Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

Bells, Whistles, and Utility

Recently, I was reminded of this article. It’s an interesting piece about how appliance manufacturers are incorporating other types of technology into their wares.

I see this as solving a problem that doesn’t exist. Of doing something with technology because it can be done, not because it’s actually useful.

Do you really need Evernote (the popular note-taking tool) integrated into a refrigerator? Yes, one manufacturer has done that. And other appliance makers are playing with something called Near Field Communication (NFC), a technology that established radio contact between device.

Which brings me to a key passage from the article I mentioned three paragraphs ago:

LG’s big innovation this year is NFC-enabled ovens. Look through a recipe book on your phone, tap it to a receiver located just above the hob, and boom — your cooking settings have been programmed for you. This could save literally seconds of time that would otherwise have been spent pressing a couple of the many buttons next to the NFC receiver.

I wonder what those people will do with those seconds of time that are supposedly saved. Probably nothing. Chances are, they won’t notice them. And, in the wider scheme of things, having access to Evernote on your fridge or not pressing a button or turning a knob doesn’t make someone more productive. Those extra seconds don’t improve someone’s quality of life. It’s just more bells and whistles, sound and fury that signifies very little for most of us.

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