Technophile 9/30/19

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

Although there are some who won’t believe me when I say this, I don’t always need the most expensive status-symbol type things.  I say that some won’t believe me because I do tend (when I have the resources as I do now) towards the most modern and high-quality products, and frankly, I’ve decided I won’t deny myself the luxuries of life.  Oh, there are some things I don’t need, like premium movie streaming services, but I still have a couple.  That’s plenty for me.  But when I do decide to buy something, I usually by at or near top of the line.

Case in point.  Today, I nearly dropped my phone.  I have pretty good reflexes (for an old guy), and managed to catch it, but in doing so, I basically pressed it up against the bottom of my desk drawer, rather too hard, and the already cracked screen decided to break entirely.  So off I go to my provider’s store to buy a new phone.

There are a couple of new technological advances today.  The first being 5G, which frankly I don’t need.  I’ve never had problems with my connectivity so this is not necessary.  The other is folding screens.  In the store, there were a few of these phones. 

One of them folded top to bottom, so it opened like a book.  This took the screen that was already a decent (albeit thin) screen to a very large screen for a phone, albeit small for, for example, a tablet.  Still, it wasn’t much smaller than a tablet, so I suppose it could have replaced one.  However, I recently purchased a new tablet to replace one that is having trouble, so I didn’t need that.

The other one, on the other hand, looked like one of the old-fashioned flip-phones.  It folds along the horizontal axis and opens like the old flip phones did with another much smaller screen on the phone when it’s closed for announcements.  This makes the phone very small compared with the one that I was replacing.  Maybe a bit thicker, but much easier to just drop in a pocket.  More than once my old phone would fall out of my pocket, and to connect it to my car it always fit in the available space in an awkward manner. 

The phone, being new technology, is very expensive compared to a phone that would have been similar to the one I was replacing.  The wait for a sales representative was quite long, and I spent part of the time looking at and comparing phones, so when one became available, I knew that I wanted this phone.  It was at that point that I really had no choice but to finally admit to myself that, yes, indeed, I am a technophile.

There is another advantage to buying top line technology devices. Everybody knows that the technology that I bought today is already outdated tomorrow.  There’s nothing that can really be done about that.  Life moves on.  But, when I buy top end computer systems, they’ll last longer before they’re obsolete.  I don’t mean gimmicky, though.  I don’t buy gaming computers.  For me, a computer, like my phone, is a tool, but when I spend extra for the faster processing speed, and the greater memory, I won’t have to replace it for several generations of technology to come.  I’m convinced that by buying higher end computer technology, I save money over upgrading more often. 

And yet, setting all of the processing speed, memory size and features aside, in the end a computer is just a computer, and a phone is just a phone.  It’s kind of cool to have a phone that flips, but once my software was reinstalled, the novelty wore off and it became just a phone.  With my new tablet, it’s just a computer.  No matter how expensive a vehicle is, it still gets bugs on the windshield.  I like this phone because it’s compact, reminiscent of the old flip phones.  If you’re not interested in that, then it would be a waste of money.  You can save some money, though.  For example, if the software on a phone is sufficient for you, then maybe the phone that unfolded to the size of a miniature laptop might save you money overpaying for a phone and computer separately.  One day, these folding phone screens will be as routine as calculators are today.  Anybody who spent enormous sums of money on fancy high-end calculators in the 1980’s, for example, could get better ones today for a fraction of the cost.  If there was some feature of the calculator that they needed back then, then it was worth the cost.  Otherwise, they would have done better with a cheap calculator, or none at all.

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