Maybe twelve years ago at a family gathering, I heard my future brother-in-law complaining that his phone didn’t display the clock all the time. I took his Nokia 5165 from him and started navigating the menus, hearing someone murmur “how does he know what to do?” and another someone answer “he just does. Leave him alone.” I handed it back, and his phone displayed the clock on the main screen. Elapsed time: 15 seconds.
Wednesday night, hanging with the Rocket City Bloggers at The Nook, it was rammed home for me that I’m not that person anymore. Someone 15 years my junior took another’s phone, and helped her with an email account synchronization problem. She was going just as fast as I was with that brick 12 years ago, and solved the problem just as effectively.
Now I seriously doubt she did anything I couldn’t grasp. It’s not a problem of comprehension; it’s a problem of concern. It’s not that I can’t understand. It’s that I’m beginning to question whether I want to. I used to trip over this with my dad, but I’m getting it now.
You know, I’m already lining up judgment on that Vizio tablet—in terms of whether it’s my mobile blogging rig or not, anyway. It’s considerably sexier than my netbook, but when I want to write on the go, it seems I prefer the trappings of Windows (and a paradigm largely intact from two decades ago). I’ll definitely keep the tablet around, just like I’ve kept my Kindle Fire, and for the same reason: it’s cool enough for the money. I can get enough use out of it to keep it, without ever sucking it all the way into my life as the maker intended.
My whiz kid successor and I discussed that a bit night before last, too. I seem to be trying the tablet out as a concept, but am I really? Or is my unusual cheapness in this market segment damaging the integrity of my results? I have two tablets now. Their average price was $182. Guess what? The top ones start at double that. Am I unable to learn anything useful about whether I want this thing in my life because I’m not gathering data with a more highly-regarded device?
How much anxiety over my budding—well, it’s not exactly technophobia, but close enough—is appropriate? It’s definitely there. How much does it matter?