Saturday, January 13, 2007

The World of Technology, Sports and Politics

My office has seen another breaking down of computer.

It's not the first of case, and neither it'll be the last. Reason of my confidence is that there are in fact two types of models in our office 'initially' - the Pentium 3 IBM and the Pentium 4 IBM. The former is white in colour while the latter, a more stylishly-designed black, and till date there are still people using the black-coloured, faulty models. In a word, there certainly will have more reports of breaking down of computers in the near future.

One look and anyone will be able to tell the latter is more desirable in possessing it. Thus when a few of us were allotted with it, we were all of course accepting it with no complaint at all.

The problem began with the stylish black Pentium 4 hanging and stalling halfway through the usage. It's everybody's nightmare when this happens - one literally needs to save any and all documents every half a minute to ensure no important keyed data is lost. Any missing action in saving the file results in losing the entire document. Certainly not a favourable condition to be used at all.

Thus our site technical assistants were alerted and informed. The replies were not as surprising as I thought : these IBM computers indeed were having, and giving, problems. They have received numerous complaints against these nice-looking but thoroughly poor-functioning computers ever since they decided to buy the lot and introduce them into the organisation. Therefore, as mentioned above, the word 'initially' explains why there are two models to begin with, but as time passes, we now in fact have three models - the latest being a more sleek-looking, smaller-sized HP comps. And everyone is certainly more than happy to own a 15" LCD monitor, because one suddenly finds the working desk appearing larger than before - the space taken up by the bulky CRT monitor is finally freed by the thin LCD monitor.

A closer examination, or should I say a further observation, led me to realise why we are facing this problem oddly presented by this international brand IBM, which is one world-acclaimed computer-manufacturing company. 'Lenovo', China's top PC maker, has actually acquired IBM's personal computing division for $1.25 billion in cash and equity in December 2004. With the rising to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world, China is seen by all to be the next most favourable arena for any interested party in expanding their businesses to enter and play. The end result? A drop in the IBM's quality of their products. Ironically, we consumers seem to be ones contributing to this phenomena, demanding for a higher churn-out of the latest products in the ever-shortening period of time. With the progress in technology, we don't seem to ask for quality anymore; rather, we seek a faster evolution of all products we desire - Version I this year, next year probably version III. The following year version VI perhaps, with extra freebies and goodies thrown in? In the ever fiercely-fought market, quality has indeed taken a back seat.

Against this background of the ever evolution, perhaps one should really consider IBM and Lenovo being ultimately wise to increase and expand their production on the expense of the decrement of their quality - any spoiled computer can be replaced with a new one, thus leading on to a fresh sales figure. With such a gigantic market like China, losing one dissatisfied customer is easily overwhelmed and replaced by tens of thousands of innocent, first-time buyers in a blink of an eye. As much as consumers wishing to raise the banner of "Consumers' Rights" higher, we can never offer a concrete rebuttal to the theory of 'replacement of product is better than ever-lasting'. In the business-minded minds of the businessmen, this certainly proves to be a strategy much more worthy of investment than any other.

Moving away from the realm of computing and onto the printed media, one will be able to see two different pieces of news sharing an almost similar size on the front page of the US papers - David Beckham signing a 127 million pounds deal to leave Real Madrid for Los Angeles Galaxy, a soccer team in the US league, and the announcement by President George Bush intending to increase the troops in Iraq by another 21,500 soldiers more.

As distant as these three elements of computers, soccer and politics are, one common ground remains unchanged: the world has evolved into a state where things aren't as what they seemed from external anymore. In this age of fast-food and high-speed, no longer needed is the virtue of long-lasting; no longer yearned is the beauty of human spirit and struggles, and no longer desired is the glowing light of compassion and forgiveness. Manufacturers make calculations based on easy profits and not long-term benefits; sportsmen made headlines with their transfer fees, probably some rumours and possibly some other scandals, and not hardships and victories; and politicians made decisions not by their heart and soul anymore, but by their ego and wilful emotions. In a nutshell, the facades of these mundane manifestations are no longer true by their exteriors - they have been unknowingly distorted by the respective individuals for a larger gain and faster return.

As much as I am disappointed by these trends, I congratulate myself quietly in knowing that I still do care, and yes, I am still able to read through the mundane elements of untrue facts with a clear sound mind, before they flood me over with their skillful yet tricky presentations.


Lis of the North said...

I agree my friend. We live now in a disposable and throw-away world. As soon as a more attractive and flashier, new-look model of anything becomes available, we flock to consume. Goods are no longer built to last, because manufacturers assume (rightly) that when they release their next product, re-packaged and in a different colour, we will all rush to buy it.
And what of our "old" belongings? Thrown aside, left to scar the landscape in rubbish tips, poisoning the ground and the planet.

StormRider 謝|羽|豐 said...

Yeah, Lis. And unknowingly, we are now bearing the full brunt of the results brought forth by the gigantic pool of 'Consumerism', something unseen and untouchable, yet dominating every single aspect of our lives...hmm.