Gadget overload

Are you progressively becoming less impressed with the latest handheld, app or software to be launched, or about to be launched?

Me too. It seems as though as soon as we get comfortable programming and using our laptop, smart phone or tablet, yet another device is trumpeted as the Next Big Thing. The hype is relentless and, dare I say it, tedious and mind-numbing.

And yet, third-party reviewers of this stuff who claim to be technology journalists have dropped any pretense of objectivity and race to breathlessly recommend the latest, forgetting that the other 3,214 hyper-enthusiastic endorsements they made are all distant memories, as if to say “This time we’re REALLY serious about how GAME-CHANGING this stuff really is.”

Here’s an example from CyberJournalist.net, a site supposedly devoted to helping objective scribes to keep up with the times.

“If you think the iPad 2 and new Kindles are small and lightweight tablets, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Samsung is developing flexible displays that it plans on using for new smartphone and tablet devices.

The smartphones might be available in 2012. No date at this point for the tablets but they have released a video showing what they look like and how they might be used.

The combination of being bendable and see-through means that they are not only going to be easily portable, but can be used for augmented reality applications. Words can hardly describe.”

Words hardly describe? What is this, the Second Coming of Christ disguised as a bendable Samsung tablet? Did the person who wrote that ever experience a truly undescribable vision, like a sunset or a child being born?

I’m no luddite. I’ve been using digital technology in all of its iterations since 1979 (Compugraphic phototypesetter). My generation (yes, Steve Jobs) invented this stuff. I’ve been through all of the revolutions, including the dawn of desktop publishing. When I ran the Glengarry News, we partnered up with GlenNet to introduce the first web site of any rural newspaper in Eastern Ontario in 1995.

Today I have a desktop computer, a laptop, a two year-old cellphone, an iPhone 4s and a Samsung Android tablet. They’re all loaded with software and apps.

Are they cool? I guess somebody would say that since that word was hijacked to mean anything digital that captures our attention, even for a minute. But few, if anyone, is slowing down to absorb and fully exploit the technology they already have, before they’re urged and then convinced to toss it aside and dive into the latest way to make them a more efficient or entertained human being. All the while, as far as I know, the current definition of cool does not include ending homelessness, First Nation poverty, cancer or world debt.

Unfortunately an ever-growing segment of our economy relies on reinvention, even as the worth of what was reinvented before remains unproven, or inferior. Hello Windows Vista?

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