A premier commodity of the current age, whether as a standalone entity or as an accessory to other stuff, is convenience. There are, like with most things, pluses and minuses involved. For me, the most obvious on the positive side of the ledger, is Google. It goes without explaining just how much instant utility is supplied by this service.
Quick access to information for just about any imaginable reason – research and fact-checking, shopping, learning, amusement and staying abreast of current events – is only as hard as defining the search terms. One of the biggest pluses is not just speed of access but also avoiding cost barriers established by information gatekeepers for often routine bits of knowledge currency.
Others, while not perhaps on quite the same scale or with as much serious sex appeal, are online banking, digital photos and music (exchange and sharing), (so called) smart phones and personal GPS.
The less attractive side of this dynamic is the proliferation of what seem like solutions desperately (and vainly) in search of problems. If you peruse the explosion of “apps” for smart phones, you find hundreds, if not thousands of gizmo-esque knick knacks that have little more actual utility than bragging rights with the tech-obsessed Jonses.
Regrettably, in a hyper-competitive marketplace, “feature-creep” is rampant. Every ‘new’ product has to be tarted up with supposed convenience features galore, most of which are illusory in their actual utility. As the most visible current development, it’s the smart phone capability to watch television and movies. Really? Does it make sense to have television on the go?
Nonetheless, for the consumer, it’s a wonderful problem to have; sorting out the attributes, features and products that will provide true convenience for the way he lives. For me, there’s no question that my ‘must-have’ device is a Kindle – a library in something half the size of an iPad. How convenient it that?