The Airing of Grievances (Day One)

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Netflix

I don’t care that you raised your prices, split your company in two and then undid the split without undoing the price hike. You should have been more arrogant with all the complainers. That’s my grievance. It would have been incredibly refreshing.

“Oh, you’re calling to cancel? Bye. We’ll keep your queue alive for a bit just in case. Yes, we’ve heard of Redbox. Of course we’ve heard of Blockbuster, too. That’s the place you went in your car to spend $5 on a single movie that you had to return the next day or else they’d take more money from you. Then Netflix happened.”

Everyone cheered as you repeatedly struck content deals nobody else was able to strike, and then they all went insane when you asked for $6 to help cover the costs. These are consumers we’re talking about, and consumers are downright creative when it comes to finding ways to waste $6 multiple times over each and every month. Your service is a total non-necessity, yet it seemed like nobody could afford another $6 in their monthly Netflix budget for a while there.

“But it’s the principle!” everybody screamed, their arms flailing like wet noodles. Yes, the company that brings you affordable entertainment needs to add more entertainment, which makes it marginally less affordable than before. That’s how these things work.

(MORE: Tech Buyers’ Guide 2011)

Five Good Things That Happened This Year

- If you can’t find a phone you like, you’re not trying. There are good phones on every network at every price point. Service is still too expensive, but at least most of the phones are cool now.

- Computing is getting more portable. We’ve got tablets in all sizes and prices, and ultraportable notebooks like the MacBook Air and Windows ultrabooks are getting more affordable without nearly as many tradeoffs.

- Music services got better. You can pay Apple $25 to legitimize all your questionably downloaded music, and there are plenty of free (ad-supported) options from the likes of Spotify, Rdio, MOG and others out there now. It’s a good time to be a music lover.

- Social got serious. Twitter, in particular, proved to be a pretty useful communication tool for enacting change around the world. Facebook was no slouch, either. The ratio of what-I-had-for-lunch and OMG-Bieber-is-sooooo-adorbz! posts are still running rampant, but it’d now be hard to seriously imagine a world without social networking.

- People still care about tech. Look no further than Steve Jobs. His bio was the best-selling book on Amazon this year and it wasn’t even released until late October. People still squabble over the whole Apple versus PC thing, and the same types of passionate discussions are spilling over into the mobile arena now that Android’s making up a big presence. There are even Kindle versus Nook e-book camps. Technology may someday become so pervasive that we take it for granted, but for now it’s still an important aspect of everyday life that fosters curiosity and discussion.

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