Oh you technophobe!

I’m a technophobe? I don’t think so. If I’m a ‘phobe’ of some sort then ‘commercephobe’ would be a better term. People confuse a phobia of restricted commercial practices with luddite-ism.

Ads everywhere, mobile devices tethered to the company that sold them to consume products sold by the same company.

That, is essentially what I am against.

After all, you wouldn’t think of buying a car from Shell, locked into a contract with Shell for fuel, locked into buying your car accessories from the ‘ShellStoreTM‘, with ads, sponsored by Shell, flashing across your speedometer as you drove, would you now?

If you next car was a BP car, you’d discover that none of the cool Shell accessories you’d installed on your Shell car would work on your BP car.

Yet people accept such things when it comes to mobile devices, like phones, e-book readers and tablets. Car manufacturers must look in envy at Apple, Google et al and wonder how they get away with it.

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5 Responses to Oh you technophobe!

  1. Ninki says:

    Absolutely. Those superbrands become bullies. They’re not into sharing and being nice. They’re into power, control and world domination. As I write, I feel as if I sound like a paranoid little old man, but I know it’s the truth!!

  2. Mil says:

    Car manufacturers are actually trying to do it as well: especially with onboard computers only they have proper access to when it’s time to get the blessed vehicles serviced. To be honest, just as with inkjet printers, we should really soon be given these objects for free: the costs of servicing and maintaining for the consumer are bound to recoup any initial investment by the manufacturers – and if they do manage to eventually tie us so completely into their products as you suggest, it would only be fair for free cars and printers to be the rule.

  3. syklist says:

    In reply to Mil: The big difference is that car manufacturers are subject to a much more rigorous legal framework in getting their products approved for use. There’s no way any company could get away with saying “this car is still in beta so you use at your own risk”.

    Given that security bugs in software, like an accident with a car, could theoretically cost users their livelyhoods shouldn’t software companies be required to pass similar safety testing before they release their product?

  4. Mil says:

    Well we do have the example of Toyota where such issues – due to computer software – caused the problems you describe. So it’s already happening, as software spreads its reach into all corners of our lives.

    I agree with you that user licences for software allow software publishers to get away with much more than they should. Maybe the issue really lies in the fact that we’re dealing with something which occupies a frontier between traditional book publishing on the one hand (where no warranties have ever been given) and manufacturing industry on the other (where warranties are a fundamental factor). As software moves away from simply making digital our paper-based content and into a much deeper process of actually shaping – literally – our offline worlds, its consequences become much more defining and serious. As, indeed, you suggest.

    That may be the history and reasons why anyhow. So what can we do about it? Force software developers and publishers to provide warranties which mean something? Maybe you’re right.

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