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.