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Shiny….

I like new gadgets. This isn’t really a general desire for new things, but rather new technology. Sometimes this desire can be beneficial: as a direct result of my interest in technology that is desnew, I am arguably more aware of the current state of the computer, game console, and smart phone markets. Other times, though, my interest becomes a bizarre kind of fixation, one which I often can not logically justify.

Case in point: my game console and its associated games. I have an XBox 360, with a fair number (> 20) of games. Many of the games are still quite playable: I have Fallout 3 and Fable 2, for example, and there is quite a bit of new downloadable content for both of these games. And I enjoyed playing them originally: I probably spent 20-30 hours on each one. And yet I have remarkably little interest in playing the games I already have and have already “completed”. Instead, I want a new game.

Taking this one step further is the XBox 360 itself. It is by far the superior console for my interests. The Wii is too oriented towards family and group games (“party games”) and the PS3 has only a handful of titles that interest me. Yet I want a PS3, and occasionally even think about a Wii. Why? Because they are different: a whole new world of things to figure out, problems to over come, and features to discover.

Irene asked me a few days ago why I was putting in eBay bids on PlayStation 3 consoles: I realized that I didn’t have a good answer. I’ve even expressed my disdain for the need to own a second console here on this very blog. Yet here I am, seriously contemplating a PlayStation 3. The only explanation I can offer: I’m curious, and the new (to me) technology intrigues me.

On occasion I’ve wondered if I could find a way to channel my drive to try out new gadgets more constructively. Yes, I work in the technology business, but playing with a PS3 or buying the latest elegantly styled box from Apple doesn’t come close to my job description. I’ve said to Irene a few times that these purchases keep me from getting bored/frustrated with technology, and there is truth to that, but it still isn’t really a sufficient justification.

I don’t think I will ever erase this aspect of my personality, and I don’t really think I’d want to. I do attempt to keep it in check by having some sort of annual gadget budget (which I occasionally exceed with great gusto). But there is a lot of wastage: I have iPaqs, an iLiad, several old cell phones, an Apple Newton, and the skeletal remains of half a dozen formerly state of the art computers to attest to this. If I added up the cost of all the computer gadgets I’ve bought and discarded after a year or less of use, I’d probably have a healthy down payment on a new car… if not enough for the entire car.

In some ways, I really do wish I had a fixation on something like music or painting: yes, those things can cost money, but it is feasible to practice them without filling a landfill with cast off gear.

2 comments to Shiny….

  • You have to become one of those “reviewer” folks. Why back in the day before the web, I hear tell they even used to get stuff free, just as long as they would try it out and write about it! Imagine!

    Of course, nowadays everyone with a blog is a critic, so you have to do something novel, like be a woman and do your reviews half naked, or develop a charming witty writing style …

    Mmmm … Maybe you should just sell or trade you old stuff on e-bay? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • There was a time, long ago, when I was a “professional” reviewer. I wrote for an Amiga magazine, and received review copies of various pieces of software. The difference is, though, that someone sends you a piece of hardware/software to review- you don’t choose it. And much of the time the stuff I was sent was actually not very good, which made reviewing it not much fun.

    I’ve thought about selling some of my old stuff on eBay, but I’m skeptical: it looks like that could become a “job” in itself pretty fast. What I probably need is to be independently wealthy and have an assistant whose full time job is to store and eventually dispose of all the miscellaneous junk I buy and later discard.

    You see, there is no problem that can not be solved with the application of large stacks of cash ๐Ÿ˜‰

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