Technolust, technolost

There’s something about digital technology that always fascinates me. I can’t pinpoint it but it could be the good looks, speed and value of hi-tech. But whatever it is, I’m definitely hooked.

I’m thinking of getting a new laptop — an Apple perhaps. Or an Acer. Or an HP.

Online, there’s a really nice, second-hand iBook G4 selling for about 500 USD.

Acer has began offering its new Gemstone line of Aspire and Travelmate notebooks. The cheapest Aspire costs 29,900 PHP for the Celeron M, 512mb, 80 GB variety. The next model at 31,900 PHP has a 1GB memory.

I also found out that HP sells some of its Presarios for under 40,000 PHP. They come from the C500 and V3300 series.

Dell is currently offering an Ubuntu-powered laptop (Core 2 Duo, 2GB memory, 160 GB hard disk, 14.1 in widescreen) for just under 800 USD! You can even choose your system’s color!

In the US, we saw the frenzy over the iPhone. Had I been there, I would’ve joined the long lines and be among the first to get it. Its really a groundbreaking achievement to have such a multimedia device. Here in the Philippines, we’re made to content ourselves with Nokias.

One thing about technolust in the Third World is that we’re fed discards from the First World. They sell us slow notebooks at steep prices. The only way to get a real bargain is to really research or to ask relatives to buy it for you.

We cannot afford technolust as a nation. Our more patriotic businesspersons are deprived capital by the big banks, stopping them from improving their businesses. In schools and offices, computer use is limited to basic programs like spreadsheets, presentations and word processing. In offices which have succeeded to digitize their service offerings, the public are being made to pay a higher price. Take the National Statistics Office for example. The NSO has priced the reproduction of a one page birth certificate to about 150 PHP or about half day’s wage for ordinary workers.

Perhaps the most usual piece of tech gadget almost all Filipinos have is the cellphone. But we have to really rediscover its potentials as a mobile computer for connecting to the internet. It is not so much about our refusal to browse the net over our cellphones. But more because the telcos charge 0.15 per kilobyte of downloaded information or P10 per 30 minutes internet use. The way things stand, Pinoys will really stay dependent and addicted to text messaging as the de facto national messaging platform of choice over email, IM or video calling.

The prospect of Pinoy hi-tech inventions getting commercialized on a grand scale is quite limited. Ask Dr. Gani Tapang of Agham. Many scientists and inventors have left the country to where they are more appreciated. Even a Pinoy cellphone hacker has been reported to have been employed by Nokia and is now working in Finland due to his skills at cracking Nokias as he labored among other technicians in Greenhills tiangges some years back.

Definitely, technolust is one thing and the state of technolost is another.

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