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the iPod revolution.

i love apple computers, and i'm a general supporter of Apple as a company. I admire the fact that they were able to dig themselves out of the hole they had been in (overpowered by microsoft) by first creating the "iBrand" concept, and then eventually expanding their market to technology outside of computers, creating the iPod and evolving it in intellgent ways. My main computer will always be an apple.

This being said, i *really* dislike the direction iPods are heading.

In the most recent edition of Macworld, they did a pretty good review/comparison article about the various lines of iPods now out on the market. Macworld has generally been great about balancing out the marketing of Apple products with the criticism of those products. It helps create a decent trust relationship with their customers.

But one thing that stuck out to me was that there was no criticism about the *concept* the iPods are selling these days, which is portable video. The iPod nano has been revamped so that it could do video. The iPod Classic and iPod Touch both have video capabalities. And while the review/article said, "this is what's good about the video quality of this, or what you get out of your battery life if you play video on that", nowhere in the article did it even come close to suggesting, "maybe for you, video on iPods isn't really necessary." or "it's a shame that the only iPod left that doesn't have video capabilities is the iPod shuffle".

and that's a problem. because if you ask me, video that portable will eventually cause the breakdown of society.

it's a dramatic statement to make, but i'm not really attempting to exaggerate. I might concede to take a step back and revise my statement to say that maybe it doesn't represent the breakdown of society, but at least for me i never want to make portable video a part of my life because i feel that it promotes the idea of distraction over cognitive thinking, or it discourages the idea thatt lack of activity, the concept of Just Being, is an acceptable or desireable practice.

i distract myself enough with the few telly shows i'm devoted to, the music that i engage myself in, the activities that are functional and don't go beyond a surface level of thought. I don't ned another tool that will fill in the spaces with more distraction, more flashing images, especially things that isolate me from the oustide world and away from the people i care about and relationships that matter the most to me.

As it is right now, i already adopt a couple of life habits that some people find unusual that relate to this:

1. i hardly ever listen to the radio or music when i'm driving my car, particularly on long road trips, and a lot of the reason for that is because i like to be able to either shut my brain off and enjoy the drive or even the feeling of not having to *think* (a form of meditation, if you will), or conversely use that opportunity to think a lot more about something that's going on in my head or my own music in my head. Radio in particular always pisses me off. It never plays the sort of music that i want to hear or relate to enough for it to be worthwhile for me to try.

2. Sometmes i like waiting in long lines. Most people become impateint in long lines or long waits or etc. because they want to get going, they want to see results, move from one thing to the next thing, go go go move move move. When my life gets to be that sort of non-stop sort of pace, sometimes having to wait in a line is a very welcome change, a chance to breathe and either shut off, or just enjoy the Moment, or find the opportunity to observe something about my surroundings that i would otherwise never notice. Sometimes i solve problems or start new concepts in my head. And it can be an amazingly enriching experience.

i'm rambling a little here. The point is that I think that if people continue to get in the habit of finding non-meaningful things to fill in all of the spaces in their lives, their ability to find other ways to fill those spaces with things more meaningful will become non-existent. parents won't need to talk or entertain their kids during long car rides because they can just flip on the installed dvd player or have their iPod Classic push out big purple dinosaurs to keep the kids occupied. Conversations between friends or groups will steer even more towards what is happening in telly land or what is commonly available to all people via portable video.

and as much as i tend to embrace and stay open to the incorporation of new technology in people's lives, i can't help but think that this particular direction is misguided.

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Comments

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malaika02
Nov. 9th, 2007 07:10 am (UTC)
I'll say it...
I think you're overreacting.

But my deviance prof. Richard Stivers would probably agree with you. You should read his books Technology As Magic and Shades of Loneliness, if you're really interested.
lifeofmendel
Nov. 9th, 2007 07:23 am (UTC)
Re: I'll say it...
i'll concede that maybe ovregeneralizing portable video as the cause of the breakdown of society is probably an overreaction. if i did my research, history will probably show lots of examples of similar sorts of technological or social evolution that had people shaking their fists shouting, "you're creating your own dooooooom!", but the reality is probably that society is much more resilient than people think.

it's probably just me feeling a little resentful that my ability to accept or reject this sort of technology doesn't feel completely in my control. it's like i'm in a crowd of people that all want to go on a roller coaster. if i hate roller coasters, it doesn't make sense that i go on it, and even if i'm mostly okay with that, there's a part of me that would probably feel left out as i watch everyone screaming happily at being turned upside down at high velocity.
malaika02
Nov. 9th, 2007 08:07 am (UTC)
Re: I'll say it...
Well sure, but isn't it that way with most if not all technology that becomes ubiquitous? You cannot get a college degree in this country without using a computer anymore. Having a cell phone is practically a social necessity, now. I mean, to me it's a huge annoyance that I can't get a simple cell phone without a camera built in. It's a phone. If I wanted a camera, I'd buy one. But you know what? I just... don't use the camera in my phone. So far that's working out pretty well.

I suppose to me, the way technology shapes sociality is more of a curiosity than an annoyance. For example, the technology of caller ID significantly changed the way people use phones, and even the way greetings are done. In phone conversations where the caller is unknown to the recipient, you typically hear, "Hello?" as the answer to the summons of the ringing telephone. Now, people know who they're talking to without even a voice sample being provided... so the greeting has shifted to "Hi." which does recognition and greeting at the same time.

... bored yet? ;)
lifeofmendel
Nov. 9th, 2007 09:39 am (UTC)
Re: I'll say it...
:) not bored, but it's late. i'll take the time to respond to this tomorrow.
malaika02
Nov. 9th, 2007 09:41 am (UTC)
Re: I'll say it...
Fair enough. ;) I'm just up late ranting about sex research stuff. Heh.
lifeofmendel
Nov. 9th, 2007 04:28 pm (UTC)
Re: I'll say it...
also, once i have the time to respond to this, if i don't also go back and read the two LJ entries you posted last night and respond by, say, end of saturday, pester me. i don't want to forget about those.
malaika02
Nov. 9th, 2007 05:26 pm (UTC)
Re: I'll say it...
Well, that's sweet of you. :) The first one is just a totally unimportant survey thing from Myspace, no need to respond unless you're as bored as I was.
The thing on sexual stories might be of interest, though... I'm hoping people will give me some feedback on my ideas, but it might not be sufficiently prurient for some. *eyeroll*
lifeofmendel
Nov. 10th, 2007 05:20 am (UTC)
Re: I'll say it...
i think that the examples you provide above in how technology shapes society is different from what i'm talking about.

There are ways in which technology is a great asset and for those i embrace it. I can't even begin to count the number of ways in which i use technology that makes my life easier, not the least of which is that it helps me stay connected to people i wouldn't normally stay connected with, and it's helped me gain friendships and loved ones whom i could not live without, that i would lay my life down for.

iPod video is a little different to me. It's not really meant to make things easier like caller ID or power-steering or whatever. it's sole purpose is to distract and entertain and to Sell Things, even if it's just selling a philosophy, and it's in that realm that i think that technology can end up being a poor replacement for other things more worthwhile.

whaddya say to that now? :D
malaika02
Nov. 10th, 2007 06:54 am (UTC)
One word.
Television!

How is iPod video any different from the harm television has caused to society? At least with an iPod you can leave your residence and co-mingle with others out in the world, even if you're sharing video while... uh, mingling.
lifeofmendel
Nov. 10th, 2007 06:59 am (UTC)
Re: One word.
sharing video while... uh, mingling.

*laugh*


"hey there baby, can i show you my... iPod video?"
malaika02
Nov. 10th, 2007 07:06 am (UTC)
Re: One word.
Oh, dear. I moseyed right into that one, hm?
lifeofmendel
Nov. 9th, 2007 07:26 am (UTC)
Re: I'll say it...
and if *you're* interested, you should reach back and watch the youtube video i linked to from this post: http://darknote.livejournal.com/597955.html

fascinating stuff.
(Deleted comment)
murderoftwo
Nov. 9th, 2007 08:46 am (UTC)
I won't get into a long-winded comment, because I don't have much time (and I'm too tired to write a long'n, and have it make sense, honestly). But I will say that everything you said, I agree 100%. This is partially why more than half of the time, I don't listen to music in the car when I'm with Danny. We spend our car rides talking. It keeps us connected, I think.
malaika02
Nov. 9th, 2007 09:44 am (UTC)
I don't listen to music in the car when I'm with Danny. We spend our car rides talking. It keeps us connected, I think.

I guess I listen to music most of the time I'm in my car, unless I'm with someone else and we want to talk.

I was just thinking about this... don't you think listening to music can be a means of staying socially connected? Perhaps not to your partner when you're in the car with them, but I know when I listen to great music while driving I have moments of feeling more connected to humanity, or at least the artist I'm listening to. (Right now I'm specifically thinking of listening to the music of people I know).
murderoftwo
Nov. 9th, 2007 10:18 am (UTC)
Oh, definitely.

And actually, there are some people I prefer listening to music when around them. So, I guess for me, it really depends on who I'm with at the time. Music is also a very personal thing for me, and a lot of the time I prefer being by myself when listening to it. So, when listening when other people are around, I almost feel like they're violating my space in a way.

I'm having a hard time sorting my thoughts right now. I'm tired, forgive me. lol.
(Deleted comment)
lifeofmendel
Nov. 10th, 2007 05:22 am (UTC)
and this is the reason why i don't mind going to an electronica concert where the only thing that could be happneing by the artist is small remixes or reorgs of their music that are tweaked by knobs, or going to a more academic electronic music concert that contains a lot of tape pieces. Sometimes that can get old, but the right sort of piece - sometimes it's nice to be in a place where everyone is there to actually Focus On The Music and collectively share what they're thinking or how they feel about it.

i still prefer writing interactive live performance electronic music pieces myself, but that's just me.
nots2good
Nov. 9th, 2007 02:09 pm (UTC)
those who ignore history...
tend to repeat it.. sometime for the better sometimes to the other.

The iPod (sans video) are a new update to the Classic Sony Walkman.

Does anyone remember the Sony Watchman? A timy (slightly larger than an ipod) TV that was battery powered that you could take around and watch at any convenient time. The Watchman kind of faded out popularity before it even reached the big time.

I have an iPod Video. It has been at least 3 months since I've watched it. Aside from a few Airplane or bus riders, the novelty wears off after a few months of ownership. Sure you can watch video anywhere-- but why bother leaving your house to watch video?

To be fair, I can't find much to watch these days. Google lectures, Good Eats, The Batman, The Legion of Super heroes and The Next Iron Chef and I'm good. Tivo gets me most of those at home. hmm that's a lot more than I thought. Go figure.
shandrew
Nov. 10th, 2007 10:32 pm (UTC)
I've never seen anyone in the US, aside from small children, watching videos on an ipod in public. My niece loves watching cartoons on my brother's iphone...she also showed me how to use it. I must be getting old.

I always figured portable video was just a throwaway feature--one of those things that you offer because people think they want it, but no one seriously uses.

I also like waiting in lines sometimes.

Andrew
miss_skillet
Nov. 13th, 2007 08:50 am (UTC)
I don't even have time to read all this but I can say with confidence that you sir, rule.

brb loading my ipod video lulz
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