Browsing the inter webs in 2015 is an exercise in futility; a now tried and true method of inflicting oneself with a constant barrage of in your face annoyances, one after the other, sometimes in plural.
Our online activities are under a constant barrage of animated ads, pop up auto-play videos, and sliding graphics that take over the very screen you’re trying to read at the moment. Some websites won’t let you view the page whose link you’ve clicked unless you wait 10-20-seconds to view an advertisement.
It’s not just advertising, either.
OS X, iOS, Windows, and Android OS are the source of a string of notifications, advertisements, promotions, hints and tips; some under the guise of public service announcements, others plain old fashioned ads, others a seeming service notice which has become part and parcel to the growing tide of non-content related annoyances.
Apple has joined the chorus by presenting users with promotions to upgrade to the latest iPhone 6s; aimed even at users of a not-quite-one-year-old iPhone 6. Why? Two reasons. Apple can do it and get away with it. And, Apple must have a generous number of iPhone 6s models in the supply chain which need to be moved quickly even if it means annoying a few million customers in the process.
My wife’s iPhone gets a pop up message every day with a request to verify her iCloud password. Not a day passes that we do not receive some kind of email message from Apple to check out Apple TV, new iPhones, the latest MacBook, the iPad Pro, Apple Music, and various artists new releases.
Windows users have a similar issue because Microsoft figured out that having all Windows PCs, tablets, and notebooks running the same version of the venerable operating system was good for business. That’s right, not only does Windows have the most frequently annoying messages, it also displays advertisements within the OS itself.
Android-based device users have problems, too, but of a different nature. Amazon Fire devices are a nag machine, designed to get users to buy more from Amazon. Apple and Microsoft often inform users of app and OS upgrades, while Android users may receive nothing because many devices cannot be upgraded to newer versions.
We’ve entered The Golden Age of Annoyances from our devices and there doesn’t appear to be any way to mute them or opt out. A single notice or advertisement by itself is not a big deal, but collectively they become a cacophony of visual and aural annoyances which, thanks to universal karma, seem to arrive at the least opportune moment.
I’m drawing a line in the sand. When Siri interrupts me with a question or notification then I’ll know that Apple is no longer interested in the user experience, and that perhaps our devices have become sentient and have figured out a slow but effective way of taking over planet earth.
Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad