I have a confession to make: I'm a luddite. My computer is a cheap clunker, my cell phone is a no-frills freebie, and my sound system only does old-fashion stereo. What can I say? I like to keep things simple. To me, a lot of the latest gadgets take too much effort: They are hard to set up, hard to operate, and hard to network together.
In fact, the trendy devices that I do own—a TiVo and an iPod—are things that make my life easier. With TiVo, for example, I don't need to know the time or even the channel for my favorite shows. I just tell TiVo what I want to see, and it finds the shows for me. Even better, it figures out what kinds of shows I like, and finds similar programming on its own.
Apparently, I'm not the only person who prefers ease of use over cutting-edge features. Last week AP published a story about the growing dissatisfaction with feature-laden cell phones. Users complain that the gee-whiz features get in the way of more basic functions.
I'm not saying we need to go back to the days of voice-only phones, or that our sound systems should be limited to stereo. But we do need to stop adding features without thinking about how these features will be used.