How not to get stuck in dying technologies like the Nook

I wonder how many of you have invested time and money into a certain technology only to find that technology eventually to become obsolete. If you are a Nook owner and have been building a Nook library, chances are that you’ve invested in a technology that will very soon go the way of the Dodo. It was only about five years ago that hand held video cameras were still all the rage (remember Flip Video Cameras?). Those too have largely been replaced by smartphones. The technological ecosystem seems to be in a constant state of flux with devices and technologies coming and going all the time. How do you keep from wasting money on items that are here today but gone tomorrow?

If you’ve ever asked that question, then Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times has some sage advice for you. He says that the key is to “avoid betting on the wrong horse.” How do you do that?

When you decide what to use, you’ve got to play every tech giant against the other, to make every tech decision as if you were a cad — sample every firm’s best features and never overcommit to any one.

He suggests four ways to make sure that your technological investments actually have some longevity.

1. Buy Apple’s hardware

2. Use Google’s services

3. Buy media from Amazon

4. Bet on connectors like Dropbox and Evernote

Manjoo explains why each of these strategies is important in your technological investments. If your productivity depends at all on such technologies, I highly recommend that you read the rest of his article.

“How to Survive the Next Wave of Technology Extinction” by Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times (February 12, 2014)


  • Clint Miller

    2 points about the Nook:

    1. The tablet based Nook models (Hd/HD+) will allow you to access the Amazon Kindle app via the Google Play store. The Amazon tablets don’t have the same functionality, but you can sideload (manually install) the Nook app onto those platforms.

    2. The e-reader Nook models (Simple Touch, Glowlight) can be hacked to use an older version of Android, and the Kindle app can be installed. Granted, the quality of the screen in this method suffers in performance, but it does work.

    I would still recommend the Amazon Kindle if you want the traditional e-reader platform. If you read on a tablet, then go for either an iPad or a quality Android tablet, like the Google Nexus or Samsung tablets.

    As far as Apple goes, they do produce good hardware, but I believe that consumers are now paying more for the Apple name than the hardware. A good Windows PC or laptop is going to be more compatible with desktop software, and typically costs 30-50% less than Apple’s offerings.

    • Matt Martin

      Actually, if you compare similar specs – Apple is right in line with their competitors. The difference is that Apple doesn’t compete in the cheap crap market like a lot of Android and PC makers do.

  • Collin Garbarino

    Oh, this makes me feel better. I use Apple’s hardware, use Google’s services, and buy all my content from Amazon. I’ve often wondered if I ought to simplify my life by turning over everything to one eco-system. Now I’ll stop worrying and carry on.

  • Stephen Beck

    Fortunately, music purchases are now mostly DRM-free so you can buy things from iTunes or Google Play and not be worried, perhaps movies will be DRM-free soon also (good luck doing anything with your HD-DVDs though). Now if we can just get Nook and Kindle to remove DRM…it’s a good thing Kindle apps are ubiquitous enough that it doesn’t matter too much.

  • debbie mosley

    I used to have atari computer until jack tramiel sold it to time warner which pretty much killed it. Now atari does games.

  • Joe Wisnieski

    I hate to admit it, but I felt pretty smug after reading this article because, with the exception of Apple, this is the strategy I’ve pursued. But then I remembered my Logos library…

  • buddyglass

    I don’t really buy music anymore. When I do I buy the CD. When I buy books I prefer the paper variety, so no worries about the Nook et. al. The vast majority of the software I use is either browser-based or is cross-platform. I don’t use Windows anymore since going Mac, but if I had to go back it wouldn’t be that painful.

  • Larry Geiger

    “How do you keep from wasting money on items that are here today but gone tomorrow?” You don’t. It’s sort of like picking winners in the stock market. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Those four best picks may be belly up in five years.

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