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When Does Technolust Become An Addiction? 281

Posted by Zonk
from the right-about-here dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to a CNet article, an incredible one in three people aged 16 to 24 in the UK would not give up their mobile phone for a million pounds. 'The phone-centric survey, called Mobile Life, was carried out across the UK and questioned 1,256 people aged 16 to 64 on a variety of topics ... So young people really like having a mobile phone and we all love buying gadgets. But before you dismiss this research as stating the bleeding obvious, think about this -- if someone had told you even ten years ago that people would be taking out second mortgages to buy flat screen TVs, would you have believed it?' Is this just the result of deliberately skewed marketing dressed up as research, or is this another indication of western culture's obsession with communication and technology? How much is too much tech?"
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When Does Technolust Become An Addiction?

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  • When? (Score:5, Funny)

    by mushupork (819735) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @06:58PM (#19601703)
    We'll find out June 29.

    Say it with me: it's only a phone...it's only a phone...
    • Re:When? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Thursday June 21, 2007 @07:06PM (#19601851) Homepage Journal
      It's not only just a phone, at least 3 other operating systems and 20 other manufacturers have delivered EXACTLY the same functionality in their high end phones over the last 5 years. I would not want to go without mine, even on vacation, but then again I actually USE mine on vacation (as I've got a bluetooth GPS module and iNavigator installed on my Windows Mobile Smart Phone- it's amazing what that database calls a "Point of Interest" under Entertainment). Some of my best stops and side trips have come from that.

      To answer the question in TFA (which is just a repeat of the Register's finding that teenagers would rather give up SEX than their phone for a month) is when you are with another human being and fail to put the phone on vibrate/let everything go to voice mail. Voice Mail, SMS, and E-mail are SUPPOSED to be asynchronous forms of communication- that means you can put the phone down and drive, or actually talk to other people once in a while. USE the technology, don't let the technology ABUSE you.
      • Did anybody else read TechLocust?
      • Re:When? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sylver Dragon (445237) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @07:33PM (#19602129) Journal
        I'll agree that having GPS is nice on vacation, especially to be able to map your hiking routes before hand, and see where you actually went afterwards. But the cell phone, not so much. I do carry it on vacation, especially when out hiking or camping. It's rather amazing how many out of the way places get good signal. And in an emergency, that phone could be a life saver. Still, I don't exactly cry (or notice even) when I'm in a place without signal. I just turn it off, and throw is somewhere (lakes are especially tempting).
        And the rest of the gadgets? Leave 'em at home. Now, part of this is that most of my vacations involve camping (drive up camping, I'm too fat and lazy to backpack anymore, and the only one of the people I go with who would consider doing it); and the last thing I need, when I am trying to get away from civilization, is some idiot blaring a reminder of that crap a few hundred feet away. The forest/desert have very nice and interesting sounds if you just stop and listen to them. And anyone bringing a laptop/TV/DVD player deserves a beating with a stick. I enjoy sitting around a camp fire watching the flames and hearing the sounds of the sap popping and good conversation with friends, music detracts from that.

        Lastly: teenagers would rather give up SEX than their phone for a month
        Either they aren't getting it anyway, so it's not a loss for them; or they only asked prudes. If my choice in High School had been talking on the phone or sex, I'd have been pants-less before they finished asking the question.
        • I'll agree that having GPS is nice on vacation, especially to be able to map your hiking routes before hand, and see where you actually went afterwards. But the cell phone, not so much. I do carry it on vacation, especially when out hiking or camping. It's rather amazing how many out of the way places get good signal. And in an emergency, that phone could be a life saver. Still, I don't exactly cry (or notice even) when I'm in a place without signal. I just turn it off, and throw is somewhere (lakes are esp
      • at least 3 other operating systems and 20 other manufacturers have delivered EXACTLY the same functionality in their high end phones over the last 5 years

        Cool, point me at one that has visual voicemail - I could really use that and Cingular has poor service here. Is it on a Verizon-supported phone?
    • It becomes an addiction when you make up a creepy name for it. You know, like "Technolust".
    • We'll find out June 29.

      No, that's when we'll find out if people will give up a million pounds for a mobile phone.
    • Re:When? (Score:4, Funny)

      by TechnoLust (528463) * <kai.technolustNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday June 22, 2007 @10:32AM (#19608075) Homepage Journal
      I become and addiction as soon as girls see me. I'm not into guys though, so I'm not sure what you have planned June 29th.
  • hmmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    maybe they value communication with their friends and family more than money...
    • I value communication with my friends and family more than money - and my capped mobile plan with dirt cheap calls to certain numbers means that I can afford to stay in touch with them no matter where in the country (nay, world) I end up this week. I had dirt cheap video calling to my son but his mum decided to change her phone to a crazy phone company that doesn't support any standards so now I don't have that anymore :(

      Still, for a couple of cents a minute and a capped cost on the phone I think I'm doing
    • Re:hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

      by yali (209015) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @07:22PM (#19602011)

      maybe they value communication with their friends and family more than money...

      I initially expected just to agree with "this is deliberately skewed marketing dressed up as research," but that's actually an interesting point when you think about it. The survey asked people aged 16-24 "whether or not they would sacrifice being able to own or use a mobile phone ever again" according to TFA. If you are 16-24, then probably all of your friends communicate with each other by cell phone. By not having a phone, you'd miss out on a lot of social life. People are going to the movies? Oops, couldn't reach you, maybe next time. Meet a cute girl or boy? Give 'em your landline and hope they call when you're at home (and your parents don't answer and embarrass you, or your stoner roommate doesn't answer and forget to take a message). Hey, guys, what's everybody laughing about? What are you texting each other about? Etc.

      Maybe the bigger surprise is that supposedly materialistic youngsters actually recognized the value of friendship over money.

      • Meet a cute girl or boy? Give 'em your landline and hope they call when you're at home (and your parents don't answer and embarrass you, or your stoner roommate doesn't answer and forget to take a message).

        Really, if you're worth a million pounds, she'll find you.

        Maybe the bigger surprise is that supposedly materialistic youngsters actually recognized the value of friendship over money.

        Friends will understand that you don't have the access that they do ... but that you have WAY more money.

        Believe it or not,

        • by yali (209015)

          Maybe the bigger surprise is that supposedly materialistic youngsters actually recognized the value of friendship over money.

          Really, if you're worth a million pounds, she'll find you.

          I stand corrected.
          • Here, let me make it a bit easier for you.

            Do you believe that your real friends WOULD make exceptions for you not having a cell phone because you made a deal that got you a million pounds?

            Do you believe that the love of your life WOULD make exceptions for you not having a cell phone because you made a deal that got you a million pounds? ...

            Or is it that you believe that your real friends would not make the EXTRA EFFORT to include you because you don't have a cell phone?

            Or is it that you believe that the lov
      • by gutnor (872759)
        1 million pound is an average lifetime salary ...

        If cellphone is so important, just stick with a friend that has a mobile phone. He will tell you everything you need to know. You have time after all, you don't need to work.
        Also you are not banned from internet or other modern method of communication: just invest in a laptop and keep in range of a free wifi hotspot and use IM.

      • by iamacat (583406)
        Well, with a million pounds properly invested and a move to a safe but inexpensive country/area, you will have 16 hours per day to go visit your friends and spend time with your cute girl/boy - for the rest of your life. I think the respondents failed to consider other lifestyle changes that they would be able to make with the money. And of course, in my area a million bucks buys you a nice townhouse, so the offer is not very compelling if you can not move.
    • Laugh. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by lindseyp (988332)
      On the other hand. Maybe none of the respondents were actually offered a million pounds, so answered in the negative knowing full well there wasn't a chance in hell they were going to get the money anyway. You know the saying "I'd give my right arm for a night with her" etc etc.?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jaseparlo (819802)

        Anybody remember the sleazy guy in the library in the old Discworld PC game. He said he wouldn't give up his gold banana earring for all the gold in the kingdom, but quickly changes his tune when Rincewind actually turns up with all the gold in the kingdom.

        We guessed that people would think twice when presented with the actual cash/cheque.

        We also noted the exchange rate - in the mind of US/AU people, a million dollars isn't quite enough to live comfortably and never have to work again. We had to remind

    • Re:hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 1u3hr (530656) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @08:30PM (#19602683)
      Maybe they realised it was an idiotic question, that no one would give them a penny to give up their phone, let alone a million pounds, so they gave whatever answer seemed more amusing.
  • I'll take it. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @06:59PM (#19601725) Journal
    I've never had a cell phone, and never will. Where's my million pounds?
  • second mortgage? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by User 956 (568564) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @07:00PM (#19601739) Homepage
    if someone had told you even ten years ago that people would be taking out second mortgages to buy flat screen TVs, would you have believed it?

    That sounds like a really bad deal (for the closing costs alone). Why wouldn't you just take out a personal line of credit from the bank?

    (Obviously, the best solution is: don't buy it if you can't pay for it that month, but we're talking about the lesser of evils)
    • Re:second mortgage? (Score:4, Informative)

      by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @07:07PM (#19601861)
      Some banks offer very easy terms (even zero charge) to "top up" a current mortgage. Depending on your bank, this is typically far cheaper than a regular loan.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by fm6 (162816)
      Does the term "figure of speech" mean anything to you? Obviously not.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Does the term "figure of speech" mean anything to you?

        Yeah but it never really made sense. I mean it isn't actually a 'figure', is it?
      • by porcupine8 (816071) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @07:17PM (#19601953) Journal
        If it was meant as a figure of speech or exagerration, it was a terrible context to use one in. The entire point of the article is "Wow, people are going to extreme lengths for their gadgets, lengths no one would have believed a few years ago!" Proceeding to give an example that is unbelievable seems like the thing to do - but it's only effective if it's also true. Otherwise, you're not demonstrating that people are doing unbelievable things, you're demonstrating that unbelievable things are still not to be believed.
        • by nuggz (69912)
          Flat screen TV's are cheap.
          I've never considered a TV I couldn't afford cash anyway.

          Guess that's why I don't complain about my credit card bill.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      because you can write off the interest on a second mortgage?

      However, getting any loan for a TV is stupid beyond belief, usually.
      Sadly, it is very true that some people do that. Hey, got to watch those millionaires toss a ball around on my flat screen, otherwise my team might lose!

    • by tool462 (677306)
      When I bought my condo on California a couple years ago, I did an 80/10/10. That 10% HELOC loan worked like a credit card. I had a Visa tied to that account, so in theory, if I was dumb, I could charge anything I wanted to my house.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      if someone had told you even ten years ago that people would be taking out second mortgages to buy flat screen TVs, would you have believed it?

      That sounds like a really bad deal (for the closing costs alone).

      Actually, I think it sounds more like a nation of naive people who don't understand that (a) credit is just another word for debt, (b) house prices are not guaranteed to continue rising at double-figure increments per year, and indeed may fall sharply if the bubble gets too big, and (c) the comb

  • ...I had one in the first place. But what do I need one for, when I have my PC to use for communication? :p
    • ...if my friends and family would let me.

      I've tried to advocate the idea that you can actually turn off your phone when you want to be left alone. Then I get complaints from friends and family who expect me to be available all the time. It's nuts. I understand the point of availability in certain kinds of work, but for social life I would like people to loosen up a little.

  • by ebcdic (39948) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @07:01PM (#19601763)
    If some marketing person asks me what the capital of France is, I say something like "Moscow". If they ask me who the prime minister is, I say "Michael Jackson". If someone is stupid enough to ask if I'd give up my phone for a million pounds, what do you think I'm going to say? These surveys are worthless, and we all have a duty to make them more so.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      If some marketing person asks me ...

      I generally answer with I'M ON THE DO NOT CALL LIST, SO FUCK OFF (note the emphasis) and slam down the phone. That seems to answer their questions quite effectively.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I try to order a pizza
    • by gutnor (872759)
      Why do you even bother answering marketing person ?

      These surveys are worthless, and we all have a duty to make them more so.
      OK that's vengeance ! Did survey people stole your toys when you were a kid ?
    • Re:Hardly surprising (Score:4, Interesting)

      by obeythefist (719316) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @08:23PM (#19602635) Journal
      These surveys are worthless, and we all have a duty to make them more so.

      Disclaimer: I used to work in market research as an analyst, so I know what I am talking about.

      The surveys cost a lot of money to generate. So they have a value from that perspective.
      The surveys are paid for by major corporations and governments and health organisations.
      Governments determine policies, and corporations design products and price points based on the data within the surveys. They are referred to constantly within parliament if government owned, and taken as gospel. Health surveys are used to allocate funding and tackle major medical issues affecting the population.

      Based on those facts, I cannot support your theory that the surveys are worthless.

      Now, as for the reliability of the data, that is another question entirely. Sample sizes are often small enough that you'll see "bad" figures like the million-dollars-for-a-phone factoid this article is about. So what does that mean? That the survey, even if bad, is worthless? No. Quite the opposite. Even if the data is bad, we can see the data is being used to generate articles and who knows what else within the corporations churning over the data.

      I'd say this is a pretty clear example as to why it's important to be honest in a survey, and why participating in a survey gives you (a very small) influence over government and corporation. Would you be so quick to dismiss this?

      • by 1u3hr (530656)
        The surveys are paid for by major corporations and governments and health organisations. Governments determine policies, and corporations design products and price points based on the data within the surveys.

        However, this survey was designed to get "Carphone Warehouse" mentioned for free in articles like the one linked. What actions or policies, pray tell, could a government, or company, take based on the results of this "survey"? It's just a stunt designed to get publicity, nothing more.

        • This certainly looks like more of a stunt than genuine research.

          Proper market research works along very similar rules to more scientific research, results are tabulated and so on.

          But much like psychology, your data comes from humans, which are notoriously difficult to pin down. At least psychologists get their subjects in controlled environment. Market research observations are not so tight, but even still you wouldn't expect such spurious results.

          However! It's already got a lot of slashdotters reading i
      • by plover (150551) * on Friday June 22, 2007 @12:23AM (#19604443) Homepage Journal
        Yes, the surveys have value -- to the survey-taking firms. That's their bread and butter, and it's vitally important for a survey firm to maintain the fiction of their value to their customers, otherwise they'll quickly go out of business.

        However, surveys are far from scientific studies, and should never be accorded the same respect.

        First, there is no trusting the actual source of the data. Humans lie for amusement. Humans lie for profit. Humans lie because they're lazy. Humans lie to computers because computers don't know the difference. When taking a survey, some people I know answer "C.", because we all learned in school that C is usually the right answer. Others pick the most outlandish answer. Look at the 2001 New Zealand census -- 1.5% of all New Zealanders are practicing Jedi. (OK, some of them are Reformed Jedi.) Does that mean you throw away those 1.5% from your data? Does that mean the other 98.5% are telling the truth? Did the Jedi answer other questions faithfully? Strangely enough, the New Zealand census removed all references to Jedi from their published figures, masking the very existence of the false data and making it that much harder to understand.

        Second, the source of data is skewed. You may think it's a random sampling of the population, but there is an increasingly large percent of well educated, affluent people who have demanded to be added to "do not call" lists. They have neither the time nor the inclination to answer some random series of questions, and so have removed themselves voluntarily from the pool. That's going to skew answers in the direction of the uneducated poorer segments of society. Are the surveys adjusted for shifts like these? Hardly, as advertisers typically aim "low", and these skewed surveys provide only confirmations of the answers they want to hear, rather than the data they deserve. The answers might be fine if you're researching whether you really need Clydesdales to sell Budweiser or if you could get away with airbrushed appaloosas, but might be horribly misleading if you're selling Lexuses (Lexii?)

        Science is about observation. Surveys are about asking opinions. Statistics are used to try to give surveys the air of science, but they're still originated on false premises.

        • Re:Hardly surprising (Score:4, Interesting)

          by CodeBuster (516420) on Friday June 22, 2007 @12:56AM (#19604709)
          Humans lie for amusement

          I do that frequently when websites force the user to fill out a profile for whatever lame reason. I am usually an 70+ year old female CEO or CFO of a fortune 1000 company who makes purchasing decisions for 100,000+ person departments, my hobbies are usually woodworking, knitting, and fly fishing, and my annual income is always stated (for the purposes of maximum database poisoning) to be less than 15,000 per year or more than 250,000. Does anybody answer such surveys honestly anymore? Do the advertisers actually believe that this information is accurate? They should just save their money and dump the survey companies.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tim Browse (9263)

        I used to work in market research as an analyst, so I know what I am talking about.

        See, I think you lost most people there.

        But then, just in case, you followed it up with:

        The surveys cost a lot of money to generate. So they have a value from that perspective.

        And that's just freaking hilarious. Do you really honestly believe that?

        I could spend a bucketload of money creating something, and it might still be worthless. The only intrinsic value something has based on the cost of producing it is a negative value. The produced goods or services have to actually be useful/beneficial in some way in order to overcome that initial negative value.

        Suddenly a lot of things

    • If they ask me who the prime minister is, I say "Michael Jackson".

      Finally, a prime minister I can respect! [beerhunter.com]
  • by david_thornley (598059) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @07:01PM (#19601765)
    "Too much tech" - I can understand each word individually, but putting them together that way just doesn't seem to make sense.
  • by Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @07:04PM (#19601811)
    Shouldn't this be from the "how-to-get-your-press-release-printed-widely-for- no-apparent-reason" dept?

    Other stories under this heading mostly include "Dixons announces that will no longer be stocked in their group stores".

    How many of the people mugged for this "survey" actually thought that the herbert with the clipboard was actually going to give them a million quid?
  • errr... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Library Spoff (582122) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @07:04PM (#19601827) Journal
    1)give up mobile for £1m
    2)buy new mobile
    3)profit!

    I wouldn't need the numbers from my old mobile as obviously
    I'd be disowning my friends and family for hot coke bitches...

    • by bluemonq (812827) *
      I'm fairly certain that, when they say "give up their mobile", they meant that as in, "Never have a cellphone for the rest of their life."
  • People who answer polls are notorious for giving different answers, based on how the question was phrased. In this case, I think most of the people who wouldn't give up their cell phones assumed that the "million pounds" was just rhetorical hyperbole. Now, if you actually walked up to somebody and offered to give them that much money on the spot, I'll bet 99% of them would agree to give up using cell phones. Indeed, that's probably the least of what you could get people to do!
  • by Renraku (518261)
    Home decoration.

    Most people think that every free inch of their home must be covered with jubilant decorations. Their couches must be the best they can possibly afford, same with their beds, light fixtures, silverware, cups, papertowels, etc.

    They will pay double the price for 1% extra cleaning power on toilet paper.

    Technology is just the new realm of home itemization. You want the best cell phone. The biggest SUV. The biggest latte. The biggest TV and fastest computer. You want a palmtop with 2 gigs o
    • by grommit (97148)

      You want a bathtub that can fit three people.

      Nowadays this is almost a must for anybody that is taller than 5'6". I don't know about you but I'm an average 6' tall and just about every "normal" sized bathtub I get into I end up with my legs having to hang out of the tub or something./P

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wall0159 (881759)
      You are correct.

      I think part of the reason is that advertising has become so pervasive, and so effective. Many people think that they need these things to be happy, and it's a view that is constantly reinforced on TV.

      I think another reason is that people consider collecting stuff to be an acheivement. People's homes look like showrooms, equipped with the latest tect, the trendyist furniture, and everything is accessorised. Much of this spending is fueled by debt.
      They spend much of their free time thinking a
      • Wealth? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *
        I think part of the reason is that advertising has become so pervasive, and so effective. Many people think that they need these things to be happy, and it's a view that is constantly reinforced on TV.

        You mean the problem is people don't know how to think for themselves?

        Perhaps part of the reason for this is that we have become (well, the middle class, anyway) much wealthier in the last 10 - 15 years... buying crap they don't need, with money they don't have

        Wait, you lost me - are we gaining wealth or debt?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by wall0159 (881759)
          "Wait, you lost me - are we gaining wealth or debt? Those are opposites."

          We have gained wealth as a society. There are still many people who don't have the same amounts of wealth, but feel the need to pretend they do, to compete with (or emulate) the Joneses.

          Hope that clears things up for you.
      • Re:Well. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by misanthrope101 (253915) on Friday June 22, 2007 @01:14AM (#19604837)
        When people have more money than they need to survive, they buy stuff they don't need. Many save money, but not all of it. Before we had tech toys people bought other stuff--nicer furniture, more expensive watches, and so on. That stuff is still around, but now tech stuff competes with it for our money.

        I know someone who makes less than $30K a year yet saw fit to buy a $4K bed. We don't say people have an "expensive furniture addiction." I've met non-rich guys whose car rims cost $1.5K each. Why is this any different than with plasma screens or cellphones? We all buy what we want, and beyond food/shelter/clothing/medicine, almost all of it is luxury.

  • I doubt it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by localman (111171) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @07:07PM (#19601855) Homepage
    I think it's pretty easy to say "no" to a million pounds when you know there's no chance you'll actually get it. If they really had a million pounds right there and the paperwork was ready I bet more than a few of the people who said "no" would say "yes".

    That said, I wouldn't give mine up ;)
  • A million pounds, that's about 2 million American dollars. With that kind of money you can have people handle the phone for you!
  • by Hawthorne01 (575586) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @07:10PM (#19601891)
    I can quit anytime.

    No, really.

    After I get a new Macbook. And we need a flat-panel TV for the den, and some kind of media server. And oh yeah, I want a GPS for the car.

    But I'm not addicted. Really.
  • to pay for their cell phone bills: then it is an addiction.

  • TechnoLust [slashdot.org] seems like a pretty stand-up guy, and I hear tell the chicks dig him, but I didn't think he was actually addictive. Huh. You think you know a guy...
  • by rthille (8526) <web-slashdot AT rangat DOT org> on Thursday June 21, 2007 @07:14PM (#19601937) Homepage Journal

    I worked at a cable company (our company was doing a trial of Internet over Cable-TV before cable modems), and people would have their phone turned off before their cable. As a side benefit, this made it difficult for the CSRs to reach them about paying their cable bills once they couldn't pay those either.
  • For ~$1.5 million, I'd not only give up my cellphone (and agree to never own one ever again), I'd give up ALL phones.. no home phone, no work phone, no cellphone.
  • Its easy to say "I wouldn't give up my phone for a million pounds". It has no meaning. Nobody is offering them a million pounds, and people utter hyperboles all the time. I say, "Put the money in a suitcase, and then ask." No way 1 in 3 people would turn it down if the offer was actually REAL.
  • Would not give up their phone for a million pounds? So, people were actually offered one million GBP on the condition they gave up their phone? The other two-in-three people that participated in this survey must have been very expensive indeed. Oh, they weren't actually offered money and this was a hypothetical question? Really? For what it's worth, I would give up my phone for a million quid. My friends would never be far away if they knew I was rich...
  • I very much doubt in the technolust theory. In general, the quality advances between product versions are rather modest. Over many versions they add up, but the "desirability" seems to be strongly correlated with a small set of features that can be identified and marketed. The issue seems more to be possession of some new device as a social marker for disposable wealth / "good taste".

    Since the driving factor of advanced societies is the zero-sum competition for social status via consumption games, we get

  • I do realize that a lot of people use the internet for erm...interesting research; but one should not lust after their computer. It's just an image, and you feel good about it because of your hand. And, for goodness sake, do not try to interface with the floppy drive.
  • What Addiction Is (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @07:42PM (#19602243) Homepage Journal
    Addiction is not just some extra degree of "lust". It's a compulsion that one cannot resist. Not just that one dislikes to resist. And not just a compulsion to do something bad.

    Alcohol addiction is the classic: alcoholism. It's not just that one "drinks too much". Or too often, or the wrong stuff. Those are ways to tell someone is an alcohol addict. The alcoholic does not have self control over their drinking. Perhaps they need a drink to destroy their limits, or perhaps there is no initial barrier. Even recovering alcoholics cannot take a single drink, because the effect of that drink on their self control leaves them with no resistance - or is so likely to that they cannot take the chance. But even those not taking any drinks are still alcoholics, because they lack self control over taking it. They are behaving like they have some self control, but it's really gained by a huge, constant effort plugged into social structures, including regular meetings, and lots of conscious training, like 12 step programs.

    Techno addiction is rarer, but still happens. There are compulsive shoppers to whom technology, especially media devices, have a stronger appeal than their own best interest. You can tell when people are addicts because they miss rent or meals, but have every new game.

    These are all consumption disorders. Americans have them in epidemic proportions. Partly because we consume alcohol, drugs, toys, clothing, food and everything else to feed a desire really created by something else. Usually "spiritual", but most often caused by a family problem, especially early in life. And, as a buddhist will tell you, feeding the desire just makes it stronger. The resulting attachment to the material forces us further from the spiritual, which increases the desire, more consumption - the Wheel of Living [wikipedia.org].
    • These are all consumption disorders. Americans have them in epidemic proportions. Partly because we consume alcohol, drugs, toys, clothing, food and everything else to feed a desire really created by something else. Usually "spiritual", but most often caused by a family problem, especially early in life. And, as a buddhist will tell you, feeding the desire just makes it stronger. The resulting attachment to the material forces us further from the spiritual, which increases the desire, more consumption - the

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        You should learn something about where psych disorders come from before you die and they force you to become "spiritual" when it's too late.
        • I'm pretty sure we're a post or two away from "Doc Ruby" telling us we're glib and don't know the history of psychology.

          What sound does a duck make?
  • I think the brits just like having things to worry about. I've never seen ANY group of guys who spent so much time worried about whether they were cool enough or had something terrible wrong with them. The more I read about Britain the more I think most of the guys over there have this dialog running in their heads all day:

    "Oh, god, I'm a wanker, aren't I? I am, aren't I? Jeremy just looked at me. What was that grin? It's a WANKER-ID grin! He knows I'm a wanker! He can TELL! Oh, god, is it obvious? Wait;
  • Some horsey friends of mine are spending this week in a campsite in a moderately remote park in the hills between Silicon Valley and the ocean. There's no cell phone coverage there. And it bugs them. Yesterday I went out to visit them, and we rode endurance Arabians up to the ridge line so one of them could get a connection and retrieve her voicemail.

    They'd sighted what looked like a cell phone tower, and we headed for it. But it was a relay station for county emergency communications, with a microwa

  • He wanted to evaluate how technolust affected people, so he told the interns at his hospital to give the people on the seventh floor (mildly psychotic, neurotic, etc) whatever gadgets or items they wanted, so they could simulate the first thing they would do when they were discharged.

    A week later, he made his rounds. The first guy he visited was playing with a toy laptop. He asked him what he was doing. He said he intended to catch up with Slashdot when he got out, and that the laptop was letting him practi
  • How much of that million pounds would you actually keep after paying income tax? One in three have good financial sense!
  • Interesting. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jd (1658) <imipak@yaCOLAhoo.com minus caffeine> on Thursday June 21, 2007 @08:03PM (#19602453) Homepage Journal
    I fully agree with all those who have questioned the validity of the survey. However, that is not technically the question asked in the summary, so I will try to answer that part as well. There is no such thing as "too much technology", but there is such a thing as inappropriate attachment to a specific technology.

    For most people, this is relatively mild - by overusing one and only one solution, a person can lose touch with the reality that other solutions exist. This creates a psychologically-maintained monopoly which is not subject to market forces or anything else. A certain Redmond-based corporation is often connected with this issue, but it's really only one of many companies that have an unhealthy mindshare, and any company that makes use of advertising is - in some way - exploiting this particular human sickness.

    Note, however, that the problem is one of psychology and NOT one of technology. The technology merely happens to be the instrument used in some cases. It gets more press because tech companies are rather more prominent than breakfast cereal manufacturers, but the problem is universal. Kellogs didn't change their marketing strategy out of kindness, and the UK egg board didn't pull plans to reuse 1950s adverts for reasons of cost. Tech is easy to blame, but in this type of case it is not the subject that is the issue at all.

    In a few, very few, cases there is a much more serious problem. These people have an actual biochemical or neurological disorder that creates disproportionate and dysfunctional cravings. As before, these attach to something external for a whole host of reasons, but what they attach to is generally unimportant. If something is addictive, it worsens that disorder, but it is still the disorder that is the issue and not the subject. Tech is not addictive, so although it can be the target of such cravings, it is merely the innocent victim. If it wasn't tech, it would be something else. Those with such disorders are guaranteed to latch onto something.

    So, am I saying that tech isn't a problem? Yes and no. It is NOT a problem in the way that is talked about in the article or the summary. It is a problem in that there is so little innovation and true invention that we get into solution monocultures. This is a danger, if something goes wrong (see: Day of the Triffids for details, or indeed any of the mass power or phone blackouts that have occurred over the years). I would much prefer people to be aware of multiple ways to get the same result, because that is far more resilient to the inevitable problems in life. It is also a problem in the special case where the throw-away mentality produces steadily inferior products (see: Hitchhiker's Guide, shoe event horizon).

    In neither of these cases, though, is tech the real culprit. It merely enables society to make very bad decisions, but ultimately society itself is at fault for making the decisions, the tech didn't force them to do so.

  • How much silver could I buy with that?
  • If you have to wipe it off when your done, you just might have technolust.
  • I don't know about any one else here but there isn't a tech gadget I own I wouldn't give up for a million British pounds (including my computer). Having an extra 2 million American dollars would open up so many opportunities for fun and leisure (not to mention the financial security it would provide) I don't think I would ever miss any single tech gadget.
  • Now, does that include Helios?
  • DUH (Score:5, Funny)

    by llZENll (545605) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @08:42PM (#19602781)
    Of course, a million pounds is really heavy, and a mobile phone is really light, who wants to carry around 500 tons? And a million pounds of what?
    • by dbcad7 (771464)
      I can't even believe how many posts I had to go through before I found one that said,, "a million pounds of what ?"

      It took almost 2 hours from the initial post... amazing.

      Sorry, but I don't have any mod points.

  • I'd pay you to take my mobile phone away. Old-school nerds like their gadgets, but hate talking.
  • When you'd rather put your dick in a disk drive than in your wife.
  • 1. Accept one million pounds 2. Surrender cellphone 3. Hire flunky to talk on cellphone for you profit!
  • Gadget Deprication (Score:4, Interesting)

    by l0rd (52169) on Friday June 22, 2007 @04:35AM (#19605821)
    I don't think the problem is people buying lots of gadgets, the problem is the story never ends. Gadgets will always deprecate in value fairly quickly (dvd players worth 50 euros now have the same fucntionality that dvdplayers worth 500 euros had a few years ago) and one also needs to get a replacement every x years (computer/laptop/ipod). Also because of technological progress, a gadget can bacome obsolete fairly quickly (palm/newton) for those wanting the latest features.

    While I myself love gadgets too and always have the newest computers/phone/ipod/laptop etc me & my fellow geeks have to accept the cold hard truth: it is money thrown down the drain.
  • by Frantactical Fruke (226841) <renekita@d[ ]fi ['lc.' in gap]> on Friday June 22, 2007 @05:51AM (#19606129) Homepage
    I don't have a TV and don't want one, nor a car, motorbike or high end computer, but I would not give up my cell phone or net connection for anything. I was past thirty when I got them, so I know what life is like without them: It is lonely and disconnected. Until I happened to feed the words "Helsinki underground music" into a search engine some years ago, I didn't know that I had a lively scene of peers in my home town. They sure as heck never showed up on television, radio or any news stand publication, being too far beyond the mainstream and too few to interest advertisers. But they have mailing lists, web sites, record labels and net connections to similar artists all over the world. That's what the net means to me.

    And the cell phone means that I can take a walk in the city when I don't have work and not miss a job offer from my customers. God, how I hated sitting next to that landline phone, waiting for work!

    So I'm not addicted to technology, but the people it brings me. You simply cannot compare a cell phone to a flat screen TV - the latter is a dead one way channel.

    Rene Kita
    Artist, noise musician, freelance translator
  • Wow (Score:3, Funny)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Friday June 22, 2007 @09:53AM (#19607543) Journal
    One-third of 16 to 24 year olds in the UK are stupid.

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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