rants technology

Technology Woes

Folks, I think I made a mistake. See, a few months back I decided to trade my Samsung A71 in for a Pixel 7 Pro. I was enticed by Google Fi’s “Pixel Pass,” a $50/month option in which you get a free phone upgrade after two years. I liked the Pixel 4 so I decided to give it a shot.

That, so far, had been fine. The Pixel 7 Pro is pretty cool and fast and good. I’m starting to have a more existential objection to the size of the phone itself, but that’s a topic for later. The phone works and is good.

Then, a couple months after that, I took the plunge and got a Pixel Watch. At this point, I had decided: I am a Google Boy. I will get all the Google things. Why not. The Pixel Watch seemed neat and I’d never had a smartwatch before (aside from a very cheap, very defunct watch I bought from China a few years ago). So I bought it. It is the crux of this conversation so I’ll come back to it.

Month or two later, I bought the Pixel Buds Pro. These I like, and I hate earbuds. I really had to hype myself up for these, but they sound great and they don’t make me feel like I’m compacting my ear canal with wax, which is what other, cheaper earbuds feel like. I like this.

Now, as you may know, I am in my 2023 Marie Kondo mode, getting rid of stuff and trying to make my space simpler and sleeker. I’ve also been running, which you definitely know about because I won’t shut up about it. One of my problems with runs is that I have this Pixel phone which is pretty big and heavy, heavy enough to notice when I’ve got it in my pocket for runs. Long story short, the damn thing pulls my joggers down when I’m running and it’s kind of obnoxious. I even bought one of those armbands that holds your phone but that is also a pain in the ass. So, know that that was in the back of my mind when I thought, “Why did I get such a big phone?” which turned into “Why did I get such an expensive phone?” which turned into “Why did I get a Google phone?” etc etc etc.

And so I went to Google Fi, my carrier (which is a good carrier, btw, never had a problem with it). This is when I realized that I was locked into all this stuff: Pixel Pass means I can’t trade in my phone. In fact, Pixel 7 phones aren’t even listed among the items I could trade in. If I cancel Pixel Pass, I have to pay the remainder of my phone’s cost. Which is absurd–why not just switch it over to month-to-month, like you do with every other phone?

That’s alright; the phone is good, if big. I can deal with that. Pixel Pass is nice, and the added features (device protection, YouTube Premium, Google One, and $5 off my plan) are worth it. I just wish I had a smaller phone! Never thought I would think that, but now that I’m running I need something a little smaller and lighter.

The Buds I don’t want to trade in. They are great, no issues.

The watch. The damn watch. I can’t trade it in because there’s nothing to trade it in with. It’s a fine smartwatch but here’s the thing, the wrinkle that helped spur my desire: my health insurance include Rally, which is a whole service dedicated toward fitness and health and wellness. Part of this includes “coins” you can earn which go toward rewards. One of the recent rewards is 25% off a Garmin smartwatch (and $60 off an Oura ring, which is also kind of tempting). This made me think of recent YouTube videos I watched from the Running Channel, in which they tested Garmin’s “suggested” feature for runs based on your activity, which I thought was pretty neat.

Fitbit does this too, but not to the degree Garmin does. And then this morning I was thinking: What do I want out of a smartwatch? Like, what do I use my Pixel Watch for? Heart rate, Strava, Fitbit, and sometimes I use the voice recorder if I had a particularly weird dream. But … I realized I don’t even look at the watch for the time of day. Thus, it dawned on me: I don’t need a smartwatch, I need a fitness watch. I need a Garmin. I barely ever wore a watch in my entire life and I certainly don’t need a watch to tell time. It’s the long battery life and the nuances of exercise that the Garmin offers that I want. Curses!

Honestly, the problem is less that I have this watch and not that watch. The problem is that I locked myself into something I ultimately don’t want, which is frustrating for anyone. And the truth is that I probably will end up getting a Garmin watch and wearing both when I run like one of those dorks. A first gen Pixel Watch will depreciate in value pretty quickly, especially when V2.0 inevitable releases in the future. I think I made a costly error. Thankfully, at least the Pixel Watch still does a good portion of fitness monitoring and does it well. I just wish I had the added features of a Garmin.

My point is this: Don’t be a Google Boy/Girl/Person. Or an Apple X/Y/Z! Just get the stuff that works with what you want. All these brands talk about “seamless integration” but it’s all seamless. It all works together, more or less. Get the iPhone and the Garmin watch and the Pixel earbuds. It won’t be as difficult to pair them as the brands would make you believe! Meanwhile, I’ll just keep using this Pixel watch until I inevitably get the budget Garmin Forerunner and then end up wearing that all the time instead. LOVE TECHNOLOGY!

personal rants

Trivial Opinions

I’m getting tired of people having strong opinions over things that one should not have strong opinions over. It feels like trivial opinions are competitions now, and having the loudest argument for your opinion means you won. There’s something about today’s society that makes people should “PINEAPPLE DOESN’T BELONG ON PIZZA” from the fucking rooftops as if they were trying to appease Jesus Christ himself. This is the de facto thing people are writing on their dating apps. Pineapple does/doesn’t belong on pizza.

Dudes: who gives a fuck? Who actually cares?

Having strong opinions about banal shit is the new “small talk.” People claim to hate small talk but don’t mind arguing about pineapple on pizza until their face turns red.

I think it’s the internet’s fault. More specifically, I think it’s content creation’s fault. Content creation has given people this concept that they must be making content all the time, and then paying them just enough to make it seem lucrative to have content. The byproduct of that is that everyone makes videos about everything because there’s a chance it might go viral and suddenly you’re making lots of TikTok money. It’s the new lottery: if you play long enough, there’s a chance you might become rich and famous. That chance is astronomically small, but playing it absolutely and always benefits the company that is providing the service. Your TikTok video may not go viral, but people will scroll past it to the juicy advertisement that nets Tencent about … ten cents.

Thus, it is ultimately worth it for corporations for you to have the biggest, dumbest opinion possible, and that plus the need to generate content constantly means that you will scrape the bottom of the barrel trying to come up with something that is appealing enough to a viewer to net you another viral lottery ticket.

We’ve coined this “the hustle,” but it’s really just making money for big corporations and them (potentially) giving you a sliver of that money back. Yes, a precious few people make a lot of money on Twitch and YouTube. But the signal to noise ratio is astronomically low. And yet, since we see people being successful, we assume that being on Twitch or YouTube will make you successful eventually. It won’t, not just on your content alone. A lot of those successful people had contacts or networked their way into success. Or were just rich already and bought it.

All of that is to say: please reconsider your strong opinion on bullshit. Nobody cares if Marvel is better than DC. That is not an opinion that should raise your heart rate. Pineapple on pizza? Who cares. Dogs on the couch? Who cares. Just live your life and worry about the bigger stuff.

Side note: I encourage every single one of you who may happen to read this to please curate your social media feeds and try to weed out overly negative people. The video game content industry is a big offender for this. Your life will be better if you don’t surround yourself with constantly negative people. I promise you.