namely the iphone. Well, RIM, I will tell you – if I wanted and iPhone, I would get one – not use some half-assed feature mimicking version of it. I chose the Blackberry for its own merit…). So, for the last few weeks, I’ve been getting notices to upgrade to os v.6.0. I have had the last version for quite some time – I like it a lot. It served all the purposes I needed – and I was happy. But I decided to not be a crankpot, and try the upgrade. WELL….. after a few days of trying to learn a new interface (up until this point, all the other upgrades were mostly back end), losing my simple interface theme, and constantly being told that I did not have enough space on my device to open xx website (the OS takes SO MUCH more space than the old one), I decided to downgrade. Yup. I want to be left behind. I am tired of running the upgrade rat race — at least for now.

It’s not that I hate things change. I am ok with change – I like change. I like new and shiny things too, it’s that the change is happening faster and faster that it is getting hard to keep up.

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