Archive for July, 2008

What is a simpler time?

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

What is your definition of a simpler time? In our efforts to make everything easier are we neglecting what is… simple?

In the new millinium the 1950’s are considered a simpler time. In the 1950’s the 1920’s were considered a simpler time. What are these people that search for this simplicity really looking for? Usability experts look to make the computer or your electronic devices think like you do. With this logic your DVR will know you so well that when you get home from work it will probably listen to the tone of your voice and decide if you want to watch an episode of “Lost” or the local college basketball game. That sounds pretty simple (by the way Sony, you can have that idea for free) but I don’t think that’s what we’re really looking for.

Maybe we’re looking for freedom. Freedom sounds simple, right? You wake up in the morning and the government wants nothing more than for you to be happily content. Nobody want’s anything from you or gives you anything so you have no expectation either way. Cave men had it that way but that simple kind of scares us. Knowing what needs to be done like hunting down your food. Let’s fast forward to at least the age of bartering.

Let me propose this concept for your approval. You are living in the simpler time if you chose to only accept it. Not because you can talk to your phone and tell it who to call or even the fact that everyone has a phone on them all the time. Not because your TV has a thousand channels and you can even have the TV in your car. Not because the internet allows you to find someone somewhere that had the same problem as you and has solved it or allows you to find a product you could find for cheap in your local store. These are not the answers but in all actuality the causes of more of the problems. Psychology studies have shown that more choice actually causes people to get more unhappy. Thus as our lives seemingly become more simple they do get more complex.

These are the good old simple days. Just narrow your choices intentionally. Take the first parking spot you see and walk to the door to the mall. Realize that once you’ve made a decision on a product you’ve got the best thing possible at there and there could be no better. Realize that almost any computer you get (at least for the average user) is so much more than enough. If you could take a time machine back to any time in history they would tell about some of the complexities in life that you would absolutely laugh at while hopping back into your time machine back to the present. Keep reading my blog. I definitely try to keep it simple.

What’s the difference?

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Well, I should have a couple blog posts backed up into my brain since I’ve taken a couple weeks off for vacation from the internet with my family home for the summer. Thanks for your suport during the brake.

So, here’s my thought of the day. I was watching an episode of the AMC (American Movie Channel) show Mad Men. It’s a story about some 1950’s advertising agency men that they coined the title Mad Men because they were on Madison avenue. Anyway, there was a great thought that made me think. They had the problem of making advertisements for a tobacco company in spite of the fact that recent news reported the deadly nature of cigarettes. The solution the main ad exec came up with was… “It’s toasted.” This came from the fact that an item in the making of a cigarette is toasted. Toasted sounds good in comparison to all the negative things cigarettes have. The gripping idea was that when you have 6 different tobacco companies all selling the same thing with no advantages you can tell people whatever you want to tell them.

Fast forward to present day. This fact still holds true. Dell, Acer, HP, Gateway… They are all the same. The CPU’s are the same, the motherboards are the same for the most part but why is a Dell better than a Gateway. It’s really not. Epson and Canon printers are using the same print engine. Why get an Epson? Why a Canon? Strictly advertising.

Personally I’ve found the E-machines are the only exception to this rule. They obviously just use the cheapest parts that eventually break down very soon after the warranty expires. Other than that everyone really needs to realize that hardware is nothing. Service, price, and support are all that really matters. The rest is advertising. What’s the difference? There is none.

Impress the book readers you know

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Ever have a hard time figuring out what you are going to get someone? Well, I just came up with a super cool net trick that they don’t tell you about.

Most people shop for books on the internet by way of Amazon.com. Well, if you know someone buys a pretty good amount of books (or anything else online) then you know them usually make a wishlist. When people add books to their wishlist they are usually books their thinking about getting. Amazon provides a feature to search for someone else’s wishlist. That’s right, wishlists’ are public! You just need their email address.

Look at books in the wishlist, buy the discounted used one that says “New” (and in my experience they are definitely new) . This can sometimes cost you less than a dollar plus shipping. Now you’re a star for knowing them so well.