One Size Fits All

Large and small skillets

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It’s Friday and our food-related theme for the day involves tools.  Kitchen tools, specifically.  Let me ask you to think about how many assorted gadgets, pots, mini-appliances and other tools you have stashed in your kitchen?  If you’re like me, you have dozens.  There are many knives of different sizes – chefs knives, boning knives, paring knives, and others.  There are pans with different profiles which I use depending on whether I’m sautéing, braising, making a sauce, or frying.  Even the materials for similar pans can be different – I have cast-iron and stainless pans of the same size and profile yet use them very differently.

I was at a tech event the other night and that exact thought came to mind as we talked about technology.  How did that happen?

We were talking about the Kindle vs. Nook vs. iPad question.  Two are dedicated eReaders and the iPad handles that functionality along with email and other applications.  Two are purpose-built to do one thing very well; the other does many things pretty well.  The same discussion goes to phones – they used to do one thing very well – convey your voice to a similar device – but now they’re expected to do everything from show movies to give you directions to let you pay for stuff at various terminals.

So here’s my question – why do we expect one device to do it all?  Are we sacrificing the elegance and high-functionality of something built to do one thing as we try to cram a lot of other uses into one device?  You probably wouldn’t ask as much of a person as you do your technology.  The marketing guy isn’t the accountant nor is the lawyer able to handle product distribution (unless, of course, you’re a consultant – then you do EVERYTHING!)

If you travel, you might carry a computer, cords, connectors, a phone, and who knows what else.  I realize that one can’t be toting around single-purpose devices but I think I prefer the right tool for the job over something that does it less well unless I’m in a pinch.  In the kitchen you won’t see me using a boning knife to chop veggies.  I guess maybe it’s why I carry a digital camera in addition to a smart phone when I travel.


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