A rant: Because you should, not because you can.

Posted: March 21, 2011 in hardware, technology
Tags: , , , ,

Because you can isn’t always reason to do something.   Take the Swiss Chalet TV channel for instance, (http://www.swisschalet.com/) Rogers TV channel 208.  (Sorry Bell users, no rotating chickens on a spit for you)

Seriously?  Why do we need this?  Just because it can be done doesn’t mean someone needs to spend the time, energy and resources to do it.  I realize it is a new spin (pun intended) on the fireplace channel that you see during the winter, but was there really a need for this?

This post may turn into more of a rant or a peeve-list, (not pet-peeves,  that term in itself is a peeve of mine.  why would you have a list of favorite annoyances?) but mostly about tech and how we should use it responsibly.  Sure, there is something to be said for starting out simply with an idea and using it to learn how to do something more advanced, but, getting back to the chicken-channel,  what was this a stepping stone towards?

I’m not going to harp on the big screw ups or mis-steps of years gone by (New Coke anyone? or what about Sony’s Rootkit embedded into cds? Windows Vista is another great example)  but deal with the way technology is being used or abused to make our lives easier in ways that are good or sometimes just dumb (a laundry folding robot for instance – are we really getting that lazy we can’t even fold our own laundry?)  when really we could be doing so much more.

this is "useful"?

The number of Apps in the Apple Appstore that really serve no purpose is another prime example of  “because you can“.   I admit I’ve downloaded a few for a chuckle, but some of the crap in there astounds me.

Take “iWiz” for example, or “Animal Farts”.   Am I the only person that wishes these guys had spent that time doing something actually worthwhile instead of filling the Appstore with more banal and mindless garbage?  I love the quote “we are now focused on creating useful iPhone applications” and right below that is the link for iWiz.

As I was writing this, I caught an article about the Ontario Energy Board and the Independent Electricity System Operators basically claiming that there is too much capacity and no way to move it from where it is being generated to where it is needed.  So instead, they pay NOT to generate hydro.  **head-desk**  The worse part about this is the people abusing the system and poorly written agreements that allow them to make claims of not-generating power over and over again, basically taking money out of our pockets because they can.  Working the flaws in the system is not helping anyone. How about spending that same effort helping to fix the problems instead of finding a loophole in their contracts to screw us all?

Getting back to tech, IE9?  Isn’t it time Microsoft just gave up trying to make a webrowser that works and let the other guys who do it better continue on?  The only time I ever use IE8 now is when some websites will not load certain information in Chrome or Firefox.  There are not many but there are a few.  Will M$ eventually figure out how to make a good one?  Maybe.  I mean after all, they made Vista and then eventually came up with Windows 7, so there is hope they learn from mistakes.

water & electronics a good mix?

And then there is the kinda stuff that makes you wonder if some “inventors” are just too cut off from the world.  Anyone who has ever dropped or knocked something into a toilet by accident will know what I mean; open water and handheld electronics don’t mix.  Why would anyone think the iCarta toilet paper holder & iPod dock is a good idea?  I challenge you to find a better example of an idea that never should have left the first stages of the drawing board.

And what about this electronic STI detection device that is being worked on that connects to your smartphone to enable you to self-diagnose whether you have an STI?  I realize some people want to rely on their smartphones for EVERYTHING, but this is going too far.

Some things do hover on the ‘because you can’ and ‘because you should’ line.  The “Clicker” universal remote for instance.  A remote with a built in bottle opener, nice.  If you are a fan of watching the game and drinking wobbly pops its great, since no man would ever let the remote out of his sight he will always know where the bottle opener is too.  Although for me, I drink  outside by the pool where there is no TV around.  I would be better served by a smartphone with built in bottle opener. Apple? Are you listening?

I’ve said it before, there is a huge number of talented people out there, and that if the right people got together they could create amazing things, or solve many issues.  I meet more of them almost everyday thru social media, which is something that in itself just amazes me.  To think, just 5 years ago, many of the people you call friends you would never have known simply because you would never have met them if it weren’t for cyberspace.  Be it Twitter, FaceBook or what-have-you, we are able to discuss and question things with people in ways unlike any other time in history.  We all have access to a huge collection of people that are willing to answer questions, brain-storm or just let us bounce ideas.  Gone are the days of hunting thru texts and books and magazines at a library and getting out-dated or one-sided information. Use it, and don’t be surprised if you find that most people are actually willing to help and offer advice.  That is a definite ‘because you can’ AND ‘because you should’.

You may not agree with some of the above comments, so feel free to make your comments or arguments against my rants. I’m always up for a good debate, just don’t come armed with a bunch of info you got from Wikipedia.  Thats another peeve of mine, people who quote an online open source “encyclopedia” and think that everything they read is going to be accurate and unbiased.  Use that as ONE source, not your ONLY source.

Getting back to the crux of the matter, ask anyone who’s cooked bacon shirtless, or jumped off a roof using a bed sheet as a parachute, because you can doesn’t always mean you should.




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