Tech to avoid

Tech to avoid

Summary: Tempted as I am to throw handfuls of cash at some companies in exchange for stuff – "Shut up and take my money!" – there's tech out there that I suggest steering clear of for one reason or another.

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TOPICS: Hardware, Mobility
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  • Introduction

    I know that many readers of Hardware 2.0 enjoy buying and using technology, and I know full well how easy it is to be seduced by new stuff that's shiny and promises to bring something to our lives that we're currently missing out on.

    But tempted as I am to throw handfuls of cash at some companies in exchange for stuff – "Shut up and take my money!" – there's tech out there that I suggest steering clear of for one reason or another.

    So, what is it that I am suggesting you steer clear of? Read on to find out.

  • Google Glass

    The idea of a head-wearable computer with integrated prism projector optical display should have gotten all the geeks, nerds, and tech heads drooling.

    And it did, for a while, but there are too many strikes against this tech.

    • Too expensive: About $1,000 too expensive in my opinion
    • Too goofy: Style is going to be a problem for all wearables, and because Glass is on your face, style is even more important.
    • Front-facing camera. Perhaps the most controversial feature of Glass was the front-facing camera. It seems that there are a lot of people who don't like cameras being in their faces. This raised privacy issues that Google did nothing to try to lessen. A Glass option without a camera may have helped address this problem.
    • Application. I can think of hundreds of cool things that Glass could be used to do. But it can't. It's a testament to unfulfilled potential.

    While the idea might turn into something useful down the line, right now it's little more than an experiment that people are paying to participate in.

Topics: Hardware, Mobility

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11 comments
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  • Disagree on the high-end GPU and CPU

    If you are a PC gamer who wants to run games at high resolution at max settings for years to come or are a power user, then there is a definite use for the high-end components. Maybe it's not what it was in 2004, but the need is still out there. Of course, for your average user its a waste of money and it always has been.
    bchristian1985
  • Disagree on the high-end GPU and CPU

    If you are a PC gamer who wants to run games at high resolution at max settings for years to come or are a power user, then there is a definite use for the high-end components. Maybe it's not what it was in 2004, but the need is still out there. Of course, for your average user its a waste of money and it always has been.
    bchristian1985
  • Just to be Picky (It's a Slow Day Here)

    I will note that "$45 bucks" is redundant. Either "$45" or "45 bucks" would suffice.
    oldnuke69
    • Yes

      Its like saying 45 dollar bucks.
      CPPCrispy
  • Agree some, disagree some.

    Humm . . .

    Google Glass, I agree with. Getting people to adopt wearables is hard enough, with only the wristwatch having had success historically. But then they had to add a camera, and one with no way to visibly shutter it.

    And of course, there seems to be no good way to style a wearable on the face. All of them have social awkwardness connected to them regardless, simply because you have something on your face.

    Smartwatches, on the other hand - well, I think they stand a greater chance of success. After all, the wristwatch itself was the most popular wearable tech before smartphones came along.

    And I still, to this day, don't quite understand why people think that rummaging through a purse or pocket is somehow just as convenient as looking at your wrist :/.

    "you'll probably regret it as soon as Apple announces a new handset."

    Maybe, maybe not. The current technology of the iPhone seems rather complete. I can't really think of anything that would excite me at the moment, other than maybe a dramatic increase in battery life.

    Certainly not any of the rumored things about the next iPhone would excite me. Bigger size is *yawn*. It's a phone, it's not supposed to be large and clunky.

    "High-end CPUs/GPUs"

    Most people don't purchase them anyways.

    It's the enthusiast crowd, who you'll never convince to not buy the latest/greatest in technology, who are buying the high-end stuff.

    I do notice, however, that bloggers tend to label mid-end stuff as high-end. One of the biggest problems with Vista's negative reception was that bloggers were off the rails labeling Aero as something that required high-end graphics cards, when you could easily use mid-end and even low-end cards to run it.

    "Expensive cables"

    Totally agreed. Easily one of the biggest ripoffs of consumers in the market today.

    If it outputs to your monitor at the native resolution, that's all that's required. I've seen some slick salesmen advertise HEC (HDMI Ethernet Channel), but from what I can tell, it's a rather useless technology.
    CobraA1
  • Expensive GPUs

    For the gaming crowd, I agree - typically not worth it once you pass the $200 price tags. For the AutoCAD crowd, $1,000 is a low end Quadro card.

    Also, 4K monitors are going to start pushing limits soon. Forget gaming, there are very few GPUs that can push pixels to a pair of 4K screens at all.

    Joey
    voyager529
    • I disagree for gaming.

      "For the gaming crowd, I agree - typically not worth it once you pass the $200 price tags. "

      I disagree for gaming. Unless by "gaming," you mean only Angry Birds.

      Higher end video cards can maintain 60+ fps for more games, which is rapidly becoming the new baseline for games as more monitors come out to support 60 or 120 Hz.

      Also, gamers are indeed starting to buy 4K monitors, so there will be a demand for video cards that can support 4K gaming.

      High end gaming is alive and well. While you can certainly get away with a $200 card, and I would never begrudge anybody who does so, to claim it's "not worth it" beyond the $200 price point is probably not being in touch with high end gaming.

      That being said:
      "Forget gaming, there are very few GPUs that can push pixels to a pair of 4K screens at all."

      I don't know about dual 4K screens, but anything from the GTX 650 and up support 4K. And even the GTX 650 claims to support multiple monitors.

      http://www.geforce.com/hardware/technology/4k/supported-gpus
      http://www.geforce.com/hardware/desktop-gpus/geforce-gtx-650/features

      So I'd be very careful and actually do some research before making such a claim.
      CobraA1
    • 4K UHD natively on Celeron g1820 CPU

      If it's not for gaming, 4K UHD is natively part of Intel CPU:s. Even a 50W $45 Celeron g1820 CPU does 24p/30p/60p 4K. Not even a need for a graphics card. Of course this is only for one screen rather than a pair.

      What's holding back high refresh rates on 4k is HDMI 1.4, and the rarity of TV:s, 4K screens, or projectors that take DisplayPort 1.2. 4K above 30Hz requires DP 1.2 until HDMI 2.0 is out. TV:s that take DP 1.2 are rare.

      The $370 AMD Radeon HD7870 Eyefinity does SIX 4K screens simultaneously via DP 1.2, and can split the scene so that all six were united as one. The regular editions just do four 4K screens. AMD also has the $750 professional FirePro 600W that does six screens at 4K.
      gadgety
  • 30 days?

    Just recently the guys at Booragoon, Garden City Apple Store, told me there was only a 14 day grace period to return an item for the Apple Store.
    Dr. Ghostly
  • Bullying?

    You really know better than to let your editors bully you into a Slide Show format article.
    Leo Regulus
  • Smart Watch

    Well I agree with the rest but I think there really is a market for smart watches and they really are providing a solution.
    The first thing to realize is that there are two distinct classes of smart watches.
    1) There is the extension watch - linked to a Smart Phone
    2) There is the stand alone watch - has its own mobile data / cell connection.
    Many of the naysayers complain that the current watches are type 1 and feel they want a type 2 watch. But why would you want a second independent connection? Your cell provider will want to charge you extra, you will have multiple numbers to manage (even if you use Onenumber or Google voice you still need to manage it) and really there is very little you can do on something the size of a watch.
    I believe that Google got is mostly right with Android Wear. I want quick interaction and quick data uptake from a watch. If I need to do more then select something from a list, then the watch interface is too small. But if it can remote control my music player, great, give me txt msg, great, remind me to do something, great, count my steps, great. All these give me information so that I can understand what is going on and then make an informed decision about interacting with the watch or phone or leave it until later. It is this INFORMED decision that is the real benefit. This means that when I get an e-mail from work all I need to do is glance at my watch to see if I need to stop playing with my kids, or if I can go on having fun. When a call comes in, at a glance I know if I need to get out the phone or leave it, or send it to VM. All of these are “Little things” and may not add up to much for some people but 10 seconds here, ten seconds there can add up. I read that the average person checks there phone 125 times a day, at 10 seconds savings for half of these we are talking about 10 minutes a day or over an hour a week. If your time is worth $25 an hour then you pay-off the latest watches in like 3 months. That is before you grab your phone to check a Facebook notification and get stuck looking at cat videos for 30 minutes.
    For me another big advantage it the remote control function. I still need my phone when I; Run, Ski, Ride my motorbike, but now I can keep the phone put away safe in my jacket, and use the watch to control my music, navigation, running program etc.
    Also that hour that I just saved also added a few hours to standby on my phone as the screen lite is the biggest battery drain on the device.
    Again this may not help everyone, but who needs a computer in their pocket to check Facebook/twitter every 5 minutes of the day, and mobile data to be forever connected? But how much do we spend for these abilities. A “Smart Watch” will never be needed, but neither is a smartphone and we all have those. I can see when most will have a Smart phone extension on there wrist.
    Now certainly IS the time for the tech savvy to start really looking at smart watches, this is not bleeding edge anymore, although still might not be fully main stream.
    CharlesG1970