“I used to be with it! Then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it,’ and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary to me. It’ll happen to you!” – Abe Simpson
I never thought I’d become that guy who clings to old technology claiming it as superior to what’s new; I’ve often embraced the evolution of technology in general. But as I write this on my Windows XP-powered subnotebook computer, I’m thinking about the new trend that’s developing.
I hate Windows 8. I was one of the early adopters of Windows Vista, and I enjoyed it. Then I hopped on Windows 7 and found it even better. But my time spent with the Windows 8 preview and now, to a lesser extent, the released version of Windows 8 has been unnecessarily frustrating. Yes, it’s probably faster, and there have been some thoughtful under-the-hood changes, but the only overt changes I see are those designed with tablets in mind that translate into a more vexing experience for traditional PC users (or anyone without a touchscreen). We’ve got charms popping up and no clear pattern of navigation and it takes way too long to find out where to just shut down the PC. Where’s the control panel? Where’s the universal search? Oh it’s all there somewhere, but you’ve got to dig for it. Windows 7 was, and is, a much more pleasing experience for me.
And now I’m thinking of other manifestations of this pattern. I had a hard-drive based MP3 player (from Archos) before the iPod was in full-swing, and I had Pocket PCs with color screens when everyone was still using monochrome Palm Pilots. But now I listen to most of my music from a 32 GB microSD card on my DROID 3, despite the increasing prevalence of cloud player options; there’s just a reassurance I get from having everything stored locally, not subject to the whims (or ownership) of any other entity/service that might go down or be inaccessible when the zombie apocalypse finally occurs. And I’m sure you noticed that DROID 3 reference; I haven’t been upgrading phones on a bimonthly basis since I’m locked into a Verizon contract, and that means I’ve missed out on great Android OS revisions and apps. Granted, that’s a separate issue – I’d upgrade if it were reasonable to do so, so that doesn’t really fall into the fogy category. But I am clinging to a device with physical buttons as long as I can, because I enjoy gaming and don’t trust on-screen keyboards and joysticks. So there’s a fogy knock, one might say.
So why am I still using this Fujitsu ultraportable laptop when there are so many viable new ultrabooks and tablets and convertibles? Well, because I paid good money for this and it still runs. Now there’s the Surface Pro and the Razer Edge gaming tablet on the horizon, and some well-made Lenovo devices that deserve attention, but I’m still running a Pentium M and 1 GB of RAM. I could blame the economy, but it’s still fogy-ish.
There’s a slew of other tech trends I’ve eschewed too: I still hate Facebook, and Twitter (and #hashtagging), and Instagram, and Battlefield 3, and the annual Call of Duty iterations, and electronic music, and online leagues/playing cards in FIFA, and the trend toward using real names online instead of anonymous handles (Covert, anyone?). Taken as a whole, it’s hard to deny my fogy-status, but perhaps it’s just something I’ll have to come to terms with. Why should I compromise my astute taste just to stay abreast of the latest trends? Not all change is for the best, anyway – remember when “Made in USA” indicated a quality product?
Neither do I, but I’m told there was a time that was true.