Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Potential uses for tablets

As far as I can see, tablet computers are just toys. Look at any child's Christmas list and an iPad will be on it. I have yet to see anybody with a tablet actually doing anything worthwhile with it. 90% of what people use their laptops, desktops and tablets for is frittering time away. Sure - they call it "networking", "learning", "communicating", "researching" etc but what those really mean is that they're sitting around playing with the internet. The internet is the great leveller of today's society. It brings everybody regardless of intellectual capacity down the the same lowest common denominator. It's not a drug but should be classified as a category A narcotic. Deprive somebody of their smartphone, tablet, PC, laptop and suddenly they panic, wondering what everybody else is doing and what to do now they can't "communicate". Tablets are a simple quick fix for the traveling internet junkie. They're the emergency heroin kit left for when they need to snort some.

My two uses for tablets. The first is pretty much the same as I did to a rather ghastly mobile telephone I purchased whose carcass just because I can't be bothered to toss it in the garbage lies in my desk drawer.
The other use for a tablet would be as a display unit. Data could be stored and processed on a mini computer stored in a closet somewhere and the tablet could be used just as a straightforward display unit. Communications could be via wifi and it would work very much in the manner of the new Google Chromebooks, where all data is stored online. Essentially, use the tablet as the display of a dumb terminal. A keyboard would be handy, of course, as most tablets don't have a keyboard.

I see so many people walking around with a laptop under one arm and a keyboard under the other that it makes me wonder what shortage of intelligence made them pay double the price of a laptop on what is essentially a digital photo frame and then pay more to get a keyboard when they could just as well have purchased a laptop that included a keyboard.
I hear that many of the school districts are now purchasing tablet computers to lend to the children. That's an expensive exercise! Heaven knows how many will survive a week with children and after a year those that aren't totally destroyed will be so old that new editions will have to be purchased. The old models that survived will be mixed with newer models and the whole system will become chaotic as Little Johnny's iPad won't do the same thing as Little Roger's iPad etc.

I have heard many people using the fact they take photos as being their excuse for having a tablet. That's all it is - an excuse. No photographer I have ever met could ever live off photography or even count on the income to pay for equipment they have already purchased let alone for new toys. 

Hanging my head in shame, I will admit I purchased a tablet computer. Mine was a Nook Color and it was really quite appalling. I don't know whether it was just mine that was flawed or whether the model or the brand was poor. Mine just went absolutely bonkers when there was a trace of humidity in the air, responding to phantom touches on the touch screen and not responding to genuine touches. There was a work-around of putting a screen protector on but I wasn't going to throw good money after bad and spend $20 on a screen protector that might or might not have solved the problem. Instead I sold the damn thing. I lost about 2/3rds of what I paid for it because nobody else wanted that piece of junk either. That leads me on to a gripe about ebay. I reckon that most of the ebay "listings" are fraudulent. Every time I try to sell something, I check on the prices everybody else has been getting for the same item. I put the same description, title lines etc and get a third of what they get for the final bid. That leads me to suspect that there's something fishy going on with that website.

Back to tablets though and the two uses or perhaps three uses they have:
  • Targets on a rifle range (expensive and cardboard boxes would be cheaper)
  • As displays for dumb terminals.
  • As toys for small children.

Other than those uses, I see absolutely no reason on earth why anybody would buys a tablet. They're no good for reading books. They're no good for any worthwhile work. They are just toys.

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