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Freedom of Choice Is Not a Competition

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by Flaspeneer, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. Flaspeneer

    Flaspeneer Well-Known Member
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    A few thoughts on what seems an unnecessarily aggravated exchange:

    1. I've been watching the discussions about the Evo vs. the Epic for six months now. The really odd thing about the fighting on the Evo/Epic forums is people's apparent lack of awareness that their team is extremely temporary. In two years, none of us will care about either of these phones.

    I happen to think both phones are amazing. I also think they're about to become irrelevant to people whose contracts expire in a few months.

    2. Platform wars actually seem logical if you're fighting about different systems: Mac vs. Windows vs. Linux; XBox 360 vs. the PS3.

    But people -- this is Android we're talking about. We're arguing about phones with the same software, app. library and the rest of it. If we're talking about rooted phones, then they aren't even using different versions of the software.

    3. A bit of benign stereotyping (which doesn't reflect on individual users): Evo users often have an Apple it-just-works approach that is understandable (why not share your joy about your phone?) but can seem a tad smug. Epic users often have a chip on their shoulders which can also be tiresome, though they have reason to feel that way: lesser popularity, the relative lack of advertising and the Epic's bad publicity, which they themselves helped to create (though for good reasons: GPS issues, initial gimped 4G and the lack of froyo updates, all of which are in Samsung's impervious face thanks to user protests).

    To which I say: Relative anonymity has its advantages, and some are better than those of wider acceptance.

    The iRiver iHP120 and 140 were the only digital music players ever made that had optical I/O. With Rockbox, they were also the geekiest PMPs ever made: had the only recording options that would satisfy tapers and the only audiophile options (external DACs without surgery! non-destructive EQ!) available at that time. The iMod hadn't even been invented, let alone, the DACs that now work with the iPod Classic's dock out. (Remember: Your only options for digital recording back then were DAT and MiniDisc. Beyond that, you were talking about tens of thousands of dollars.)

    No one knew about those players. But if you happened to find out about them and wanted to listen to FLAC files on a portable player and use a DAC/Amp with some really nice headphones, you were still in heaven and you could introduce close friends to an entirely new level of portable recording, fidelity and flexibility. It didn't matter what people thought.

    Cutting down on the fraternal aspect means you're part of a smaller club; your excellent device is also esoteric, appreciated only by initiates.

    Someone could argue that, since Galaxy S phones are everywhere, the Epic is hardly "esoteric," ROTFL. To which I could counter-argue: ah, but there are few Galaxy S devices with keyboards, two cameras and 4G, LAYCWASF (looking at you calmly with a straight face).

    In certain ways the Epic was/is the iHP140 of its time. I don't know how you feel about it, but gaming is amazing on my Epic. The Sony NGP appears to be the geek-friendliest game handheld ever created, and I can't wait to play with one, but my Epic is doing a great job of subbing for it so far. I can't complain.

    ===========================

    Here's the truth:

    In a perfect world, I'd own both phones (as many people on these forums do). Whenever I felt more interested in graceful response time than crazy options, I'd put down my Epic and turn to the Evo instead.

    But the world, like my chosen phone, is imperfect. I chose the phone with a keyboard because I write; SAMOLED, because I like the vivid colors, which remind me of bioluminescent fish rising through the black water of my screen. Watching a video, or playing an RPG, there's something almost spiritual about the way that colors float toward the user through total darkness.

    Yes, I chose the Epic. But I also chose not to belittle the Evo, which is still an excellent choice. Every bit as good as the Epic, in fact, for users whose requirements are different from yours or mine.

    Vive la diversit
     

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  2. Kelmar

    Kelmar Done by choice
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    Looooooooooong read but thought it right on the money. That is, both phones were awesome and pick the one that is best for you. That also implies that neither phone is perfect so pick the best one for you.

    IMO, the bickering is people trying to justify their purchase. Can't we all just get along!
     
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  3. Flaspeneer

    Flaspeneer Well-Known Member
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    I could always edit it down, you know. (Keep in mind you're talking to a novelist!)

    Theodor Adorno raises an interesting point in Minima Moralia, which was written in 1951. In it, he predicts that people will come to pursue luxury as tirelessly as they do work, with the result that hobbies will become another kind of work and allow no time for insights or reflection, or any of the subtle aspects of life that enrich and intensify our brief time here. I love my phone, but I don't want to reduce my leisure time to drudgery.

    Those moments when we raise our heads out of the maze and, for that brief instant, comprehend the larger reality of our lives; those lightning-rod insights we achieve when, in the company of virtuosi, we experience levels of musicianship, writing and painting that become tangible to us, not distant or unreachable -- those moments are far more important than clinging to justifications for buying products that are thought to define us in some narrow team-spirit way.

    Adorno also predicts that, instead of actually having individualists' thoughts, human beings will simply buy products that *represent* their individuality. Instead of being an individual, one will buy the brand of jeans that seems to suggest one is familiarly unique.

    That sort of thinking plays into the Evo/Epic war: "Of course I'm a maverick consumer! After all, I chose the [Epic] [Evo], not the [Epic] [Evo]!"
     
  4. pastafarian

    pastafarian Pâtes avec votre foie
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    Ahhh, that darn human nature! Why does the other side always suck so much?
     
  5. Epicurean

    Epicurean Android Enthusiast
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    Well, we do have The Lounge ;-)
     
  6. novox77

    novox77 Leeeroy Jennnkinnns!
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    It's an interesting case study for psychology majors :) I think the reason people get all worked up (even though we're all on the same Android team) is that when you are financially/emotionally vested in a product, something inside you has to justify that purchase. And when someone else says something not-so-positive about your investment, you feel the need to defend your decision; otherwise, it's an acknowledgement that maybe you made the wrong commitment. By no means is this phenomenon limited to phones. People do it with sports teams, cars, houses, and even spouses.

    The reality is that most of us are fanboys of our chosen product. The term has developed a negative connotation on the webz to mean someone who is blindly devoted to a product, even if said product is a piece of crap. But I think that's the extreme. A fanboy is someone who is simply proud of their purchase and hopes that more people discover how awesome that product is. I'm not ashamed to say that I'm a fan of Android, and I'm a fan of my Evo. And I enjoy the rivalry between my phone and yours.

    It's like Army vs. Navy. Big rivalry. Makes for great games. But in the end, we're playing on the same team. And people should not lose sight of the big picture.
     
  7. rounsy222

    rounsy222 Android Enthusiast
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    Wow, that was some deep and insightful thoughts. Something you dont see too much of nowdays. And what a pleasant surprise, in my humble opinion, that they were written here in the forums where far too many are quick belittle their fellow android users for whatever reason.
     
  8. dbpaddler

    dbpaddler Android Expert
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    Did you forget about the Neuros? That was one of the ultimate geek/recorders dream back in the day. Had an fm transmitter that was actually illegal.
    Good but long read otherwise. I own multiple phones so I try to be as neutral as possible when posting comparisons. Still get backlash though. What can you do?
     
  9. Flaspeneer

    Flaspeneer Well-Known Member
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    I not only remember the Neuros but was on the list for their corrected Backpack II. I loved the fact every rep and R&D person I spoke with was a musician and most of their demo recordings were their bands' rehearsals. I still have a Neuros T-shirt, which I sometimes wear to the gym.

    Problem was, by the time the backpack was released, the recorders were too buggy. Meant to get one, but their best hardware was probably already behind them.

     
  10. PhonerSapien

    PhonerSapien Member
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    Here's the truth - smart phones are a form of status symbol, and the human brain evolved to pursue status - it's hard-wired in our brains. Unless we evolve into something else, that isn't ever going to change.
     
  11. Flaspeneer

    Flaspeneer Well-Known Member
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    While I agree that smartphones *can* be a status symbol, I politely disagree with the idea that we're all here for that reason, or that human beings are reducible to their worst tendencies. People don't like being lectured on doing the right thing, but we forget we're constantly lectured on doing the wrong things by advertising, mean-spirited politicians and media demagogues. Yet the people we admire most -- great musicians and writers, Malcolm and Dr. King, brilliant recluses creating enduring masterpieces in their closets, even a man I know personally, who changed the way foster children are treated in America, but is too modest to bear being thanked or praised for the lives he's improved -- are the ones who choose to do more than angle for prestige.

    The ones who are still with us often own smartphones, too.
     
  12. PhonerSapien

    PhonerSapien Member
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    You seem to have quickly splashed your own morality and feelings onto my objective observation to the point that you didn't really bother to think about or understand the actual point I was making. It has absolutely nothing to do with right and wrong, good and bad, recluses, or foster children. I don't know anything about the modest man who improved the lives of foster children, but your other two examples are puzzling, as well as irrelevant to my point (read Ralph Abernathy's book, "And the Walls Came Tumbling Down" - google the phrase "malcolm x plane crash a very beautiful thing").

    I'll reiterate my point by using a metaphor: the smart phone companies dangle the worm, and we the consumers, like fish, go after it. You and I are, in this sense, fish. But, unlike you, I'm a fish that knows I'm wet.
     
  13. Flaspeneer

    Flaspeneer Well-Known Member
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    Speaking of bait, I feel as if the worm's being dangled in front of me right now. Why spin my point in misleading ways and then call me obliviously subjective -- especially after construing my clarification of my own point as a failure to understand yours?

    It isn't some inability to understand you that causes me to disagree with your premise that marketing hype is hardwired evolution. It's my sense that various regimes throughout the world with agendas to push have wanted us to think that for centuries.

    Yours isn't the worst point to argue, but your method of arguing it is essentially ad hominem: You characterize my argument and point as overly idealistic, and snark at the idea that someone I know did something that disproves the universality of your conclusion (a lifelong bachelor who was mistreated as a kid and, instead of festering in resentful abandon chose to devote his life to fighting for foster kids). Yet my point isn't that we entertain fuzzy thoughts. It's that we should wake from the delusion that we're apes from different tribes duking it out because that's the natural order. Technology isn't a matter of evolution -- we aren't living in caves and adapting to the natural world, and our gadgets reflect that choice -- any more than Samsung is a tribe of roving homosapiens. Samsung is a company that creates products and markets them to customers. It's devoted to making money, not drawing out innately human qualities. (I'd argue that advertising works on the addiction model and has nothing to do with Darwinian survival.) Yes, competition is involved in the Darwin's idea of evolution, but that doesn't mean market competition = human evolution, nor does it imply we should all be jerks to one another or empty our bank accounts to prove how wealthy we are.

    If anyone in this conversation "doesn't know they're wet," as you put it, I suspect it's not the person you chose to "quickly splash ill feelings onto." Any one of us has the capacity to be misled, but in this moment, you're wrong to assume your reluctant adversary hasn't done his research. Morris's Territorial Imperative does not equal brand-driven flame wars, as Morris himself proved in The Human Zoo. Synthetic environments change natural behavior, which means it's very hard to prove that anything we do as a society reflects the so-called natural order.

    To be free, in my opinion, is to buy or keep what's useful to you and ignore ideas of status. If someone chooses to indulge and buy an unnecessary tech toy, their enjoyment will probably be greater if they don't invest said toy with social significance. Toys will always disappoint in that way eventually, but a useful thing can satisfy its owner for as long as it lasts.

    Whether we support it or not, capitalism is a language rather than a natural state of existence. Every symbolic object we equate with natural selection in the marketplace is a signifier pointing to the referent that our economic system is natural law and corporations are the equivalent of natural resources, none of which will ever be true. It isn't a question of disapproving of capitalism. It's a question of being clear that any economic system is inherently synthetic.

    That's why it's more practical to get along with other consumers, to try to understand them, instead of assuming the worst: A friendly environment is less toxic. If people are competing in a vast game called capitalism, then the game is only useful if it makes people happy. If they find themselves getting so angry with each other that the game isn't fun any more, then perhaps it's time to view economic systems, like products, as means to an end instead of assuming they're perfect reflections of human nature and that the compulsion to abuse systems is irreversibly hardwired into every user.

    Mutual acknowledgment is a more pleasant and rewarding way to spend our spare time than in flame wars; it can also become exhilarating when people are in sync. Keats called this phenomenon *negative capability*: the ability not only to understand someone else's point of view but to get the sense of how life looks through their eyes. To step outside ourselves -- ex stasis -- is yet another benefit of not reducing the world to Darwinian branded turf wars. It's one of the joys of writing fiction, but the experience is also available -- perhaps even more so -- to those who prefer listening to speaking.
     
  14. Kelmar

    Kelmar Done by choice
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    I'm watching this thread closely....
     
  15. Flaspeneer

    Flaspeneer Well-Known Member
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    Where were you five posts ago?

    Clearly, you (like every other forum) have trolls who not only want to derail any expressions of good will but hope to degrade the tone of the conversation to the point at which the person who first called for good will eventually loses it and begins typing in all caps.

    It isn't enough for some people to be bitter. The game is to disrupt every possible conversation that might lead upward. The method is sabotage, the goal is mutual bitterness and acrimony all around, and the benefit is never to have to consider that life could have been better and we could have done more to make it so.

    Android Forums isn't about self-sabotage, it's about friends sharing ideas, enthusiasms and complaints about an OS. To that end, I'll have a look at my last few posts and remove anything that seems confrontational or obliquely political.
     
  16. Kelmar

    Kelmar Done by choice
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    Probably at work.... :( Been crazy busy lately.

    ... and when I get on here I'm dealing with the entire forum and not just the Epic forum ;)
     
  17. Flaspeneer

    Flaspeneer Well-Known Member
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    It was a rhetorical question, actually -- not intended to suggest that you, like the gaseous vertebrate, are ubiquitous and therefore failed me by not being everywhere at once.

    I'm just glad you showed up at all, but I rather thought you would. Sensitive moderation's one of the perks of a forum that makes a point of staying friendly.
     
  18. Kelmar

    Kelmar Done by choice
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    Lol, I know ;)

    :D
     
  19. Flaspeneer

    Flaspeneer Well-Known Member
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    One last thing:

    I don't know whether you caught this, but the previous poster referenced Abernathy's well-intended but perhaps slightly envious account of his time with King, which covered the material commonly known through transcriptions of Hoover's wiretaps. Unlike Abernathy's book, these were intended to discredit Dr. King and are still used for that purpose today. The poster implied that King's validity as an unselfish African-American leader was compromised when Hoover's men recorded unflattering private conversations to use as leverage for threats. The implication was that King, too, was a fish hardwired for the hook and nothing else.

    I can't let that one pass.

    Privacy-violating surveillance, negative anecdotes and gossip do nothing to diminish King's achievement and sacrifice. All of that is breathtakingly mean-spirited.

    King's failings would have never become publicly known if there had not been networks of ulterior powers devoted to destroying his work. Any person who chooses to champion a peaceful and beneficial cause knowing they are likely to die as a result should be judged by their demonstrable commitment and not creepy anecdotal evidence of the minutiae of their lapses.

    Firefighters who die protecting other people are not demeaned and vilified by opportunists who investigate their private lives, nor do the media leak their private conversations in tones of sweeping disrespect. Let's not bring the conversation down to that level, whether we're discussing firemen, King, personal friends, forum members, politicians we happen to dislike or anyone else.
     
  20. dbpaddler

    dbpaddler Android Expert
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    Do I need to show my Mensa card to continue on in this thread?
     
  21. whs37

    whs37 Android Enthusiast
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    There are some very sensible posts on this thread. It is long but interesting reading. It would be nice if it could stay at the level that was started by the original OP - even a bit less epic would do, LOL. I have bookmarked it to follow the discussion.
     
  22. Flaspeneer

    Flaspeneer Well-Known Member
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    You only need to offer your point of view, DBP.

    (Not a fan of Mensa, personally, as the few meetings I attended were devoted to males attempting to engage other males in verbal arm-wrestling in hopes of impressing the few female members who chose to put up with people like that. I walked in thinking it would be like a communal TED talk and left after realizing there were better things to do.)

    Whs37: Thanks for the props. I'll try to wax less lyrical to give others more space.

    Re the comment about Malcolm X: Here's a Wikipedia post that resulted in the quote being taken down due to a total lack of corroboration:

    The mere fact that people cling to this unverified and perhaps fictitious quote like an ideological life raft and then post it everywhere shows the depth of their desire to discredit Malcolm, demoralize those who support him and mislead those who wish to understand him, even decades after his murder. It also disregards the entire point of Malcolm X's life: That a precocious impoverished boy became a flawed man and then a criminal; understood his mistakes; embarked on a quest to help his people; and came to value the truth so much that it alienated him from those with less noble goals, especially enemies and rivals.

    Elijah Muhammad preached certain racist notions which Malcolm learned to reject, but he accepted them at first. He had to test and think about them on his own to conclude they were wrong and that Muhammad was ultimately untrustworthy.

    Malcolm's flaws and missteps weren't proof of hypocrisy or venality but of aspects of his unformed character, and of the criminal-deifying culture he inherited, which he had to shed en route to becoming himself.

    If he can do it, people all over America reasoned then and still reason now after comprehending the full arc of Malcolm's progress, if he can begin as a pimp and thief but ultimately raise himself up to become an important thinker and do something lasting with his life, then perhaps I can as well. Perhaps there's a reason to study, improve myself and perform acts of good will. Perhaps becoming a fully conscious human being and communicating that to others is possible for someone like me.
     

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