Friday, September 15, 2006

Is Tech Improvement Ever Done?

Is technological improvement ever complete? Does technology ever reach a level of perfection, after which more is too much? I think I've reached that point with my Blackberry. My 7290 had, I was starting to think, developed a little beausage. The metal frame around the screen was a little burnished. I liked this device. Then I dropped it in a puddle and despite application of air from a hairdryer, it didn't work. So, lured by the gorgeous screen and other features like a speakerphone, I purchased an 8700. Three things are bad about that new device. First, it sucks batteries dry about 3-4 times faster. Whereas with the 7290 I had to recharge every 3-4 days, with the 8700 it's every day. That's because the older model has a reflective screen. Not as visible but a miser. Second, the 8700 has a screen that gets oiled by your face when you use it as a phone. The 7290's screen is recessed. And third, the 8700 is made of much cheaper plastic. The 7290 is solid, black plastic. The finish on my 8700 was worn within days, and it wasn't the wear that's beausage. So, I made a trade back to a 7290, a trade with someone lured by the 8700's screen (easy matter). I'm back to the 7290. Is this enough? Is this a device on which improvements are actually compromises? Is this just enough tech, a functional enough plateau? Probably not, but it's nice to think that occasionally technology can approach the level of a craft object where it's quality and functionality are good enough to be sufficient and where simplicity of a sort makes it better than its more complicated successors. (I saved my original 7290 and turned it on the other day. It had finally fully dried out and is now working fine and in the hands of a co-worker.)
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