Technologies That Work, Technologies That Don’t

First the good. Some time ago, I started using Mozilla Firefox in place of Internet Explorer whenever I could. Within the last few months, it’s crossed another major line in quality: I recommend that you switch. Yes, you.

Firefox is resistant to popups and has a good security track record. Tabbed browsing is a godsend. The plugin architecture is clean and supports almost all of the media types that matter. Most of all, Firefox flies: it’s a fast and responsive browser and a pleasure to use.

Now the disappointing. Last week, I finally got the chance to ride a Segway. It was fun. I liked zipping around on it and if I owned one, I’d use it frequently. But it wasn’t $4,000 worth of fun. It wasn’t nearly as intuitive as I’d expected; and in context, I see now that one of those things, moving at speed, could be fairly dangerous.

But worse, it’s just not quite as rock-solid steady as I’d expected. You have to learn to relax a bit over the small adjustments that it makes to stay upright, and not assume that you have to make them yourself. It’s always fussing a little bit beneath you. I can even see how Bush fell off of one: if you don’t know what to expect when getting on, the counterbalancing can be quite a surprise.

I’d sort of hoped that the Segway would be such a magical experience that it would entrance me and everyone else and sweep the world. Nope. It’s cool, but not—yet—revolutionary.