Old farts

This post is basically a rant about being — or at least slowly becoming — an old fart. So take it for what it is.

At 41 and reasonably tech-savvy I guess I’m not running any immediate risk of going the way of the dodo. After all I still feel like I have more in common with kids who take the internet and smartphones and lifelike games for granted than with the millions of technophobes (disturbingly often my age or even younger) who can just barely operate a PC without someone holding their hand through it, and habitually dismiss deeply crucial parts of modern society with “I’m just not interested in that kind of stuff”.

Someone at age 35 who needs my help to keep their computer malware free and pay their bills over the internet is no different from a person of the same age who can’t read and write. Except for that the latter probably knows s/he has a problem, whereas the former just shrugs it all off as “not interested” or “not good at technical things” and goes about their offline lives without giving it a second thought.

How would you feel if a friend of yours called you weekly or even daily and asked you to read them what’s in the papers? For how long would you accept an excuse like “I’m not interested in learning this”? This is no different, no different at all.

Having gotten that off my chest, I must admit that I have noticed that for every passing year my curiosity gets a bit less intense. My interest in discovering and learning new technologies slowly fades and I’m left with a feeling of… oh come on, what is this supposed to be good for? Is this really an improvement?

As an example, I just got hold of an Acer netbook. I realize that it’s been eight years or something since netbooks were all the rage and I’m kind of late to the party, but I got it for peanuts and I immediately fell in love with it. It’s a tiny, cute, ultra-portable computer that runs Windows 7 and is in no significant way worse than my much larger laptop. Dual core Atom processor, 2GB RAM, 160GB hard drive. It’s snappy as heck and I’m pretty sure I could run both REAPER and Photoshop on it, the only major downside being its 1024×600 resolution.

But here’s the thing. Netbooks are sooo out of fashion. They’re stone age hardware. From what I can tell, hardly anyone is manufacturing them anymore because people these days want tablets.

Tablets, tablets, tablets.

Want to hear my take on tablets? FUCK TABLETS!

Nope, I just don’t get it. See what I mean about slowly becoming an old fart?

For the record, I have nothing against smartphones. I spent a decade wishing that cell phones were more like computers and not just a brick with a tiny monochromatic display that you kept in your pocket in case you wanted to call someone or send a (limited) text message. OK, wish granted. Thanks. I love my lowly Moto G, it’s very handy.

But a tablet is like… I dunno, the bastard child of a smartphone and a laptop? You get one upside of a laptop (a large screen) with all the downsides of a smartphone. And before you say “you don’t know what you’re talking about!” let me tell you that we’ve put three tablets in the bin over the last two years. Fragile, unreliable and useless shit they were, all of them.

Also, touch screens are a very crude technology at this point in time. They’re intuitive, yes, and I can see how they appeal to the technophobe community. Poke stuff to make stuff happen, yay! But there is no way in hell that you can convince me that they will be replacing traditional mouse/keyboard-operated computers for productivity uses anytime soon. It’s just not going to happen.

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2 Responses to Old farts

  1. I couldn’t agree more with you! Productivity all over the world is still relying heavily on mouse+keyboards. They want to sell us the idea that one day we’ll do everything on touch screen or (worse) moving our arms and hands on the air like in “minority report” movie. I don’t think so.

  2. Mattias says:

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one feeling this way.

    Thing is, unless something revolutionary happens with touch screen tech (and I have no idea what that would be) it’s just not ever going to cut it for anything beyond everyday usage.

    For example, you can never ever get the same precision from your fingers as you can from a mouse or similar pointing device. No matter how sensitive the touch screen is, your fingers will be obscuring the view!

    Hell, you can’t even type properly as there’s no real tactile feedback which forces you to rely on word prediction algos which are at this point very crude and adds a whole other layer of problems.

    Not to mention the more fundamental issue that a good viewing angle for a tablet is rarely if ever a good typing angle, so you end up with terrible posture, craning your neck like a vulture over the damn thing.

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