Monday, 17 October 2011

Gadget Geek?

I might be a Geek. But I'm not exactly a gadget freak. In fact, I'm not really so sure that the two are necessarily related anyway. I tend to think of gadget-freakery as being simply a symptom of common materialism.

Here's how my geekery works out...

I don't own an Ipod. If I did it would be some old 2nd or 3rd generation model running Rockbox or Ipodlinux. When I walk to work, I'd rather not have earbuds in my ears. I prefer to be more aware of my surroundings. I like to say "Hi!" to those few people I recognise on my commute. And of course, I like to think. Now, Ipods are remarkable things, but I need some silent spaces in my life so I haven't succumbed to that temptation yet. Ok. It would be great to have such a handy container for all my MP3 files, but I still don't NEED an Ipod.

Actually, some of my dislike of earbuds may be related to my dislike of sunglasses. I'll wear sunglasses when driving, but not when talking to people. I'd rather have eye-contact. (Actually I do like my sunglasses - merely because they're old 1960s things from the antique market. But I don't wear them much except when driving - which is also when I tend to listen to music most.)

Sat-Nav? It seems like an unneccessary expense. (Yay. Skinflint!) I'm sure they're very good at what they do. I'm sure they save some hassle and embarrassment. But I've always coped with either knowing where I'm going ahead of time -or using a god old fashioned map. Now a GPS unit could be fun - for Geocaching or some other 21st-Century geek sport; but Sat-Nav? When would I ever use it? Actually, I find being lost (as long as I don't have to be anywhere in a hurry) is actually fun - a learning experience.

Mobile. Yeah, I've got one. But I don't use it much. I'm clearly not of the right generation to have a mobile-phone centred social life. And even when I send SMS messages - I obstinately spell & punctuate things 'properly'. It'd be nice to have a more capable device; but as I mentioned; I'd rather not throw too much money at such a luxury.

I do understand the 'play value' of gadgets. And play-value is something I find of extreme interest. But gadgets? Nah... Beyond the minimal setup of a laptop.

But this brings me to a particular question. What *SINGLE* mobile computing device makes most sense? Actually, I do quit like the idea of having something to read internet pages on when I'm out and about. So what should I get? An e-book reader? (I like the e-ink displays and long battery life of such things.) Or an android phone? Or a bigger tablet device. I can't see me affording ALL of these things. So if anyone has any advice on the matter, let me know.

Also, I should mention Kevin Kelly, who has influenced my thinking on these things - or maybe he's codified what I already think. He's undoubtably a geek - having been one of the founders of Wired magazine and a consistent writer on the subject of technology - and yet he's very picky about how he integrates such technology into his life.

So. Geek? Yes! Gadget freak? No.

(Tools are different. I'm fascinated by tools. And instruments - I'm completely fascinated by those too.)