Diversion: One Man's Gadgetations

iPhone4Courtesy of Apple Inc.Think a nifty smartphone can do it all for you -- or at least send some of your other digital devices to the recycling bin ? The New York Times thinks so. I don't.



Note: While the this blog is devoted to dimensional stone and allied subjects, it does drift into some not-so-off-topic insights ... including thoughts on technology.

When it comes to quoting the ultimate authority, someone in a crowd is bound to utter, “I read it in the New York Times.”  And, by and large, what’s printed in the Times is good authority ... unless it happens to be part of a rather clever setup like, uh, radon and killer countertops.

em hed shot 2 120Emerson SchwartzkopfNo, this isn’t another journey into the land of picoliters. Instead, let’s take a look at some rather declarative Times advice about personal technology, as presented in this March 23 Sam Grobart article at nytimes.com: “Gadgets You Should Get Rid Of (or Not)”.

Rather than quote extensively – you can read the whole thing yourself, but don’t trip on that new paywall – I’ll offer the list and the short summary of the device.

Desktop computer: Lose it (laptops are just as good).
High-Speed Internet at Home: Keep it (it’s better than a cell-phone-based hookup).
Cable TV: Depends (mainly good for sports freaks).
Point-and-Shoot Camera: Lose it (smartphones are great).
Camcorder: Lose it (smartphones are great).
USB Thumb Drive: Lose it (cloud computing is better).
Digital Music Player: Lose it (smartphones are great).
Alarm Clock: Keep it (simpler than a smartphone).
GPS Unit: Lose it (smartphones are great).
Books: Keep them (no batteries needed, available at libraries).

Since I’ve lived most of my years as a contrarian, I have no problem disagreeing with most of Mr. Grobart’s list – in that I’m not in favor of losing any of the gadgets on the toss list. For now, keep ‘em all.

I’m sure Mr. Grobart’s thinking of the casual users of technology who catch streaming-video presentations of half-hour sitcoms and take videos of the kids’ birthday parties. If you’re not really depending on any of these devices, maybe it’s time to simplify your next round of device buys.

However, if you’re using any of these devices in any way that’s related to business – or you’re going to wander 20 miles or so away from a U.S. metropolis for any reason – don’t trim that gadget list. You’ll need them.