Why some technologies do not excite me anymore

Call it techno-fatigue.

Everyday, a new shiny thing gets launched to market. Rumors fly about its specs, size, and services. After the unveiling, doomsayers say the product won’t sell. Market proves them wrong. Consumers gobble it up. It becomes a hit. Eighteen months later, a new new thing is launched again. Consumers feel they’ve been duped.

I’ve been exposed to too many technologies for years. I did write reviews about them, picking features I liked from those that are mediocre. Today, I’m still trying to learn the newer features of my operating system upgrade, er, version N+.1. It’s an unending iteration, as software companies continue to improve and quash bugs.

Social and mobile media didn’t help that much too. Everyday, I get bombarded with shiny new stuff: games, apps, services, and even spam in my SMS inbox. Many of these stuff I don’t need, but because of my curiosity, I still give them some attention. Then my excitement fades and I delete them from my phone.

We’re under pressure to keep up with the high-tech Joneses. We want to be ahead of the curve. We need to have the latest gadget. And then what? We don’t know.

I admire how mobile and digital technology have somehow made our lives “easier” and yet complicated. (We now have to keep charging our batteries every night because we want to check our Facebook stream).

I read start-ups introducing the new, new thing—but many fail to even create a market or audience because their ideas seem too far-fetched.

New phones, new TVs (smarter TVs), new appliances (connected ones too), and new software–they’re all coming. But most are fragmented. Connected they may be, some are like add-ons to a list of existing technology that we already have. (Fancy a fast-er charger?)

Let me list some observations, and I will let you weigh in on it. Hopefully, as you purchase your shiny, new, new stuff, you’ll think twice if it’s worth it, or it’s excess baggage:

  1. Do you really, really need it now? If you’re buying just to impress someone, don’t. Save your money.
  2. You already have one. Buying +1 is just too much. Buying +2 is crazy.
  3. If you’re buying one to replace your existing unit, then make sure you giveaway the old or trade it in. You might even get a few extra cash to buy some groceries.
  4. Don’t buy for technology’s sake. Keep your life simple. If you can, stick to a handful or your older units. If it ain’t broke, keep it.
  5. Purchase software that you only need. In fact, best to choose those that are cloud-based and are available for subscription. And find something that has multiple licenses, which allows you to extend usage to your family.
  6. Kill apps you are not using. Limit your social networks. Turn-off notifications, unless you’re in the news business of knowing, 24-7.
  7. Stop downloading stuff (especially the illegal ones and the bloatware). Try streaming or cloud services. They will provide enough satisfaction if you’re willing to pay monthly fees. And for those who want to know how to tap these services abroad, THERE IS A WAY!
  8. Technology should not be a crutch. It should not replace analog stuff. Use it wisely. Don’t depend on it. Buy a moleskin notebook for notes. Secure a vinyl record player. Go acoustic. Analog is the new, new thing today.
  9. Technology should not be the end-all, be-all. Give your brain and body some workout. Go out, run, swim, walk. It still pays to study nature.
  10. Finally, when you’re in front of people, when eating, or when you’re in a conversation, TURN OFF all screens. Turn it off. It’s rude to be using your phone while you’re with friends and family. In class and in SCHOOL, turn down your laptop, or make that screen sleep. Listen to your teachers. Listen to your colleagues. They will appreciate it. Strike a conversation with your seatmate or, why try knowing your classmates better.

Technology in general should not be a time-suck. It must make us better humans. Think about it. Don’t get to SCREEN BURNED.


Kids say the darndest things, really! (How news finds them)

Bam!I was driving my kids to a popular mall for lunch when I overheard them talking in Filipino. (But for the purposes of this blog, I’m roughly translating them into English).

Natasha (my 11-year-old daughter): You don’t know news if you’re not on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. She was talking to my younger daughter Fiona.

Fiona: Why?

Natasha: Because you find news on social networks.

Fiona: Hmmm.

Yesterday, I asked my students what is news. I got typical answers: News is a rendition of facts. It’s about what’s happening. It’s a straight-forward account of events. Etc. I also asked them where do they get their dose of news. Some answered: newspaper, the Internet.

As my little short story shows, kids today find news on social networks. My daughter Natasha is on Facebook more than 8 hours a day (I’m partly to be blamed because I gave her my older iPhone). She craves wi-fi. She cringes when there’s no Internet. She writes her own fan fiction. She’s your typical kid who actually is bathing in information. They get their news everyday from social networks.


From Twit to Plurk

Perhaps getting fed up with regular downtimes, some people are now flocking to Plurk, a service similar to Twitter but the latter looks, er, cuter. Plurk’s interface shows a timeline of messages posted by users. What’s good about this is that you can respond quickly to that user using a pull down menu. No need to put @(name of twitter friend). You can also send private messages, post cute emoticons, and chose colorful verbs set by Plurk. When I say colorful verbs, that means literally verbs with different colors. The word “says” is in orange, “loves” in red, and so on.

Plurk also lets you earn karma points. You get more karma by being an active user (completing profile, adding friends, etc.). If you get more points, you’ll be given access to some special emoticons, among others.

Sorry for the hi5 spam invites

I just got word from some of my friends that they got hi5 invites from me. I really don’t know what happened but as soon as I agreed to join this social networking service (it took a while), this same service started spamming people in my address book. So to all people in my address book, I apologize for the inadvertent spam. It was not intentional. Because of this incident, I decided to cancel my account. Again, sorry guys.