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Monday, October 03, 2005

Complex tech gadgets pose challenges

This article, reporting on a paper written by some Wharton professors, made me think of my dad, and the conversations we have around the relative complexity of the neven-ending stream of new technologies.
Complex tech gadgets pose challenges | CNET News.com

1 Comments:

Anonymous andy said...

This is an interesting phenomenon. In seeking to differentiate one product from another, manufacturers introduce a never-ending swarm of new features; nevertheless, most of those features are not all that important or useful. I have run into this with cell phones. Over the past two years, I have had three cell phones, all hand-me-downs and each older than the last. I now have a phone that it several years old, somewhat bulky, and decidedly unattractive. And guess what? I miss almost nothing about the fancy, feature-heavy phones that preceded it. It performs the core function of making phone calls flawlessly--and that’s really what I need.

Despite the fact that I consider myself somewhat of a technophile, I am increasingly turned off by hard-to-use but flexible products. Take Linux, for example. I installed a reputable distribution on a spare computer, only to have no luck in getting it to recognize any optical drive (despite the fact that I installed it from a CD). After much tinkering and countless hours online, I finally realized that even if I were to be successful in getting it to work as intended, I would have an OS that would provide no improvement over Windows. And this from an OSS advocate who would like nothing better than to see increased competition in PC operating systems.

So, long comment short, I would say that the increase in complexity has far, FAR exceeded the increase in end-user benefit. We’ll see if companies get smarter about this in the future--or if consumers simply continue to flock to the newest, most complicated gadgets.

6:01 PM

 

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