Archive for July, 2011


Borders logoOk, Techsnoop is officially in mourning.  Borders is closing.  All stores, everywhere.

Yes, I’m a tech-junkie, but I also love to read good books.  I read hardcover, paperback and eBooks.  I even have Audible books from Audible.com  There is no bad place and time for a good book.  Now, my favorite browse and discover place is going away and there is nothing to replace it.  There is nothing quite like the experience of picking out 2 or 3 dozen books and sitting with a frozen coffee to decide which lucky few will be going home with you.  Technology aside, there is a thrill of hefting a volume and flipping pages that can’t be denied.

Now all that is gone and I am left with online buying only.  I am not ready to give up on my real world books.  I want to highlight and bookmark pages and hold a book in my hands.  eBooks are for portability, real books are for serious bookworms.

The only bright spot downriver is Another Look Books, a super friendly haven of gently used books.

Borders, we hardly knew ya.  Happy trails.

SM starfieldSocial Media.  Two terrifying words in the new world order.  Social media has turned our entire lives into the cliquesque nightmare of high school.  Which site is the coolest, which groups are the most popular, how do I look, what do I wear, where do I hang out?  All of these questions have become an underlying theme in daily ventures onto the internet.  What was once a fun, casual activity has become a me-centered, ego-centric free for all with the resulting fall out.

I love all my “friends” but really, a play by play of toenail clipping is just too much information.  Updates of your life should be significant moments, important events and requests for help or prayers.  Details of each minutiae of everyone’s life becomes information overload on a ginormous scale.  Just as your junk closet becomes so packed that it is impossible to find what you need when you need it, information overload does the same to our brains.

Retrieval of important information becomes increasingly difficult until you find yourself standing at the front door with mismatched shoes wondering where you were heading out to.

Unfortunately, unplugging is not an option in today’s world.  For families separated by distance and businesses trying to access diverse markets, it is necessary to have a social media presence.  The target is to utilize the benefits of social media without reaping the overload.  This involves ruthless shaving of your friend groups or circles and rigid application of privacy settings.  Nothing less will allow you the balanced use of this important tool without the baggage.

Happy surfing.

NetflixWell times are hard everywhere folks.  Now Netflix, a company who made a $83 Billion profit in 2008, is crying that they need to double customer prices to pay for new content.   Please note, they just made an 80% price hike 3 months ago.  So, for their short-sightedness we, the customer must pay.

This presents just the latest example of big business stomping on those who made them big business.  Netflix was just a little nobody in 1999 when I initially joined.  I loved not having to run out and get a DVD from the store only to find it was “out”.  After a few years, I dropped out and used cable for a while.

I came back to Netflix a couple of years ago as part of a streamlining of my lifestyle.  I spend lots of time on my computer, but not too much watching TV.  Netflix made sense over cable as a cost efficient entertainment option.  I use both DVD and streaming because many of the things I want to watch are not available to stream.

In a recent article on CNet Greg Sandoval questions if Netflix will change their mind,  Since their CEO’s response is “our prices are our prices”, it doesn’t look good.  This anti-consumer attitude is what caused customers to leave Blockbuster in droves.

Hey Netflix, your customers helped you grow with word of mouth and loyalty.  This is because you were a great place to do business. Now, you are just another evil empire.

Maybe Netflix will wake up and go back to their origins or perhaps they will forge a new business path and listen to their customers.

Well, we knew in our hearts that teens text more than talk.  But now there is evidence that this is true and teens prefer it that way.  In a recent survey, Lab 42 found that 71% of teens prefer texting to talking.  Also, 45% of teens send 30 or more texts per day or 900 texts per month.  And 54% of these texts are “just chatting”.

Just chatting?? Really??

Chatting is a form of talking, if these are just quick chats, it is actually more efficient to make a quick call than type out.  So since this is not about efficiency, it is either about secrecy or lack of communication skills.  Both of these are causes for parental concern.  Take note parents; monitoring needs to be done.  If your teen cannot communicate verbally, they will be at a counter asking “do you want to upsize that”.

Its just my opinion, but this disconnect of personal interaction is what leads to increases in cyber bullying, electronic abuse and general technology abuse.  It is way easier to disrespect someone by typing some letters than facing that same person with mean words.

Well, here we are folks, now that the cell service providers have hooked us on all the fun and important things to be done on a phone other than talk, they want to limit us.  After years of pounding smartphones into our hands, cell service providers are crying “smartphone use is expensive”!  So, what you are saying is that the CFOs of these businesses did not run calculations and projections before pushing this product on the public.  Verizon is the latest to jump on the pay per use bandwagon for data with AT&T and T-Mobile.

Here is a great opportunity for Sprint to be the stand alone provider with a backbone to provide their customers with a clear and aggressive choice for service. They can also re-define themselves and create a completely separate and loyal customer base.  By keeping unlimited data plans and offering the iPhone, Sprint can re-capture some of it’s lost buzz as a premier provider.

The question is; will Sprint cave?  Only time will tell and they will surely attempt to make any change quietly so that they don’t get caught as one of the sheep, following placidly in the footsteps of the competition.

So, will Sprint make us proud?  Or, will once again, consumers bear the brunt of the shortsightedness of big business?

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