Friday, February 12, 2010

Technology Pet Peeves

Being somewhat of a tech enthusiast, I have developed several pet peeves about things in the industry for which I will explain below. These are mostly cases where technology exists and is not being used to its proper potential.

Devices with Built-in 3G

Something that bugs me just a little is the devices available that have built in 3G to connect to the internet through a cell phone network. It seems the majority of these devices are low priced netbooks and the upcoming iPad. Let's think about this for a second. Who is most likely to desire an internet connection on the go and be willing to pay for it? Most likely business users, especially those who travel. How many of them are using low priced netbooks with yesterday's technology on computers where they will need to run programs like Microsoft Office? Let's think about who is likely to buy netbooks - probably mostly college students that are likely to have WiFi access everywhere they go on campus and also not likely to have the money to pay for a data contract, which would be evidenced by them buying a low priced machine in the first place. I would be willing to bet that if these computer manufacturers did some market research, they would find that most of the people buying data contracts with cell phone companies are business travelers using middle to high end machines, and they would like the convenience of not having to carry a data card everywhere they go. I was pleased to find that Dell does offer a 3G option on some of their business laptops, but I would like to see this become a standard feature where you can choose your provider when purchasing the laptop. And not that anyone from Apple is likely to read this, but I would BEG for them to add this feature to their Macbook Pros on carriers besides overpriced, unreliable AT&T.

Media Streaming

This is something that the technology has been around for years, but has not really taken off for many reasons. In many cases, the software for streaming media from your computer is often buggy. Also, the devices that stream media often have poor user interfaces. Another thing that bugs me is the lack of streaming software that works well with your iTunes library. Considering the iPod is by far the most popular media player out there, most people are likely to use iTunes as their primary software for their media. Right now, it seems the intended way for you to stream an iTunes library to your TV is buy purchasing an Apple TV for $229, an extremely high price for how little the device does. It really doesn't take a whole lot to stream media from a computer on your home network, something I think could be done in a device that costs less than $100.

Remote Media Streaming

Another way I think these technology companies are really missing the boat is with remote access to your media library. This would essentially make the amount of storage in your mp3 player irrelevant. Imagine having a cell phone with the ability to stream your media from your computer at home over your cell phone provider's 3G network. The technology exists to do such a thing, but nobody is doing it. Why shouldn't my iPhone be able to connect to my iTunes library at home anytime I want? Why won't a Windows Mobile phone connect to your Windows Media library at home? I could understand if the cell phone companies want to hold off on allowing this over their network because of bandwidth concerns (AT&T in particular would be picky about this), but they could at least allow this over WiFi. The Slingbox is living proof that this can be done.

Cell Phone Exclusivity

I realize cell phone manufacturers are often receiving kick backs for having exclusive contracts, but do you really want to close yourself off to a large number of customers because of this? The most notable offender here is the iPhone's exclusive contract with AT&T. This has lead to several unhappy customers who generally like the device but hate AT&T's network. iPhone users typically use more data than other smartphone users, and AT&T's network is not build to handle the additional load in many areas. There are many other popular phones such as the Motorola Droid that offend in this way as well, although I don't think too many people are complaining about going to Verizon for that phone.

Please Support Blu-ray, Apple!

I have two laptops, and the main reason I still have two laptops is because my Macbook Pro does not have a blu-ray drive. Having been a Playstation 3 owner since 2007, the majority of the movies I own now are on blu-ray, so I would like it if the laptop I am most likely to travel with was able to play these. Thankfully, digital copies are becoming more common with newer blu-rays, but I still have several movies that aren't, and ripping blu-rays isn't an easy thing to do either.

To sum things up, I would like to be able to buy a Macbook Pro with a blu-ray drive and built-in 3G, I want my iPhone to stream media from my iTunes library at home, and I want devices such as my PS3 or blu-ray player to stream media more reliably on my network, and stream from my iTunes library if possible but if not at least stream from the folder that contains my iTunes library and do it well. The technology to do these things exists, now if only we could make all of this happen....

1 comment:

  1. Building 3G into a notebook computer is silly to me. You're stuck with a $60/month contract that you can only use on one device. A MiFi is a much better option, and you can use it with 5 devices at once, including those that will never be offered with 3G of their own.