Friday, June 26, 2009

My opines technology that "failed"

Read this article on 10 disappointing technologies.

Here are my thoughts on some of them:

Biometrics always gave me the heebie-jeebies because it's simply giving too much information to people who really have no business asking for it in the first place. If you are doing something that requires a security level where biometrics even comes up as a topic, you pay a fucking set of guards to look everyone in the face and get pissy with them if they have the slightest suspicion you're lying to them.

Then, you put the biometrics after that. Or another guard in a worse mood.

The point being, you can always find a way to fool a machine. Fooling peoples is harder.

Or, people ARE the only viable biometric safeguard.

I actually see a day where I might move some of my family's computers to Ubuntu, because I've installed it a few times now and have gotten everything to work that I wanted to. I haven't done it yet because for now I have valid instances of Windows 2000 running on most of the boxes and XP running on one (because they don't allow you to put it on all the boxes you own, which I think is a stupid business model for home computers) and it all works, so I'm too lazy to bother switching until I have to.

However, lately, there are enough web sites that check what my FREAKIN' OPERATING SYSTEM IS and wont' allow me to run their stuff because my OS is "too old" or "doesn't support" this or that, which is horseshit. I go onto the same site with an Ubuntu box and everything works. When I'm accessing you through a browser, you shouldn't care what my OS is.

I also have held off due to concerns about technical issues that arise when I'm not home, thinking that my family could troubleshoot Windows issues better than Ubuntu ones. It turns out they're typically floored either way, so I've tossed that out as a roadblock.

So, if I don't have the money to get newer stuff in the next couple years, I may have to switch operating systems just so sites on the web will let me do what I want.

If that's not silly, I don't know what is.

Oh, and I wish Apple would do a true port of the Mac OS over to standard "intel" chips, because then I'd just use them. They appear to be worth the money.

Virtual Reality
I knew virtual reality would never amount to anything because it faces the same problem robots and cartoons do, it falls into the uncanny valley. When your brain gets all the signals that you should be moving and feeling motion when you aren't, as it would in home virtual reality systems, you start feeling queasy, no matter who you are.

I got to try an early VR setup years ago, and I'm not the sort of guy who gets queasy easily, but man, after 5 minutes, I had to yank that sucker off my head and go sit down for a few.

The current spate of 3D movies demonstrates another side of the problem VR faces: at first it's a fun gimmick, but after a few movies, it becomes something of a distraction, because your brain gets over the gee-whiz factor and begins to get annoyed at being fooled. It knows what's real and what isn't and it balks if you try to get it to accept what is, in effect, a sensory lie.

Another way of looking at it is it's fun to hit the amusement park once or twice a year, but you wouldn't want to crawl onto one every time you wanted to watch a show.

Voice recognition
Ya wanna know who are the only people who need voice recognition? People without arms, blind people, and the freakin Captain the Enterprise. That's it.

You don't speak like you write, so no one's going to dictate anything other than a memo. Even then, the cleanup would be bad enough that it'd be quicker just to type it.

I've written before about what it would be like to work in an office were voice recognition is the standard.

It's a nice option for those who need it; the rest of us will always prefer a mouse and a keyboard.

IF the subscription model allowed you to keep your the tunes you downloaded if you decided to stop subscribing, then there'd be no issue. But, you decide you don't want to pay - or can't - and POOF! All gone. Suck to be you.

That may work for cable or satellite TV reception, because we don't consume TV shows like we do music. Music, however, has always been something that's yours once you buy a copy.

I know. I know, the music biz REALLY tried to change that model, but look where they are now.

Music files with no copy protection (DRM - Digital Rights Management) are the model for the foreseeable future.

Sadly, I think I ruined a friendship over this. Someone wanted to just GIVE me a Zune for free, because apparently it does allow you to load non-DRM MP3's on it, but I said I just didn't want to support a business model I disagree with. Someone once told me that as far as the market's concerned, you vote with your dollar. So I don't give money to corporations whose actions or policies I disagree with, if it's at all possible. (You can take the hippy out of the 70s...)

Still, he was being generous, and I pretty much came off as a dick - me with my precious morals and everything. I forgot, at the time, that people matter before anything else, and I should've accepted it gratefully and just used it as a player.

1 comment:

Whisky Prajer said...

I've been using Ubuntu for the last four years, and my only kvetch with the OS is, ironically, its incapacity to properly sync up with an iPod. I expect I'll be buying Mac when my Dell finally pooches out (as all Dells do).