Is Tech Downgrading Your Life?

So I guess we all really have a choice here, or do we?   How much tech do we want and when do we really want to be “upgraded” to the latest technology?   Or maybe it’s just the age-old question of how we manage our time at work vs. time we have with family and friends.  But unfortunately, it just seems more difficult to make these distinctions when we are “connected” all the time.  Not an easy or simple answer for many “bread winners” in the twenty-first century.

One busy professional reflected on this in this Sunday’s NY Times:  “My personal mode of self-restraint (controlling her life) is to always carry my phone when I am not with my kids and always leave it in the other room when I am.  The kids themselves don’t get phones at all.   When my 12-year-old daughter walks home from school without one, I intentionally have no idea where she is, just like nobody knew where their kids were when I was growing up.  How rare it is these days not to be able to know something.”

And as I mentioned in an earlier blog, we can easily know more in any given moment than we have ever have before, but how much do we really retain in the longer term?   Technology can make it so, but it is really still only a tool to help us remember, and we have to do the rest to “upgrade” our lives.

Ray Myers

P.S.  I will take a late summer break this week, but will be back next Monday, August 28


No Tech Like Old Tech

Some people just like to keep things working for a long time.  But I guess if you are into having the latest in personal tech, you’ve just got to be the first to have it.  Some might even say that this is all about “conspicuous consumption” to borrow a term from past decades that was often used to describe consumers who were obsessed with having the latest or newest for obvious display to their peers.  Could this be something happening in the tech world today?  Early signs seem to be that there might be a “used tech”market that is finding some traction in more urban centers around the U.S.  

At the same time many tech companies are trying to train people to constantly upgrade their gadgets as soon as something newer and faster comes along.  One Apple executive recently remarked at a product event last month that it was “really sad” that more than 600 million computers in use are more than five years old.  I guess he was thinking about people like me, but he can be assured that our family does have an assortment of old and new mobile devices.  And he should be happy that most of them are Apple products.  But from a business standpoint this is not really good news.  Industry data suggests that consumers are waiting longer to upgrade to new phones than they have in the past.

As a result the used tech industry is growing, and if you choose not be a consumer of the latest personal tech innovation, you can be as “techie” as you want.  Join a Fixers Collective, or find a repair shop like the NYC iPod Doctor, or find a local Geek Squad.  You might even come to form a more sentimental bond with the older technology and the people who fix it.  

Ray Myers