Monday 31 October 2011

Not really life with a dumbphone

One of the worst things on the Internet is attempting to outgeek geeks. Only one thing is worse, and that is trying to out-hipster hipsters.

For the uninitiated, I'll try to define "hipster" (in its Internet sense) a little more concisely than Wikipedia and UrbanDictionary.
A hipster is someone who actively rejects the mainstream, and a large part of the reasoning is that the idea of a "mainstream" seems to run counter to their need to stand out from the teeming, unwashed masses who have seemingly been brainwashed into their 'preferences'.
I (try to) pass no value judgement on hipsters, as sometimes I can come across similarly (being a Bieber-hater, for e.g., although I try to convince myself that it's because he's shite.)

And yet, when I try to draw on other people's experiences in a life with a dumbphone, I come across examples that are either not really dumbphone enough (GPS? Music? Podcasts? WTF?), or way too smartphone-hating.

The problem with the first linked post is that the blogger's reaction is a little extreme. He tries out a Moto Cliq tied to T-Mobile, and after a terrible first experience, continues to do the exact same thing! He then moves on to a Huawei Comet (again with T-Mobile), and has an even worse experience, promptly pronounces renunciation of smartphones, and goes for an LG "feature"-phone. Which can still do GPS, music and podcasts.

So it's not really "life with a dumphone", but more like "life with a non-shitty phone and service provider, but let's start small". He's basically gone hipster without knowing it.

My issue with the second linked post (in two parts, One and Two) is that it is phenomenally hipster, in that it denounces the typical smartphone user as being a socially inept person in real life, who dumps all over real-world relationships, based on a survey done by a phone systems company ("81 percent of survey participants said they would prefer being single and keeping their smartphones!", "on average, an adult spent nine hours a day playing with a smartphone and only about 27 minutes per day talking with their significant others!") Except that the study it cites was an April Fool's gag, as confirmed by the company in question on their blog. There's an important lesson in there about getting your data from the right sources, as well.

After having to forcibly live with a "proper" dumbphone, it is a little strange that there is such little chronicling of such experiences. Ah well, if the mountain will not come to Muhammad...

The Metallica "Angry soon-to-be-ex Fan" is stupid

Nearly everything in this "Open Letter To Metallica from an Angry soon-to-be-ex Fan" is either wrong, misguided or plain foolish.

What have Metallica said or done that betrays a lack of concern or knowledge about the fans feelings? Their news update is pretty clear (IMHO), and just about stops short of an apology. What more do you want them to do? You're taking them to task for not wanting to perform in a - by your own admission - "shitty venue"? And you're mad at them for this? To paraphrase the hackneyed t-shirt slogan, "They've upped their standards. Up yours." :-)

Spirit of personal integrity? Laugh and a half, that one. "Put on our headphones and tear shit up"? Well, that's what the Metallica 'fans' did at the concert venue, and look how well that worked out for them.

Saying "we can behave like idiots because you do too" is far too childish for someone in the age-range of the average Metallica fan.

The absolute kickers were these lines:
See…you shouldn’t toy with the affections of people who love your music…they will react like homicidal lovers. They will set u on fire.
..followed shortly by:
Heavy metal is supposed to represent a spirit of rebellion and independent expression but it seems like you expect less from your fans.

There are strangely unsettling parallels between the thinking that drives this blog post, and the apologists for the London rioters.