…and you begin to question whether they have any meaning, purpose or value.
With the recent addition of iPad to my technology stash, my tally of “carry-on” gadgets–that is, gadgets I actually use and carry around with me on a frequent basis–is now up to eight. It’s beginning to get a little ridiculous.
I always have my mobile phone and at least one gaming handheld on me, but now it’s getting harder to choose what else I should be carrying around with me, under which circumstances, and why.
This is what my Fuck Shit Stack of gadgets looks like:
Not pictured: the digital camera I used to take these photos and the laptop I’m using to create this blog post.
But do I really NEED all of these things?
Well, that’s what I’m trying to figure out. This blog post is an experiment of sorts. In an attempt to justify a need for all of this portable technology and find out if it can peacefully co-exist, I’m going to list each gadget and attempt to rationalize its place in my life.
Motorola Droid 2 R2-D2 Edition
My cell phone. At almost two years old, it’s certainly not on the bleeding edge of mobile technology anymore, but it still serves me pretty well. I’m one of those people who has to have phones with physical keys, and this phone’s keypad is exceptionally well-designed. I also like that it’s on the smaller side and enables me to operate it fully with one hand. It is rooted and running Ice Cream Sandwich. I’m hanging on to it for as long as I can, or at least until my next upgrade credit comes along. I have never paid full-price for a new phone and refuse to start now. The downside of that means never having the latest & greatest phone, but I can live with that.
Toshiba Satellite Laptop
My primary “workhorse” computer, whether it’s docked in my office next to my desktop PC or with me on the road. It’s several years old now, but still very capable. The only time I run into performance issues is when doing heavy video editing or playing a graphics-intensive game, which I don’t use this computer for anyway. It’s running Windows 7 and I will most likely be upgrading to Windows 8 in October. Having a laptop is a must for the type of work I do, as I often have a need to carry my work around with me.
Apple iPad 16GB
My newest toy, which I mainly bought for iOS-exclusive games and apps. Last week I also discovered it’s amazing for digital comics. It’s probably going to remain a “toy” to me until I learn to start using it for more productive purposes, which I’m still inclined to use my laptop for; I couldn’t imagine doing a lot of typing or graphic design on this thing. But for entertainment purposes–YouTubing, gaming, second screen web surfing, etc.–from the comfort of my couch, bed or anywhere else, this beats the hell out of lugging a laptop around and is better-suited to the experience than my phone.
One of the best gifts I’ve ever recieved. I read a lot of books, both fiction and non-fiction. While nothing can replace the joy of holding real books in your hands or the smell of them that I so love, the Kindle delivers a gratifying reading experience. I don’t foresee this replacing my new iPad as my “go to” device for books for two reasons: (1) I love reading outdoors or on the beach in bright sunlight, a huge advantage Kindle and other e-ink readers have over tablets. (2) Battery life. A fully-charged Kindle can last more than week even if I’m reading for several hours per day.
Nintendo DS Lite
By far and away the gaming portable I spend the most time with. I’ve owned every incarnation of the Gameboy since the original, including Color, Advanced, and SP. With its backward-compatibility for all GBA games, there is an enormous catalog of games I’m able to play on this thing. I would like to eventually get a 3DS, but I can’t justify spending the money just yet when I’m so content with this one. And as far as portability goes, it’s extremely durable (has been dropped many times and still looks new) and fits nicely in my pocket.
And this is the gaming portable I spend the least amount of time with, which is why I’m glad I got it for only $50 off Craigslist. It’s not that it’s a bad system or that there aren’t good games for it; far from it. It’s just that PSP, for me, occupies this weird niche between handheld gaming and full-blown console or PC gaming. The graphics are awesome, but that’s kind of the problem with it–I’d much rather experience games with awesome graphics on my big TV. I keep this thing around for the few platform exclusives that I enjoy, and for emulation (mine is hacked).
Flip Ultra HD
This was another gift to me. I don’t have a legit camcorder and my phone’s video quality is subpar unless the lighting is really good, so this gadget fills that role. It’s one of those dead-simple-to-use “it just works” products, which I like. Just press the big red button to start and stop recording. The zoom function is pretty limited, but the video quality is really nice for how simplistic and affordable this product is. Its design makes it easy to whip out and start recording at a moment’s notice, which is why I like to tote it around with me. You just never know when you’re going to see something interesting.
What I learned from this exercise:
- I could probably replace a couple of these devices by upgrading to a really nice phone.
- I’m definitely a bargain-hunter when it comes to gadgets and technology.
- I’m OK with being a few steps behind the technology curve. I have been living debt-free for over five years now and intend to stay that way.
- Despite having all this wonderful technology at my fingertips, I still don’t agree that the “death of the PC” or even “the death of the gaming console” are inevitable, as a lot of tech doomsayers have been pointing out lately.
- I don’t like being tethered to so many gadgets, but until someone invents a device that can transmogrify itself into other devices, I don’t see this problem going away anytime soon.
- And also…
…Not much has changed.
Just for fun, here’s the “ten years ago” version of my techsistential crisis:
Yes, I still have these gadgets laying around in a box. I have a hard time letting go!