In this entry, I offer a series of thoughts, all roughly connected to the subject of technology.
- Doesn't it seem like they'd be able to make headphones where the wires weren't so fragile? What about industrial-strength printers that don't get paper jams all the time? Well, maybe they do have these things, but they're prohibitively expensive.
- The PATCO High Speed Line stations have gates that just swing out when you've put in your card. This seems to be a somewhat new thing, since people who have the old kind of passes still have to use turnstiles, like those for the New York subway. The turnstiles seem to me like some kind of twisted action game. "Guess which turnstile goes with this card reader. And then, if you get it right, you have to make it through before time runs out!" I wonder if this is just another way to squeeze more money out of tourists.
- Automated bathrooms strike me as a new technology that people rushed into using without working out the bugs first. I mean, you have the toilets that flush as soon as you get up, so then you have to flush them again after wiping, meaning that they use twice as much water as they otherwise would. Then there are the faucets and dryers that won't turn out unless you approach them at exactly the correct angle (I remember having a hell of a time drying off my sleeve at the aquarium in Camden after getting it all wet in the "touch a shark" tank, although admittedly that was several years ago and they might have improved the mechanism by now), and the paper towel dispensers that give you maybe enough to dry one hand, provided it's not very big.
- Is society really as fast-paced as some people insist it is, or do people want everything quickly so they have more time to spend on leisure activities? Even those weirdos who work sixty-hour weeks with very little rest often seem to be doing so in order to retire in their forties. Maybe being an executive is more fast-paced in today's society, but how many executives do you know personally? Okay, maybe YOU know several, but I don't.
- I always hear about people throwing out the instructions for their video games, or the liner notes for CD's. Sure, I've lost some of these things in my time, but I prefer to hold on to them whenever possible. I mean, aren't they part of what you bought? But then, I'm someone who actually likes to read this extra material.
- Even though I listen to most of my music digitally these days, I still don't think I'm going to stop buying CD's anytime soon. Maybe that's the choice of a new generation, but so is Pepsi, and I don't drink that either. I think giving people the option of downloading songs is a good idea, as long as iTunes isn't the only way of doing this.
- Speaking of which, I know there are a lot of Apple fanatics on my friends list, so I'm sure there will be a fair amount of disagreement, but it seems like Apple is one of those radical ideas that's become an institution. I mean, I wanted an iPod back in the early days of MP3 players, but now there are a lot of other brands that are cheaper and continue to come out with new features, while Apple is content to let their product stagnate, keep the prices high, and rely on name recognition to sell units. Not to mention that I hear of a lot more cases of iPods breaking down after short periods of time than other players. Granted, that's anecdotal evidence, but it doesn't give me a high amount of confidence in the brand. The iPhone sounds like something they'd sell on a low-budget late-night infomercial ("It's an MP3 player AND a phone! Also makes Julian fries! Now how much would you pay?"). And then there are (or were, anyway; they don't seem to be making new ones) those Mac vs. PC commercials that I think were actually quite clever, but they insisted on presenting the Mac as a smug bastard. Is that really the image they want for their computers?
- I can't say I really buy the dichotomy between nature and technology. I mean, most technology is made up of natural components, right? Our society still hasn't figured out how to generate matter out of thin air. So why do people act like, say, modern medicine is going against nature, rather than an example of how humans have been able to take better advantage of what they've found by studying and utilizing nature? Mind you, I'm not arguing that more modern methods are better for everything, just that I don't think they're as unnatural and other-worldly as some people pretend. Besides, not everything you can find in nature is GOOD, is it?