Sunday, May 29, 2005

I get crap from people because I don't own the latest gadgets. Seriously, I have nothing against them, I'm just what they call a "Late-Adopter". In fact, I'm probably the last adopter. I have a friend who I hiked a lot with when he lived in the area. Years ago we'd head out on overnights and I'd be geared up with some old 70's aluminum frame pack and wearing long johns as my heat retaining "technical clothing". I have some old hiking photos that show me wearing some of this garb - man did I look thrown together. Anyways, my friend got a real kick out of this. He thought I was brave and old-school for eschewing the modern offerings from The North Face and other name manufacturers. It wasn't that I had some philosophical stance about all this - its just that I didn't have the money for the good stuff.

Nevertheless, I don't own a cell phone and I don't have DSL and all the other goodies like Tivo and such. I was probably the last guy in college to hook up a CD player. You should have seen the shoeboxes of dubbed mix tapes stacked up against my desk. My "stereo" consisted of some solid-state vacuum tubed thing that I picked up at some yard sale for $1. Never mind "Arena"; "Stadium" or other Dolby Surround presets - I was happy just to get mono sound. This thing used to get real hot and the VU meters would bounce around out of control when I'd blast the Slayer. Well, I couldn't blast it too much because the distortion would peak pretty early on my vintage (re fabric) speakers. In high school I'd drive around in an old beat up '79 Toyota Corolla. My friend hated the stereo speakers I had installed in that thing. Terrible stereo, shrill speakers, your ears would be blasted with the most deafening treble tones known to exist. Man, that and lawn mowing took a huge toll on my ears.

The Instapundit describes a phenomena called version fatigue where people slow down on adopting new technologies because they're not interested in having to learn the new user interface of these things. (Now what does this button do again)? I suppose this explains some of it. Only when it is pretty clear to me that a gadget offers undeniable utility to my life will I begin to consider it. Until that time all I'm thinking about is the cost of the thing and how much time I'll need to spend incorporating the thing into my life - and consequently what aspects of my life I need to adjust to incorporate the new thing. Perhaps its my conservative nature that prevents me from readily embracing this stuff, who knows. Philosophically I'm all for new technology and view the changes that such technologies inevitably influence more or less positively. I'm no Luddite (though I have been accused of being one). It's just that I'm extremely hesitant to buy new technologies unless its absolutely necessary and I know that I will use them. I have no use for a cell phone because I use our home landline maybe 3 times a month - tops! I don't need Tivo because I'm spending enough time watching Netflix. I don't need DSL because I'm not downloading iTunes to an iPod that I don't own.

Who knows what will happen in the future? Needless to say, decades from now our friends will be cruising around in their own hovercraft while I'm driving to the store in my same grocery-getter Honda running on its third engine....


At 4:20 PM, Blogger YouWho said...

And yet he blogs...

Why just the other night I said to some mutual friends, "He does a bit of a Luddite streak doesn't he?"

It's the cell phone one I don't get. I too use the landline about 3 times a month (pizza, Chinese, pizza). I have the cell phone purely because I find it convenient. Without it, I'd be afraid I'd end up like one of those hiking tragedies that people hear about on the news and say, "Why didn't they use their cell phone to call for help?"


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