Err, why does The Guardian employ such people?

Heidi Moore is the Guardian\’s US finance and economics editor. Formerly, she was New York bureau chief and Wall Street correspondent for Marketplace, from American Public Media

And incredibly silly piece.

But perhaps it\’s time to grow up and break the cycle. To respect these thoughtfully created and designed devices for what they are: devices, not new gods to be worshipped. To understand that we should use electronics until they don\’t work anymore, not until we get distracted or bored by some other device. That would force companies to create better, more reliable products. It would also save us, as consumers, thousands of dollars in our budgets that we currently spend on serving our whims rather than on obtaining something great.

Because we\’re in the middle of one of the great technological revolutions you foolish cow.

What we can actually do with these devices roars on month by month. We are not in the fashion cycle, where wearing pink instead of beige marks you out as being a season or a year behind the curve. We are in the middle of a revolution that lets us go from GPRS speeds on a mobile to LTE on a mobile in under a decade. This isn\’t the change in the Cadillac\’s tail fins from model year to model year, this is akin to the change in engines from a Model T to a modern Bentley. And it;s as I say, happened in under a decade, not a century.

37 thoughts on “Err, why does The Guardian employ such people?”

  1. Look these are the people who want us all to be grubbing the soil in some return to an agrarian nirvana, so technology (for the masses) isn’t top of their list. Of course the important people at the top will still need such devices…………………

  2. To be fair to the stupid bint, she likely lives in a world of meeja people who do upgrade their electronics as a fashion statement. There’s a woman I know, in the biz. Latest Mac laptop. Latest Ipad. Latest Ifone. She word processes, phones & e-mails. She hasn’t the vaguest how to do anything more complicated. She could do all that on a 486 & a Nokia chuckaway but they aren’t sleek & fashionable. No cred.

  3. What bloke in spain says.

    Also, as a techie, I get dismayed when companies decline to continue supporting hardware that is capable of running newer software/firmware, presumably because they see it as a cost (rather than a benefit; increasing customer goodwill), both for the development costs and that it makes their newer, shinier devices slightly less attractive.

    It wasn’t the improved hardware that persuaded me to upgrade from my old HTC Hero to a Samsung Galaxy S II; it was the lack of any newer firmware for the Hero than 2.1, which was the most effective limitation on what apps I could run (albeit slowly) on the old device.

    Since upgrading to the SGS2, I put Cronos Ginger 2.3.6 on it as an experiment, which, for a while, was more current than the firmware Samsung were shipping for the SGS2!

  4. Also, as a techie, I get dismayed when companies decline to continue supporting hardware that is capable of running newer software/firmware, presumably because they see it as a cost (rather than a benefit; increasing customer goodwill), both for the development costs and that it makes their newer, shinier devices slightly less attractive.

    I’m wondering if a cottage industry will pop up developing software for older, unsupported models of iPhones and the like which will allow them to keep pace with the newer models. My wife has spent months with various Russians and Thais completely stripping out the operating system on her iPhone 4S and replacing it with all manner of jailbroken systems which allow you to do pretty much anything (including getting all apps for nothing). If companies are going to stop supporting hardware too early, this kind of thing might become more common.

  5. “…that we currently spend on serving our whims rather than on obtaining something great.”

    Perhaps that ‘something greater’ will emerge as a result of the constant rate of change she so decries..?

  6. +1 to bloke in spain

    This stuff is now a lot about fashion. Sure, we had a decade of improvement, but we’re making tiny improvements now. For the first time since I had cellphones, I’m not upgrading at contract renewal. From what I can tell, the main thing that people use their iPads for is telling people that they’ve got an iPad.

    That said, if that’s what people want to spend their money on, well, their choice and all…

  7. “…the main thing that people use their iPads for is telling people that they’ve got an iPad.”

    Do you get these e-mails, have a little line on the bottom says something like “e-mail sent from my Iphone”
    I’ve started filing all incoming e-mail addresses, do that under ‘C’ in the address book. Very near the bottom of ‘C’

  8. Do you get these e-mails, have a little line on the bottom says something like “e-mail sent from my Iphone”

    It’s the default signature from the iPhone email app. It just means that they haven’t bothered to change it.

  9. “From what I can tell, the main thing that people use their iPads for is telling people that they’ve got an iPad.”

    This!

    “Do you get these e-mails, have a little line on the bottom says something like “e-mail sent from my Iphone””

    This too. Even worse are people who put something “witty” instead of the standard. It shows they have made the effort to do so instead of deleting the bloody thing. Yikes.

    “I’m not upgrading at contract renewal. ”

    Also this. I love gadgets and shiny stuff, but only when the new bit of kit is significantly better than the last. My iPhone 4 is virtually indistinguishable from the 5 in every way so I will not be upgrading to a new phone until 4G is properly established.

  10. @Tim Almond ‘From what I can tell, the main thing that people use their iPads for is telling people that they’ve got an iPad.’

    Personally, I haven’t told anyone I have one. I use mine for watching stuff (we don’t have a telly any more), reading and playing chess; the kids use it to Facetime faraway cousins etc.

    That said, when it goes belly up I won’t necessarily get another iPad; it was just the first to do what it does, which I wanted it to do, and was thus the best.

  11. Tim Newman,

    I’m wondering if a cottage industry will pop up developing software for older, unsupported models of iPhones and the like which will allow them to keep pace with the newer models.

    The Cyanogenmod group does this on Android. Because Android is open source, hackers have taken the source, modified it to create their own versions, applied various drivers for display, GPS, sound etc and so phones that didn’t get a manufacturer upgrade can do so.

    The problem with Apple stuff is that iOS is proprietary code. It makes putting new versions of an OS onto old hardware very difficult.

  12. Not really on point, but I keep noticing common dislikes of (most of) the commenters of this blog. A few obvious things, like EU and the Guardian. But a few less obviously to do with libertarianism/UKIPism.

    1. Anything manufactured by Apple

    2. The NHS

    3. Windmills

    4. England (as a place to live)

    5. Foreigners in England – fine when they’re living somewhere else.

    Anyone think of any others? I can sort of see 2 and 3, but why the dislike of a stunning success of capitalism?

  13. I changed the message on my wife’s ipad to read

    “Sent from my husband’s birthday present to me”

    then I changed it to

    “Send from my ipad 5”

    At some point she will put a password on the screen lock. But she has not figured it out yet.

  14. “We are not in the fashion cycle, where wearing pink instead of beige marks you out… ”

    Well I think we probably are in the case of Apple fanboyz.

    * ducks under desk *

  15. My iPad is brilliant for one thing: watching films whilst travelling. A year or so back I got on a plane which was delayed for a while on the tarmac. Bloke beside me hoiked out his iPad, connected it to the power socket, headphones on, and was away in 30 seconds. If I had tried to do the same with my laptop, it would 3-4 minutes to boot up, it would need to sit on the drop-down table to avoid overheating, and the power cable would need to be unwound and the adapter put somewhere where it would not get trodden on. Then when the stewardess came around saying we were taking off, the bloke just closed the cover and stashed in the seat pocket. Again, if I’d have had my laptop out, I’d have had to wait 3 minutes for it to shut down.

    iPads are okay for reading emails, not bad for web surfing, good for Skype, great for watching films, and terrible for everything else. They are light, have very good battery life, don’t overheat, and have very compact power cables, and all that beats carting a laptop about hands down (for me anyway).

    My iPhone is also brilliant (although very overpriced), as it has so many entertainment features. If you’ve ever been in meetings chaired by Nigerians, you’d know why this is essential.

  16. “iPads are okay for reading emails, not bad for web surfing, good for Skype, great for watching films, and terrible for everything else.”

    Actually pretty good for certain types of games, too.

  17. I take it all back.

    Far from a bunch of embittered misanthropes who think everyone should use clunky hard to use machines because they had to (“never did me any harm” – a bit like learning Latin), I have unwittingly stumbled into a hard core sect of the Apple appreciation society.

    Next thing, the blogger will come back to England…

  18. To answer your questions, Luke:

    2) The envy of the world. Unless you live most other places.
    3)Had one at an off grid house. Very useful when the wind blew. But not to power a modern economy.
    4)Wish I could afford to.
    5)I married a foreigner in the UK. Come to think of it, the last Brit girlfriend I had was in my 20s. And she was half Afro/Carib.
    1) Well done Apple. Wish they were half the price & did things I need doing.

    To be fair to Windows, Tim N, you do know there’s hibernate & sleep modes? I usually have mine in the former. The latter’s even faster in/out. 10 secs to up & running, 10 secs down. And a proper keyboard!!!

  19. And a suggestion Tim N, for a man of your considerable expenses. Get a solid state hard drive put in. (Which is what the Ipad has, yes?). Much faster boot, lower energy consumption & less heat.

  20. And a suggestion Tim N, for a man of your considerable expenses. Get a solid state hard drive put in.

    Good idea, although I doubt I’ll buy another laptop. I use my desktop for pretty much everything, and when travelling take the iPad which I only use for entertainment, internet, and checking emails. And if I need to work, I have to take my work laptop which looks as though it should be in a museum somewhere.

  21. BIS, we find common ground at last. Whenever I hear someone saying that Britsh TV/advertising/NHS/ Army/whatever is the best/envy of the world, I get suspicious. Not because I think those things are bad, but because it is unlikely that they are the best in the world – there’s lot’s of other countries, and probably one is better.

    On windmills – you say good off-grid. For god’s sake, live in a town like a civilised man. I suspect that may be another Worstallian (follower of Worstall) characteristic – a tendency to live in the back end of nowhere/the country, and a dislike of living near your fellow man.

    Am I the only reader who lives in a flat? Not good for preserving your sense of rugged/Randian individualism, but convenient and relatively cheap way of living in a proper town.

  22. To be fair to Windows, Tim N, you do know there’s hibernate & sleep modes

    Yes, I did. I use them a bit, but one of them still munches through battery. Still not as quick and simple as closing the cover like a book, though.

  23. Am I the only reader who lives in a flat?

    I’ve lived in flats exclusively since I moved out of university halls in 1997, and now share an apartment complex with a few hundred people in a city of some 18m or so (give or take a few million). The property I own is an apartment, the next one I buy will likely be an apartment too. Much simpler and easier than houses, and can be left for a few months without falling to bits.

  24. Mr Newman, Apple user and urban flat dweller? You might get barred.

    On a vaguely serious note, I am trying to see what (if anything) unites the more Worstallian readers of this blog. I’ve a reasonable idea what Graun readers think, cos I live in Islington (and share some of their views). I have a few hunches, but I’d like to test them.

  25. Not long ago, I had occasion to send an email threatening to sue someone who had failed to pay for her daughter’s singing lessons. She replied – from her Ipad. Didn’t pay up, though. Claimed she couldn’t afford it. Now, that wouldn’t have anything to do with spending too much money on fashionable technology, would it??

    Anyway, she now has a County Court judgement against her. Still hasn’t paid, though.

  26. So Much for Subtlety

    Luke – “On a vaguely serious note, I am trying to see what (if anything) unites the more Worstallian readers of this blog. I’ve a reasonable idea what Graun readers think, cos I live in Islington (and share some of their views). I have a few hunches, but I’d like to test them.”

    Hatred of Ritchie? Contempt for the Guardian? Sorry, make that utter contempt. Love of Rugby? Fond memories of an England that has disappeared? An interest in stories involving Bath?

  27. So Much for Subtlety

    bloke in spain – “She word processes, phones & e-mails. She hasn’t the vaguest how to do anything more complicated. She could do all that on a 486 & a Nokia chuckaway but they aren’t sleek & fashionable. No cred.”

    I think this is a little akin to domestic abuse. Or animal cruelty or something. It is like a friend of mine who had an admirably large motorbike but he never once went over the speed limit, at least knowingly. He was deaf to appeals to the inherent nature of the machine and its need for speed.

    The iPad can do so much and yet people leave it in the box. We need a RSPiP.

  28. Tim N: IBM/Lenovo is it? I spent a three-year stint at a big 4 firm, including several months in Africa, hoping the bastard thing would expire – but no matter how much I punished it, it never did. If I had to buy a laptop for someone else to use, I’d still get one of theirs today.

    SMFS: 1, 3 and 5 I can do. Maybe that’s why I’m still here.

  29. On a vaguely serious note, I am trying to see what (if anything) unites the more Worstallian readers of this blog.

    That is rather torturing the word “vague”.

    1 – I operate an almost entirely Windows-free business. Except for a couple of bits of specialist software that I run on a VM. Not all Apple, though. Quite a lot is FreeBSD and a little is Linux.

    2 – Could be a lot better. Should be for the money.

    3 – It’s not so much the windmills themselves – although they are both damn obvious and pretty ugly. It’s the lies told about them to get the subsidies that mean that our power bills are going uppity-uppity-up.

    4 – Yes. Well. I do live in Britain, though. Unless wee Eck gets his way.

    5 – How do you get that impression? The libertarian tendency amongst us are all in favour of economically contributing migrants.

  30. john b,

    Tim N: IBM/Lenovo is it? I spent a three-year stint at a big 4 firm, including several months in Africa, hoping the bastard thing would expire – but no matter how much I punished it, it never did. If I had to buy a laptop for someone else to use, I’d still get one of theirs today.

    I’m on my 3rd Thinkpad (because of requiring more performance each time, not repair). They’re solidly built, have very good keyboards, great support and are easy to get repaired if they go wrong.

    They’re about the only company (along with Apple) that tries to innovate with laptops. And Macs are very well built, I’m just not sure about support options if you’re not near an Apple store or Apple specialist.

  31. No one’s going to be following this any more, but if anyone is, why the connection between right wingery and rugby? (I like rugby, was off side more than Ritchie McCall when I played). Are left wingers (in political sense) allowed to play? What about Wales?

    Tim adds: This is less true than it once was but rugby, in England, was a middle/upper middle class sport. This wasn’t true of the Borders, or of Wales, and there were exceptions in England too (Cornwall for example). But the connection isn’t so much between right wingery as that both conservatism and rugby are positively associated with the middle class.

  32. So Much For Subtlety

    Luke – “No one’s going to be following this any more, but if anyone is, why the connection between right wingery and rugby?”

    Rugby Union used to be an amateur game and hence played by gentlemen – ie the upper middle class. It wasn’t all over the world. It wasn’t in New Zealand for instance. But it was in the UK. The working class played football. And still do. It is next to impossible to find a middle class footballer these days.

    “Tim adds: This is less true than it once was but rugby, in England, was a middle/upper middle class sport.”

    But don’t forget League. The Northern working class have always played Rugby League. Although in my experience Rugby League crowds tend to be small-c conservative. They are some of the last places you would feel comfortable taking your daughter to watch the game for instance. Even the cricket in parts of the UK are badly behaved these days.

    “But the connection isn’t so much between right wingery as that both conservatism and rugby are positively associated with the middle class.”

    Football has become more middle class – who can afford the tickets these days? But I don’t think it has become more conservative in either sense. Like American sports, football has become a way of middle class males pretending they are a little bit of rough trade – especially among left wing intellectuals in my experience. You see an accountant with a football scarf and he will be boring you about how great Cherie is in person in no time.

  33. Tim and SMFS, I am not wholly convinced by the argument that those are the kind of people who play – partly of course. But what about Le Pen? And in classical Athens, wrestling was the sport of the aristocrats/ oligarchs, not the democrats IIRC.

    But thanks anyway.

  34. Che Guevara was an inside centre, and Bill Clinton played at lock while at Oxford, so left wingers aren’t banned.

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