Upon reading AmandaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s article titled Ã¢â‚¬Å“Tech ProcrastinationÃ¢â‚¬Â and reflecting upon my own personal (iPhone-related) struggles over the past couple of days, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve come to ask myself a question. Is the complicated, technological struggle through which we put ourselves worth the ultimate simplification of life that we desire?
Speaking less generally, let me cite the recent hurdles IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had to jump in dealing with my iPhoneÃ¢â‚¬â€the thing thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s supposed to keep my life connected, organized, and entertained.
Recently the iPhone came out with an update to allow it to use third-party applications. With the update, I can now sync my contacts, calendars and email over the air. I can control my iTunes and my Apple TV from anywhere in my house. I can even play Super Monkey Ball! But in order to do all that, I had to deal with AppleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s failing iTunes servers and glitches in the software that left me phoneless for a day and forced me to spend hours in front of my computer trying to get it all to work again. Well, I DID get it all to work again, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all great, but at what point does the struggle make the end-goal undesirable?
Ok, for me, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d have to be quite a struggle, because I do enjoy my gadgets, but for people like my mom, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s often not worth it. She also has an iPhone, with all its functionality, and barely uses it for anything! ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not that she doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t WANT to use the iPod or the email on her phone or the third party applications, but she simply cannot overcome the struggle to set it all up.
I guess all this talk just further distinguishes us into different categories: those who set the clock on the VCR and those who do not (a dated analogy, I know).
So a solution? Either get a clock thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s easier to set or call up your most tech-savvy family member/friend to have them come set it for you.
Any simplification you achieve via buying and learning new gadgets will be fleeting and/or ephemeral. The gyre of creative destruction will keep us all busily running to and from Best Buy, or wherever, forever. What we get for this is not a simplification of our lives (and, really, who wants that?). What we get is the continual extension of our creative and productive abilities. And data debt.
I am reminded of how the elder generation went from typewriters (what's that?!) to computers. Changing a ribbon was probably a lot more simple than figuring out your printer connections! Alas, what we find complicated these days are probably the defacto state that the 'younger' generation lives with and we'll just have to decide if we ever want to catch up with 'simplification'.