Sunday, November 13, 2011

Our Holy Fire, Advertising, and Android’s Fragmentation

Android’s Fragmentation Mess–and How to Fix It, article.

Even when Android handsets do get updates, it can take eons. Sprint’s Epic 4G, for instance, just got Gingerbread, almost a year after the software shipped. For Epic owners, Gingerbread finally showing up was less a happy event than a brusque reminder that they shouldn’t count on seeing Ice Cream Sandwich any time soon.

A funny thing is that this article itself suffers from fragmentation. In this case, page fragmentation. A cool thing about the web is that space is infinite, so you don't have to have "pages" except to organize things. And yet many web sites split articles up into several pages for no reason. Except: to get more page counts for their advertisers. They try to earn more money by irritating their customers, which is classic advertising strategy, it's no wonder it's in trouble.

I think advertising in general is an aesthetic and perhaps even ethical blight upon our culture. In Bruce Sterling's excellent book Holy Fire* there's a brief line which tells us that in the book's time, about 60 years from now, advertising has been outlawed globally for years. I like that thought. But I don't consider it likely, simply because advertising is big money, and anything pulling in big money simply can't be suppressed in human society, just take street drugs for example, despite seemingly universal opposition and illegality, it's a huge business.

And I guess if advertising were actually to be outlawed, it would be forced underground, and become an even bigger problem because we would never know to which degree a book or film is art or advertising, and for me that would spoil them a lot. This is already partly so with "product placement".

*Holy Fire is about a very old and careful and well-preserved woman who gets a highly experimental youth-treatment, which is very successful. But her inner "holy fire" is so strong that she runs away from her medical monitors and goes to Europe (from the US). It's a sprawling adventure, but what impresses me is the subtle, underlying feeling of this "holy fire" which the woman regains, the "lust for life" as the classic van Gogh bio expresses it. It is so very undefinable, and yet it's there, and we can lose it, and possibly regain it.


TC [Girl] said...

Eolake said...
"...but what impresses me is the subtle, underlying feeling of this "holy fire" which the woman regains, the "lust for life" as the classic van Gogh bio expresses it. It is so very undefinable, and yet it's there, and we can lose it, and possibly regain it."

I sure hope that that is a possibility! :-D

Bruce said...

Another kind of fragmentation is with all of the brand names. HTC is particularly bad bout this. If you bought a Hero or a Droid Eris and kept it for a year or so, you might want a new Eris or Hero. That's not possible, they never made a follow up model for either phone.

With most Android brands, every six months there are new names to learn. Contrast that with the iPhone: if you bought it and liked it, go back and ask for a new one and you will get one.

Samsung is trying to establish the Galaxy brand over time, but if you like your older Galaxy phone and go back and ask for a new Galaxy, they might give you a tablet!

Ps. off topic, but how about calling a 4 or 5 inch tablet a tablette? :-)

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Good word. Though if and when we get 10+ inch tablets, a 7-incher may seen like a tablette too.

Good points on the names. Also the big companies are changing their names all the time. My building society has now had three or four in the decade I've lived here. Mergers and buy-ups I think.

I think Amazon goes overboard by just having Kindle. Keeping the name but adding a number is a good way. You know what an iPhone is, and then you just have to find out the differences between a "3s", a "4", and a "4s".