Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Why an iPad is not a "need".

Short while ago my attention was drawn to an online bit purporting to be 4 reasons you don't really need an iPad. It was a waffley bit with bogus reasons like "maybe you can't afford one"? Awwww ... poor people who cannot afford something - obviously they don't need it then.

I have ridiculed the arguments in another discussion - however, it occurred to me to that I could do better. Actually, it should be trivial - the position includes the word "really" which tends to be self-defining ... it becomes a "no real Scotsman..." argument if you're not careful. The non-trivial reasons should avoid this - even if most of them revolve around the different ways of saying that an iPad is not a need. Lets see if I can find four...

The real reasons you don't really need an iPad (tablet PC) -

#1. Economics:
An iPad is not a need. It is a want.
There's no really about it. In economics, a need is something you have to have, something you can't do without. A good example is food. If you don't eat, you won't survive for long. Many people have gone days without eating, but they eventually ate a lot of food. You might not need a whole lot of food, but you do need to eat.

A want is something you would like to have. It is not absolutely necessary, but it my be a good thing to have. Though there are many people who will insist they cannot live without their iPad, it is physically possible to do without one for many years and you don't eventually go through a lot of them just to make up for the iStarvation.

#2. Psychology
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology, proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper A Theory of Human Motivation. Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of humans' innate curiosity. His theories parallel many other theories of human developmental psychology, all of which focus on describing the stages of growth in humans.

In this hierarchy - an iPad does not even register. Lets go through them one at a time to check:

It is not Physiological - you can live without it though some people would benefit from it's removal there is no-one who would benefit from having one inserted... however satisfying it may be for the rest of us.

It is not a safety need. It will not, for example, act to protect you from gunfire or to cushion a fall.

If you find your iPad fulfilling a love/belonging need you are a sad individual indeed. Admittedly it is more acceptable to take your iPad to dinner than an inflatable partner... I have been told... but Maslow was referring to healthy psychology, not delusions.

Although Apple spend a lot of money trying to make it an Esteem/Self-respect need, it is not. You may feel like a worthwhile human being once owning one but the feeling soon fades when you realize the way to self-worth is to be worthy in yourself.

In terms of Self Actualization - there is a faint, distant, possibility it could provide for a problem-solving need. This is where it gets a bit tricky - how closely defined does a problem have to get before a tablet PC becomes the solution-provider?

I thought I'd have to write a long section on this but it seems someone else has already done it for me:
... nuff said.

#3. Anti-Tech
And none of us needs that.
Apple has gone a long way with the "less is more" philosophy - convincing so many people that less is actually more. Many years of advances in computer technology has yielded a computer many thousands of times more powerful than the kind of thing we used to use to predict the weather or explore the fabric of space and time. And it is a glorified clipboard.

#4. Encourages antisocial behavior
You heard.
Apple and the tablets are part of an economic model that brought us Digital Restrictions Management, Defective by Design, and the Amazon Swindle.

Is this really the direction we need computers to develop in?

android I hear from the back someplace?
This is about owning your own computer - it is about demanding that your tech works for you and not some other person. I'm sure everyone reading this has seen the arguments.

I'm not going to insist that absolutely no proprietary software should exist at all. But I will also acknowledge that locking down the tech and removing transparency is, where not outright antisocial, encourages antisocial software to persist. In turn, this encourages antisocial legislation like SOPA ... I know Apple et al came out against SOPA (eventually) but that is like a decrying oppressive dictatorships while selling them arms.

It is quite easy to come out with four non-trivial reasons you don't need an iPad - even to generalize to tablet PCs. Of course, none of these arguments/reasons are complete. That would take too long. So, naturally, they are full of holes.

It's just that I want people to notice what happens to an article when even a small amount of actual research goes into it. Then. maybe, we'll see more interesting shares ... oh hope of hopes.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Movie Sunday

Xmas movies are bit of a pain so I rented some of my own.

Source Code
It's Ohhh-kay I guess. I've just seem films like it. Wet ending. Sort-of 12 monkeys meets Groundhog Day, with all the good bits removed. And what is this with Hollywood script-writers and daddy-issues?

Now this is better - starts out as a bit of a father-son-in-crime antiheroes thriller, but rapidly turns into a psychological commentary. The opening commentary on Paradise Lost (the poem) sums up the movie - it's about better days lost. All the sorts of losses as you grow up, except in the film they happen over a few days as a metaphor. The solid, steady, tone carries the difficult subject well. AFAICT it's not enough like much else to be worth the comment.

Dead Snow
Really great schlock-horror out of Norway - very film-studentish because it is done by film students (started on a film camp). Its Norwegian, with subtitles and a Norwegian metal track apparently called "Eat that Shit". There's some English spoken, including a surprising impersonation of Arnold Schwartzenegger.
It's a zombie movie with Nazis, entrails, and bad humor. What can I say.

The Ward
John Carpenter standard - and as expected of a J Carpenter film. A bunch of girls in a mental hospital are being killed one by one and have to figure out what is happening. I worked out the twist quite early because I watch way too many movies - there have been a bunch like it, you know, serial killer, experimental therapies and so on. Think Identity and Shutter Island.

That has seen me through two days, six burgers, and 1.5L of coke.
Just as well because it has been raining.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

I had a look at overseas teaching positions - initially thinking of Australia but all the searches there turned up jobs in the UK. Hey: I can get a British passport!

The jobs turn out to be worth from 35000 pounds - good grief! So I talked to an agent there and she tells me that I need to have two people give me testimonials from classroom teaching in the last two years. They are quite happy if it is two from the same lesson even if it the only lesson ever and suggested I volunteer at a school just to get them.

That sounds promising.

Of course it means that I have to wait until next year and either (a) find a school that will do this, or (b) go do a section via teachers college. There is always option (c): finding two people to lie through their teeth for me :)

Monday, 5 December 2011

Hoooo - getting baad!

Bloke came around from Mercury Energy today: I've been neglecting my power bill.
It's my fault. Fortunately I had a receipt for my last payment which they didn't have on record so the power stays on and I'm a flagged customer.

There is no point arguing with the guy who comes around, it's not his fault. Time for me to wake up.

One of the things I had a look at was if I can save on my power bill by switching supplier. I'll stil have to pay the ME bill of course, but whatsmynumber.com says I can save $38 a month by switching. On my income that is probably a good idea. I checked with Consumer Powerswitch.

If I use my last bill, CP estimates 13210kW.hr annual useage, and changing to Contact Energy will save me $400 a year. The closest competitor is Energy Online, saving $380 a year. Woot!

I decided to check again using the midwinter bill. My use then is about double what it was last month and CP says different. They estimate 11014kW.hr annual consumption saving $300pa from Contact or E-Online (about $6 difference between them.)

But the difference makes me wonder about their model.

Looking at my bill, my use is basically flat from November to February, and makes a triangle peaking in July. So, for eight months I'm averaging the difference between peak and trough use - which puts my actual yearly use at about 8000kW.hr, closer to the second one.

I'm expecting higher than that this coming year since I'll get a housemate - but then housemate will, hopefully, pay half the costs.