Entry #15

Smash The Technology Consumer

    In order continue running this website I had to buy a new computer. My trusty laptop has simply run out of space. I got my laptop in 2006, so there is a spread of six years between my old computer and my new one. Six years doesn’t seem that long but in technology years it is about twelve life times. I was expecting that I would have to get used to some minor changes and updates on the new computer. I was not expecting that all of the important files on my laptop would not be compatible with the new system, including all of the files for this website. After spending hours jumping through hoops and seeking the help of my Dad who has been a computer programmer for my entire life, it still took us over a week to mostly solve this problem.

    I have spent the last week fuming about the industry that produces these machines. It seems that the goal of the technological world is to improve through substitution rather than addition. In order to “improve” their products, the designer has decided to create an illusion that the original product is out of date and useless. This illusion is created by eliminating and replacing the “useless” version. I wondered if the actual goal is simply to drive [me] the content consumer mad with frustration. I go through a similar ordeal every time I get a new phone. The only reason I ever buy new phones is when the phone I am using stops working. I cannot come up with any other good reason to buy a new phone. But inevitably, every time a get a new phone- from the same provider, built by the same company, I have to relearn everything about using a phone. In my twenty-three blissful, pre-cell phone years of living I never once encountered this problem with a land line. In this perpetual motion rat race age of disposable technological advancements crotchety, bitter old people like myself have been left behind. If there is one expression that the computer engineers of the world need to hear it is this: “If it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it.” Maybe the new expression will go: “Well, it wasn’t broken, so we broke it and put it back together differently but it was all worth it because we added a new doodad which is totally pointless and stupid.”

    After plotting some serious head smashing at the next technology producers convention I realized that they are not the problem. Like with everything else, the consumer is to blame. It’s all the iphone carrying product addicts who make it profitable for the industry to constantly churn out new crap.

There’s an old episode of The Simpsons where there’s a bunch of hype about a new Malibu Stacey doll. When Lisa points out that it’s just the same as the last Malibu Stacey but with a new hat, Smither’s responds: “But she’s got a new hat!” and the hoards race to get their hands on the “new” Malibu Stacey. This is the scene I think of every time everyone gets excited about a stupid new piece of technology. These days I can’t even answer a phone call in front of people with out facing extreme mockery of the fact that I still use a flip phone. Worst of all, the rampant overproduction of disposable bullshit technology creates a massive environmental toll. Not only does it spawn massive amounts of toxic non biodegradable waste, it devastates parts of the world where precious Earth elements have to be mined in order to produce these products. Unobtanium, anyone?

One of my first bands, Atrocious Kids said it best: FUCK THE ROBOTS!