Proof the consumerization of IT has gone too far
'Personal' technology means it's yours, not that you can dress it up any way you like
Personal technology, in many ways, is more important than technology that's big and important – corporate technology that moves billions of widgets, scientific technology that travels billions of miles or billionths of a micron, military technology so precise it can make the same chunk of rubble bounce as many times as you need to get the video with your Predator.
Everyone with any geekish tendencies loves a cool little digital thing, almost regardless of what it's supposed to be able to do.
But phones, laptops, tablets, handheld games and other personal gear was considered to be the toy division of the world-changing innovation factories within the IT industry.
Personal technology was just gadgets, like the desk decorations and little toys near the checkout counter at Staples or Office Depot.
Smartphones? Sure, down Aisle 9, across from the novelty tape dispensers.
That changed along with the Consumerization of IT – personal technology dragged into the workplace, forced under the noses of IT people who sniffed at product names that didn't end in 'nix until they were forced to adapt corporate systems to take advantage of the cost-savings, power increases and mobility of tech being developed for consumers.
Smartphones, apps, tablets, broadband wireless, games, desktop data available worldwide via public cloud services, complex business apps business-unit managers could buy with a credit card years faster than using the old method – building a business case justifying the cost of developing a new app, long-range budget with TCO and ROI projections, not to mention enough political support that the CIO could no longer refuse.
The good thing about consumerization is that corporate IT has had to adapt to devices and form factors it wouldn't have been caught dead pitching as part of the corporate IT budget (though the CEO, CIO and a few favorites of each always seemed to have the coolest meaningless gadgets even without the official support of IT.
The bad thing is that it has encouraged all kinds of people to believe it is acceptable to do things to your technology no decent person would ever do. Most recent case in point: "Outfits for your laptop."
As you would suppose from the title – though you would never in a million years believe this is actually what it meant – "Outfits for your laptop" is a line of clothing for a laptop.
Not a nice, padded neoprene with little racy bits of color, not ironic laptop sleeves made from recycled inner tubes or imitation FedEx envelopes. Not even heavily decorated laptop sleeves suitable for middle-school backpacks or sleeves made to look like tailored laptop wraps made from the same material as your favorite suit.
These are outfits for your laptop complete with shirt, collar, buttons and sweater-vests (which cannot be made to look good even on humans).
The opening is in the back, under a cover made to look like a the flap over the vest pocket on a sweater.
Wry? Yes. Interestingly designer-y? Yes.
Morally acceptable under the laws of nature? No.
If you really need to consumer-technologize your life to that ruinous a degree, it's much better to buy something equally as offensive, like the portable espresso maker for your car.
You will lose exactly as many friends using it as you would dressing your laptop like Ward Cleaver, but at least you'd get a nice cup of Joe out of the deal.
Not that I would ever judge, of course.
If the struggle to keep up with consumerized IT has driven you around the bend, you can get your own Mr. Rogers laptop sweater set here, for $65 to $75 each.
Read more of Kevin Fogarty's CoreIT blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinFogarty. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.
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