Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cutting Back ... the Digital Way

Tough time is ahead of us, in what is considered to be one of the worst economic downturn in history. No matter if one still has a job or already queuing up for dole, everyone are cutting back in spending.

A number of reports from United States give ideas of how people practice cost saving.

One news story reports that average citizen opt to cutback daily items like food, petrol and internet connection. But at least one expense is untouchable, that is cinema/movie entertainment on weekly basis. It is a kind of getaway from reality for them. Statistics prove that cinema/movie business is particularly strong during economic downturn.

Another research has found an interesting trend. Mobile-phone users, who earn less than median household income, have cutting back from multiple digital gadgets and services. They instead opt for the "Swiss-army knife" type of smartphone, combining digital entertainment, communication and mobile browsing. Even though price-tag of such smartphone plus its monthly phone service (starting from US$70) is extravagant at their standard, the formula proves to work.

What is your formula?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Survive thru Digital Obsolescence

Apple has just announced another new product, alone with the exclusion of Firewire.

While I am educated with information of whether Firewire requirement is replaceable, but as their customer, it is disappointed for being arbitrary neglected.

Living through digital obsolesence becomes much harder these days, as product upgrade cycle is getting quicker and shorter. It is not just dealing with the CPU speed (productivity) and backward-compatibility of peripheral and software, but more like surviving. Fortunately I could still afford the upgrade if really needed.

Consumers in the digital age have to accept their electronics NOT to last. The stuff that we are buying will either live much shorter than our grandparents, or be replaced eventually.

My nine-years old G4 PowerMac has long been living under the shadow of the OS X upgrade, managed to be included in the Tiger requirement but not the latest Leopard. It manages to access wifi-G with a 2nd-handed Motorola PCI card which I have bought from eBay, with certain limitation (incompatible with my other wifi device). It also supports Firewire 400 which I rely on for data-transfer and backup, and USB1.0.

Over the past year my source of technical support does not come from Apple, but through a tribe of users who have shared online their similiar experience and finding. We together are being neglected gradually and perhaps be extincted eventually ... reminding me of those natives from an old film
'The Mission'.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lessons about Technology

Like most Gen-X, I adore digital lifestyle ... but only to where I feel comfortable with.

My mobile phone has 3G capability but I now stay away from browsing Internet, after tried it out and then hit by $1,500 monthly bill. I listen to music with my good old Ipod Shuffle (bubble gum box) and it refuses to break-down. My digital repository, combining work and personal, splits between my nine-years old G4 PowerMac and a Window XP notebook, which belongs to my dad. I am aware that there is a better alternative available, such as the Intel Mac running parallel OS.

As much as the technology improves my lifestyle, I also learn to deal with its uncertainty. One of my first hard lesson is to beware of the hype of new technology and its life cycle.

When I first purchase my PowerMac, the G4 model is a newly released with a new design (AGP) motherboard. But the same month when the shipment arrives, Apple announces a modified version which includes dual-processors but with the same price. As time moves forward, more new models with improved processor speed has roll-out. Measuring in terms of timeline, it takes 6 months to boost CPU speed by 50%, and another 12 months to double that. Much later I have learned that all of these have a name: Moore's Law.

Over the years I stick with my G4, despite its resale value taking a nose dive right from the start.

It still lets me to do browsing, banking/shopping online (except some web-sites only works with IE), connecting to my social network, listening music and watching video. True, in certain days it may demand more CPU speed and new peripheral support. But as long as it still works, I can live with the trade-off.

The wonderful aspect of forgoing (decision to buy) helps to take away the uncertainty of new technology. This is not difficult to understand but, perhaps to some, not as easy to do. As for me, my desire to keep in touch with the new technology since then has toned down somewhat.

Nowaday I gets fun from refurbishing my old Mac ... leave this for next blog.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Culture of Digital Age

As an audience, the recent high profiling coverage of the stolen digital photos and subsequently sex scandal involving Hong Kong celebrity by the media has been “entertaining” but yet educating. Hundreds of lurid and explicit photos have since been circulated through the internet and published by daily newspapers, viewed by household across society of all generation, and over the continents.

Every corner can feel the impact in faceted way, from censorship verse censorship-free; virtual persona (public image) verse privacy verse social responsibility; digital ownership and authenticity; to (my favorite) the culture shock of the digital age.

We have seen that the victims (celebrity) have tried to duck from the bad publicity but later come out for damage control, the entertainment group has inadequate understanding to face the issue, the regulatory authorities too have inadequate understanding and legality to deal with the issue and public scrutiny, the public and ethical groups have voiced out as victim, and how the Net-Gen reflects from all these.