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Everything is too complicated
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-01-08 22:55:11

It's the very beginning of CES 2018, and the first trickles of gadget news are starting to come out. The flood begins tomorrow as the show floor opens and keynotes and press conferences begin in earnest. It's easy to see the broad themes of the show and the tech industry at large already forming: smart assistants everywhere, sensors and radios in every device you can think of, and an eternal hope that something, anything, will be the reason people will finally upgrade their TVs.

All of that is exciting - I love gadgets and am one of the few crazy people that think CES is incredibly fun! - but I want to take a half-step back before it all begins and point out something obvious: most people have no idea how any of these things work, and are already hopelessly confused by the tech they have.

Shoving a display and garbage software on every single possible household item is simply a really, really dumb idea. Add networking into the mix, and it becomes outright dangerous. People end up with products they have no idea how to use, that quickly become outdated, aren't getting software updates, and quickly become dangerous attack vectors for all sorts of possible criminals.

The article also touches on something else - namely, that even things like smartphones are getting way, way too complicated for most people. I, too, am continuously surprised by how little people around me really know about their smartphone - be it iOS or Android - and what certain things mean or how certain functions work, or that they even have said functions at all. Tech companies are doing a terrible job of exposing users to functionality in a meaningful, understandable way.

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Read Comments: 1-10 -- 11-20 -- 21-30 -- 31-40
Internet of Shitty Things.
By tunkaflux on 2018-01-09 16:22:17
Remember kids, the "S" in IoT stands for Security!
Permalink - Score: 4
How did we get here?
By Sobakus on 2018-01-09 16:58:09
You are absolutely right, Thom. This has been my mantra for the last few years.

How on earth technology has evolved to such a level of performance and capabilities and yet usability is, sometimes, still stuck in the era when even programming a videotape recorder was like an arcane art of sorts?

How the gap between the regular user and technology has grown so much instead of making it more accessible?

This puzzles me every day while using the boatload of tech stuff I have at home, as a programmer and as a very involved tech freak.

This is going to end really bad...
Permalink - Score: 2
RE[3]: Agree
By dylansmrjones on 2018-01-09 17:54:49
Indeed. Planned obsolescence in its most despicable form. Shows the downside of applying use-and-throw-away consumerism to personal data.

And yes, keep devices dumb - that'll keep people smart in the long term. Or at least it will give engineers time to come up with safer implementations - or salesmen more time to come up with stupider ideas.
Permalink - Score: 3
RE: Comment by romma
By dbox2005 on 2018-01-09 18:12:17
You are correct and wrong at the same time.
Wrong side:
- your point of view comes from consumerism
- capitalism is build on consumerism
- consumers need to buy more for economy to work
- if you stop consuming does not matter what product you are buying what is happening to economy ?
- all companies exist to profit they need to sell more
- you as consumer need to educate yourself before buying
- companies don't care about you, but only about their bottom line

Correct side:
- companies need to employ people and build a culture where quantity over high quality does not suffice it
- high quality of any given consumer electronic product is doubtful nowadays...quality is a thing of the past only written in history books.
- when you have high quality then your bottom line may be affected because people are not buying as much as you want them to, so you need defined obsolescence for that product.
- nothing wrong with having high quality products which will increase your user base and create more business over time.

Intelligent TV's, fridges, washers are only meant for consumers who believe that more features are good for them. Especially the ones who wish to have Twitter or Facebook updates from their appliances. Why not ?That is where all that useful data will be heading anyway... :)Next we will have companies mining that data and sell you what is needed in your fridge. That will be the day I will shut down myself from the open internet and only using encrypted connection for anonymity purposes.
Permalink - Score: 1
RE[3]: Agree
By boing on 2018-01-09 20:11:31
> Apple devices are expensive, their planned obsolescence has more impact compared with the cheaper alternatives.

Completely agree, and one of the reasons I bought Apple hardware (I have a Mac Pro 2006 and MacBook Pro 2012) in the past. I felt it would last longer then something cheap (better quality built, and Mac OS X built to support that specific hardware, so more reliable drivers and OS) and I could upgrade it myself. In addition I got to use Mac OS X, which at the time of my first Apple computer purchase I felt was the best desktop OS (I started on Tiger, and liked Snow Leopard the best). Both worked out well for me since I still use both daily, the Mac Pro 2006 is my server running Windows 7 (it was easier upgrading to Windows 7 64-bit then the latest Mac OS X because of the 32-bit EFI), and the Macbook Pro 2012 I upgraded to the max memory and put a SSD in it. I have the 2012 setup for dual boot, but mostly use Windows 10 on it because of a display bug that never got fixed in Mac OS X, and personally I find Windows 10 is as good then the latest Mac OS X versions (yes I know about the telemetrics which I turn off as much as I can, and the forced upgrades which I turn to the business update chain) for my use case. It continues to add more things I liked about Mac OS X such as a integrated Unix/Linux based command prompt (Linux Subsystem added to Windows 10).

So basically based on Apple's recent direction (everything soldered down and not upgradeable and Mac OS X having a lot of bugs) and Windows 10 being a decent OS (at least at the core for things like multitasking and responsiveness under 100% cpu loads), I am no longer willing to pay extra for Apple hardware since it doesn't have any advantage to me anymore.

Edited 2018-01-09 20:17 UTC
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RE[4]: How about a NON-crappy 4K TV
By Morty on 2018-01-09 22:50:09
> "wifi built-in" doesnt mean it can actually connect to my wifi without my consent (ie entering my password).

So no ethernet cable, no wifi password, it simply cant reach my network...

Then the guy next door runs his wifi open and passwordless...
Permalink - Score: 2
RE[5]: How about a NON-crappy 4K TV
By Earl C Pottinger on 2018-01-10 00:02:17
I have already run into this is looking at chargers for an electric car. Most chargers ***MUST*** be controlled by an app on your phone.

I thought I had found a charger that did not need an app to run, only to find out "I MUST" logon onto the manufacturer's website to activate the charger before I could use it.


Edited 2018-01-10 00:03 UTC
Permalink - Score: 3
RE[4]: How about a NON-crappy 4K TV
By Lennie on 2018-01-10 11:06:05
I have a smart TV in my home.

1. It becomes less usable when I don't connect Internet.

2. I'm not to happy about a Wi-Fi connected TV, so I disabled Wi-Fi.

3. So I did connect it using UTP.

4. But I can use Google Chromecast from my phone from an other room.

I suspect this is even true if I disconnect the UTP port.

What does that mean ? It means Wi-Fi is not disabled, it just means: Wi-Fi is not connected to my home Wi-Fi network (!)
Permalink - Score: 2
RE[6]: How about a NON-crappy 4K TV
By The123king on 2018-01-10 11:11:24
I'm all for saving the environment, but if my car asks me to put in a password to charge it, i'll stick to dinosaur juice TYVM

Edited 2018-01-10 11:11 UTC
Permalink - Score: 1
RE: How did we get here?
By wigry on 2018-01-10 12:44:14
The way I see it is that as tech evolves, the less people want to think about it. They assume that more advanced tech means less need to worry or think about tech. Also advanced tech will instantly create reason to not think about it as its too complicated anyway. People don't want to know how stuff works as long as it does what is requested. How many people know how to fix cars or how they even work? The more cars there are, the more commodity tool it has become. Just something you use without thinking how and why. Same with any other tech.
Permalink - Score: 1

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