Taking of stock of tech 2023

So for my company and for tech in general this is the start of a couple of dead weeks where nothing new gets announced and our customers are focused on other mundane business non tech things.

So in that vein, I wanted to take stock of my personal tech “journey” with a few observations, asides etc. I’d love to hear others as well and of course my opinions are my own and not broadly reflective of anything else.

Most general observation

This seems to be one of the least “innovative” years I’ve seen since I have been in tech. It seems every company big and small has adopted Apple’s approach of ultimate careful incrementalism.

Even Apple’s biggest “innovation” wont actually see the light of day until 2024 and at least so far, after the RDF affect has faded, my take on it is that there is very little if anything “new” about it versus perhaps an incrementally better way of doing what already exists.

eg. The Vision Pro looks to be bringing the best version of a virtual theater yet, but how many really need/want that especially with a giant, heavy chunk of plastic and glass attached their face?

I don’t have a good feeling yet one way or another about the AI space, especially chat gpt. It does seem to have some impressive potential, but at least so far it’s had some serious glaring flaws in actually delivering and itself seems to be only an incremental gain in most cases. e.g. we have started using it for some level 1 support tasks but the net takeaway is that we now can perform that task with three people vs 5.

By far the biggest disappointment for me has been the continued apathy from all the vendors in making less buggy and more importantly secure products. If anything the “move fast and break things” ethos is stronger than ever and in a disturbing trend, many companies “solution” to this is just to more rapidly obsolete products and talk more about version XX…

And you only have to look at 5G tech to see that in action which was supposed to fix many of the flaws of LTE among other claims. But in reality it did so, only to introduce at least as many new flaws and exploits as LTE had.

The one hopeful bright spot, is that there was a lot of genuine improvement is display tech across the board and with the possible exception of the absolute bargain basement “white label” stuff you’d find on Amazon or Bed Bath & Beyond the displays in even the cheapest tech such as Amazon’s Fire 7 is dramatically better that stuff from say 2020.

And 2023 is looking to be a banner year with microLED being one of several “game changers” we will actually see this year.

So that’s my musings… anyone else care to weigh in?

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Since I am uninterested in AI at the moment, this year’s developments in tech have passed me by. Still, the set-up I am using is more than adequate for my professional and personal needs.

The Pro X has worked out better than I expected. My old Note 10 just soldiers on. So too, the Boox reader with its EMR pen. There is literally nothing in the Surface line that temps me to upgrade.

I have now passed over two generations of the Go in favor of the larger, bulkier Pro X. The one thing that I find irreplacable is the pen in the keyboard. It lets me carry the Pro-X without a Maroo case to hold the pen. Until the Go gets one, its a “no-go.” The same with the current version of the Pixel controller. So, for now, I’m sticking with the Pro X.

The same is true of the Note 10 and the Boox Nova 3 Color. If there was a significant improvement at a fair price, I would likely have upgraded but Samsung has kept the prices on the S23 U and Fold 5 to high to be attractive and the Boox technology is evolving very slowly.

So, what I find most interesting is that the tech sector has lost me as an active customer for this year. Its focus seems regressive to me with a move toward expensive subscriptions for everything and the products it’s trying to upsell to the business world leave me cold. So, I’m on the sidelines. Not only for me but my office as well. I wonder if the same scenario is playing out across small businesses everywhere or if mine is unique. With the lackluster products coming out and the degraded service that is being offered, we are tempted to stretch our existing hardware and sottware instead of using our capital on new equipment.

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@Desertlap : I think I agree with the general theme of your comments, i.e., manufacturers have become extremely risk averse with their “new” products in recent years. It seems that incrementalism is everywhere and especially obvious in the case of Microsoft’s Surface products and, of course, Apple offerings.

I wonder though, if this is a passing phase. Will the slump in Surface sales that is reputed to be similar for other brands spark a new period of innovation as manufacturers try to improve or recapture market share? I don’t know, but I hope so. The alternative is that future computing devices will be no more exciting than small, flat panel TVs!

Oh, and AI… just a novelty for the moment. I’ve tried some of the AI apps and I don’t find them sufficiently powerful… or intelligent… to be of interest. As to what they will contribute to future computing, I think the jury is still out…

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I just want the Lenovo Yogabook 9i to innaugurate a new class of products, and I want such a device w/ Wacom EMR — you all know the rest.

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That new tablet with EMR was one of the few bright spots this year.

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Serial Switcher Checking In:

Hardware With the exception of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, it has been a “ho-hum” hardware experience. Although I like the non-Max size of an iPhone, I LOVE THE 5x ZOOM, so that is a solid commitment. As everyone knows, I flip-flopped my way through computer hardware all year between various Macs and my Surface Pro 8. At year end I have landed in the Apple camp with a non-returnable M1 Max MacBook Pro 14 (24gpu/32gb/2tb/AppleCare+); the Mac Mini sold this weekend and the SP8 is up for purchase here and on eBay.

I just don’t trust M$ anymore, not that Apple is perfect, but at least Apple has a discernible roadmap other than JUST AI, and all my gear works smoothly together from wrist to desktop. With the exception of the iPhone it is all two-three years old, but FAR better than my needs. Why no M3 Pro? Because it just doesn’t offer anything over the first generation M1 series for a non-gamer who is a heavy user of productivity applications and hobbyist in photo/video editing. Why the high end M1 Max - because it only cost $250 more than a comparable M1 Pro but includes double the ram and storage and renewable AppleCare+.

AI Here I mostly agree with @Bronsky - BUT - I have found targeted AI (Lexis+AI which trains and operates only on its proprietary databases and source materials) to be helpful to give me a starting point on new topics or ones I haven’t addressed in some years (ie - refresher briefing). I am NOT using it to polish my work…which leads to…

M$ I no longer trust their judgment…

  • All AI all the time is a dangerous cliff…
  • All AI and cloud services is all they care about
  • Win12, with AI lurking in the background everywhere to “help you” with corrections, suggestions, advise, and software ads is more than I want to fight against next year
  • Surface hardware is languishing miserably
  • Qualcomm may bring some relief to the table, but the latest quote out of QC’s execs that it is very much dependent on software and developer support, “but our hardware will be great” promises more fizzle than sizzle in my mind

Hardware Fail of the Year My new overlords at Apple and Apple Vision Pro. I think we’ll look back at this one as a “great” media experience but not anywhere near justified for that price point, no matter how spectacular it may be.

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Which one?

This was a really lackluster year for tech for me, even though I did purchase 2 new devices, sort of. I got a free Pixel 7a with my service plan that isn’t really an upgrade and I’m just waiting for a better price on the Galaxy S23 Ultra or maybe a future promo on the S24 Ultra. But otherwise, I just got a second IPP, this one 11" so I could have a more portable one, and have hover, which I thought would be much better than it is. My cursor was showing up intermittently, so it didn’t really work right, and Adobe Illustrator not only hasn’t implemented it, it has a bug that auto closes the app when hover is enabled. So I’m not even using the one feature that was the reason I spent the extra money on the M2 vs the M1 IPP.

But, I think what this year has done for me is finally made me realize that, as much as I want a One Device to Rule Them All solution, that’s actually not the best solution for me and my workflow. I am also moving closer to @dstrauss’s current camp of having a MBP and IPP as my 2 device workflow. (not counting phone) The biggest realization for this has been that I really only want more of a mobile OS for my take anywhere device. I just want a couple of art programs, really just Illustrator, to have more of the functions that it has on desktop, and I think it’ll eventually get there. CSP has proven that full desktop features can work just fine. Other things I do on desktop, like coding, as much as I think it would be cool to be able to do that on my IPP, in all honesty, I don’t think I’d ever actually do it. I don’t even like just using my 13.3 MBP to code if I can help it. I’d much rather have my large monitor.

Speaking of. I admit, I’m enamored by the idea of AR/VR glasses as my monitor. That would change the dynamic of my workflow quite a bit and maybe swing me back towards a 1 device solution idea. But I don’t want a large headset on my head all day while I work. I would much rather have something the size of the nReal glasses. I don’t think that’s happening unless we get a sudden power source breakthrough that makes true wireless an option. So, yeah, while it’s a fun idea, I don’t think we’re anywhere near there yet.

And, as far as AI goes, maybe it’s just the specific sector I work in, but in my job, we aren’t allowed to use it yet in most areas. We’ve opened up limited licenses for Github co-pilot, but it’s only for a small number of developers to test, and hasn’t gotten much traction. From my own limited use of it in personal projects, it’s been hit or miss. It’s been very helpful to create some components that I could do myself pretty easily, but just take time. But when I am trying something new, it gets it wrong quite a bit and I end up having to debug its code probably taking more time than if I just wrote my own from scratch. The amount of times it’s wrong for software development worries me that other uses that I’m not personally using can also be very wrong, and possibly to ill effect. What happens when it suggests to mix the wrong chemicals together for a solution to removing a stain, for instance? Anyway, yet another reason why I’m probably done with M$ for the time being. Ads everywhere and now AI everywhere. No thanks.

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Ha ha ha - you caught me…Never Say Never is my motto (although M$ is REALLY pushing me to that decision permanently)

:+1: :+1:

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I think tech in 2023 is a reflection of the Covid economy. It makes both producers and consumers fall into a sort of lethargic depression. You don’t want to mingle with a bunch of potential carriers in a Big Box outlet (or Yodobashi camera) so there is no need for products to lure you into one of those.
When sales are being driven online then familiarity and trustworthiness becomes paramount and thus we see incrementalism. If 2024 is the year we leave the pandemic behind us then we might get a bounce back effect and see more exiting tech toward Q4, but I fear that we have gone through a paradigm shift towards online shopping that will continue.

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@Kumabjorn : I think that paradigms come and paradigms go, so I wouldn’t necessarily say that the changes that you’ve noted will be permanent. When it comes to high ticket items, there will always be a segment of buyers that will want to see and touch. I guess we’ll see…

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I think that might lead to the demise of the Big Box stores and we’ll get high end electronic concierge stores on 5th Avenue and Oxford Street. There are probably people who prefer to rent VHS and DVDs rather than pay package prices for streaming but no more Blockbusters.

I’ve had a year full of fun new toys. I finally moved to a bigger desk and got a nice set up with a bigger monitor, nice mouse, and thanks to my husband’s new obsession with fancy keyboards, I’ve had several nice mechanical keyboards to choose from. I was able to play around with a wide selection of potential devices drivign the set up.

I tried again to settle on a Surface Pro X and Duo(2), but the Duo2 proved to be an unreliable phone and the Pro X failed on me twice in rehearsals which is absolutely not okay.

I embraced a digital planner this year, which really pushed me to want a pen with everything all the time (something I didn’t like having to keep track of with a Duo). I splurged on several new tech things, most notably the Boox Tab Ultra C and the ROG Ally. I upgraded my Fold to the 5 and got a Tab S9 Ultra (this screen is insane btw). My Boox Max Lumi is hanging in there for sheet music since the Pro X can’t be relied upon, though the S9 Ultra may take over that role for speed/ease of navigation/color.

This gives me one pen to rule them all (Spen pro which can switch between fold and tablets), while still having decent pens attached to each device so I always have something to write with. The Ally is available to do the heavy lifting in OneNote and other Windowsy things like the Sims.

I may upgrade the matching watch and ear buds, but they’re good enough for now.

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Someone embraced their techno lust in 20223, kudos!

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I would like to thank all the enablers on this forum. takes a bow

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You’re welcome!

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I’ve been deploying AI and machine learning long before ChatGPT entered the scene. My biggest gripe is not the technology itself, but the people that try to enable it. Specifically in the corporate world, there are people who are looking for disruption (err… promotion), who lap up all the cherry-picked big tech marketing spiel and set out to “modernize” large-scale processes with AI but they have no hands-on experience with what it can and can’t do.

So, I’m embroiled in this terrible inflection point of a management layer who have no practical knowledge of AI, yet they are making all the closed-door key decisions for corporate-wide deployment. And then you have younger, nearly straight out of school, employees who know the ins-and-outs of AI algorithms and tuning, but have no seat at the table to drive AI strategy. So, leadership and competency in this matter completely clash, and it’s just going to be a terrible mess.

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If Apple through some serious math can turn stereo iPhone images into a 6DOF (limited range) viewing experience, I think that has the potential to once again be magical. And afaik it’s completely feasible. Meaning: you would watch a scene that you recorded, and moving your head position slightly, the perspective woul change slightly. That makes 3D scenes much more natural/alive. I hope they do this, but I haven’t read about it closely enough to know if they do.

I have as well. I think it might be due to for the moment anyway, Wall Streets current obsession with every aspect of businesses like MS being “profitable” versus the growth focus that typified lat 2010’s and early 2020’s.

And the more I think about it, the core “stagnation” is in software, both in apps and even the OS.

I’m thinking about something like the Spectre Fold which actually is innovative in terms of hardware, but both my customers and I have who have spent any time with it, feel like it’s let down by software.

I am cautiously hopeful that AI may spark some innovation both software and hardware, once the novelty wears off and some actual rethinking of apps and interface paradigms, hopefully akin to the explosion of innovation that occurred once users and developers embraced the GUI of Windows and Mac and left the DOS/Command line behind.

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I know Apple is at least thinking about it, and… I keep rumors hearing that the LIDAR in the iPad Pros, which seem pointless for all but a very small niche group of users, was/is actually a stealth tool for what you are talking about as well as others.

And thus the huge potential for something like the vision pro, but so far unfulfilled…

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