Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: iPad Impressions

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  • SteveH,

    It's a consumer research firm that conducted this "psychological study". And you can tell by the fact that only a consumer research firm would have "selfish elite" and "independent geek" as psychological profiles. It's a load of rubbish.

    I just read the methodology. They inserted the questions into the "psychological surveys" they do on Facebook that people choose to take to get their personality type. So the respondents were self-selected.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Hilary, you need to understand the received geek ethos:


    Being a socially conscious consumer is vitally important. But shininess trumps anything: see also flatscreen TVs made from toxic substances in sweatshops, big budget sci-fi made by ACTAs core backers, games consoles from whale eating monopolists, &c

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    How did you purchase a Kindle book from Amazon? When I tried, it said my NZ address and/or VISA was invalid

    Via the Kindle app on my new iPad. The usual irksome rules did not seem to apply if the destination was an iPad.

    I told you it was special.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    I just read the methodology. They inserted the questions into the "psychological surveys" they do on Facebook that people choose to take to get their personality type. So the respondents were self-selected.

    Yes, there's definitely self-selection, but if the profiling was as part of a general quiz then the bias effect should be fairly well compensated for. Certainly not scientific, but still a far cry from the self-selection of an online poll asking a pre-stated question about a single topic.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    see also flatscreen TVs made from toxic substances

    Gotta say, you can't beat the lead content of the humble, old-school, non-flat-screen CRT. Nothing like the need to protect viewers from a ray-tracing photon emitter to bump up the heavy-metal content.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    I think lack of keyboard on a machine is an indication about how we've failed to communicate properly with our machines. It's somewhat bizarre that we learn a special skill simply to convert our thoughts to letters on a computer when we can all talk fine

    I'm very late to the party, but I'd just like to point out that Windows Voice Recognition (which comes bundled with Win 7) is absolutely amazing. Takes about half an hour to set up and you're away. Integrate that with Windows Speech Recognition Macros and you can do virtually anything you want on your PC without touching your mouse or keyboard.

    I use it for gaming (although some games have security protocals that prevent non-keyboard input from feeding in for certain commands to avoid botting.) It's quite amazing to be able to sit at my desk and say "Fire Phasers" then watch the results on screen. Total set up time was in the region of about an hour, but only because I wanted to et up some very complicated actions. YOu can set up most macros in no time flat.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Ben Austin, Mark Thomas, and Matthew Poole -- many thanks for the info on the HTC Desire. That's extremely helpful. (Although I guess an interest in a Linux-based phone makes me an 'Independent Geek'.)

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Sure, in the olden days (circa 1980), your 19" Ferguson had toxic stuff in it. But it was made in a union shop in a more or less democratic, developed state, where any hazards people knew about could be mitigated. Also, it was repairable and good for maybe 15 years before being dumped, not 18 months as for today's joy.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Yeah, about that... I read somewhere that the average life of an iPhone is a little shy of two years. Not because the machines malfunction, but rather because the people upgrade, and all power to them I suppose. It rather reminds me though of this conversation I had once with a Wellington acquaintance. Actually, it's a two parter. The first time he came over and spent much of the visit observing and coveting our 26 inch flat screen TV. The second time, two or three years later, he asked in mock disbelief why we still had the same TV. "They're so much cheaper these days!" he offered. To which I think I replied, "yeah, but mine's free".

    So these things start steep and then come down in price, and when they do people buy another one because they're so much cheaper, yeah? Isn't it a little perverse, and one hell of a false economy? (And it's not an Apple thing, either, it's just that people are more frequently polled about their iPhone than anything else.)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I upgrade my electronics when it breaks down, and even then I'm unhappy about it.

    I have a rather large, not very good, 8 year old CRT which I hope will last at least another 10 years. For me to buy a new one before that would have to be the deal of the century AND me to have found a thousand dollars lying around.

    I'd love to be able to buy apple toys for at home (I had a brief play with a macbook air last week, that thing is stupidly light, and my home wireless network makes the lack of ethernet not a problem), but they're outside my budget by a factor of several.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH,

    I read somewhere that the average life of an iPhone is a little shy of two years. Not because the machines malfunction, but rather because the people upgrade

    I wonder how much of that is due to the fixed term contracts? Mine is coming off contact in a couple of months and it will be very tempting to upgrade when Vodafone will chip in at least $500 if I'll stay with them for two more years.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Sure, in the olden days (circa 1980), your 19" Ferguson had toxic stuff in it

    And in the "olden days" of last week a brand-new CRT is still loaded up with lead and other lovely things that you really don't want in a landfill. They're still heavy for a reason. Pretty much everything with a PCB in it has some contents that are environmentally-unfriendly, though that is changing. CRTs will never fit into that category, because there's nothing better than lead at being a radiation shield.
    Also, as environmental-awareness improves so does the cleanliness of the contents of electronics. Today's LCD is much cleaner than one from five years ago.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    CRTs will never fit into that category, because there's nothing better than lead at being a radiation shield.

    Gold? Imagine the wank value too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10655 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Ben, I guess you could use gold, but the cost would be horrendous. Maybe I should've said "there's nothing better than lead at being a vaguely-affordable radiation sheild" :)

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH,

    Gold? Imagine the wank value too.

    The wank value would be very high indeed since a big CRT can contain 2kg of lead - that much gold is something like $120,000 if my maths is right. The lead also helps the glass quality. No idea if gold would work as well.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    "They're so much cheaper these days!"

    I waited 5 years to replace the Sony Trinitron TV with a plasma flat screen. By that time it was down to $1400. Less than half the price of the Sony. Originally I said I'd wait for iPad 4.0 to come out, with iChat etc, but all this peer group pressure is starting to get the better of me.

    Gold

    This million dollar laptop can be ordered in gold.

    And this wooden laptop comes with either ivory or 24 carat gold keyboard. The ivory sure seems suss.

    Or the pièce de résistance Gold Plated Voodoo PC. Tacky is right.

    I'd buy a gold plated iPad though. Cause that's different ;-)

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Any kit going into the EU (which means anything being made, as it isn't worth having separate designs) has to be ROHS compliant, which limits the amount of nasties in the product.

    However, making electronics uses a bunch of nasty process chemicals which are fine if contained and controlled (like most things). The trouble is that it's cheaper to make shiny stuff in corrupt dictatorial states, where there is little restraint on how much manufacturers pollute.

    It's kinda like the difference between being next door to Novartis, or a Mongrel Mob crack lab.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    So, regarding all these bright shiny toys, is capitalism OK if it is convenient (and cheaper)? Would people still buy them if their cost reflected their full ecological and economic footprint?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3222 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    We can only afford our lifestyle because of the outsourcing of jobs where unions aren't allowed to tread. Computers, cars, gadgets, clothes, food - not to mention our waste, including our recycling. Do you put your green box out with your plastics and your paper and so forth? It's shipped off to South East Asia so they get poisoned.

    I'm not saying it's not terrifying and wrong. Nor am I saying that because it reaches into every aspect of our lives as consumers, it's a hopeless fight. But it's not just the gadgets.

    (Although I did take a stab at examining the issues that pertain to them specifcally, and I agree that they are peculiar.)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    This million dollar laptop can be ordered in gold.
    And this wooden laptop comes with either ivory or 24 carat gold keyboard. The ivory sure seems suss.
    Or the pièce de résistance Gold Plated Voodoo PC. Tacky is right.
    I'd buy a gold plated iPad though. Cause that's different ;-)

    Hehe. Who needs gold plating when you've got steampunk?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5439 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    If you say it's all too much, no one will even try. We could all make small steps by, for example, not shopping at JB Hi Fi (even if it is more convenient) and going somewhere where the workers are treated better (if there is such a place).

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3222 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Shiny things wouldn't be much more expensive under a better system of economic organisation. Sure, the price would have to include the cost of fair wages for workers and environmental protection, but it wouldn't include the CEO's private jets or the shareholders BMWs.

    Western companies mostly manufacture in dodgy jurisdictions to squeeze a bit of extra margin out - it isn't essential to the viability of the product.

    I personally do buy gadgets when I reckon the use/interest outweighs the cost. I'd favour buying units built in a sustainable, labour-friendly way, but that's hard to do. (Though you can do stuff like getting a local tech to rebuild you a machine around existing case and power supply).

    I'd just suggest that when lauding the next new new thing, one should consider the whole picture.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    for example, not shopping at JB Hi Fi (even if it is more convenient) and going somewhere where the workers are treated better

    By all means, although I'm not sure that JB Hi Fi going under is going to do much good to those underpaid workers. Still, I no longer buy from Amazon for the same reasons. Ethical consumerism is still consumerism though - it really solves nothing. Recognising that the problems are much more deep-seated doesn't mean being resigned that they'll never be solved, either. It means looking at workers' and environmental struggles a little more broadly - which I personally find helpful.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Well put, Giovanni. Maintaining a consistently ethical approach is so damn difficult. For instance, I really like the idea of the Buy Nothing Day (which usually comes by every November) but it require some foresight and planning. I think it could happen more often (every month?), or at random days of choice. But then there is the possibility that some poor, underpaid shmuck might lose their job because of falling revenues. What I find most offensive is not so much the $2 or $3 shops which now litter most NZ towns and cities but places like airport duty free , with their ridiculously priced handbags and gee-gaws, with have been mass produced in some factory for a tiny fraction of their retail price (Gucci, Moochi and Poochi and all that tosh). Can't for the life of me understand how waving such a bag around makes one a better person.

    Generally, the best policy is to make things last as long as possible and avoid upgrading or buying shiny things just for the sake of it. We ran a Mac for nearly 10 years and I have a couple of jackets that are probably 30+ years old.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2560 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The iPad's green credentials were a big part of the announcement in January. It's free of arsenic, PVR, BFRs and mercury, and Apple says it's highly recyclable.

    To some extent, it's because Greenpeace focused so much of its green-tech campaigning on Apple -- a very savvy way to get media coverage -- but Jobs has touted sustainability as a priority to Apple shareholders, which seems notable.

    Basically, these things are made in the same factories in China as the things sold under less fashionable brands, and they have a lower impact on the environment than much of the generic computer and consumer electronics equipment that sells in a similar price range. And yet no one's going to bat an eyelid if you get yourself an $800 netbook. I think there is a bit of inverted snobbery about this device.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

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