Shame and technology

We have bit of insider joke at work about state of compulsion. It is unmistakably diagnosed when someone is deep into googling or talking (to no one in particular) about purchasing or upgrading some tech toy.

While new stuff can be objectively better and needed, more often it is shame of using old stuff talking. Shame, that manufacturers (especially of cult variety) know and aim for.

Crowd preference

If you get bunch of techies together they will most probably iron out common preference about everything. It may become a vector hard to go against.

When locked in such environment for a long time sense of perspective is lost. I had colleague that argued about inferiority of AMD processors by saying that friend of his relative had one AMD CPU overheating (several years ago). Made no sense whatsoever, but for him buying (or keeping if he got one) AMD processor became shameful choice – something not approved by others.

Crowd preference is bad enough for brands, but outright ugly for generations of technology. How many people you know that use mobile phone several years old? How many of those who change it every year actually need new one every year?

Device expiration

Another strong factor is that tech devices are often turn out something different from what they were bought for. As in classic case of computer purely for work. That is soon brought up to highest gaming standards, at a cost that may exceed its original price.

We may plan for one thing but after some time it won’t necessarily go that way. I bought my Nokia N810 as light alternative to notebook and it ended up primarily media player.

When our expectation fail test of time it puts us in vulnerable state, feeling of mistake that must be fixed… Most probably by buying newer device that will fail expectations just as well.


Progress of computers and gadgets has little to do with real needs and curve of computing requirements. Most of the time it is simply our shame of staying behind.

Had you ever bought something just to replace perfectly working item, shamed into no longer liking it? :)

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  • Ishan@ILoveFreeSoftware #

    Well said Rarst. I actually recently fell for that trap. Bought a new high-end GPS, even though my earlier GPS was working perfectly. Only perceived problem with the old one: It did not have feature for spoken street names - something that has become standard in latest GPS.
  • Rarst #

    @Ishan I just exhaled. I never know if someone actually going to see sense in my thoughts post. :)
  • Ishan@ILoveFreeSoftware #

    Believe me buddy, this thoughts post does makes lot of sense :)
  • Rush #

    Man... I so agree with you. I like that one. State of Compulsion. I like it because it implies that it is not my fault. That sounds reasonable to me. It beats addiction, cause that means it's a problem. As a parent I was able to camouflage my.. er.. "issue" by justifying senseless upgrades with "Baby, I was only doing it because one of the kids need a new one. So..... I got this and told them that they can have my old one." For a while it was paradise. Under the cover of that excuse, I was golden. Always up to date and "In the lead". The good thing about having 6 kids is that somebody is always breaking something. Then you "have" to replace it. Like Al Pacino, sitting at the desk in Scarface. That's how it starts out at least, until one morning you wake up after that long night of a techno binge. HTC print on the side of your face, you sweep the laptop (that's beeping and needs charged BAD) off your legs and try to get out of bed without stepping on any one of four remotes or the ps3 controller spread out across the floor, and close your eyes and say: "Ohhhhh. My head. What the hell did I do last night?" Then it hits you as the night comes back to you in flashes, like scenes from a movie. The little junkies beating on the door in the middle of the night. The missing laptop battery , the IPhone with the screen that won't come on, the Tilt with the dead battery. "Oh lord, did someone say something last night about jumper cables?" You turn around, daring to look and hoping it was a dream, but knowing already it's not. Then you see the proof, lying right there, totally cracked out and unconscious in the fetal position, next to you on the bed. The little one, still clutching his big brothers PSP. The bad thing about having 6 kids is that somebody is always breaking something. Then you "have" to replace it. Like the dude, standing on the Poor Tax card in Monopoly. The funniest thing about the techy addiction. The more you know how worthless or impractical some of these upgrades are, the more you are at risk to be the first to run out there and buy one. You already know that it cant do anything that yours can't. At least nothing that you actually need, would notice or that yours didn't already do well enough that you've never noticed a problem. You know this because you've been arguing it for two months, ever since your buddy called you over with that fatal: "Hey. Come over here and check this bad boy out. This blows what you've got away." Sometimes it's not because you know that it carries some revolutionary new technology that is exactly what you've needed. It's because that jerk who's girlfriend always buys him the new stuff, that he'll never figure out and couldn't possibly use enough to do it justice, dosen't. Sorry it's so long, but since it was in the thoughts section, I figured, "Why not?"
  • Rarst #

    @Rush Ouch, I won't even try to imagine that many kids multiplied by average tech per kid ration (yes, I just invented this one). Personally most of my compulsion faded when I started to make more money than I need (for now). It's less addictive to desire some expensive toy when you can just go and buy it. Now I am in downsizing mode, looking to consolidate bunch of stuff in newer and more convenient devices. But since I don't really need this - it will be done slowly and without bleeding edge purchases. btw large comments are perfectly fine (and almost traditional at this blog). Thank you for contributing your multikid experience. :)
  • Angelo R. #

    Crowd preference is something I try and ignore, but with tech you need to at least check it out to see what all the hype is about. I went through a phase where I bought a new cellphone ever 6 months (working at a tech store helped :D). However I'm hoping to attribute that to not finding what I was looking for. I bought a Blackberry Bold earlier this year (about 10 months ago :O ) and I've never been happier. Haven't even felt the need to check out new phones :)
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  • Rarst #

    @Angelo I managed to stay relatively conservative with my phones - four in eight years. And only bought last one Nokia E60 myself, previous were all gifts and such. Now I am torn between going for basic phone next time and keeping N810 tablet or replacing combo with single touch screen device.