Save me from iMadness

Apr 07 2010 by Wayne Turmel Print This Article

Since I make my living through the use of web technology, you'd think I'd be slavering all over myself like one of Pavlov's dogs to get my hands on the new iPad. In fact, I'm already getting emails from people assuming I stood in line overnight in the driving rain to get my hands on its shiny skinny surface. Wrong. In fact, I don't care much about it at all.

I'll let that sink in for a minute. Despite what Time, Newsweek, CNN and the whole drooling, simpering blogosphere have to say for themselves I justÖ don'tÖ. care.

There are a few reasons I am not jumping on this particular bandwagon, and I know I'm not alone. It's just that those of us who refuse to worship at the altar of "i" get labeled Luddites and the cool kids (including my own daughter) shake their heads and smile condescendingly.

So, in defense of those of us who have the crazy idea that our self-worth is not dependent on the gadgets we carry, here's my rationale.

I don't buy into the whole Apple is good, Microsoft is evil thing
First, I don't buy into the whole "Apple is good, Microsoft is evil" thing. In fact, this is one of the most glaring corporate examples of the Jedi mind trick ever.

Remember when Obi Wan looked at the guards and said, "these aren't the droids you're looking for"? Well Apple saying, "we're not evil" while sending the storm troopers out on 16 year old programmers, charging a pretty hefty premium and not letting any other device access their stores, music and apps is a pretty close second.

Microsoft may be a lot of things (arrogant, bloated and incompetent come to mind) but they almost singlehandedly democratized computing and launched the million or so small software companies out there by throwing their code open to the world.

Secondly, (and how do I put this delicately) the thing is bloody expensive. The low-end model costs about $500 US. Maybe you have that kind of money to spend on one tool that does what the other tools in my arsenal already do but I live in the real world with rent, bills and a kid about to go to college. I have a phone, a laptop, a music player (not an iPod, and I know how uncool that makes me) and they all work fine. When they need to be replaced, let's talk.

Finally, I'm just not an early adopter. My experience with my daughter's iPod is a great example of why. She got one very early on (okay I won't spend money on my toys. My kid's is another story) and it immediately had problems.

The early versions had battery problems (oh that's right, Apple products don't let you swap out batteries. When they're dead you have to replace the whole expensive shebang. Sure glad they're benevolent and think only of us or someone might think they were evil), software problems and were glitchy with my PC (me and 87% or so of the market).

In fact, the first couple of versions had problems. Then they went to the iTouch and all kinds of people with perfectly functional music players suddenly had to have the latest version because that little wheely thing was suddenly passe.

In the new world of electronic toys (I'm sorry, personal computing devices) when you have version 1.0, 1.1.16, 1.2.58, 2.0 and so on, only a true sucker would pay top price for the first version of something that will be changed, fixed or otherwise mutated in a matter of months.

When it works, when the technology settles into a groove and the price comes down to something I can stomach, THEN I'll jump on it.

Until then, I'll stream podcasts from my computer while eating a sandwich at my desk. I'll listen to music on a small device that plugs into my ears just like an iPod but isn't, I'll make phone calls and answer email on my laptop and my Blackberry and I'll read books that come on paper and don't require batteries. (Did I mention that when the Apocalypse comes and power shortages are the norm, all of you smug weasels with your "electronic readers" are truly screwed?).

Nothing personal, but I'll just keep clear of the iMadness for a while yet.

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About The Author

Wayne Turmel
Wayne Turmel

For almost 30 years, Wayne Turmel has been obsessed with how people communicate - or don't - at work. He has spent the last 20 years focused on remote and virtual work, recognized as one of the top 40 Remote Work Experts in the world. Besides writing for Management Issues, he has authored or co-authored 15 books, including The Long-Distance Leader and The Long-Distance Teammate. He is the lead Remote and Hybrid Work subject matter expert for the The Kevin Eikenberry Group. Originally from Canada, he now makes his home in Las Vegas, US.