As it seems that technological innovations and wizbangery has been the theme of the past few blog articles (Facebook: time waster or time saver?, wisdom in the web), I thought I would continue this thread of conversation into my blog. So the question has been asked “Are all of these new systems and applications just innovative ways to waste more time?” Like we don’t already have enough things to toy with…

I’m left sitting here pondering what came first, the need, or the new technological innovation? Let’s take a brief look at Yahoo! Widgets. Yahoo! Widgets is a free application platform for Mac and Windows that uses a JavaScript runtime environment, combined with an XML interpreter to run small applications called Widgets on the user’s desktop. Currently there are over 4,000 (mostly user generated) Widgets available for download from the official homepage.

Widgets cover a wide array of categories including Utilities, Games, Clocks, Calendars, Weather…
So what does the Yahoo! marketing department say about the platform –

Save time with live updates right on your desktop

Convenient at-a-glance view keeps your Widgets in line

Choose from more than 4,000 Widgets. Make it all yours

Speedier than ever

Convenience, choice, speed – what more do you want?! Since we are talking about the usefulness of new technologies, it’s interesting to note that the Games category is the second largest with 457 downloadable Widgets.

So going back to my thoughts on what came first, the need or the technology/application. If it were the case that need came first and the Games were developed as a solution to the need; this infers that we all have too much time on our hands and are looking for things to occupy ourselves (clearly this is not the case in our time-poor, money-rich [subjective] society).

Does this then mean that the technology/application came first? If this were the case, then we can conclude that this technology was developed as a time waster a novelty as with any gimmick, fad or short-lived idea. This confirms the argument that new technology is not necessarily beneficial to productivity or in improving workflow.

PS. if you read my blog on critical thinking, you’ve probably realised that this argument is full of holes but it’s food for thought, nonetheless.