Friday, August 31, 2012

Frustrated with technology

He looks just as frustrated
Recently, I’ve experienced another version of the ‘technology trap’. Warning: rant ahead.

I flirt with three different operating systems - Mac, Windows and Ubuntu (linux based).  I wish I had the skill to customize my own operating system, but I don’t and I don’t have the time (or will) to gain them. Mostly I use my Mac, however there is always something I need another operating system to do. My older laptop is a Ubuntu/Windows dual boot machine which I use regularly.

I now have data from up north (Ice cleared enough for the ship to get into Cumberland Sound). The data is in a hex format that needs to be converted by the instrument’s software into a format I can look at. This software only runs on Windows - no problem, as I have a Windows machine. I started up the old laptop (which is only about 3 years old), ran some updates and the machine hung up. I let it sit for a few hours and nothing happened, so I turned it off and back on. All I get is 7 beeps - it doesn’t even go far enough for me to use a boot CD. After some hunting around on the internet, I found out that 7 beeps on my make of laptop means that the motherboard is toast. Based on the age of the machine it isn’t worth fixing - essentially, my laptop is now garbage.

Along the same vein, I got a call from my cell phone provider. My cell phone contract is up and they want me to sign up again. To entice me I was offered a new phone. My current phone works just fine, so why do I need a new phone? The woman, who was trying to sign me up, just didn’t get that I didn’t want to throw out perfectly good technology. She went on to suggest I could keep the old phone, while using the new one. That just sounds like adding clutter to my life and ultimately creates more technology garbage. Phones are easy to come by, when my old phone dies I’ll get a new one.

The short life span of technology is perhaps good for the manufacturers of this technology - but it is terrible for the planet. Like it or not, my occupation and lifestyle requires me to use these gadgets - I can’t think of a way around it as I live in this society and times (if I was using Victorian era gadgets, I could adapt gadgets to my needs and fix them as required). Still, I get frustrated whenever my technology dies a few years after I got them and I won’t be replacing things until they die.

Note: the picture came from here.

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