Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tablets, Part4: The Archos 101 G9

So I have a few Archos tablets, and I think you'll know the theme by now if you've read about them: they're low performers, but they're very cheap. I don't have much good to say about the 101, so I'm going to be brief.

The Archos 101 is a larger tablet, about the same size as the iPad (but the aspect ratio is different, so they're shaped differently). Its screen is actually pretty nice, today the resolution would be seen as paltry, but I've never felt that the screen was inadequate. We primarily used the 101 to play Netflix in our bedroom because it has a micro HDMI port.

The thing about the 101 is that it's slow, really slow. We have the 101 Turbo Edition, which supposedly has the same processor as the Galaxy Nexus,  but it performs like garbage. I don't know if this is a kernel issue or a lack of skilled software development, or if Archos really phones in the hardware, but it really hampers the experience. The issues with the Netflix app that I've spoken about before are the worst on the Archos 101. Scrolling through the Netflix app is impossible due to being unresponsive and extremely delayed.

Sadly, the Archos 101 should outperform my current Smartphone, but it can't even do that. It's sad and unfortunately we don't use it as much as we could especially considering its large, pretty screen.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tablets, Part 3: The Kindle Fire

I bought my Kindle Fire more or less on a whim last year. I had enough money to pick one up and I knew I could get one from Target, which was a few minutes' drive away. I wandered around the store for a few minutes, getting nervous but increasingly excited about the idea. I approached the clerk in the electronics department, and he was actually really pleasant and knowledgeable. I know he was trying to get me to buy the Target Warranties (thankfully I didn't, they would have been useless to me), but I really didn't have the money for it.


About a year ago I dropped out of college. I wasn't doing poorly, and I certainly wasn't struggling to keep up. My classes, at least at the time, weren't hard. I excited to learn more about Information Technology and the career it would bring me into. School, however, just wasn't something I had ever enjoyed; I actually really hate the traditional education system. It's slow, light-handed, and expensive.

In school I always felt at a standstill. I learned slowly, if at all, and constantly found myself bored. My mother  told me that this feature was the best part of school, that I could live without much worry for finding a job and have some economic and financial safety. Her argument never made sense, although most of her arguments followed the same path. She argued that life is hard and questioned how I would handle it, and my answer could only ever be that I have to live my own life. If life is hard, I have to experience that difficulty for myself. Honestly, if I had followed my mother's advice I wouldn't be who I am today. I would never have learned how terrible it is to work 40 hours a week for very little money. I wouldn't know what it's like to live paycheck-to-paycheck. I would never know what it means to do nothing. I would never have learned how to be happy.

I'm not saying that living like this is fun. Learning these things has been essential. I know now that I don't want to live like everyone else. I know now that school and my mother kept me from learning these lessons, despite this education being more important than any scholastic lesson I could possibly find. My first three years of school were spent holding my own hand and waiting. Holding my breath for the next big step. I thought that school would be a door to a better life.

If you're like me, know that there is no door. Know that the diploma you'll get from school won't be the satisfaction you're looking for.Everyone I know who has graduated has had the same reactions: a sigh or relief that it's all over. Maybe some are happy that they have a degree and I know in the long run having a degree is better but none of my friends are anything more than relieved to not be in school. If you're in school for anyone but yourself, you're winning a loser's game. If I had taken some time to figure out what I would do with school, I probably would have liked it much more. I would have gone to school for technical writing, and maybe gotten several graduate degrees later on. Today I doubt I'll do that. I burned all the bridges I had to school, by failing all of my classes. I didn't want to go back, and I know it wasn't the best decision I've ever made, but god damn is it the happiest decision I've ever made.

I hate school. It's not that I hate learning, or even that I hate doing work (although being in deep depression really forced me to never doing it), but I really didn't like my mother's constant, consistently obtuse pressure. As I've alluded, I wasn't in school for myself, I was doing it to please my mother. I thought it was the only way to make something of myself, and, I know now, that isn't true. I still learn, I learn everyday and I love learning. I try to write more and I'm going to force myself in the coming years to write more. I've decided that I want to write. I want to make content. I want to be heard, and I need to be understood.

I don't remember when I stopped going to school or what brought me to that decision. I have a diary I kept during that time and I'm sure I could find out if I read through that, but I know that the exact day and moment won't be in there. I know because my computer died during that time and I quit school when it was still out of commission and I couldn't write in my diary.

So it's almost a year later. I couldn't say if I'm better for what's happened, and not much has changed since then. I still have the same depressing dead-end job, and I haven't really figured out what I'm doing, but my road has become clearer. I'm happy now because I feel like I can see. I feel like I'm my own person now, I feel like I'm in control. When I was in school, I felt clouded. I couldn't figure out where I was going or where I was. I didn't see the end, even though four years of school is actually pretty short. I was confused at the best of times, and utterly lost for the rest.

I wasn't happy a year ago. I was severely depressed, and I has been depressed since I was 13 or so. I was depressed for many reasons, some made up by me and others are legitimately terrible parts of my life. Leaving school is the biggest part of exiting my depression because it was the first big decision I made for myself and not for someone else. I left home, but it was to get away and escape my family and mother. I was still following what she told me, more or less. Escape doesn't work.

Instead I followed what I wanted to do for the first time in my life. I did the things I wanted to do. I learned about myself and what I wanted. I listened to my heart. Everything I had done up to that point was either in opposition of my mother or to make the most money I could (that's why we go to school, anyway). I had never done anything to be happy, only to piss off other people or to please them. Never myself. I decided for myself. I decided to live my life happily.

Today I know more about myself than I ever did before. I can admit when I'm wrong and I know what my faults are. I accept those things and I know what makes me happy. I know that life is essentially a rat race to no where. Essentially most steps we make are circular, as if we're just walking round and round. Eventually we spin out and realize there is no reason to do anything. Inherently, living life is meaningless. It's rare and special, but meaningless. I understand that meaninglessness now. I understand that there isn't enough time to spin out or follow a cycle.

There is only time to be happy, and that's the hardest part of life. The hardest thing I've ever done is be happy. It took me almost 22 years to be actually happy, and I don't know how long it would have taken if I had followed the cycle and let myself burn out. I don't want to imagine such a stark hell.