Sunday, September 23, 2007

Caving in to the iPhone (why it matters)

I was in need of a new phone. I usually sport a rather modest Blackberry which I use mostly for email and data. Well, I traded up.

The newer blackberry I was looking at was nearing the $300 mark with a two year renewal. I quickly realized for just a bit more, I too could own an iPhone (potentially against my better judgement). I say against my better judgement more so out of embarrassment for buying such a hip product than out of technical quality. The conventional thinking should always be to question the conventional thinking, especially for those in any kind of scientific field (which we, arguably, are). I think we - because hopefully it's not just me - sometimes get caught up so much in the questioning that we often don't realize that the popular answer is the correct one. Clearly the word correct is extremely subjective and will depend on the context, but for me, this is one of those cases. It really is just a nice phone.

So what's the point? I fear I've done this in technical cases, in the past. I have been harsh toward Java because of this. In the last few years I think that Java has grown and progressed in places where I used to fault it, like performance. I've also had a similar epiphany with regard to development processes (although admittedly not until I learned about agile methods a number of years ago). I now feel that it is a lot of the unnecessary ceremony and inflexibility that i actually didn't care for.

I think all I'm trying to say is learn before you burn. Make sure you understand what you're panning before you completely write it off. Consider the intended audience and the context surrounding something. Be it functional or object oriented programming, Java, Ruby, Linux, Windows, or even the iPhone; the goal is to make an educated, intelligent decision, not to hold up some misplaced notion of purity or loyalty which is, in fact, just thinly veiled ignorance and bigotry.

On the other hand, sometimes you run smack into something that turns out to be exactly what you thought it was. When that happens, well, you know what to do...

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