Sunday, December 1, 2013

Last year's electronics

Nothing is as unpopular as last year's electronics. Guess what? This year's “must have” electronic gizmos will soon no longer be fashionable.

I can't help but notice all the ads for “must have” phones, tablets, and game systems this year. Yes, most of these things are at least somewhat better than last year's model. So what? There really isn't any one thing out there that's a game changer. Remember when personal computers got big? How about the first iphones? Before that, ipods? The electric light bulb? Well, maybe you won't remember the light bulbs, but they were once the big thing.

Actually, out of all those, maybe electric light was the big game changer. Work, play, education -just about all human activities, were no longer slave to the big natural light in the sky.

There is nothing being offered this year that's as exciting as light bulbs.

I don't see any product that promises to change the way we work and live. Maybe next year?

Of course, I most likely won't have the next big thing until it's out of date. My TV at home is a 19 inch not-a-flat-screen. The computer I work with day to day is a couple year old netbook. My lovely wife just bought a few albums for our record player.

So I've got a weird relationship with technology. My house is powered mostly by “vintage” solar panels. The 20 year warranty has expired. (still cranking out power) For me, at the time, those solar panels were game changers. Clean electricity from sunlight is a thing of wonder. We also had high efficiency lighting when everyone else was using 100 watt bulbs. (great heaters, not so efficient for light)

Electronics and technology in general are something we carefully study to see if it'll be worth the investment. Often, last year's electronics are fine for the job. One example: my daughter gave me her old iphone 4 when she upgraded. It's been a useful travel tool: communications, gps, marine charts, tide tables, weather and e-mail. Amazingly useful, but the new models don't offer a major jump in utility for me, so it's not worth it.

Then there are those obsolete electronics we pretend we never wanted. How about Palm PDAs? Weren't those great? A whole bunch of tools in a pocket device. Of course, now all those functions have been combined with phones. (However, I'm not nearly as fast with a iphone keyboard as I was with a Palm stylus)

Laser disks? Digital audio tape? Betamax? (buddy of mine bought one of the first ones for big money back in the day.)

Regular paper books are still around -and popular too, so that's interesting. Maybe the next big thing won't even be electronic. That's something to think about, isn't it?

Anyway, just don't carried away with all the advertising hype this time of year. I don't see anything “new” out there worth the cost of being an early adopter. Ask yourself how you'll feel about it a year from now.



  1. Yeah, I hear there's some crazy new phone that's attached to the wall with a cord, so you won't lose it! (Ya saw THAT one coming; didn't ya?)

  2. Electronics. I don't particularly like them, because I can't fix them. Simple. Of course, I use computers and mobile phones. But nothing is fixable anymore and that bugs me. It's meant that way, forces you to buy another one...then another one...Same with modern cars, nothing much I could fix myself. Anyway, what's was wrong with the pencil? Or the pigeon? Yeah, I know, a bit slow! We've got a old typewriter... I want to get my hands on a old sewing machine.. I must be an sad old git, really. Do I care? Nope.

    A phone you keep fixed to the wall?? How weird is that! :)

    1. I just spent the better part of two days fixing a software problem on my wife's computer. Every time I do something like that I learn more than I wanted to know.

      I can do some hardware things on computers, but phones are not in my skill set.

  3. I don't have a smart phone, I have a dumb phone, ha ha! Does what I need it to do. A simple laptop. And that's about it. Don't want or need anything else, and that's a good thing!

    1. That is a good thing. My "wants" have gotten a bit more extensive since I've been running my life from the road, and the water.

      I promised my lovely wife she's be about to stay in contact with our kids and grandkids.

  4. Guess I'll just struggle along with my outdated stuff as long as I can!

    After all, I'm getting a little dated myself!

  5. I am like Gorges. I prefer to talk on the land line phone. I can hear better and get no radio waves bouncing back and forth inside my skull. Of course, it seems I use my cell phone much more than the land line.

    1. I miss the sound from my old Ma Bell phone. Great tone.