The Cure For Gadget Envy


I’ll skip the details of the dendritic manner in which I came across these posts and just put them up as links:

Tech Lust: How to Cope with Gadget Envy

Is gadget lust a struggle for you?

Oh how I used to have it.

Luckily — very luckily — I could not afford to indulge it.

The apogee of my gadget lust was during the days of PDAs.

Sony seemed to be coming out with a new CLIE every other month and developers were trying to keep pace by releasing applications that took advantage of the latest new features: MP3, increased screen resolution, video, etc.

Then it all collapsed. Sony dropped their CLIE line. HandEra never really got going. Palm bought Handspring and let their PDA line atrophy as they concentrated on their dream of being the next Nokia.

Things imploded on the Microsoft-led side too. The Pocket PC OS was rechristened Windows Mobile and congealed into one GUI that was suited more to cellphones than to PDAs. All the licensees followed suit by either dropping their PDA lines and getting out of pushing the OS altogether or moving to cellphones.

Then came the first nail in my Gadget Envy coffin: the Nokia 770.

The final nail in the coffin was my getting a LifeDrive.

Oh I had some big plans for using the LifeDrive. All of those posts can be found in the old blog under this Category.

So what happened?

Palm OS 5 and the LifeDrive itself.

While Palm OS 5 on the LifeDrive is more powerful than OS 4 on my old S320 CLIE, overall it really has less productive functionality. That’s because OS 5 killed all the Hacks I was using, such as the one that could open a Memo at the same time I had a DOC open. That was something I would do several times a day. The LifeDrive took that away from me. It also took away my PopUp Clock (yeah, I know there’s such a beast on the LifeDrive, but it’s Just Not The Same) and my Clipboard hacks.

And then the delays began.

Look at this video:

Yeah, I have that! Even with the Microdrive replaced by CompactFlash!

When it’s not that bad, it’s still bad enough: five seconds to get to a Memo when all I want to do is see something for one second. That kind of overhead is just unacceptable. And it happens just about All. The. Time.

For the overall lack of speed the S320 had, it just murders the LifeDrive as a device designed to be a productivity tool. And being able to do things with Hacks made it fun to use too.

The LifeDrive has made me less productive and it is simply no fun to use, period.

When in the course of a day I’d eagerly pull out the old monochrome CLIE to jot down a quick note, I now dread pulling out the LifeDrive.

Classic Graffiti is just rotten on it. Recognition errors are often fifty percent. I’m back-swiping to erase an incorrect letter just as often as I’m writing a correct letter! And I’m not being sloppy with my strokes, either. I’m doing exactly what I did with the CLIE — an old machine that would give me 99.9% accuracy!

Both the Nokia 770 and the LifeDrive are gadgets I lusted after. I envied those who would have them.

Then I discovered the truth of having them.

There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.
Oscar Wilde

And in the course of learning that truth, I also discovered perhaps the most important truth: Never trust the opinions of other people when it comes to gadgets.

Even if a person is being strictly honest and is not leading sheep to slaughter, the overarching factor against relying on other people is this: Perhaps no one else will use that tool the way you will.

I’m the only person I’ve come across, for example, who has just about 3,000 Memos in his Palm device. My need — and it is that — to overlay a Memo over a DOC file is something others rarely use. Even the way I use the Date Book is unique. Most people use the To-Do list instead. Many people extolled Date Book+ and its many wee icons to help them better grasp their day. I saw no need for that. I don’t even use the Categories in Calendar!

There’s probably someone out there who does plenty of traveling and could see my LifeDrive as a great thing because it can play video to pass the time. I’ve long ago stopped using that feature. It’s just too much trouble to convert files or simply transfer compatible files. I’ve still got a ton of video stored on the LifeDrive. But that’s due more to inertia than need. I’d sooner pull out my cheap jWin MP3 player to pass time.

I also long ago stopped using the LifeDrive for writing. The Bluetooth keyboard I was toting was adding weight and bulk to my shoulder bag. If I’m going to do that, I might as well go all out and get an Everex Cloudbook or Asus EeePC. I’d have more storage, a faster CPU, larger screen, and far more capability. Plus, I wouldn’t have to put up with the keyboard unpredictably not working! (For the record, that happened with the Palm Wireless Keyboard too.)

My advice for curing Gadget Envy is this:

1) Know what you really need to do

2) Try the gadget yourself to be sure it can do what you need

3) Get really disappointed at least once by something you’ve really wanted!

That last point is key: There’s nothing like being slapped in the face by yourself to make you step back and see reality.

Do I still have some gadget lust? A little. But I know the tools I need and I’m not going nuts about it. If I don’t get them today, there’s tomorrow. And tomorrow always brings an improvement to just about every gadget (sometimes that improvement could simply be a drop in its price!). (And that price reduction might not be from the manufacturer, either.)

I just know you’re wondering, so here it is: I’d like to get an iPhone and an Everex Cloudbook. (Yeah, I know I’ve written about the HTC Advantage, but Windows Mobile really isn’t my thing. Plus I think the iPhone will be able to do more than that once its SDK is released.) (And no, I have no MacBook Air lust.)

And despite my lingering wee gadget lust, I can wait.


Explore posts in the same categories: Tech - Apple, Tech - Microsoft, Tech - Other, Tech - Palm, Tech - Sony

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