Stunning tech failures

As journalists, we’re primarily interested in content, rather than forms. We want to read and write good stories. We’re not interested in the storytelling potential of various platforms, but in the actual stories told. We’re not usually early adapters of new technology. We like to use the technology we already have as well as we possibly can. You can see our commitment to innovation in content, rather than form, in this simple fact: We’re still primarily a newspaper.

So we're suspicious of new technology and downright resentful of planned obsolescence, that horrible manufacturing approach of artificially limiting the usefulness of a tool or a product. Manufacturers expect you to buy a new phone every year, a new computer every three years, a new car every five years.

A good hammer can last a life time. Same with a good typewriter or a good bicycle.

This isn't to say that we're Luddites, totally opposed to any and all new technology. We're not. Digital technology can be an amazing thing. But we are opposed to technological change merely for the sake of technological change—or, worse yet, technological change merely for the sake of corporate profit.

Keeping up with the artificially accelerated rate of technological change hinders creative productivity. It's hard to get any writing done if you keep needing to buy the latest pens.

And here's another problem: What if the new pen doesn't work?

That's what happened in the Iowa Caucus. Iowa Democratic Party officials were so excited to use a shiny new app that they didn't properly test the technology, which led to a national debacle, what CNBC called “one of the most stunning tech failures ever.” The latest technology isn't always needed. Sometimes it creates more problems than it fixes. An older technology would've been cheaper and more effective—even carrier pigeons would've done a better job—and seriously, what's wrong with good ol' fashioned paper?

And the Iowa quagmire isn't just a failure of technology. It's a failure of Democracy. This debacle makes almost everyone involved look bad and only serves to boost the reelection chances of the autocrat in the office.

It also creates an immense amount of scrutiny of, and pressure on, the next presidential election caucus in the country, which, of course, happens here in Nevada on Feb. 22.