Nov 062010

If you prefer to keep your couch wrapped in plastic this post is not for you.  Move on to the next one.

I see so many people turn into servants of their own devices.  Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around? Shouldn’t these gizmos be making our lives easier, simpler and seamless?  I’ve been using my iPads, iPhones, Blackberries, Razrs and Palm Pilots for ages without any protective cases or screen protectors, and ALL of them lasted longer than I needed them.  As a result and in spite of lack of protection, my kids (no hidden meanings here) have been playing games on my old iPhone 3G for a year and a half and will get my iPhone 3GS very soon when I move to Android.  I still have my Palm V somewhere in a closet, but that was before their time.   So why bother?  Before they go into mass production, these devices are tested in labs by engineers who are paid a nice chunk of change to invent as many as possible various ways to systematically destroy them and to determine and quantify how scratch-proof, fall-proof, dust-proof, heat-proof, accidentaly-left-in-the-microwave-proof they are so the design can be improved (don’t try this at home, unless someone gives you free test samples of each device).  Of course, just like I hope you do treat your waiters, staff members and any other type of subordinates with respect, you need to treat your gadgets similarly and try to avoid dropping them (the height of the fall and the hardness of the floor are directly proportional to your “asking-for-it-ness”), but what most of them usually lack instead of protective screen covers is backups and reboots.  I trust the manufacturers here not because I believe they are so kind to us, but because in case of frequent faults they will lose money due to the number of returned devices, transportation damage, bad publicity in the news, class action lawsuits and ultimately, diminishing sales figures.

I’ve accidentally dropped all my phones (and a few laptops) so many times and what do you think the result was?  None of them ever broke or had really noticeable damage.  Maybe I was just lucky, but by this time I’ve saved so much time, effort and money by not buying screen protectors, cases, protective covers and shields that if I lose one device, so be it.

When you go to a restaurant you expect good service.  If you drop a fork, you ask for another one instead of picking it up from the floor.  That’s become a rule of etiquette and that way you remain comfortable and the server does his or her job and gets paid, and everybody walks out happy.  Things don’t seem so well organized with our devices.  So many people buy an expensive smartphone packed with features, then disable most of them (4G, 3G, Bluetooth and GPS services, to mention some) only to prolong its battery life.  Then they brag how they don’t have to charge it every night.  Well, I’ve got news for you.  You could have bought a lower end phone with a much longer battery life.  Use what you bought with all the features  because you paid for it.  Don’t wait for your phone to lose all its power to recharge.  Charge the battery every night because you want it at your side when you need it, and you never know when you may need that extra juice for the emergency call (either work or personal) and extra time to complete it instead of frantically expecting the battery (and perhaps some humans) to die if things don’t happen the fastest possible way.  If your battery loses its capacity in a year, you will buy a new one.  Your phone won’t be there in a few years, so just abuse the heck out of it.  That’s why you paid for it.  It’s yours.  Use it to make your life easier and don’t serve it, for it is there to serve you.

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