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Privacy Technology

How the Cool Stuff At CES Will Ruin Your Life 171

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the clippy-killed-my-cryptocat dept.
jfruh writes "Another CES has come and gone, and as usual the press has presented rather uncritically a list of super-cool gadgets that were unveiled at the show and that will make our world better. Let's leave aside the fact that many products shown at CES never make it to market; Paul Roberts provides the pessimistic case on the big CES news, explaining how all these gewgaws will strip away privacy, unleash an army of Clippys onto the world, and maybe even change human brains for the worse."
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How the Cool Stuff At CES Will Ruin Your Life

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  • by Narcocide (102829) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @06:14AM (#42589721) Homepage

    Just attending CES will change your brain for the worse.

  • Simple solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @06:17AM (#42589729)

    Don't feel forced to use gadgetry. There's something called "life" that doesn't require much of it to be enjoyed.

    When I was younger, I used to enjoy immersing myself in the latest and greatest toys, back in the 80s and 90s. Many things were new and fun. Nowadays the things of the future presented at shows like CES seem more like evolutions of existing concepts. Nothing really earth-shatteringly new.

    As a result, I must admit I've pretty much lost interest, and the fog of high-tech addiction has cleared so to speak. I've realized that a simpler life is more enjoyable and less stressful. Not to mention, non-early-adopters tend to waste a lot less money than those who can't wait to buy the latest semi-working banana product doodah.

  • Maybe? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @06:20AM (#42589745)

    What is this maybe crap? Oh sure like THIS is the year we'll all wise up suddenly and stop dumping our money on people who make cheap plastic badly made crap.

    The pursuit of profit above all else... Excessive greed.. Is really fucking up humanity.

  • Re:Simple solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @06:29AM (#42589785) Homepage

    Don't feel forced to use gadgetry. There's something called "life" that doesn't require much of it to be enjoyed.

    The problem is that 'life' is full of people who buy all those gadgets. Second-hand gadgetry is almost as bad as the real thing.

  • Thanks! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MurukeshM (1901690) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @06:37AM (#42589817)

    For doing the decent thing and linking to the print-preview version of the article.

  • by bloggerhater (2439270) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @07:37AM (#42589973)

    Every tool man has created has had some level of social impact. Embrace change and react to it. Don't fear it.

  • by oodaloop (1229816) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @07:48AM (#42590007)

    Every tool man has created has had some level of social impact.

    But not necessarily for the better. Agriculture brought drugs and alcohol. The bronze age brought weapons and armor, and the iron age brought even more weapons. The car has brought massive polution. The iPhone brought us iMaps. And so on and so on.

    Embrace change and react to it.

    We don't need to embrace change and pretend it's progress. Our needs are being met. We can decide if new technologies are worth the price, in actual dollars and in the effort in switching to something new.

  • Re:Simple solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MindPrison (864299) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @07:58AM (#42590029) Journal
    So true.

    Like you, I grew up in the 80's with Commodore64, Atari, Amiga, BBC, Dragon32 (and yuck, ugly green PC and overpriced Apple), the toys where battling like crazy to set the standard for the future, rarely anyone did - but they did SOMETHING important, they made everything we have today - possible, faster processors made digital home video editing and cable-by-internet possible, it also made it possible for us to toss away the entire laptop, and carry the entire world in our pockets, Smartphones aren't THAT old, but very practical. I wouldn't want to be without one. It releases me from sitting in front of the computer, and I can basically do what I need - right in the middle of the forest if that need be.

    But you're right, most of todays "revolutionary" gadgets, doesn't have the same feel of "revolution", because most toys can do what the other toys already does. And we usually end up paying for ALL THE TOYS, since each toy have their OWN LICENSE for different games, videos, net-services, functions etc. Which sucks.

    I just bought the Nintendo Wii U (against my better judgement), But I was REALLY hungry for something new. Sure...it's a touch screen king size play-doh fisher-price remote control, I guess thats new...but it's nothing new as a whole...everything has been done before, and in a few days...I just got bored again.

    I have far more fun inventing my own gadgets in my electronics lab, here I have millions of Discretes (components from the 80-90s and even today), and can hack together really weird stuff.

    When I grew up, this was normal for kids, they too went to the local electronics store - modded their Commodore 64 to get faster loading times etc. Built their own modems to communicate digitally via HAM radio (or just a cheapo CB radio) with some simple components, cheap off the shelves.

    This world really needs something *new*
  • by Kell Bengal (711123) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @08:06AM (#42590063)
    The strange paradox is that people don't seem to accept that opting out is a valid choice.

    For example, I refuse to buy PC games or programs that use online activation - I disagree with the philosophy of allowing other people to dictate when I may use something I have bought. I would not accept it for a car, I would not accept it for a toaster. Why should I accept it for software? That it greatly reduces my choices in the market place is besides the point - I vote with my feet and will continue doing so. And yet, my friends think I'm nuts because - omg - I'm not up to date with whatever hot title just came out. How can I live?? Really, I don't feel like entertainment is worth compromising my principles for

    Likewise, if you really prefer your printer from the 1990s, spend the money it's worth to you to get it fixed or retrofitted to keep operating with modern ink, or be prepared to do without. Don't accept substandard. Don't accept exploitative business practices. But the increasingly common refrain is that "One person won't change anything", much like saying that voting for a third party is wasting your vote. If people were prepared to stand up for their principles instead of falling over for the shiney gadget, we would all be better off.

  • Re:Simple solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vlm (69642) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @08:21AM (#42590127)

    But then, who would want a fridge that lets your food go bad just because your internet connection failed?

    A supermarket, obviously. So they'll hire some politicians to pass a law to make it illegal for any retailer except a supermarket to sell fridges... This is how America does business.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @08:29AM (#42590153)

    - electric starters
    - automatic transmissions
    - power steering
    - power breaks
    - anti-lock breaks
    - heating/defrosters
    - air conditioning
    - do I really need to list more?

    Operating an automobile has become much, much easier. So easy in fact that almost all adults and many teenagers can do it properly. Imagine that. A large, dangerous piece of machinery that travels at high speed was dumbed down so even the the most "watered down" among us can use it. What's next, TVs or maybe even computers?

    The idea is to make information and entertainment as easily accessible as possible to the most people as possible (while still being able to make a profit). Tablets are easier for a lot of people and they like that so they are buying them. You don't get to decide the level of intelligence required to suck at the teet of the internet.

  • by Jawnn (445279) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @10:49AM (#42591005)

    not buy it. The good ideas/products will stay, the bad ones will die away. That's how evolution works.

    Spoken like a true "free market" fan-boy. Alas, the real world does not work the way it does in the fictional novels of Rand et al. A truly free market requires fully informed consumers. If you believe that the average iPhone user is fully informed about all the issues arising from his/her use of that particular technology, you are truly a fool. As TFA points out, the market is about to explode with this kind of complex technology which contains features and functionality that are deliberately hidden from the consumer. Consumers will, in blissful ignorance, buy this shit, not understanding how their privacy has been sold. I don't give a damn about analogues of Clippy on my refrigerator's GUI, but I damn well want to be able to muzzle his ass when he tries to phone home about what I'm eating. No, I want him muzzled by default unless/until I choose to let him phone home to Kroger/Safeway/Albertson's or whichever giant grocer has paid to have him keep tabs on my pickle supply.

  • by ScentCone (795499) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @10:57AM (#42591069)
    Software that phones home to make sure you didn't rip it off is cheaper than software that has to be priced to take into account the fact that it can and will be ripped off. You aren't forced to use some company's phone-home software, so your concerns about law aren't grounded. What you're buying is a service that happens to involve a licensed piece of software. If you want the exact same flavor of game to run without phoning home, start up a game company that charges enough per copy to cover piracy losses, and see how it goes.
  • Re:Simple solution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SternisheFan (2529412) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @11:21AM (#42591271)
    50+ year old neckbeard here. If you took away all my tech devices, I'd be ok. Take my smartphone away, I know I'll adjust back to the way I used to live before they existed. Take away my Garmin/Google maps, I'll dig out my Hagstrom maps to find out how to get where I need to go, or ask someone if they know. Take away my computer/tablet/video games and lock me in a room with just a bouncy rubber ball for 3 days. When you open the door to let me out. I'll probably tell you, "I'll come out in a little while, I'm still having fun in here!"

    Tech is cool, and I love what we have nowadays. But I don't let it control me, or my life, to the point where I'd be lost and crying without it.

    And with what I just read about what people had to go through 'Clippy' (in the linked article), I didn't miss out on anything important. Sort of sounds like a mini-hell to me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @11:40AM (#42591571)

    The GGP's claim was that "market forces" will result in survival of the best products. GP's claim was that software seems to be getting worse, not because new products come out and win over old products, but that sole-source vendors change their product for the worse and eliminate the old product (possibly with the goal of forcing the market to buy the new product).

    Parent's solutions are a) write your own million man-hour software or b) go open source. Both of these amount to stepping outside of the wonderful free market, and a frank admission that the free market fails to produce software alternatives and therefore fails to identify "good value" in software. Or possibly tech-products in general. With a market dominated by a handful of megacorps, Adam Smith's economics of a hundred-competing-bakers just doesn't work.

  • by aicrules (819392) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @11:54AM (#42591809)
    Natural selection doesn't give a crap about what YOU think is good or bad. Sometimes natural selection seems to favor traits that aren't what appear to be the strongest. But, pretending like Amiga having some cool features is all that it takes for a product to dominate and drive the market is silly, not insightful. While there were many cool things about the Amiga, it was released after IBM was already fairly well-established. People actually cared if software and hardware was "IBM compatible" long after even IBM faded into the background of the consumer hardware market. If Amigas were actually better considering all what defines better (including compatibility, company management, marketing, not just some hardware specs) they would have won out.

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll