Standing In The Dust of Technology

As consumer electronic devices continue to infiltrate every facet of our lives, it isn't surprising to see individuals and corporations trying to capitalize on its success. One way to capitalize is by releasing great products that people like you and me want to buy. Another way is to try to introduce newer technologies that make these products better. Either way, we win.

However, new technologies come at a price. Not only the kind of price that makes us whip out our billfolds, but a price in adaptation and learning. Every time someone reinvents the wheel, we get excited knowing our favorite electronic devices are going to be: better, faster, quicker, smaller, etc., but mad when we realize what we're now using isn't good enough anymore. Then, we all (try) to convince ourselves what we have is good enough, and that it does everything we ask of it.

Yeah right.

I'll be the first to admit a severe case of tech lust as soon as I see someone with a gadget cooler than mine. In fact, I'm on an airplane as I write this, squeezed between two strangers in the middle seat of row 27. The stranger to my left has a new iPod mini; and I don't. I bought into portable audio just before the iPod appeared. How was I supposed to know? Is there anything wrong with my current MP3 player? No. Does it play MP3s like the iPod. Yes. Am I happy with it? know the answer.

What's even funnier about this is where I'm headed. I'm on a flight to the 2005 CES in Las Vegas, and for those of you who don't know, it is the world's largest consumer electronics show. The world's most prominent technology companies showing off their newest products is enough to get anyone excited, but I know that I'm setting myself up for disappointment. When I get home, every gadget I currently own is going to suck because I'll have seen the future, and everything in the future is better than what I have now. Worst of all, there's nothing I can do about it.

The other price of new technology is one that affects millions of casual users, and is why TechLore was created. When technology moved at a slower pace, there was usually ample time between changes for the common user to learn how to use what it is that they bought. Seriously, did anyone really have trouble figuring out how to play a cassette tape?

Today, technology is moving at a faster rate than our ability to adjust, and these technologies become more complicated with each generation. One technology hits the scene, and just about the time we're starting to get the hang of it, there's something new and better to replace it. Thus, we start all over again.

Let's not forget that electronic devices aren't getting any easier to use, regardless of what the kid down the block says. Just about the time someone has started to learn their gadget, it's sent to the land of the "obsolete" in favor of something newer. But after using some of today's new gadgets, many of them wish for their "obsolete" goods back because they knew how to make them work.

Heck, even buying an electronic device is harder than it ever used to be. Everyone wants to get the best product for the best price, but truly differentiating something like one DVD player from another requires an understanding of technologies and concepts too complex for the average shopper. Relying on an "expert" reviewer is one way around the shopping experience, but it's hard to trust someone's opinion when it's solely based on a few days with a product. And, technology is even moving faster than the experts, but they'll never admit it.

Is there any end in sight? No. Technology isn't going to slow down any time soon. We're in the fast track now, and the pedal isn't even to the metal. Future electronics will no doubt entice us to upgrade what was once "state-of-the-art", and adopt new digital toys that we haven't conceived of now, but will "need" when they become available. Along with that, many of us will wander in a sea of confusion, standing in the dust of technology as it speeds by.


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