Do tech specs matter to normal people?

I remember the days long ago when I used to be really fascinated about the spec sheet of my computer. They had all these fancy terms like RAM, processor speed, the number of ISA and PCI slots that it came with, and the amount of hard drive space it had. As I’ve gone through my career I still semi-cared but as I’ve gotten older I’ve been caring less and less. I think it’s because I’ve been going through a transformation from a techie to one of your normal every day users of technology. Right now I’m not even sure of the tech specs of my iPad 2 that I’m using to type out this blog post except that it has a pretty fast processor and 64GB of storage.

It’s my belief that most people don’t really care about the tech specs of their devices as long as they work. The only ones that really care are the people that are still in the tech industry. Now the thing that actually prompted me to write this post are all the Android phone commercials that I’ve been seeing pop up on TV after the iPhone 5 launch was complete. What I’ve noticed is that a lot of the commercials for Android phones focus a lot on the specs of the phone but not really on the usability of the phone. I see a lot of specs in the commercials like LTE, how much space it has, if it has memory slots for expandable RAM, and the screen size. A lot of Android phones have specs coming out of their ears but they mean nothing to the average person.

I consider my wife an average person when it comes to technology (well she is a little more advanced since she is married to me) and when I gave her a Nexus 7 (spec wise the best 7 inch tablet on the planet), she wasn’t impressed at all. I gave her all the neato specs about th device and even told her it had the latest build of android and came with all these bells and whistles. It took only one missing feature, the ability to open ePub files in her email and start reading the book, to make her not like the device. Despite all its power and capabilities, because the Nexus was missing this key feature my wife really wanted to go back to reading books on h iPhone because “it just worked” the way she wanted.

My father is also a good example of your average user. He always expects things to just work after he installs it on his PC and likes to call me up whenever something doesn’t work and question me about why it just doesn’t work the way he wants it to. Over time he has started to gravitate towards Apple products because he lives really close to an Apple store and they can give him free tech support whenever he needs it for his iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air. I have also started to push him towards using Apple products because I have quite a few of them myself and they’re pretty much geared towards the average joe. Thats not to say that things like the PC or Android devices are dead, they just have a different user base.

I have a Mac at home that my wife doesn’t use very often because she uses a PC more and is more comfortable with it. So in my mind, there will always be different markets that cater to different user typed, the thing that technology companies need to do is do a much better job at identifying their target markets and go after them. Über tech geeks will gravitate towards Android, Windows, and Linux because they are configurable and can be hacked to their hearts content. People that will use Windows Phone, Windows 8, any Apple product just want to have a consistent and easy to use device that “just works”. In my rapidly advancing age, I’m gravitating towards getting devices that just work rather than caring about its spec sheet. Granted I’m still enough of a tech geek that I will check out the spec sheet and base a decent amount of my choice on how fast the device is, but I’m going to start giving more emphasis on usability and not just how cool the latest gadget is.

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Crazy Travel

Lately I have been put on this pretty insane travel schedule for work. I’m not exactly pleased with it but its what I have to do to keep the money flowing into the ole bank account. Right now I’m doing alternate weeks for travel. Under normal circumstances that would mean one week at home and one week at my client. This is a bit different. I have to travel Sunday through Thursday and Monday through Friday the other week. Needless to say that really cuts into family time since I’m not doing the regular Monday through Thursday.

This is the second week that I’m doing this schedule. It’s weekend I was really only home for a day and 12 hours before I had to go to the airport and catch a flight to New Jersey. In reality I’m catching a flight to JFK so that I can spend as much time at home as possible. I’m actually writing this blog post while I’m in the air to JFK which will get me into the NY Metro area at around midnight. After that, it’s a nice long drive to New Jersey and then an early morning wake up to walk to work. Needless to say things could be better but I just have to roll with this until the holidays. I also have a good amount of PTO scheduled so that I can spend some time at home instead of being at my client.

I’m just trying to stay awake long enough to get my free drink so that I can pass out for an hour or two before I have to wake up and deplane. Hurry up already flight attendants, I’m thirsty!

Upgrading to iOS 6

This past week the new OS came out from Apple and I attempted to download it unsuccessfully on Wednesday. I was able to finally do the upgrade this weekend while I was at home. So far I’ve been selective on upgrading my devices and some just cant be upgraded at all. I’ve gone ahead and upgraded my work iPhone since that one has to be stock and my iPad 2. I originally had a jailbreak on my iPad 2 but there really isn’t a huge reason to jailbreak on my iPad 2 so upgrading it wasn’t a hard decision. I am surprised that the original iPad isn’t getting the upgraded OS but my old iPhone 3GS will be getting the upgrade but without stuff like Siri enabled.

I’m keeping my personal iPhone with the old OS and jailbroken so that I can continue to do FaceTime calls with my wife over 3G without having to move to one of those really weak tiered or shared data plans that they keep on pushing out. So far I haven’t had a lot of time to use the new OS on any of my devices because I was busy with my daughter and upgrading all the devices at home takes a lot of time since there are so many apps and data to restore on each device.

The things I do like are the we Siri commands that can be utilized but this only works on my 4S and not on my iPad 2. Was also successful in using passbook which is new at the airport this morning. I have to say that it’s mighty handy to have passbook, I’m waiting to see what other apps are going to support it in the future since it looks like it has the potential to be a pretty powerful tool if enough people jump on the bandwagon. The feature that I really want to try out is the new panorama camera setting on my 4S. I have a pretty good view of NYC at work so I’m going to see f I can try that out sometime this week.

I haven’t seen anything else that really stands out to me yet using the new OS. I think it’s just the same old thing that Apple has done all along which is keeping the user experience consistent as they move through the generations of devices. I know there are some things that will be hardware specific like LTE which I’m anxious to try out but I’m going to have to wait until my contact is up with AT&T before I can even consider buying a new phone. As it stands, there isn’t a compelling reason to upgrade my phones or my iPad unless some really killer feature comes out that says I just HAVE to get a new phone or tablet. Only time will tell though. Once I mess around with iOS 6 more, maybe I’ll find something worth blogging about.