Friday, June 28, 2013

top 5 bits of technology you already have.

As a "red-blooded Amerrrrican female" most of my problems, as one might expect, are first world problems. Ever since the tornado (I can call it by its actual name now! Progress?) my obsession with technology and the possession of the newest, brightest, shiniest electronic gadgetry has been ratcheted up to its most perverse and unhealthy level. For a time I claimed, as the daughter of a similarly afflicted (recently deceased) father, it was my penance to carry on his legacy of obsession. I will most definitely use that excuse to buy something again, but on the whole, I've GOT to get ahold of myself, man!

In the past three years I have owned: 4 iPods (a touch, 2 nanos, and a classic), 4 tablet-type devices (an iPad, a nexus 7, a nook color, and an iPad mini), 2 ereaders (nook touch and nook touch with glowlight), 3 iPhones (3GS, 4S, and 5), and miraculously, only one computer (MacBook Pro). Of these  14 devices, I still own 6. To my tiny credit, I typically only keep one item in each category and give away or sell the other items. My iPods are the only exception here, as I have kept my nano and my classic. I reason that I NEED the classic for its capacity to hold all of my media with 160GB of storage capacity. I keep the nano because I like to use it at my cleaning job, because it's small and light and I have a little belt-holster for it. Most of the time Apple products can fetch me at least 80% of what I'll pay for the next thing, but that's still no kind of excuse for being such a greedy bastard.

At this very moment I have a pedometer listed on ebay (fitbit ultra) because selling it means I get to get the new one (fitbit flex)! And the new one will sync to my phone via bluetooth!

Let me further outline the more pornographic details of this obsession. Part of the intense infatuation with these gizmos is the amount of wooing I do in conjunction with the desire for a new device. I watch YouTube reviews of the device I covet. I read the reviews on cnet over and over until I have sections of them memorized. I walk about my daily life pretending I have the new device, imagining how awesome it will be to have it. I make pro and con lists to justify my need. I stare at images online of the device at all angles. I go to Best Buy and Target to see if I can touch the device/see it in person. It's really sick.

This expensive addiction has to stop but I cannot kid myself here: it won't stop. But perhaps I can at least slow the boiling madness to a bit more of a simmering bubble.

This post is a letter to myself, intended to help me resist the siren call of new technology by describing why I love the top 5 bits of technology I already have (and the ones I'm most likely to want to replace with the next better iteration of that thing every time there is a next better iteration of that thing) and why they're perfectly good enough to last me for years to come.

Dear Future Stephanie,

These are the top 5 perfectly functional items of technology you will be tempted to, but don't need to, replace ANYTIME SOON:

1. iPod -- Your iPod classic holds 160GB of media. You won't have 160GB of music for a very long time (only at half that now) and this device will work for at least the next 5 years, so don't even think about replacing it unless you break it beyond repair or lose it. I love my classic so much. Her name is Strict Machine. She has an inscription on the back: "Wonderful electric, cover me in white noise." She is covered by a custom skin of my mixtapes (that image I use for everything). I've mutilated her both by accident (dropping on pavement) and on purpose (trying to further customize an earlier skin with an Xacto knife left small slices in both her screen and her steel back-plate). I don't use her much in day-to-day life, but she's indispensable at parties and on road trips and anytime I want my entire music collection with me when there's no internet connection. As for my Disco Stick (iPod nano), she's lovely for cleaning, but she's only 8GB and is essentially extraneous.

Summation: You are not allowed to get a new classic unless yours is lost, stolen, or broken beyond functionality. No exceptions. When Disco Stick bites the dust, suck it up and start using Strict Machine for the same purposes. Do not replace Disco Stick. Let her die in peace.

2. iPad mini -- His name is Frank Sinatra, for the Cake song, not the singer (though the song is named for the singer, so there's that) and he's a fine tablet. His inscription says "We know of an ancient radiation, a faintly glimmering radio station." You will want the new mini when it's released this fall. You will want it soooo bad because it will probably have a Retina Display and might even come in fun colors! Heart palpitations! But remember, Frank Sinatra hasn't caused you any turmoil and you really only use him on the road and in the mornings to play Yahtzee and watch YouTube videos. You've never thought the screen resolution was crappy, so you don't need the new one.

Summation: You are not allowed to get a new tablet device until the third or fourth generation, at least. Calm down. You don't have to have all the new things. Resist.

3. MacBook Pro -- Her name is Honeycrisp and she has served me well for almost three years now. She will live for another few years, I suspect. She's only 250GB, but when I get to capacity I can always relocate my music, photos, and videos to my 500GB hard drive, so that's not a good enough excuse to replace her.

Summation: You probably won't be tempted to buy a new computer until Honeycrisp dies, so this isn't much of a risk. Just remember that Macs last 5-10 years and they cost like a thousand bucks. Don't do it until Honeycrisp becomes ridiculously sluggish.

4. iPhone -- Her name is Daughter of Avalanche and she's the most current iPhone, for the next few months anyway. She will get iOS updates for the next couple of years and she's 32GB, which is PLENTY of space for a phone. Even when your upgrade is available, really ask yourself if you neeeed to drop a couple hundred dollars on the newest phone. Yeah, you don't. Let this one live for three years...it won't kill you.

Summation: You don't get to have a new phone until at LEAST your upgrade with Verizon arrives (October 2014 probably). Apple will make you want the 5S. You will be shaking resisting it, but you must. Do this for your well-BEING, Stephanie.

5. Nook -- This ereader is fine. It holds books and has a nightlight. It works in bright sunlight, has a long battery-life, and is light. Nothing is wrong with it. Nook is getting out of the ereader biz anyway, so there probably won't be a better version of this ereader.

Summation: For this device, you really just need to let yourself keep it and use it when you want. When it dies, you may buy another on ebay or just use your mini to read with from now on. Just don't get rid of it. You prefer it to tablet-reading. It's ok to have an ereader AND a tablet. You like this device, so keep it until its demise. It'll be fun to see how long it lives.

Seriously, all of these devices have the capacity to live for YEARS, so let them. You take care of your devices and you don't like wasting things. It will be so much more gratifying replacing things because the other things are no longer functioning. You won't have to feel guilty! Imagine NOT feeling guilty for buying an electronic device...how cool will that be? Please refer to this list after every Apple announcement.

Sincerely,
Past Stephanie

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