Archive for June, 2014

I have, on many occasions, talked about my love for the latest and greatest gadgets, and technology in general.  It is at the core of nearly everything I do–whether it be the bluetooth connection between my iPhone and my car that allows me to listen to my music library on demand, or the numerous technologies accessible to me while I work, or my Xbox One to keep me occupied after work, or any of various computers that I have around my house for all the stuff in between, or the Chromecast plugged in to either of my upstairs TV’s that allow me to stream whatever Netflix content I want to watch before bed.  Honestly, the thought of spending a week in the woods, camping and “returning to the wilderness” fills me with arguably unnecessary anxiety, because I have grown accustomed to being constantly connected.  I know I’m not the only one.

But this constant need for connectivity has to be fed somehow, right?  I do a decent job scratching my technological itches, and I’ve honed the technique over time.  The following is a description of that process.

1. Identification: This is where it all begins…whether it be an Apple keynote, or a Samsung announcement of a new product, or Microsoft with their latest antics–something gets my attention.  Of course, I often look for these things throughout the day, perusing the technology section of news sites, even going straight to the TechCrunches and Engadgets of the internet, looking for the latest craze to get my fix.  While brief in duration, this stage is required in order for purchase to occur.

“Hmmm, I’ve been working pretty hard these last 40 minutes, maybe it’s time for a break.  I know, I’ll see if there are any updates on Google News since the last time I looked.  (Looks at Google News.)  Nope, nothing new….wait a minute, what is this?  Samsung is releasing a new line of tablets?  Hey, those specs aren’t bad.  (Looks at various news articles about the announcement, noting that they are all effectively the same.)  Super AMOLED display, on a tablet?  THAT resolution?  Dang, that would be a pretty sweet little gadget to buy.  I wonder how much they are going to cost…. $500?  Well, it’s no worse than an iPad.  Maybe next time I’m at Best Buy I can play with one, see how good it really is.”  

2. Justification: It’s not right away that this happens…I see a lot of new gadgets come out, practically new ones each week.  We are inundated with technology at every turn, so a fancy ultrabook here, or a curved cell phone there, doesn’t usually phase me.  But, on occasion they catch my eye, and I decide I must have it.  Now, I’m not as bad as some; I know that I can’t have every new gadget that hits the market, no matter how cool that would be.  I need to justify it to myself, and also to my wife, before I can realistically expect to buy it.  This stage can begin as early as two days after Identification, and can last anywhere from one day to one week, depending on how exciting the potential purchase is.

“Man, that Samsung tablet…maybe I should get it.  I mean, it’s only $500, right?  And I can put it on the Best Buy card, no harm, no foul…0% interest for 12 months, that’s basically free money.  And, I do need something to replace my Lenovo I just listed on ebay.  I mean, this fits the bill perfectly: it’s small, compact, I could watch Netflix on it; hell, with a bluetooth keyboard I could even blog with it.  Yep, I definitely need it.  And besides, I’m sure I’m going to get at least $200 for my Lenovo, so it’s really only going to cost $300.  And hopefully I’ll get a bonus at Christmas time, and a raise next year also.  But wait, I just bought an Xbox, so Janine will never go for it.  But she got an iPad at the same time, so maybe she’ll be OK with it.”

3. Verification: Assuming a successful justification to myself and my accountant/wife, I move on to a very hardcore period of research about the potential product to be purchased.   It is particularly hard when said product has not yet hit the market (I went through that when the first iPad came out), and I will scour the internet for virtually any site that mentions the product.  I am usually most interested in reviews, and I READ THEM ALL.  Good stuff, bad stuff, I want to know everything there is to know about the device in question.  This stage is the longest of the process, usually lasting at least a week, if not more.

“Alright, let’s see what kind of grub I can get on this thing.  Thank God for Youtube, am I right??  OK… (checks out various “First Look” videos on Youtube.) I really should get back to work, but just one more.  Wow, look at that screen.  And the operating system, I know Samsung has their crap-tastic OS overlay, but that magazine thing is pretty cool.  Oh, it was on other Samsung tablets?  Alright, now I have to watch videos on that…  (Time elapses.)… (Goes the next day to Best Buy.)  Holy freaking crap.  That display is amazing.  And it’s so snappy!  I just wonder if this device is going to slow down in a year; sure, 3GB of RAM is a lot for a tablet, but it’s 2014, and it’s not upgradable.  (More time elapses.)  Alright, I’m good, I’m ready to buy this thing.  Just need to figure out the money part…I’ll talk to Janine tonight after work, and maybe I’ll go pick it up tomorrow.  Sweet.”

4. Evolution: This is arguably both the best and worst part of the whole thing.  I rarely get buyer’s remorse, because I burn up all my guilt during this stage; now is the time to second-guess myself, and consider other options.  Sometimes, the other options are in the same family of products (the “yeah, but this other thing is totally fine and is $100 cheaper” mindset).  Sometimes, I revert back to the Justification stage and have to go through Verification as well with a different product; if not, this stage is where a final check of my Justification takes place.  This stage, also variable, typically doesn’t last any longer than a day or two at most.

“Man, $500 is a lot of money.  And I can’t just get the tablet, I’d have to get a case too…that’s another $70, and I’d probably want to pick up at least a 32GB or 64GB SD card for it, because that onboard storage, it’s just not enough.  But now I’m up to $700+ with tax…I’m going to have to get Janine to OK this…she’s going to be mad.  Well, what else can I get for $700?  Probably a decent low-end laptop, maybe even midrange.  I wonder if I could get an ultrabook for that price, something better than my Lenovo though…I need at least 4GB of RAM.  Wow, Macbook Air’s are on sale at Best Buy, $50 off…nice.  Well, there’s no way I’m going to be able to spend $800, Janine would never go for that.  But, arguably, the Macbook would be better for what I want to use it for anyway…I’ve always said, I don’t really like the tablet form factor.  And, my work computer is a Surface; would I want to carry around two different tablets?  Seems like overkill.  Ooh, look, the 11.6″ Macbook Air looks pretty nice, good thing I played with them when I was at Best Buy.  Well, I did say my next computer would be a Mac, maybe now’s the time to bite the bullet.  I wonder if 4GB of RAM is enough…but, Best Buy doesn’t have any with 8GB.  (Does research on whether or not 4GB of RAM is enough).  OK, 4GB is fine.  What if 11.6″ in a screen is too small?  Maybe I should look at the 13.3″ model…sure, it’s $100 more, but it’s on sale too, so it’s like getting the larger one for the price of the smaller one.  But, OS X, I’m going to have to learn that….ah, I’ll be fine.  OK, let’s do this.”

5. Acquisition: This stage speaks for itself.  It usually involves a trip to the store to verify that I’m going to love said purchase as much as I think I am, with some extended test-driving of the product if possible.  I usually try to rope someone else into coming with me, and preferably driving, so that I can open my new gadget in the car before I even get home (just like a five-year-old).  Or, if I go alone/no one drives for me, I can literally concentrate on nothing else when I finally do get home, except for cracking the seal on the box and smelling that wonderful aroma that is new electronics in its packaging.  Completely subjectively, this stage always takes entirely too long.  I want it now.  Right….freaking….now.

“Alright, look at this thing; man am I excited.  OK, where is a sales associate??  Good lord, why won’t they ever bother you when you actually want attention?  Geez, what inconsiderate assholes.  Oooh, there’s a guy…dammit, where is he going?  (Stalks the unknowing Best Buy employee; convinces him to drop what he’s doing to go get my shit.)  …. (talks self into, and then promptly out of, the stupid, overpriced warranty, then tries to convince the employee that it’s the smart thing to do.)  OK, time to go home and GET THIS PARTAY STARTED.”

So, that’s basically it…an annoyingly long glimpse into my psyche, and the events leading up to my most recent tech purchase, a 13.3″ Macbook Air.  After about a day and a half, so far I love it.

Thanks for reading–be well and stay tuned.