Technology is scamming us

The release of the iPad 2 last Friday got me thinking: Do we want technology to be moving this fast?

Does anyone remember cassette tapes? It’s quite a shock when you realize that you remember an age when you had to switch the tape to go from your Disney theme songs to “We will, we will rock you.” There was no such thing as a shuffle mode. Freshmen, I apologize for the involuntary shiver that statement just caused.

None of that should matter though, right? Of course we want the newest, the best, the coolest thing we can possibly get.

But let’s think about this for a second.

It’s gotten to the point where the second we buy something and take it out of the box, it is obsolete. If each new version did something revolutionary, or even meaningfully improved the product, we wouldn’t care. But what are we really getting?

I use a popular speech recognition product that came out with a new version about six months after I purchased it. The big selling point? The new version was supposed to be up to 99 percent accurate. The problem? They said the same thing  about the previous version when I bought it. Something doesn’t jive here.

Every other week it seems like there’s a new version of iTunes. I consider myself somewhat of a tech geek, and I would be hard pressed to tell you what the difference was. What’s the big deal about that you ask? It’s not like we’re paying for it. Maybe we aren’t, if our time is worth nothing. That’s 20 minutes that I can’t rock out to “Walk This Way.” My family is probably thankful to be rid of my off- key singing, but that’s beside the point.

Steve Jobs, we love your iPod. It has great functionality, and its design is aesthetically pleasing. However, you force me to make a citizen’s arrest for the crime of time theft.

Apple isn’t the only company with this problem. I love Windows 7. It’s beautiful and runs very quickly. At the same time, if I’m really honest, all it really does is fix all the bugs in Windows Vista. Why would I have to pay for an entirely new system that just fixes your mistakes? Consumers are getting hoodwinked.

And while we’re at it, there are just too many cell phones. At the time of this writing, there were nine new devices listed on the websites of AT&T and Verizon alone. That’s probably more than the number of times Charlie Sheen gets high every week.

Video games might be the worst offenders. “Call of Duty” is a rehash of the same gameplay every time. It’s even having an adverse affect on the vocabulary of our youth. I hear my brother talking about “cod” and I have to remind myself he’s not talking about the fish.

Of course, this is not a Johnny-come-lately issue. The masses have been eating this stuff up for years. Could someone please tell me what the difference is between “Pokémon Red” and “Pokémon Blue?” (Cue the angry letters to the editor from Pokémon diehards). What I’m about to ask is sacrilege to nerds everywhere, but it needs to be brought up. How many times does Bowser have to trap Peach before she learns to stay away from the guy?

To be clear, I’m not asking for the stifling of innovation. I benefit as much, if not more than most from advances in technology. I’m merely asking that you don’t make us update every time you come up with a new color for the menu.

That being said, when the new Madden comes out next year, odds are it’s going to end up on my Christmas list. After all, they did update the roster.