On technology

Posted on June 2, 2010

Over the past month or so, I’ve come to several conclusions about the products I buy and use. I actually started thinking about it when a coworker mentioned the fact that I own a Zune and a Droid and remarked, “You have a Zune and a Droid? You really don’t like Apple, do you?”

It’s not that I don’t like Apple (though, actually, I don’t), it’s just that in general, when making decisions on technology, I prefer to go with either the underdog or the less cool option.

For example, every computer I’ve ever built for myself or my family has had an AMD processor. My current phone is a Motorola Droid. Yes, I know Android is built by Google, but it’s second to iPhone OS. My new camera, a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1, is built on the Micro Four Thirds standard – a relative newcomer to the dSLR world that doesn’t have a whole lot of support like Canon and Nikon do. I’ve never actually owned an iPod; before my current Zune, I had a Creative Zen. When this Zune’s life is over, I’ll go pick up a Zune HD. My first laptop was an iBook, but since then I’ve only bought Lenovo Thinkpads – and that’s the only brand I’ll recommend to people.

And I have been, and almost certainly always will be, a Firefox user. I know a lot of people are jumping ship right now and going over to Google Chrome, but I just can’t get behind that. So much of my day-to-day Internet use goes through Google: phone, email, search engine, RSS reader, company email and phone browser – and I would rather have a little diversity in my life. I don’t want just one company to provide everything I use. Really I think that’s where my beliefs on this stem from: that I want there to be competition.

To that end, I think that’s one of the big reasons why I’ve shied away from Apple as of late. Hardware is a big issue, and Apple has total control over what hardware runs their software. There are only a handful of iPhones, Powerbooks and so on. Compare that to, say, Android, which is running on hardware made by Motorola, HTC, Samsung and so on. I’d like to at least be able to do a little research and make my own decisions on what to buy.

Getting back to the topic at hand, I’ll willingly admit that there are some places where I just can’t follow my own beliefs. I recently switched from Scriptaculous/Prototype to jQuery, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. jQuery is elegant and beautiful to write. It’s got an active userbase churning out pretty solid plugins, and the library is being used by more and more companies.

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