Technology is a beautiful thing -- our cellular phones have capabilities that surpass our desktop computers from just 10 years ago. It is both a source of wonder for me, and eternal frustration -- but not how you think.
This rant focuses on two specific companies who, for the sake of litigation, will remain anonymous.
These companies have taken great strides to advance technology, and many more to retard it. These companies purposely remove functionality in their products for the sole purpose of improving sales of other products.
One device, a cellular phone, has at its core the ability to play music, either from a memory card or downloaded. The device's bluetooth functionality is purposely disabled whenever an external memory card is present, as it allows the owner of the phone to transfer music directly from their computer to the device. The company has a download service for music, and the ability to transfer information from the computer to the phone would directly compete with this service.
The other device is a Digital Video Recorder. The company that makes this device has gone to great lengths to "secure" the data on the drive, creating their own device instead of using more common and less buggy commercial offerings. This leaves the consumer with an inadequate amount of hard drive space to store their videos, and no method for retrieving or expanding their recording capability. This was done at the behest of movie and television studios, to prevent people from backing up their recorded programs to DVD or some other form (and to keep charging them for seeing the same content).
As we approach the year 2010, the technology we have is, in some ways, almost science-fiction. And yet, the politics that has plagued our societies since its inception has made its way into our sci-fi society. I wonder if this is what Arthur C. Clarke had in mind.