Some people might argue that I’m a Luddite but nothing could be further from the truth. I have long been an early adopter of new technology. What I am not is a follower of fashion. And after a few days with what may be the worst car Mercedes have ever made, I’m even more convinced we need to stop the constant revision of things just so someone can put a “new” sticker on it.
The reality is that almost all tech is old hat and boring. In the 1980s, at the giant CBIT tech fair in Frankfurt, Germany, one of the featured products was a scanner that was, essentially, the operational parts of a fax machine (the rollers and reader) in a box just big enough to hold them. It was connected to a computer where the scanned data was stored. Recently, in a tech shop, I saw a device that looked identical. “NEW,” its box screamed. “A new concept in scanning.” Well, let’s be generous, it may be higher resolution, it may be colour and it may plug into a USB port but that does not turn the 30 plus year old idea into a “new concept.”
This morning, I read material issued by The Colorado Department of Revenue Enforcement Department. It began with the breathless statement “MED now has an email list service! ” And yes, it is in bold as well as having the exclamation mark. Such a thing is not a cause for excitement. An email list is not exciting, no matter who issues it. I accept, it’s important to announce it – but it should be done sensibly, not as if it’s a teenager saying there’s a new way of hiding acne. Is there no dignity left?
It’s the same with cars. I just had an awful experience with a hire car: the manufacturer is all hyped up about its performance and style. Yes, it looks nice, but the performance is out and out dangerous. And it’s just annoying in so many ways.