Phone-omenon

Do I love technology? Yes. Would others refer to me as a techie? Yes. Would I call myself a nerd? Yes. Do I understand the current buzz around hi-end mobile phones? No!

I have been vocal in the past regarding aspects of modern technology that I see no real advantage or beneficial use for other than ridding your wallet of excess ballast. My opinions on the iPhone are well known to anyone that I have spoken to since it’s tech spec announcement. However, I am surrounded by fellow techies who are embracing this temporal shift in communication technology. Paul and Brian are big iPhone aficionados and I remember them looking a little puzzled when I expressed my views on Apple’s latest release.

Today I see that Bernie is still enjoying his N95 and advocating its built-in GPS features. The media of the past month is full of iPhone and Nokia reviews, publicity and scandal. In fact I think if I checked my feed reader for the blogs I follow I would be hard pressed not to find some positive mention of some new phone release. So, why is the whole world gone phone mad? Have people found the holy grail of being able to walk while not looking where they are going or have they just found the elusive time to stand still that they claim they don’t have and as such require new mobile devices?

Okay I hear the grumblings already: we could be on a train or a passenger in a car or some other form of transport. Sure but if you’re in one of these things GPS is probably not a concern of yours, the photos that you put on the device are already fresh in your mind. If a friend is driving, you shouldn’t be distracting them with visual captures of your life. In fact, I would guess that 90% of the time, that little mobile unit is buried safely in the coin and key infested regions of your pocket and that’s why the phone case and screen protector market exists. Sure GPS, touch screens, new UI design and all these other things are cool but I really don’t see the need for them in a phone, touch screen perhaps at a push but anything else is just a little too much for the mobile user who doesn’t have a mobile power plant. Yes, I was the person who said separates and not midisystem, the one that said that computer engine management for cars would be the end of mechanics and a whole host of other horrible visions of the future. However, do you know what? Most modern cars can’t be fixed easily without plugging into their OBD2 ports. Most music enthusiasts pay mega-bucks for separate hi-fi components because all-in-one just doesn’t cut it. We’re all leaning toward cheap and cheerful gadgets that last the momentary unit of enjoyment or pride. Lots of people have Nokia phones, remember when voice dialling was included? Remember playing around with it? Remember discovering you could only include a certain number of voice keys for your phonebook and never using the feature other than to show friends?

Without being too dismissive of all this newfangled technology, I will concede that some integration is good. I do enjoy having a high quality camera in my phone for the one shot in every 3 months that I use it to capture something I wasn’t expecting or didn’t set out to find. As for everything else, I just don’t get it. Perhaps some of you can try to convince me with something I’m missing? I still enjoy technology, I just bought a Wii :), but mobile be-all and end-alls, please explain…

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  1. I accept I have iPhone-lust and it’s possibly irrational. SSHing to a phone will never get old for me. I understand I’m possibly not normal.

    For engine management systems though; I don’t think they’re bad in themselves. They allow greater efficiency and lower emissions (by some form of magic, presumably).

    They can also do nice things like preventing you from doing things to damage your car (when my car reaches it’s redline, for example, the fuel injection basically stops until the RPM drops).

    The problem I have is their closed nature. I’d like the local mechanic to be able to service it, reset a warning light, all the main dealer stuff.

    Does ODB allow for that? I haven’t looked at it beyond getting statistics (for the carputer I’ll build one day… one day…) Isn’t that the idea behind having a standard in the first place?

  2. Of course it’s irrational – I never purchased any tech product in a rational mindset. 😀

    As for the engine management systems, you make a valid point about safeguarding the engines from excessive revving but then again you shouldn’t rev excessively. 😉 On top of that they err on the side of caution which is frequently well below the actual danger line for the engine reducing the maximum output you can get. Not that I’d be trying such things anyhow.

    The OBD port allows connection to a lot of things, you can buy most readers/code resetting devices that you will want from eBay and reasonably cheap too. Normally for code readers you’ll get a guide that gives you an indication of what is wrong/might be going wrong with the car – ironically enough most problems are linked to the engine management units themselves. Catch-22? Now don’t even get me started on tyre pressure monitors built into the on-board computer. 😉

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