Books written by Ray Sullivan

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

OMG - New Ways to Waste Money

One thing is certain in this modern world - there's no shortage of ways to spend your money, assuming you've still got some.  In fact I have a belief that the likes of Groupon and Living Social exist solely to provide avenues for us to spend money we  would otherwise struggle to offload and might otherwise have to save.  They certainly save us all the tedium of trawling through the internet to find devices and objects to waste our money on.  And that can't be trivialised - I'm sure I used to spend about three and a half hours a week looking for things to not spend money on, now I spend an average of half an hour a day deleting emails pitching such devices.

I'm not going to spend a whole blog listing all the trivial items I'm currently being urged to throw my money away on - you've got your own inbox to wade through once you've finished reading this.  I know this is just a diversion until you get down to the real work of the day, clearing out your inbox, double deleting, just to be sure.  But I'm going to pick on one product, unfairly in all probability, but it is so jaw droppingly trivial and abundantly over-priced I just had to mention it.  Plus, it works on iOS and Android, so that's inclusive.  I can waste everybody's time here, not just one camp over the other.

It's called the Jawbone UP, it's a wristband, costs only £99.99 and it comes in three colours - that's right, none of your Henry Ford nonsense.  But black is one of the colours, so at least we can pretend.  Oh, and it costs only £99.99 in case you missed that bit.

What does it do, apart from band our wrists? I hear you ask.  Actually, as I write this way before I post it, I actually can't.  That would be the voices in my head, or at least the headphones strapped to it as I listen to Xbox music.  I'm finding out how over-rated Mud were in retrospect, but at least I'm not paying for the pleasure.  Anyway, although I can't actually hear you ask the question, you've been good enough to hang on this long - ah Tiger Feet, perhaps I was being a bit premature after all.  And it's still free.

Well the headline is that you can track your sleep, exercise and diet while measuring your progress.  Now you'll have to wait to find out if that means you can exercise while tracking your sleep or one of the many other permutations that strapline offers for a little while.  Until the next paragraph (or chapter if this is a Dan Brown novel). That's right, that's right, that's right, that's neat, etc - getting bored with Mud again.

Hang on, I'm not finished with options.  Stuff the colour quagmire, there's three sizes, too.  That makes nine permutations just with colour and size, plus all those mind games the strapline left us with.  What else does it do?

It will help you to instantly keep an eye on health and fitness.  No delay, instant.  Not sure if it means both or if we have to choose.  More permutations. And only help mind, it's only a friggin' (£99.99) wristband!

You can use the wristband App (iOS AND Android, remember) to monitor your sleep, activities and eating habits.  Now we're getting somewhere, even if I'm not sure how much more monitoring my sleep needs - I start at night and finish in the morning.  Monitoring my eating habits sounds a stretch for any wristband and I'm not sure I want anyone to know what my activities involve.

You can set yourself fitness targets, keep to them and chart them accurately.  This is going to be a close run thing between the wristband and the tradition of using pencil and paper, but I'll persevere.  Pencil and paper might win, mainly because the stationery cupboard in work doesn't stock Jawbone UPs - yet.

You can find out about food by searching the in-depth ingredient database.  Cake - fattening, but ultimately satisfying.  Salad - boring but not too fattening.  Or there's the internet, you know, the same medium the email used?  Just mentioning.  Is there anything else this thing can do?  Is there anything else left in life not mentioned already?

You can discover patterns in your sleep and how that can affect how you feel.  Stripes are probably what make you feel you have direction, circles - well just hope they aren't too big so you can get back to stripes.  Why not trigonomic shapes?  I'd love to know why I keep on dreaming of tetrahedrons.

But there must be a reason why you'd want to spend only £99.99 on a wristband, in any of three colours and sizes - there's a handy instructional guide on how to measure your wrist, by the way - and it is revealed in the last but one bulletpoint - ah bullets, I'm starting to feel the need for one now. The Jawdropping UP is not intrusive in any way, not even in a 'I'm on your wrist and you can't wear a watch now way' it seems - but it will match any outfit.  Hang on, if that's true, why do we need three colours?  £299.97 for one of each is probably the only sensible way forward.  Unless you want the size options as well - I've run out of fingers, does it have a calculator on it?

Finally they have very limited stock (in bold, no less) and availability, which surely amounts to the same thing?  Maybe they only bought one of each, which would render the statement automatically true even if they didn't sell any at all.  Which I'm sure they will.

So get yourself on the internet now, sign up for Groupon and all the other sites dedicated to selling you stuff you don't want.  While you're on there, pick up a copy of Mud's greatest hits - it's short and cheap - or sign up for Xbox music.  If you don't mind the intrusive adverts, it's free.


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