When I was frequently blogging, a few years back, it was for my wine blog on blogspot. DeRanter was my way to convey my humble opinions to the wine world.
Although DeRanter is long in the past, I wanted to revisit the last post I wrote back in 2010 that I feel is still relevant today. A lot has changed in the time since I wrote that post and now; in the information world and in my world as well. A small example would be the fact that I didn’t own an iPad nor an iPhone on writing this article, which now gives me more insight into what I was writing about. Another thing is the untimely passing of Steve Jobs last year.
So, if you will, I want to give this article a sort of “reprise.” I will post the original article, with my updated comments in bolded italics right after each paragraph. Although I try to tie in my argument to the wine world, I think you will see much of what I wrote still holds true today. So, please enjoy!
Instagram, BBM, uncork your Chateau Haut-Brion, and tweet your bookmarks!
DeRanter Blog: An Argument for Dedication
March 23, 2010
How many things do you rely on your phone to do? On top of making calls, sending text messages, gathering emails, we expect our phones to wake us up, remind us of tasks and remember all of our friends’ phone numbers, addresses, emails and screen names, even take care of our Facebook and Twitter accounts; that’s a lot of responsibility for one device! But this seems to be the trend; with modern technology booming, and consumers eating up every advancement, dedicated devices are thought of as underachievers. Why have a machine that does just one thing, when technology can allow it to do 12 other things as well? Is more better?
It’s funny how fast technology is booming. Since then, our phones can now book flights, deposit checks, pay for parking meters, geotrack our friend’s favorite hang-out spots, even tell me what I’m eating tonight! Even so, there are many advantages of doing one task better instead of being a jack-of-all trades and a master-of-none.
Steve Jobs has said that people wouldn’t be willing to pay for a dedicated device and that “general-purpose devices will win the day.” Mr. Jobs may be onto something, but with the recent surge of Kindle, Nook and GPS sales, one may start to think “Why do we want a device that only displays e-books, when we can have one that can surf the web, play music, make calls as well?” My answer is simple. No, really, I mean it. Why would I want an e-book reader? Because it’s simple. It provides me with the leisure of reading and lets me escape my world, which is already connected via phone, email, text, twitter, facebook, myspace, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera…. I don’t need twitter to push my @replies while I’m on chapter 7 of Alice in Wonderland…
The late, great Steve Jobs was a visionary and heralded for his ingenuity and unrivaled vision. He truly believed the future was in multi-tasking devices and a lot of people thought electronics such as the Kindle would soon go the way of the HD DVD when tablets ruled the world. Here we are now, with more tablets of all price ranges and capabilities. But e-readers are more popular now than ever; and with services such as Kindle e-lending and libraries stocking e-books, it looks like the e-ink brethren of books are going no where soon.
I love my iPod and my smart phone, but I still want that dedicated device. It’s nice to have a GPS in my car that I can rely on to do its one task. It’s great to have a blender that does just that. My blu-ray player works just fine without connecting to the internet. These devices are not inferior, for the most part, these dedicated devices perform their functions better than the multipurpose ones. Multitasking is great, but we don’t need it for everything. Imagine a world where your phone had a corkscrew built into the top, or if your computer mouse also stapled documents…. Nifty, but a little ridiculous.
I have a loaded iPhone, with GPS, geotracking, yelp and google capabilities beyond reach. My life has been more effective because of this addition to it. Yet, I still have a dedicated GPS that sits in my car and I use it often, mostly because on the streets of DC, it’s easy to miss a turn or find yourself at a dead-end. But my Garmin never runs out of batteries and even on the longest of car rides it’s nice to be able to listen to music on my phone or call a friend but still have my turn-by-turn navigation.
Since this post, I’ve also gotten an iPad and, with the exception of magazines, I never read on it. It’s LCD-backlight is tiring to my eyes and it’s not streamlined… I keep getting distracted by notifications with Words-with-Friends or twitter; there have been too many times when I’m in the middle of reading something and then realized I spent the last 40 minutes on Twitter. My kindle gives me the ultimate reading experience; I can read for hours on that thing and when I’m deployed, the battery lasts a month. That’s great when you’re stuck outside for two weeks, believe me!
Much to a similar tune, I think we can get lost in our wine and expect it to do too much. Wine already provides us with such a rich myriad of textures, flavors, memories. But some winemakers want more; they manipulate the fruit, the process and the art and sometimes it comes out confusing and overly-produced, much like a musical artist who relies on effects rather than talent. Like our dedicated devices, I feel that we should care less if these wines were made with steel barrels or grown in space. We should focus more on the grapes; the fruit should really shine and dictate the wine, not its process. (I know this is a pretty far stretch, but just my two cents.) It will be hard for you winos, but try this: next time you drink, forget the tasting notes, the charts, the reviews. Turn off your cellphone, forget the tweets and the wine apps; just enjoy the moment. I’m positive, like reading a good, simple book, that your experience will be just as enjoyable.
With technology growing and more science being put into viticulture more than ever, there seemed to be a phase where every wine maker was getting on the bandwagon of “new century” wine making. But the big players are still there; doing what they’ve been doing for hundreds of years. You can have the best winemakers in the world, but if you don’t have good fruit, you’re never going to make good wine. I think wineries are realizing this truth and have since stuck to tried-and-true, “old world” techniques that bring the essence of the fruit and terrior into the mixture, instead of emphasizing post-production milestones.
How many of you wouldn’t be able to go a day without your iPhone? Maybe you know that a more complex wine-making process results in superior wine? Let me know what you think!
It’s 2012; there are three versions of the Barnes and Noble Nook and four versions of the Amazon Kindle. Blenders are still being sold; GPS devices are more rampant than ever. Everyone speculated that the world was going to be run by smart phones and tablets. Multi-tasking is great, but in a way, it’s nice to reach back to that dependable, dedicated device. I believe that we learn that quantity is not always quality – so when it comes to electronic gadgets, why is it any different?
So while I still occasionally tweet my bookmarks and spotify my music, there are many occasions when I reach for that hardcover or dig out that vinyl as well. Multi-tasking is not the future; it’s just the present, but analog human pleasures will always be a trend.
Love and Cheers,
Your dedicated writer,