Sunday, March 18, 2007

Why Technology Is Boring

It all started in a charity shop I overheard an elderly woman explaining to a friend about how they can register with the mail order preferences scheme over the Internet. Nothing wrong with that quite harmless, technology empowering all sections of society, great. But to me it was like a kick in the guts. I'd grown up with technology and it was second nature to me. Once I was an "early adoptor" someone who buys technology when it is crap, untested and expensive.

I liked that the fact in the old days, that when I spoke about my latest gadgets nobody knew what the hell I was talking about. I revelled in the fact that I had an email address, nobody knew what email was and I knew about three people to email. At one point I had a mobile phone but no one to text! To me this was technology in all of its glory, incomprehensible, inaccessible, and relying on arcane knowledge. Technology was all about unashamed geekiness, like being a part of secret society with a select membership.

The situation has changed so much in the past 5 years, I blame this on the popularity and falling prices of PCs (especially Apple Macs, well marketed and easy to use!) and in particular mobile phones. Now everybody is "jacked in" to the techno nervous system, the masses drool over mobile phone specifications and salivating over laptop adverts. The popularity of sites like Engadget, Gizmondo and TV programmes like The Gadget Show illustrate this. Its a bit like being a Mason or Rotarian, and finding that the old application process, which involved sucking up to the local beardy alpha-male had been replaced by a new system, which involved filling in an application form available at all good Post Offices. A once special technocrat club where experts lorded over obscure knowledge, and where high priests of circuitry and software ruled, has become a mass club for all and sundry.

Its not special any more, technology is now officially boring.