Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Problems with new technology

David Johnson article "Don't wince when the digital revolution behaves like a spoilt brat" in the Sunday Times on 3 September 2006

He describes the newest technology as being "like a wayward child that you want to embrace, even if it will keep spitting you in the eye." This is because companies are more interested in giving us headline-grabbing new features or a new look, without thinking how they will work in practice.

He quotes examples including the new Nokia 6233 mobile phone with a screen you can't read in daylight and the LG chocolate phone with a touch sensitive keypad that performs unwanted actions when your finger hovers over it. Also, rail company Southern introduced an electronic ticket machine that required users to wade through multiple pages and often rejected credit cards late in the sequence, causing huge queues.

Other complaints include website for booking tickets where you are never sure if the transaction has gone through successfully. Items with "known issues" such as a DAB radio that would not turn off or a VCR that could not record when first put on sale.

Also, it doesn't help that different manufacturers use different names for the same basic functions. The name even changes between different models from the same manufacturer.

Andy Brazier

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