Monday, May 11, 2009

The Kindle: Whats the point

Amazon have released the Kindle. A hand held device to ... read books. When I eventually heard the details, including the price-tag of $485, my first thought was "What's the point?"

I certainly am not going to pay nearly $500 for something that will let me read an e-book. In South Africa that's close to R 5000, enough to get yourself a reasonable desktop PC. If I really had to have a device to read e-books on the move I would rather get myself an iPod Touch or even go the whole hog and get an iPhone. the i devices can also allow you to read books but adds music player, wifi access, 3G Internet and a whole lot more.

But even the iPhone. Do we really need a device like that? Or many of the other gadgets and paraphernalia that clutter our lives and the shelves of electronics stores. Sure it looks gorgeous, and if you're a travelling salesman who needs access to your documents, emails and the web while on the move, then I can see it being a good tool. But for most people who go to work and work in an office; you have a PC on your desk. Then you go home inthe evenings; you have a PC (or laptop) there as well usually.

I am not one of those gadget freaks who must have the latest and greatest just because everyone else does. I will not buy an iPhone (even though I am enamoured by its capabilities and sexyness) because for me the vast majority of its features would just be a toy. I don't own a PS3 or XBox 360 because my PC at home has enough gaming potential to keep me more than happy.

Why do we allow our money-spending decisions to be dictated by fashion? Who cares what the Jones' have or want? Is our society really so driven by the materialism-as-status mindset that, like someone I know, they will put themselves into debt just to keep up with "everyone else"? Questions I don't have the answer to, unfortunately.

A fantastic I was pointed at a while discusses our materialistically driven society and how that affects the world we live in. The Story of Stuff is a fantastic narrative about what our society's impact is on the world we live in and how we cannot keep wanting wanting wanting. Take a look and tell me that its not at least a little eye-opening.

Next time you watch that advert about the latest sexy gadget that really adds no value to your life apart from you being able to say you have one, ask yourself if buying it is really what you need in your life. If in owning it it will change your life for the better or if it will merely be an ornament.

The Amazon Kindle? Last I heard books were available on this fantastic technology called paper for a 10th of that price. Perhaps we should buy more of those and fill book shelves. Or maybe I'm the odd one. If thats the case ... then I guess just ignore this blog post....

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