Thursday, October 04, 2018

Truly, an out-of-nowhere thing to get righteously enraged at.

So I keep seeing ads for this thing in my facebook feed:

Presumably because they think it would be of interest to me. kind of is, really. It seems like a cool and useful little device. What d'ya reckon it costs? Like fifty dollars or something? Let's just click over to the site; maybe I'll FIVE HUNDRED NINETY-NINE DOLLARS?!? In fairness, you can get it for "only" three hundred twenty-nine dollars if you preorder from indiegogo--a price that only seems non-insane by comparison. Now, yes, you could get a cheap laptop, install OpenOffice, wipe all other programs from the system, and you'd be good to go. Still, I can certainly understand being willing to pay at least some premium for a specially-designed screen; certainly, the eink display (like in an ereader) is appealing. But GOOD GOD is that ever an eye-watering premium to pay. I mean, I GUESS if you're rich enough that the absurd price doesn't even register, then okay. But I think the makers really should have at least provided some justification for this price. Come on.

ACTUALLY, though, NOT okay. Here are several things that demonstrate why I wouldn't buy this thing even if the price were reasonable, and why if baffles me that there are people who would. So, there's this astonishing paragraph:

While the hardware isn’t all that different [from a previous product with a similar MO that they released], Astrohaus is giving users more flexibility with the software. People previously couldn’t skip around a document — typos couldn’t be corrected without deleting everything written after it — but now, users can go back and correct their work. They still can’t cut and paste paragraphs, but at least they can remove annoying errors.


ARE YOU SHITTING ME HERE OR WHAT? You seriously released a product with a crippled word processor that didn't let you backspace? How the fuck was THAT remotely justifiable? And, you know, it's nice that they've fixed that, but, from the lack of cut-and-paste capability, it's pretty obvious that this thing is severely, severely limited in the ONE thing it's supposed to do. You guys know that OpenOffice, a fully-featured program, is FREE, right? My mind boggles. You say this is meant to be written on, but users are STILL going to have to use an actual computer to edit their work when they're done with a draft. How is this half-assedness acceptable?

And then there's this, which is somehow a positive review in spite of this bit:

Unfortunately, e-ink is still a bit pokey. My fingers tapped out words far faster than the screen could display them. That meant I would make typos but not see them until I was already tapping away on the next sentence, forcing me to backspace a lot.

So...what you're saying is, this is basically worthless for any marginally competent touch-typist. WOW. This whole thing is just so obviously broken. I don't know what to say. You might say "hey, you haven't used it yourself; it's unfair to judge. But is it? Is it really? I've only quoted from two positive reviews, and both of them make the product sound like useless garbage. That's not my fault.

The irksome thing is that this really makes me want a product that actually does what this thing claims to. Not six-hundred-dollars cool, but a hundred, even a hundred fifty, sure. You would think this would be technology that would exist, but this bizarrely misguided thing suggests that doesn't? The fact that they've raised five hundred percent of their target so far does not seem to indicate that people are very good at critical thought.


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