Nearly a year ago, I blogged about the fact that I had no “cool” technologies in my house. I didn’t own a single gadget that anyone would consider to be “up to date” by any standard. I didn’t own a PDA, a laptop, or even a modern cell-phone. I didn’t have flat-panel monitors or anything other than a standard 27″ television — with a broken power button at that. I had several computers in the house, but all of them were at least a year and a half old.
I decided after posting that complaint that things were going to change. I released my death grip on my cash that I had been hording and sprung for a new, improved, gadget-savvy image.
Flash forward to today — 11 months after that post. As I got ready to head into work, I closed up my 17″ widescreen HP media center ready laptop and turned off my HP printer/copier/fax. I packed up my Gateway Tablet PC and shoved it into my Microsoft backpack along with my 60GB video iPod, assorted USB flashdrives, bluetooth adapters, folding headphones, and the like. I strapped my 8.1 MegaPixel Nikon digital camera and Audiovox Smart Phone to my belt. I put my Motorola bluetooth hands-free headset on my ear. I walked into the living room and turned off my 50″ Plasma TV and shoved the wireless controllers for my Xbox 360 under the TV stand. I walked out to my car and looked at the windshield cluttered with an XM SkyFi2 satelite radio, a Sirius satelite radio, and a Microsoft Streets and Trips GPS device. Now, I say all of this to point out that I’ve gone from one extreme to another and at no small expense. I sometimes wonder if I should have just hung onto my cash, but in other instances, I really enjoy my products.
I asked myself as I traveled to work this morning “Have I gotten my money’s worth out of these devices? Have they made my life better — or just more expensive?” It seems that many of today’s top technological gadgets are great at overcoming technological problems, but do they really enrich our lives? My Smartphone is one device that I just couldn’t live without. I keep track of my appointments, birthdays, phone numbers and so much more on that little thing. I also keep a copy of Microsoft Pocket Streets and Trips on there — which is a great little tool for getting around. There is no question that this device makes my life easier in today’s society that requires that I know how to contact any number of people, keep track of appointments and schedules that change every hour, or keep me up to date with birthdays of family members all the way on the other side of the country. My camera is great. Photos are so hard for me to keep track of. I keep a few but they are usually buried in boxes that I have to dig for if I want to view them again. I can snap pictures of the mountains out here in the Pacific Northwest and immediately send them to my parents. The camera is a great addition to my “technical family.” That said — there are other devices that just seem to be excessive (Who needs XM and Sirius and an iPod? Could I do without them? Most likely.)
I could go on and on talking about my devices. Instead, I’d like to hear from you. What technologies have made your life better? These could be services, pieces of hardware, or even websites in general. I want to know what technologies make a difference in your everyday life and what technologies have you invested your hard-earned money into that haven’t been worth it.