Friday, March 23, 2012

Investing in electronics

Few things have dropped in price faster than electronics. That’s one of the reasons I buy the bare minimum that will do the job. I remember about 20 years ago, a friend of mine said he owned about $20,000 worth of electronics. Any idea what those are worth today? I’m guessing almost nothing. How many people want to buy a 20 year old computer?

Think about that 20 year old computer when you get tempted to buy the newest and best bit of electronics. Imagine that a few years down the road, that bit of electronics will be little more than junk.

Now there are good reasons to buy the best in electronics. An engineer needs a darn capable computer to do his job efficiently. A musician may justify the purchase of good recording gear. A serious gamer may justify having a really good gaming platform. I’m not criticizing the last one. People can spend a lot of money on their hobbies. If that’s what they want to do, that’s their business.

If you are buying the latest shiny electronic device, be aware that you may be throwing money away. Compare that to buying something like a good shovel or a quality socket set. Twenty years later both of those things are probably just as useful as the day they were bought. It’s tempting to buy the hot new products but make sure there’s a real reason to do so.

I’m assuming few of us have money to throw away.

There’s a couple of other concerns that keep me away from expensive electronics. The sun is entering a time of increasing solar activity. A rogue pulse of energy from the sun could turn electronics into bricks.

We can debate the odds of that happening, but there is something that is of real concern right now -at least to me. Most of my electronic power is generated from my own solar electric system. Electricity is not unlimited. I have to justify how it’s used. My electrically powered equipment is carefully chosen. Not only is it inexpensive, it’s efficient. I’m one of the few people who what to know exactly how much power something uses before I buy it.

Electronics can be lots of fun, they can be useful, but they aren’t investments.



  1. You make a good point there Sixbears, but the trouble is I would have to get off the couch to use the hand tools but I can use my laptop and tablet while relaxing on the couch (grin).

  2. It's all "old tech" around here. Like a guy at work says, "I don't want a smart phone, I want a dumb phone!" Then again, I have this thing about Keep It Simple Stupid : )

  3. I just get what I need for electronics, and when i do i tend to buy used, as in the laptop that I am using at this very moment. The only high dollar electronics that I have ever bought are a vintage 1967 Fender Twin Reverb amplifier, and a 1976 Marshall Super Lead amplifier.

    I enjoy playing guitar just as much as I love shooting and reloading.

  4. Dizzy: the electronic toys certainly are a lot more fun than the tools.

    Craig: I've a $10 cell phone and only use it on the road. KISS is the way to go.

    Anon: Now that was an actual real electronic investment that holds value, plus years of enjoyment. Few electronics deliver so much for so long.

  5. I build my own PC's and I get a thrill on how much performance I can get out of older tech. I take it as a pont of pride that I still have working PC's over 12-15 years old and I reuse and recycle as much as possible.
    I'm stunned by what folks pay for the latest Ipod,Ipad and Iphone every year to have the latest crap as some sort of status symbol and the only symbol I see is they are idiots. I hope you got a kissed cause you sure got screwed.
    Heck my old pc that I need to upgrade can play every game out there just fine. It's actually just starting to wear out after 7-10 years. Not bad for a car, pretty damn good for a PC.

  6. Adventures: Good work! Most people lack the skills to keep older computers humming along. However, I've extended a computer's life just by running different versions of Linux.

  7. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)March 25, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    I'm cheap - still have my desktop XP and my laptop is going on 5 years old. My flip-top cell phone is old, too! They all work fine and see no need to replace them. I did spurge $69 for Wi-Fi though. Now I can lug that laptop all over the place and read your blog while chilling out on the deck! Cool!

  8. New electronic gadgets are being discovered and made to make life more easier for us. We cannot deny the fact that because of competition the prizes of each products may go down as time passes by.