“Constant Craving vs Does it work or does it not work...”
In the movie Heat Robert Deniro has a famous line, it is a maxim about how you should live life.
“A guy told me one time, "Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner”
That quote has stayed with me for twenty years, except I remember the quote more like this
“You gotta be able to walk away from anything in fifteen minutes.”
In my mind, I think I was taking the gravity of the quote and giving myself some room to think. 30 seconds isn’t a long time and I’m not a bank robber. But I’ve come to apply this sentiment to technology. I love any equipment that augments my day to day experience, but I’m not into the thrill of new and I’m not going to stick around if it doesn’t work. I think the question I’m asking a lot in writing is “What does that mean?” What does it mean if you want technology to improve your life? If you ‘re a regular person the answer is different from an early adopter or a technologist.
Regular people buy something and they use it till they it absolutely no longer works. They will suffer slow downs, tape it together. Ignore broken pieces and just suffer what ever inconvenience there is till they just can’t stand it anymore. The vast majority of them will then replace it, begrudgingly, with the cheapest most ill suited replacement they can find and they will repeat the cycle, which is why you can go online or to a store and buy a blender for $14. Nobody wants a $14 blender, even the person who bought the $14 blender doesn’t want it. If you gave them a Vitamixer they’d stare in disbelief, at what a blender can do when it has a boat motor underneath it.
As an aside this piece isn’t necessarily going where I imagined it. This is usually where I wander what I’m talking about. When I started this piece I wanted to question my desire to try new stuff and being willing to pay for new stuff, but not wanting to keep a product if it didn’t really deliver on the augmentation it was promising.
I used to be an early adopter, I also used to take drugs, both are poor decisions. I walked this weird line with buying cheap stuff instead of purchasing the best example of something. It doesn’t mean I never bought nice stuff, I did, just not consistently, and now I think I just want to buy things that work; with less concern for costs. I accept that sometimes I’ll be justified in buying the cheaper thing, but I’m only going to keep it if it actually works for me. That is the Heat quote for me. I will buy it, try it and then return it as soon as possible if it doesn’t work. And I’ll then write an epilogue and extol the virtues or lack there of.
Ok, so you’re not using a Celeron laptop with a broken hinge, and you’re not buying everything new thing that comes around. But you are still buying stuff. There are times when you see something, Bluetooth accessories first come to mind, and you think “I could have seven different versions of a device meant to distribute sound to my ear drums” This is ok. You can still buy shit, you’ve not taken a vow of poverty. You aren’t sidelined from upgrading when you want to, there should just be a reason for it, hopefully other than boredom. In the case of Bluetooth headphones, no different than corded headphones of yesteryear, one earpiece usually goes south before the other and that headphone suddenly becomes the “nightstand” headset; though sometimes I think I should repair or donate that stuff and move on in my life.
I still may not have any point to draw to in conclusion. I’m talking about desire and practicality but addressing neither, save for the thought that I don’t mind buying stuff, I want to be happy with it though. When i buy things now i aggressively look for what I dislike about the product.
The Airpods got disconnected from my phone before a walk and I had to hard reset them and reconnect them while fending off mosquitos, this happened a quarter mile into my walk and was infuriating. I know why this happened though and I suspected they were not connected before I left the house. This extra layer of connectivity is a double edged sword, a more complex repairing instance if you will, despite that issue the Airpods are still amazing. The same thing goes for the Apple Smart Keyboard, if it acts weird, it is a weird like no other keyboard manages to do. For example, in some text entry fields on websites, even on Apple sites, the Apple SmartKeyboard can’t type into the field. The first time it happened I thought the keyboard had disconnected. The next seven times it happened I also thought the keyboard was disconnected. This does not appear to be the reason, it just seems as if the Apple SmartKeyboard can’t type into some website text fields; that shit doesn’t happen with a regular keyboard.
Nothing is perfect. This isn’t the point. The question is can you assess the good and bad of a product, acknowledge when it isn’t going to work for you and walk away when it doesn’t work. The other big question is, can you distinguish when the good outweighs the bad. For example, if the Apple Smart Keyboard is more convenient than a Bluetooth keyboard and increases your productivity, is it worth it to spend Vitamixer money on it when you could have just bought a $14 blender. In my situation the Apple Smart Keyboard is thinner, more convenient and I’ve been typing for work and pleasure on it, so much more than I was when I had the other Bluetooth keyboard.
Here is where it gets really funny. The more I thought about the Apple SmartKeyboard and how much i enjoyed a real keyboard along with the fact that the Ipad does not work with any websites that are mouse-only in interface: Squarespace, Wisemapping, Smartsheet, I began to ask myself whether or not I just needed a laptop. Here I am with this delightful tablet that I’ve now mated to this keyboard. I’m writing again, and really the iPod doesn’t do everything i need to do, why don’t I have a laptop? I had to remind myself that the reason I got the IPad is cause I needed a portable note taker, that could replace pen and paper, because the laptop form factor does not work in the field. And yes, the iPad does not and will not (for the foreseeable future) do everything I want it to do, but it is damn nice, And even though it doesn’t do everything, the Apple Pencil is shockingly nice. The Apple Smartkeyboard is mostly a joy, and the iPad tablet is amazing, but I’m sometimes gonna need to set it aside and work on a regular computer, which is a bummer, but life is pretty good in the meanwhile.