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Thread: Why must everything get more and more complicated??

  1. #21
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    The $100 Walmart laptop does not hold a candle to the capabiity and quality of even a ten-year-old MacBook Pro. On the other hand, pcooley could buy a newer MacBook Pro for a few hundred dollars which would be good for a while longer. But that misses the point.

    Electronic objects are not purely mechanical objects whose jobs have not changed in decades. That '52 Raleigh traverses over roads which are built essentially the same way they were hundreds of years ago. Pots and pans cook the same way they did for your grandparents (though induction cookware adds some safety benefits and imposes some materials restrictions).

    Electronics is a newer field and we still are figuring out what they can do. Argue about cat videos and social media if you like, but the rapid ascendance of the mobile phone has connected people throughout the world, putting a wealth of human knowledge, experience, and agency in their hands, and does so at ever lower costs.

    Cars today come with accident-avoidance and survival designs and equipment that we could only dream about years ago; in fact, 30-40 years ago the number of people who were killed in car accidents annually was equivalent to the total number that died in the Vietnam War. The death rate in cars today is half of what it was in the 80s even though cars cover half again the number of miles they did back then.

    Not to be unkind, but time marches on. The switch from pulse dialing to tone dialing took place because it allowed more efficient use of expensive telephone company switches (which customers paid for); tone dialing also is now used for voice-response systems ("Press 4 to get your account balance.") and systems like burglar alarms and LifeAlert-type systems. Newer equipment; additional capabilities. Good thing there's a cheap interface box.

    In the case of the MacBook Pro, even the computing environment today is different. People have figured out how to game the system and steal information or disrupt operations on computers connected to the Internet; newer versions of applications and operating systems close those loopholes. (This is not perfect; sometimes closing those loopholes breaks functionality or opens new loopholes, but the effort is there the same way it is made in other industries). Newer computers are far more interoperable in the world than they were.

    I'll say that I used a nine-year-old MacBook Pro until about two years ago (it was replaced because it physically wore out). I kept up with security updates and could find applications to do what I needed to do without the vendor endlessly berating me to update. I do use the Internet and find it makes my life simpler to buy some things on-line, so it makes sense to protect my personal and financial information as best I can. Having to update my computer occasionally is part of the price of what I can do with it. I use the money I've saved by not updating my circa-1978 receiver and 1981 Trek. On balance it is worth it to me. Electronics are just a different beast.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  2. #22
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    For decades, my father and a few others I know said technology would be better for the consumer, if things were standardized. To some degree they are. I can use a computer case from 20 years ago, and buy a current motherboard to go in it, in a similar fashion to buying a new motor and putting it in a classic car. But I can't add crumple zones, no easily installable airbags, etc.

    Laptops tend to be proprietary. For years, there has been a movement for an arm based laptop (which won't mean anything to most of you), and now, a hobbiest one has developed to the stage where they are hoping that eventually, it will be you can buy a new motherboard and upgrade it, the way I could put a motor in that classic car. For people like me, who liked playing with some tech, for learning things, it is very much worth the $199 that it is sold for, and the only reason I haven't jumped, was what I just spent a bunch of money on, that I have waited a year for. The laptop for anyone interested is the Pinebook Pro.

    What I found getting away from a lot of the commercial software, is a way to extend a devices functionality to suit my needs, and be more budget friendly.

  3. #23
    Senior Member Jemima's Avatar
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    I was just trying to decide whether to replace the transmitter for my weather station, get an entire new weather station setup (actually cheaper than replacing the transmitter for the old one), or get downright primitive and use an old-fashioned outdoor thermometer. My narrow front porch wraps around the kitchen, which is where I have the partially disabled old weather station, so walking to a window to see how cold it is out there is no great inconvenience. I decided on the outdoor thermometer, whose ad copy was bragging about how primitive it is. No buttons, whee! No hassling with resetting the time, time zone, etc. after replacing the batteries! (If you're wondering why I don't just step outside to see how cold it is, I'm 74, am told I have osteoporosis, and am very concerned about black ice on my two-car size parking pad which I *must* cross to get to the car or take out the trash. I really need to know if the temperature is below freezing or not). The original weather station is a technological nightmare, from the teensy-tiny screws that have to be removed to get at the battery compartment in the transmitter to resetting the time on the main screen, which can take a number of tries through several steps, and then getting the transmitter to actually transmit to the receiver which usually requires a lot of foul language plus divine intervention. I might add that the weather station is in the kitchen because I've never been able to find a battery operated clock small enough to fit anywhere that I can see while cooking, so the weather station is parked on the windowsill over the sink. Oh, and those screwdrivers - they didn't come with the original weather station. I bought a whole set of them at a dollar store one browse-y afternoon because they might be useful someday for an eyeglasses repair. That was years ago, and I have no idea where I'd ever find another set. And this is just about one item. 'Ease of use' is getting higher and higher on my priority list.

  4. #24
    Senior Member Jemima's Avatar
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    I'm sorry that folks are suffering from all the complexity, although I'm relieved to find company. I used to look forward to doing as much as possible on the computer; now I freeze up, anticipating a frustrating experience, especially on certain sites I have to use occasionally that seem to be designed only for Chrome users, and any new ones. Some of the problem is, I think, a strong trend to make everything into entertainment and/or to convince the consumer that they're getting lots of bang for their bucks. My cell phone is positively loathsome in this regard, and I keep wishing I could find one that only dials out, and will NOT connect to the internet except for time or weather or allow the installation of any games. I'd love to pitch it, but feel I need a way to get help for road emergencies and to back up my lousy, ancient, landline home phone which frequently breaks down. Also consider the stupid factor. Everybody wants to work in IT because of the high salaries and the chic of being a techie. Speaking as a trained programmer and webmaster, many of these people have no idea of what they're doing, and have neither the intelligence nor the talent to learn. But the C- students still get jobs, usually at discount shopping sites or hard up nonprofits. There. I feel better.

  5. #25
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CathyA View Post
    Also, if I want to print out documents now, they are 7-8 pages long, instead of half of that because all the info is so spread out.
    I think we're back at picture book days. I noticed the same thing--when I try to print out an Uber receipt for business travel, for instance, it's 3 pages long because the information is in big boxes, large, rounded fonts--then it's too wide to fit on the page, so I have to remember to scale it down before I hit Print. All I need is "Here is where I started, here is where I ended, here is the date, here is what it cost me." But to your point, why do I have to kill a tree for that information, when it could fit on an index card.


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  6. #26
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    Jemima I prepay my monthly cell phone bill and only pay an amount that excludes data. If I click on the internet by accident it will not connect but give me an error message.

  7. #27
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    When my desktop computer dies I will switch to my cheap laptop. It’s sufficient for my needs.

  8. #28
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    Jemima, my current phone, is a Samsung candy bar style, SGH-T199. Because of various things I'd listened to, (and having my old 2G phone stop working in areas, like my home, I upgraded to that and just recently bought an Alcatel 4044 4G flip phone. The other option is the newer style, Nokia 2720 4G flip, but I haven't seen any real American models, just grey market ones.

  9. #29
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Catherine, do you actually submit paper receipts for business travel?

  10. #30
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    While I don't mind improvements or upgrades, I do agree with everyone here that most are worthless and only serve to complicate things.

    On the personal side, I keep getting notifications from my cell carrier - Tracfone - that I need to upgrade my phone to work on the new 5G system at the end of the year. I just bought this phone two years ago and my dh got the exact same phone. He, however, has not been getting the notifications. I keep trying to look on my phone to see what can tell me I really do have to replace/upgrade it, but can't find anything. I have a feeling if I call Tracfone, they are just going to tell me to get a new phone. Sigh... I like, even enjoy, technology, but it is so frustrating sometimes.
    To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer." Mahatma Gandhi

    Be nice whenever possible. It's always possible. - Dalai Lama

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