Will Next Generation Devices Make Mine Obsolete?

Does the next generation of devices make my one obsolete?

Will next generation devices make your current ones obsolete? Benjamin Epelix writes:

Do you think the rumor is true about the next generation iPad and iPad mini coming this month (March of 2013)? Because if it is, I won’t be too happy since I just bought the iPad fourth generation in December of 2012. If Apple is really going to release the next generation iPad and iPad mini in March, this situation is just like what happened to the people who bought the iPad third generation — those people realize that their iPads are outdated in just five months!

Will Next Generation Devices Make Mine Obsolete?
Will next generation devices make mine obsolete?

It’s possible, Benjamin, and I understand that it feels like you’re missing out on having the latest and greatest, but keep in mind that what’s new today will be old tomorrow; next generation devices are always on the way. Should we stop buying technology simply because it keeps evolving?

Next Generation Devices Are Last Generation Devices Waiting to Happen (and That’s Fine)

Unless your current system self-destructs for reasons beyond its regularly scheduled behavior, it’ll still function as it has been functioning — no matter when you purchased it (unexpected hardware hiccups notwithstanding). It’s always been a cold hard fact that having the latest technology is only valid for a little while — be that a year, six months, or two weeks. The good news is that next generation devices that commonly update every year — whether we’re talking about iPads or automobiles — are fairly incremental in what they have to offer consumers.

Changes Are Usually Minor from This Generation to Next Generation Devices

The really big changes usually take years to manifest. Most consumers who live on any kind of budget (that’s almost all of us) upgrade these devices every few years rather than every time a new version comes out. This isn’t just because the “old” devices work fine, but because the “new” devices don’t generally include features that make them monumentally different from what came out the year before to warrant the expense. Despite the notion of planned obsolescence, it’s not in the best interests of a device manufacturer like Apple to simply churn out junk that’s going to be scorned by the people who buy its stuff. Hoping that its next iteration of that same junk would attract suckers — new and old — to plunk down an unending supply of cash would be a poor, doomed-to-fail strategy that would quickly kill off whatever client base it had managed to amass over the years.

Next Generation Devices Are Meant to Be Enjoyed at the Leisure of the Consumer

Next generation devices are meant to be enjoyed at the leisure of the consumer while keeping all of us excited about the innovations that their creators can dream up. Sure, manufacturers would love it if we could all buy every version of every device that they want to push our way, but they’re not reasonably expecting that this is going to happen. Still, it doesn’t hurt them to remind us that their products are constantly in a state of flux, and if we don’t want to buy this generation of what they have to offer, then perhaps we’ll keep them in mind next time we’re in the market to do so.

What makes a device obsolete, anyway? By what you’ve decided you want and need, and not what happens to be offered by a company a few months after you’ve purchased one of its devices, you do — and that’s a good thing! Enjoy the power of owning something that you had to have at the point of purchase rather than being upset with a company for giving you new things to want!

Next generation devices will keep on coming — and I’m grateful for that fact.

Image: iPad by Sean MacEntee via Flickr

Is Gaming and Tech Journalism Dying Out?

paperboat_mainIt used to be so simple, you know? 10 years ago, this “industry” was swollen and sweating from the quality of writers that filled its tight seams. We were heavy-handed and quick to review, pick apart, and really delve into the next generation of gaming. Back when I started writing for games, we were at the end of the PS2 era and the PS3 was playable at the first E3 to which I had ever gone. Back then, the halls were quiet, yet throbbing with intensity as game journalists took down internal notes, spoke into voice recorders, and set themselves up to dictate interviews. At the PS3 launch, which I was lucky to attend as part of the media, we cheered and jotted down colorful words to express just how excited we were for something new. We’d retreat to our laptops and our articles would be the first things you’d see from us about the next new coming of the gaming era.

It all happened in 2006.

In March, Twitter opened up its servers and spread like a beautiful pair of cornflower blue wings as it soared slowly but gained a steady pace through social media. Soon to follow would be Facebook, opening up full registration to people outside of colleges in September. Through a move that I doubt even it realized was genius, Sony let the hype build on these eventual monoliths before launching the PS3 fully in November. The gaming world took off with all of this new information and the beautiful, fast, and heavy-handed ways it could actually get it out into the ether, and it didn’t stop. Before you could blink, the job that I took so seriously and felt so close to was done in 140 characters or less and gave even the guy down the street a chance at being quotable. Yes, even I felt threatened. I was nobody. I was just a girl in a boy’s world, trying to stay above the gender hype and here I was, watching everyone become a critic.

It started there in 2006 and you started seeing the crowds move in. Everywhere around me, you saw the writers start to worry and people shifted around. Writers who were comfortable giving their reviews — their editorials about games — were fleeing to get PR jobs within game companies because they knew they couldn’t outrun the bulls. Twitter and Facebook gave everyone a voice, and within that voice came a thousand previously hushed voices that now felt they were free and could say and express everything they loved. Joe Junior down the block was now making blogs about his opinions of his favorite video games; Penny in Australia was making video blogs to gripe about feminism in gaming, and that was just the beginning. With this new and open source of communication, we found ourselves in a dying artform because nobody wanted to pay for the space taken up by people’s opinions anymore — we’re flooded with the damn things!

I saw it coming and I watched it on my radar. Electronic Gaming Monthly, a magazine that I was close to from childhood — it was what brought on my start in gaming (a story for another time) — was being sold by Ziff Davis. The backlash was felt all over the Internet and nobody understood in the gaming industry that this was just the first taste of what was going to absorb everything around us. Nobody was safe. Publications in print were taking heavy hits and online media was just more cost effective. Even now, you see it as clear as day; in this economy, print magazines take heavy losses because people can just type in a few letters and find their news on the Internet. In 2009, EGM was discontinued but then rebuilt by its creator, Steve Harris. Placeholders were removed and people started taking things into their own hands because publishers just didn’t want to absorb the costs anymore.

And now, 1UP is going down too.

Look, folks. It comes down to money and nobody has it anymore, you know? It comes down to the fact that you can hashtag a popular game on Twitter and find millions of voices ready to tell you everything. Why pay someone for it? There’s no money in it anymore and that kind of crunch is felt even here. Yes, here. If you look deep into the history of the written word, its been dying out with each new generation that comes in and they leave their trash but pick up the brand new hotness without so much as a whisper of regret for the world they left behind them. Everything changes, one could argue, and that’s fantastic. Hell, we’re evolving and yet actual gaming storage media is still meant to be cost-effective instead of space-considerate. Money troubles usually signal the first symptoms of the sickness when it comes to the eventual death of a culture. Yes, journalism for gaming is dying and so is journalism in technology because that’s the beauty of advances in both — they make every single one of us a journalist in our own right.

Bring in the bloggers with their gif images and memes on Tumblr, bring in the Twitter feeds and the Facebook news posts with sponsorship from big companies with fancy new games built to keep your attention and show you just how much you need that new game. Face it, kids. We’re not needed anymore around here and that’s both a beautiful and dangerously sad concept to reconcile.

Where do you sit in this argument? Do you think the written word will prevail, or are you ready for the onslaught of digital information coming from everyone around you?

Image: Paper Boats by PublicDomainPictures.net

Three Best Waterproof Cases for Your iPhone

Ever been pushed into a pool with your iPhone in your pants? Wanted to take underwater pictures with your iPhone? Make sure that your pricey Apple smartphone is water-prepared with these cool new cases.

The iPhone Scuba Suit (a.k.a. The driSuit Endurance)

Three Best Waterproof Cases for Your iPhone

Designed for the iPhone 4 and 4S, this “Scuba Suit” is designed to protect your device from water damage. Slip the scuba gear on your phone, and you can take clear underwater shots at up to 15 feet. According to the retailer Photojojo, each Scuba Suit has been factory-tested to guarantee that not a single drop of water will get inside your precious iPhone. The case is a liquid airtight barrier that has a touch-sensitive gel screen cover that ensures you can shoot photos underwater easily. Now you can bring your phone for pool parties while snorkelling, while fishing, or even while climbing a snowy mountain. The Scuba Suit is priced at $60 at Photojojo (and it may be even less through Amazon, depending on what specials happen to be going on at the time you look).

LifeProof iPhone Case

Three Best Waterproof Cases for Your iPhone

Do you have the latest iPhone? The LifeProof iPhone case for the iPhone 4/4S and iPhone 5 is one of the waterproof jackets of choice. Wired gives it the highest waterproof rating at IP-68 (Ingress Protection Rating). This IP code is the gadget’s rating protection against solid objects, accidental contact, and water in electrical enclosures and mechanical casings. An IP-68 rating means that the LifeProof iPhone Case proved to be dustproof and waterproof — giving full protection underwater, even if the device was submerged for a long time during testing.

By using this case, you also have access to all of your phone’s buttons and ports, so you can be sure of full functionality while diving, surfing, singing in the shower, or any other situation involving water. LifeProof also says that its LifeProof Fre iPhone 5 case is dirt-proof, snow-proof, and shock-proof. LifeProof sells its multi-colored cases for $79.99, but with the holidays fast approaching, you can now have one of these cases for $69.99. If you want extra protection, also grab the LifeProof Lifejacket Float for LifeProof iPhone 4/4S ($39.99), which ensures that your phone will float in case you lose it in the watery depths.

Amphibx Go Waterproof Case for Smartphones

Three Best Waterproof Cases for Your iPhone

Priced at $39.99, the Amphibx waterproof case is one of the best accessories you can buy for your iPhone (including the iPhone 5). The case is durable and works in depths of up to 12 feet (3.6 meters). Amphibx uses a patented LatchTight locking closure to keep the moisture out. The ClearTouch pouch also lets you use your touchscreen, buttons, and camera.

The best part is the SealTight headphone connector that also lets you place phone calls on your RingCentral business phone and listen to music. The Amphibx Go Waterproof Case also works for iPod, Android phones, BlackBerry, other smartphones, and large MP3 players. Clip it on to anything and go!

Waterproof your smartphone and you’ll never feel limited when exploring the great outdoors or going into the murky depths of the sea. These cases make great gifts, too!

Image credit: Photojojo, LifeProof, Amphibx

Five of the Coolest Winter Technologies for Smartphone Users

It’s time to gear up as the winter season approaches. How do you check your business phone for important calls if your fingers are freezing? How do you keep the snow out of your precious iPhone? Shovel off your winter worries. Smartphone users will find these technologies oh-so-cool and useful on the upcoming -berrrrr days.

Nest: Control your nest egg from anywhere

NestBuilt by the former VP of Apple’s iPod and iPhone division, Tony Fadell, the Nest is a next-generation thermostat that programs itself and saves energy. You can easily install the Nest in 30 minutes or less. Afterward, Nest will remember the temperatures you like at different times of the day and will automatically adjust settings based on your schedule. With its “auto-away” feature, this nifty gadget also senses when you leave home so it can turn the system down. Simply installing Nest (without applying its energy-saving features) will already let you save an average of $173 a year. You can even track your overall savings with Nest’s monthly energy report to get some tips on how to save more. So what does this have to do with smartphones? Let’s say that you’re getting home earlier than expected; simply connect via the Nest mobile app in your smartphone and change the temperature even while you’re on the road. For making us feel comfortably cozy, this cool piece of tech deserves top spot.

RingCentral: Prepare your office for extreme weather conditions

RingCentralIt should be business as usual despite snowstorms or other weather hassles. During extreme weather conditions and other disasters, cloud services can aid in recovery and get your company up and running again. RingCentral cloud PBX demonstrated this when it moved its services from the east to the west coast in preparation for Hurricane Sandy, ensuring that its clients could still access RingCentral services despite the storms. RingCentral VoIP services can also be set up, managed, and accessed directly from your mobile devices. This ensures that your team members can still access phone services in case they can’t travel to their offices or even if your entire office building becomes unavailable.

Nokia Lumia 920: Use it with gloves

Nokia Lumia 920For those who don’t experience real winter, Nokia’s marketing of the Nokia Lumia 920’s “supersensitive touchscreen” must have been a big bore. But there were also quite a few Nokia fans out there who appreciated this practical feature. The Lumia 920’s screen is responsive even if you’re wearing gloves in the cold wintry months. You can even navigate it using your nails or car keys. Of course, its 8.7 MP PureView Camera, 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, 32 GB internal storage, 4G LTE technology, and wireless charging capabilities also make the Nokia Lumia 920 one of the best smartphones out on the market at present.

BEARTek: Bluetooth control gloves for your smartphone

BEARTek width=If you don’t want to switch phones just for a supersensitive touchscreen, then BEARTek’s Bluetooth gloves might be one of the best solutions for you. No need to fumble with your smartphone while wearing gloves if you have a pair of these. Wear the gloves like you would wear any other gloves and be able to use your smartphone without even taking it out of your pocket! Using Bluetooth and BEARTek technologies, you can control your phone functions and music apps by touching your thumb to corresponding touchpoints on your finger. If you want these gloves, support the creators on Kickstarter.

LifeProof: Snowproof your iPhone

LifeProofCaught in a snowstorm or love cross-country skiing? There’s no need to worry about your iPhone getting damaged with LifeProof’s iPhone 4/4S case. Not only do you get to tote your phone in the snow, but you also protect it from water, dirt, and shock. LifeProof cases have an IP-68 rating, which means they are dust-tight and protected against complete continuous water submersion. Secure your phone from icy mishaps with LifeProof.

How do you keep Jack Frost from nipping at your patience (and pocketbook) when you’re trying to cope with your smartphone during the winter months? Drop us a comment below and share your thoughts with us!

BlackBerry 10 Right on Schedule – RIM Stocks Soar

BlackBerry 10 Right on Schedule - RIM Stocks SoarInvestors still have some faith left in RIM. Shares of Research in Motion Ltd. leapt to more than 4% to $8.90 as the company finally announced the debut date of its long-awaited and almost-forgotten new BlackBerry 10 OS. The launch event, which RIM says will be hosted in several countries, is set for January 30. Two new BlackBerry phones are also expected to take center stage at the launch.

The date announced by RIM is months ahead of a Jeffries & Co. forecast that said the OS would most likely launch in March, missing the critical holiday shopping period this year. The delay of the new OS, previously set sometime in the first quarter of 2013, has caused RIM stocks to fall as the BlackBerry brand faced intense competition from Samsung and Apple. RIM has been banking on the sales of BB10 smartphones to resuscitate its ailing shares in the smartphone market. Aside from Samsung and Apple, RIM has Nokia and HTC to grapple with, as both companies also struggle to regain their footing in the smartphone arena. Bloomberg Business Week previously reported that RIM stocks had dropped 5.3% in New York with shares falling to an overall 46% this year. This was the company’s biggest decline since September 21.

Stocks first rallied to 14% after CEO Thornsten Heins pronounced that the Canadian telecommunication and wireless company has moved into the “Lab Entry” or testing phase of the BB10 with 50 carriers. But even with this pronouncement, analyst Peter Misek remained unimpressed, saying that lab testing would usually take three to six months.

RIM was hit hard in mid-October after losing a contract with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) to the Apple iPhone. ICE ditched RIM, which it had been using for the past eight years, because it felt that the BlackBerry platform no longer suited its needs, while the iPhone offered a secure and manageable platform. ICE has around 17,600 employees and its iPhone order is estimated to cost around $2.1 million. Earlier in the year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives also dropped BlackBerry in favor of the iPhone.

RIM Courting Government and Businesses

With the announcement of the official launch date, the company is optimistic that interest in BlackBerry handsets will be fanned anew. Aside from government officials, RIM is also trying to win back employees who use their smartphones as BYOD mobile business phones. Heins, quoted in the New York Times, says of the new OS, “It is stress relief; it doesn’t make you look at all your applications all the time. This is going to catch on with a lot of people.”

RIM Banks on BB10 Flow UI

The new models will have no home button and will include a red LED light that flashes when a message is received. RIM is also expected to launch a model with a physical keyboard. Heins said that home buttons are unnecessary in the new OS, because BB10 will be able to use apps simultaneously without needing to switch repeatedly between them. The result is a more fluid user experience, which enable users to “flow” between tasks and experience seamless navigation. Aside from this, it will also feature BlackBerry Hub, which shows feeds, messages, calendar events, and notifications in one “hub” or area instead of several locations.

Does the prospect of a still-fighting BlackBerry on the market still register on the radar of most these days? How about you? Would you consider using a BlackBerry in the future if it could compete with what other companies have been giving us? Please leave a comment and let’s talk about it!

High Technology Comes to the Grave

High Technology Comes to the GraveCemeteries, ghostly apparitions, and dark foggy nights: are these all things that send tingles up your spine? Today, people are looking to graveyards and cemetery plots as a means to store information for future generations. It appears that a new technology that is making heads turn revolves around making it possible for you and your descendants to more accurately remember a deceased loved one. I know for me it is so easy, immediately after the loss of a dear one, to remember details about their lives. However, as time passes, these memories become less distinct and are harder to recall.

However, future generations may benefit from a new technology that will allow the departed loved ones to record their memories in order to share them with those who come after them. These recordings will be stored at the tomb site and will only be able to be unlocked by an authorized user via a code. Anyone so authorized will be able to use a smartphone or other proper code to unlock memories from the person’s past, as well as anecdotes about that person.

I would have loved to have seen this technology in working order when my wife and I took a trip to St. Joseph, Missouri.

The main purpose of the trip had been to celebrate my birthday by visiting the home of Jesse James, one the old west’s most notorious robbers and highwaymen. While there, I learned that the house we visited was only lived in by Mr. James for three months. However, it was significant for the fact that it was also the house where he was gunned down and died.

The visit was memorable not so much for seeing this very small home but for the other interesting places located in this area. St. Joseph was also the home of the original Pony Express and hosted a various assortment of museums, old homes, and other tourist sites. Out of all of them, we found an old cemetery especially interesting. Finding it was probably the hardest part of the adventure as it was located on the outskirts of the town. Once we found it, however, we decided to take a driving tour of its interior. As we drove, we realized that some of the graves were dug shortly after the Revolutionary War. In fact, we stumbled upon the grave of someone who had died in the year 1780. As I contemplated this fact, I couldn’t help but wonder what this person may have seen and experienced during his lifetime. I think it would have been so interesting to hear what he could tell us about the Revolution.

Well, today a company has the capacity to give us the opportunity to learn about those who precede us in death. In fact, in addition to providing speech, the family will be able to select a video to show at the gravesite. These videos can be more than biographies of a person’s life. In fact, the information can include anything a family wishes to include, or exclude, that will explain a person’s life here on earth. This technology has been developed by a bereavement company called Aspetos. Unfortunately, to see it in action, one must make plans to travel to Austria where the first gravestones will be launched. These gravestones will include the quick response (QR) codes. QR codes are similar to the codes currently seen in a variety of today’s advertisements. They are what are used to unlock an assortment of information for the user. They were first used in Japan in the early part of the ’90s to track car parts.

What I so appreciate about the use of QR codes is that it means that everyone, not just the rich and famous, can leave a legacy of their life to share with future generations. However, the thought of using QR codes on a headstone has been met with some skepticism. Some believe that, even if it has been authorized by a family member, it could be an invasion of the dead person’s right to privacy.

To accomplish this monumental task, Aspestos is already working with headstone masons who would sandblast the QR codes on gravestones to determine how much the process will cost. In addition, they also have to consider what the cost will be to maintain data on a website. Another issue the company is currently considering is how it could make such data available to the future generations of those who choose to be buried at sea or in an isolated part of the country. One thought by the company is to develop a communal mourning center where all codes could be accessed.

When learning of this new technology, my first thoughts revolved around how long the data could be stored.Will a family who fails to pay a monthly or yearly maintenance fee suddenly lose access to the data? In 100 years or so, will anyone really care about who this person was, what their biography was, or what they thought and felt?

I am not trying to be callous or uncaring in my saying these things, but I’m just being a realist. South of San Francisco lies the town of Colma, California which, as my late dad would say, “was home to more dead people than alive.” Colma is home to many different types of cemeteries, including Cypress Lawn. Inside of this particular cemetery I can recall, as a child, seeing a huge monument. Under the monument was the mass grave of thousands of old-time San Franciscans who had been relocated from a cemetery near downtown San Francisco. They had been carelessly moved from their place of eternal peace to be dumped as a pile of bones under this one monument. In fact, some claim that as many as 35,000 relocations were made, but that number may not be entirely accurate.

My point is this. In my personal opinion, funeral services, burials, and talking headstones are for the living. The deceased couldn’t care less. I seriously doubt that anyone will care about great, great granddad 100 years from now, nor will they be willing to pay to have his website maintained.

Comments welcome.

Source: Moneyweb

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by The deep end of the ocean

Has Technology Isolated Us from Real Life?

Has Technology Isolated Us from Real Life?The recent commercials from Apple illustrating its newest toy, Siri, make me unsure if I want to laugh or cry. To laugh, because I am sure that the concept behind these commercials is to enlighten us as to the many facets of advice Siri can provide, even going as far as showing us its ability to be humorous. Unfortunately, these same commercials also make me want to cry since they make us aware of just how out of touch we are becoming with our fellow man. You see this, over and over again, as commercials tout the ever-growing relationship that man is forging with the machines that they rely on and that could someday remove the need for human contact. Just think of it: a machine that interacts with you on an almost conversational level. Will this provide another excuse for the introverted among us who already struggle with interpersonal relationships to avoid dealing with the real world? Though I seriously doubt that this is Apple’s intent, it is still something that we should ponder in light of our children’s obvious reliance on technology at home, at school, and even at church.

While much of this technology is beneficial and offers a much more reliable means of performing tasks that were previously time consuming and mundane — such as answering the phone — I wonder about the wisdom of turning yet more control over to a computer. To date, Apple has been using actors and actresses to tout the many benefits and words of enlightenment that Siri is able to provide to the masses, but it is possible that at some point the machine will be making its own bid for dominance instead of leaving it in the hands of humans. I wonder if that means that we humans will stop contemplating the complex issues that surround us.


One such not-so-complex issue was featured in one of the Apple iPhone 4S commercials where actress Zooey Deschanel asks her iPhone via Siri if it is raining. The unfortunate fact is that she is standing near a window that is being pelted with and streaked by raindrops. After this inane question, she then looks around what appears to be the living room and instructs Siri to remind her, the next day, to clean up the obvious jumbled assortment of materials lying around. In other words, if one cannot see that it is raining outside or compute that a mess needs to be cleaned up, I would venture a guess that this is the type of person who needs to pay particular attention to the instructions for using a seat belt that are given when flying.


In yet another commercial, actor Samuel L. Jackson is talking to his Apple iPhone 4S when he inquires how many ounces there are in a cup. Surely you jest! This type of information is taught in grade school and should be known by most everyone in the United States where it is the general standard for measurement. (I do realize that a person born and educated elsewhere may have need of assistance in this department.) The next bit of assistance occurs when the actor tells Siri to cancel his scheduled golf game. Here one is to assume that Siri is going to call the golf course, his caddy, and other players to notify them of the cancellation. If Siri is truly able to perform all of these tasks without dropping the ball somewhere, it would be great. However, from what I have been reading about the abilities of Siri, I would be highly doubtful that this automated system would be able to accomplish all of this — no matter how smart we are told that it is.


In yet another commercial, Apple employs the talents of actor John Malkovich. I find this particular commercial both humorous and scary. I say this because the commercial starts with the actor uttering the single word “life.” To this word, Siri responds with a rather long explanation concluding how well we should treat people. This part becomes kind of scary when we consider that we are basically accepting the idea that a machine is smarter than we are, when in actuality it is merely parroting the interpretation of someone else’s thoughts. My interpretation of what l believe life is does not come close to what Siri provides.

So while I have shown how Siri appears to be the next step in machine versus human interaction, it is not only the use of Siri that I believe is isolating us from human contact. This is just another building block on top of social networking sites like Facebook that allow us to share our daily activities with people we have never met. I know I had to trim down my friends list because I was being overwhelmed with underwhelming information from people I didn’t even know. Couple this with our newfound ability to communicate with one another using text messages and we find that we no longer need to hear the other person’s voice to inquire how their life is going on planet Earth.

Unfortunately, our alienation from human contact and our reliance on features such as what Siri offers could further complicate our lives instead of making them simpler. This could begin with our accepting what Apple is trying to sell — that Siri is like a friend. I can see our children buying into this, but I can also see how it would cause them to lose the ability to separate fact from fiction. The fact is that Siri is a just powered by a microchip that employs a large database of information that has been preprogrammed to answer a variety of questions to which you may or may not know the answer. Again, getting answers is great, but what about the many individuals out there who live by themselves and may choose to actually make Siri their friend and confidant? How lonely that life would be. Think about it: Siri isn’t going to go out for pizza with you. In turn, this makes me wonder what Freud would think of all of this if he were still alive. Would he be using Siri, posting his entire life’s activities on Facebook, and texting his associates for advice on those hard to solve cases? Would Dr. Freud consider all of this normal and all of us who use this technology for communication normal as well?

But what is normal?

Comments, as always, are welcome.

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by ppalmer21

Seven Technology Myths Exposed

Over the years, since tribunals of geeks have perpetrated their amalgamation of ideas, these myths have been presented by various experts, salespeople, and bloggers, making them sacred in their claims to certain facts. However, over time, some of these sometimes outlandish myths and theories have taken on a life of their own. So, in order to dispel some of the most ridiculous claims by these individuals, I have taken the time to recreate their experiments and have been able to, in many cases, scientifically dispel the concept that there are any performance differences or lack of same. That doesn’t mean, however, that I won’t continue to research every new idea or concept to see if it performs as promised or if it appears to be just another con to get the trusting souls out there to part with their few extra dollars.

My determinations as to the value of a given product are based on the personal experience I have had regarding performance and my reasoning behind dispelling the researchers’ work or recommending it to you, the reader. I don’t believe that there is any other way to actually investigate a product’s claims, other than to personally experience the product’s purpose and then check to see if its claims are verifiable. If their claims do not live up to expectation or they lack the expectations of improved performance, my own opinion would be to contact the seller and report your dissatisfaction. Below is a list of seven such myths that will be exposed for exactly what they are: myths and not facts. These are my opinions.

Seven Technology Myths ExposedExpensive HDMI cables will improve the picture on your HDTV.

It always amazes me that people will spend $150 for an HDMI cable when a salesperson makes a claim that these high-end cables will actually improve picture quality. I recall a few years ago when my neighbor bought a new HDTV and he paid the retailer to install and set up his system. As the crew was setting up the system, it asked my neighbor if he had an HDMI cable available since the cable was a must have in order to obtain the best picture quality for his new HDTV. My neighbor had no such cable and paid these thieves $75 for a pretty HDMI cable wrapped in fancy blue nylon cord of some type. When he told me what had happened, I brought over a $6 HDMI cable purchased via an Internet store. To test the quality of the individual cables, he activated his newly set up HDTV using his existing Dish Network set-top box on an HD channel. Yes, the picture came in nicely but then I swapped cables and once again activated the screen to see if there was any difference in the picture quality. As I believed was to be expected, neither of us could visualize any difference in picture quality; naturally, he returned his $75 cable to the store for a full refund.

A 64-bit OS will make computing twice as fast as a 32-bit one.

The new laptop system I recently purchased came with a 64-bit pre-installed copy of Windows Home Premium. For those who may believe that a 64-bit OS will run twice as fast as a 32-bit system, I hate to pop your bubble. The fact is, a 64-bit system will perform better and quicker if one has a 64-bit software program installed, and a 64-bit Windows OS can read more than 3 GB of memory. Without this, the systems will run just about the same.

CD/DVD/Blu-ray discs will last forever.

The claims from some media manufacturers is that their discs — whether CD/DVD or Blu-ray — should last for up to 100 years. This reminds me of those infomercials in which the product comes with a lifetime warranty. I have always wondered to myself whose lifetime are we talking about? Your order instructions offer a choice of calling a toll free number, sending a check to a PO Box, and/or ordering the product online. Did you catch the fact that no physical address is given for the company, which means you will most likely be unable to find them if their company suddenly goes bankrupt or just simply disappears.

We had this happen with a vacuum cleaner we had bought from Sears. All we needed were replacement belts for the $400 cleaner, but we were told to contact the manufacturer. Believe me when I say we tried to no avail. It was not to be found and we had no choice but to toss the one-year-old vacuum in the recycle bin. So while this was our experience, the question still remains as to who you should see about collecting on my lifetime warranty. To me. a lifetime warranty on a product should follow the item, no matter how many times it changes hands, as long as the documentation is still intact as to when it was purchased and for what amount.

Realistically, however, I doubt that in 100 years many of us will be around to confirm that our CD/DVD or Blu-ray discs still function. Then, too, with technology whirling at supersonic speeds, is it likely that the units we purchase today or those who sell them to us will still be around to view our data on these discs? I would think that we can better imagine them in a museum where our grandchildren will be asking us how we managed to deal with such clumsy technology. With that being said, I would suggest, just to be safe, that you back up your discs every few years to avoid any possible degradation (the discs may experience erosion from environmental factors). Better yet, back up your discs using the newest technology, because as we are all aware, the latest and greatest gadgets lie just beyond the next horizon.

Companies have employed a secret combination to unlock your smartphone battery.

This is another myth and involves the user being able to press a combination of keys (on the dial pad), that will unlock a secret power reserve on the battery. I received this information via email and the sender had actually included the secret code that was to open this reserve for me. The sender informed me that all I had to do, in order to make this secret power work, was to wait for my cell phone’s battery to run down before entering the secret combination and voila! I would get another jolt of power. This power would then allow me to make additional calls, continue to finish up surfing the Internet, or anything else I wished to do. Though the idea is great, the reality is there is no such additional battery power available by using any secret code.

RAM optimizer software will increase your system’s performance.

Who doesn’t want their computer to run faster and smoother? Over the years, a great deal of money has been made by companies making unrealistic promises of improved performance and faster speeds, which have basically provided little, if any, system improvement. So it is with RAM optimizers, which are an all show and no go type of software. Basically, Windows does a pretty good job, all by itself, of handling RAM for most Windows computers. If anything, adding more RAM in itself will provide the user with a better performance increase than any type of software one can buy. Maybe even more important is the need to keep your system properly maintained, since this is a guaranteed way to increase the way your computer performs.

Using a laptop computer on your lap will make you sterile.

This myth has been perpetrated for years and holds no merit. The myth claims that the heat generated by the laptop as it sits on your lap can make a man sterile. This heat is not just the result of what is generated by the machine itself, but supposedly involves a user keeping his legs closed together. If this were the case, any male who sits in front of a desk all day should, in theory, become sterile. This is total hogwash and there is no reputable scientific proof that this has ever happened.

Newer models are always better than the older models they replace.

This myth depends on what you are referring to. In general, improvements in computer hardware, at least for the most part, are definite improvements, but this doesn’t always hold true in the software market. This is because the consumer is fickle when it comes to the specific use of certain software products. Microsoft learned this lesson the hard way when it introduced Windows Vista and Windows 7. Consumers were so ingrained with Windows XP that they had no desire to upgrade to the newer software products being offered.

Another factor was that many of the older Windows XP systems lacked the basic hardware requirements to even run the newer operating systems, resulting in many XP users just deciding to stay with XP; many still enjoy the same OS today. I even have an old laptop that is still running XP, and have had no difficulties with it as it continues to work just fine. This was one case where newer did not prove to be better for everyone. The myth that newer is always better is not a 100% absolute.

Let me know if you have any myths that need to be dispelled.

Comments welcome.