View Full Version : Student Brewer - A suitable metaphor?

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26-06-2010, 19:04
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The Iphone got released recently. Well, the latest version of it. Something my little sister said made me think of this:

Imagine your 16. You've been saving your wages from the pub you work at all summer.

You want an Iphone. Your current phone has failed on you after years of good service, and you fancy a change. Everyone who has one seems really happy with it. So you decide to go and have a closer look.

The store staff are really helpful, explaining all the features and how they will always be there to help you if you have any problems with the phone. You ask about the price, and the result gets you thinking:

You can walk away with it today for a downpayment of 150. You'll then be charged 40 a month, and you have to use the carrier they say. You have to do this for a minimum of 2 years.

You can buy it outright, and choose who to buy your minutes from. But this will cost you 500, plus you'll have to sort out your own tariff and insurance. Whereas the first option includes a phone number you can call if you have any problems with it whatsoever.

What do you do?

There is a third option. You could have a look at other phones - Blackberry and the latest Nokia for example. After looking around, you think the best thing to do it leave it and think about it. It's a lot of money to buy it outright, then the added cost of sorting everything out - and you'll have to work hard for a while to pay for the tariff, although it would be a cheaper tariff than the 40. But you really want it now, 150 means you have change from your savings to go out with your mates for a couple of weekends. But 40 a month is expensive, and doesn't get you as good a deal.

The third option is to wait for all the bugs to be fixed - to make sure they're not going to bring out a better phone straight after you've picked this one up. To make sure your happy with it, and will be for a good couple of years.

We went for the 3rd option - took our time, looked at a few phones, and found one that did everything we wanted at a basic level, but one that we could reprogram and improve ourselves, so that it was always as good as the top phones. It cost a lot to buy and set it up, but the money saved by the cheaper tariff helped pay for the new programs that keep it running well. We've had it over 3 years now, and if everything goes to plan by the end of year 5 we'll have programmed it to update itself to keep at the top level. How great does that sound!

Then all the years of studied programming books and learning how every little piece of it works will be worth it.

The times we've dropped it, and spent 6 months running to keep still.

The times we've thrown it in a drawer, promising we'll leave it alone and get someone else to do it, only to take it out in two weeks time and look at it from the bottom up, in a new light with a clear head.

All the times we've annoyed the crap out of our loved ones, missing Christmas and Birthdays because the phone needed our attention.

The times we've turned down a holiday abroad and gone to Norfolk instead, using the money saved to buy a new part to improve it.

All those times will be worth it. Because then I can stand back, look at it, and know that I deserve to let it run itself. And I'll be able to say to myself, this isn't just any old phone. This is MY phone.

Knowing me it'd be about 6-9months before I picked up another phone, one with a completely new operating system I'd never heard before, and one where all the programming had to work differently to get the same result.

Ran away with my thoughts a little there, but sod it. It's too hot to worry about if the end of the blog relates to the beginning or not...

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