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Why the IT industry can shove off

Column A very personal list of gripes
Fri Apr 27 2012, 15:22

davenealIT IS NEITHER CUSTOMARY NOR WISE to publicly air your grievances, but what the hell. I have a few, and most of them are with the technology industry and the junk that it puts out.

Therefore I present my list of grumbles, complaints, moans and gripes about firms like Apple and Facebook and bills like CISPA and ACTA.

I'm going to start small. I cannot stand Ipod docks. I do not have an Ipod, Ipad, Iphone, or eyepatch, so I have no need to stick anything in one. Yet I am presented with them everywhere. Want something free with a mobile phone? What about this Ipod dock. Hey, you know what your toaster is lacking? An Ipod dock. What are you using that belly button for anyway? In two hours we can get an Ipod dock in there. Come on man! Where's your Ipod dock! It's like you are nothing without one.

Dusting my DVD player I noticed that it too has an Ipod dock. I've taped it up. I do not want your Ipod docks.

On the subject of Apple, while I should say that I don't blame it for Ipod docks but desperate hardware add-on floggers, I do have an issue with its use of the term 'magical'.

I'll tell you what is magical. Harry Potter, unicorns and sawing women in half are magical. Making a computer or a bloody Mac takes no magic at all, it takes silicon and factories, and workers, and sweat, and designers, and marketing people. Nowhere in the process at all does anyone perform any magic. I suggest that until someone at Apple presents a rabbit out of a hat, whenever its marketing people are tempted to use the term 'magical' they just clip it or use something like 'functional' instead.

Here I feel that I should complain loudly about the Ipad and how tedious it is. However, I once went on a camping trip and someone had taken one along. I think it was that, and its impressive battery life and music collection, that kept us all sane in the Welsh rain. So, if not the Ipad, then what? Well, Instagram.

Instagram has more hype around it than a rapper that shoots flames out of his gold teeth and has punched someone in the face on live television while riding a bazooka like it was a donkey. It is a very hot property right now, and why? Because it is so damn good? No, because Facebook paid $1bn for it.

I've tried the app and yes I can see what it does. Can I see why it's worth so much money? Well, no. Not unless you think about why Facebook might have bought it, which could be to feather its nest with more information about its users and further secure its walled garden.

The money Facebook spent on Instagram is very concerning. It is a lot of money for anyone to spend on a gewgaw, and apparently Mark Zuckerberg went lone wolf on the hunt and returned gloriously having talked the firm's founders down from $2bn to 'merely' $1bn.

It makes you wonder what else he might do with his money. Has he cloned himself and created a Zark Muckerberg that attends meetings for him while he sits at home with his girlfriend and his dog? If he has, that's every man's dream and we should dislike him for it.

That is if we don't already dislike him for Facebook, which is easy. The web site has turned from a minor annoyance where everyone from the woman in the post office to your mum wants to tag you in a photo where you look fat, to a very, very large marketing database that is stuffed with the trivial news and muses, moans and whinges of over 900 million people. If that doesn't worry you, it should. It worries me, and thus it made my list.


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