The “Weekly Rant” column was featured in the PC Mechanic Newsletter since 2005. Topics relate to some aspect of technology, which include opinions on hardware, software, new technology, technology companies, and computing standards.
It amazes me sometimes how I’m sometimes able to reach a full circle with past and present technology. For instance, almost everyone has a cell phone these days. I see them glued to dozens of peoples’ ears just walking down the street. Yet, you’re hard pressed to find a pay phone or phone booth. Why would I even be looking for a pay phone, you ask? Well, as many cell phone owners know, cell phone signals are intermittent at best, depending on the weather, time of day, location, etc. So wouldn’t it be nice to have pay phones available if your cell phone goes dead?
That’s what I call arriving at a full circle.
What about paperwork and forms? Sometimes PDFs and Word documents allow you to enter information, then either print it out or send it. If the document isn’t prepared like that, you’re left with trying to finagle a way to fill the form out and send it back, which usually involves printing it out and scanning it back in. Years ago, this was simply done on a type writer. It was quick and easy because you had control over typesetting, and you could easily send it through snail mail or fax it, without having to worry about scanning the form in, compressing it, and submitting it. Granted, digital forms have increased processing speed (for example, the SAT exam registrations are no longer hand-written–you have to fill them out online). Speed doesn’t always bring accuracy, as I’ve heard one instance where a student lost points on a foul-up that resulted in a spelling error in the student’s name on the SAT registration (students lose points for spelling their name wrong–however, this situation was eventually sorted out).
But, sometimes it’s just easier and faster to do it the manual way rather than messing with quirky software. Is it a sign of the times that fancy gadgets aren’t so fancy after all? Or is it that craftsmanship has gone down the tubes? Either way, I sometimes thing that the leaders in technology need to take a refresher course on “back to basics”–make it work well first, then make it fast. What’s the point of being able to make mistakes at a greater speed than ever before?