Monday, August 29, 2011

The Hammer is Amazing

I remember watching edumacational videos in physics (or perhaps in the earlier years of 'Science') that claimed that there where really only two 'tools' in all of human history - the lever, and the wheel. Then everything else mechanical is just a variation/combination of the two, pulleys, corkscrews etc.

One thing about drawing is that it puts me in touch with tools and materials that have changed relatively little since Da Vinci and Michelangelo were studying in florence. Shit like pencils, rulers, charcoal, erasers. Sure erasers have evolved from gum, paper from vellum, the mechanical pencil instead of a stick of charcoal. But there is still a myriad of technicue you can wring out of a small array of tools, mostly being pointy things that can create a mark or impression.

I love them, I love experimenting and toying with them. I love figuring shit out and I feel like I only understand the tip of the iceberg that is everything you can do with a pencil.

Then you have Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft. Tech companies, that need to innovate constantly and try and compete with each other.

Evidently, having a blog, I also have a gmail account, a gmail account I never use, apart from logging into blogger and google reader, and occassionally providing to websites that require an email address that I never wish to hear from again. The reason I never use google, is because my hotmail account does the job I require of it, it sends and receives emails. In the past 15 years, the only innovation I have appreciated as regards hotmail, is that they added a search function to the email. Otherwise every other innovation has proved annoying.

Before my hotmail I used, my address was I wouldn't have changed that to hotmail except for the fact that start went broke.

Now I recieve invitations from people to join google plus. Tellingly, these invitations come from people who have (or have in the past) deleted their facebook accounts, most (both) being people who deleted their account rather than from a mounting paranoia that they had shared too much, simply shared too little to make it worth having a facebook account. And now they want me to join them on google plus. They advocate 'features' of google plus too to try and coax me over, like the increased security and privacy or some shit, shit they never really needed to worry about with facebook.

Why are we such suckers for technological innovation? Why is it so fucking persistant for companies and people to think that meaningless features sell, rather than benefits?

My only complaint about facebook, similar to hotmail is that the owners feel a constant need to innovate and 'improve' it, making changes to the interface and shit. There are major ones that were good, in the past, namely making the newsfeed home and your own wall secondary. But now it works, and it works fine. You don't need more innovation, you need it to be like a hammer - a tool for the job. The job of facebook is to create a platform you can bleat or broadcast to anyone who cares enough to pay attention, and also for organising and publicising social events and shit. That's it.

Much muchly, apparantly most people use less than 1% of microsoft words features. When I think about it, I would use 'New' 'Save' 'Save As' the word count tool 'Copy' 'Paste' and 'Undo' as well as the font and font size selections 9000 times more often than the rest of the features combined. That is saying, if you released a version of word that just had the commonly used functionality - it would have around 10 buttons. 20 at the most. But it would look inflexible and crappy, like note pad. It would be hard to justify the added expense, it would look like it had been developed as a garage project by somebody who plays WoW, not the best and brightest.

So vis a vis, Google, Microsoft, Facebook et al. I don't need one company running fucking everything for me, I don't need some omni tool I can pay off in 12 easy installations of $24.95, I just need a hammer so I can beat your fucking heads in.

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