Journal Entry

Friday, May 6, 2005

Our Technology Demographic

I got a PDA in 1997. Now I use paper (including a business-card-sized to-do list, slipped inside my NSF badge, as a variant hipster PDA).

We used to have cell phones. Then we gave them up. (Now Esther has one again, actually).

I briefly lived in a house with cable. Now our TV does not even receive broadcast signals, never mind cable or satellite (it is only used as a monitor for our VCR and a borrowed DVD player).

I used to have a laptop with internet connectivity, Civ 3, you name it. Now I have a Dana without wireless connectivity (I considered the lack thereof to be a major advantage in my purchasing decision). No games or graphics programs. It can only be used for writing.

I used to have a fancy watch. Now I have no watch.

We used to live in a house with a broadband internet connection. Now we have dialup.

I do have an iPod; though observing the trend, it seems I may soon replace it with a gramophone. Or whistling. (Or, at least, the iPod Shuffle).

It's not that I'm a neo-Luddite. I like tech.

It's not that we got poorer, either: most of these changes have corresponded with increasing income.

It's just that, as I relentlessly optimize my life, I often try out an sophisticated multi-purpose electronic device and then, as I get my ideal process down, put it aside for either a specialized, stripped-down device (like the beautifully simple Dana, which boots and shuts down in less than half a second, replacing a Windows laptop) or a non-electronic system.

I've figured out the name for our family's technology marketing demographic:

We're Early Abandoners.

Posted by benrosen at May 6, 2005 11:53 AM | Up to blog
Comments

PDA:

I like the hipster approach, but sadly paper doesn't work for me in that it a) gets lost b) pens cramp my hand c) paper can't 'beep' at me to alert me about major appts. d) isn't back up every time I sync etc etc. Most of those are 'Toby-specific' issues. I've tried paper and is more useful for me in terms of outlining/initial idea capturing... maybe as I internalize GTD methodology more over time I'd be able to go paper, but every paper attempt in the past has been disastrous.

We used to have cell phones. Then we gave them up. (Now Esther has one again, actually).

TB: My wife uses hers, I regard mine as an imposition, and having a 2 year contract really, fundamentally annoys me. I think in June I'm going to cancel both phones, buy a pair of tracfones, and relegate cell phones to something we carry for emergency use only. I never use mine.

I briefly lived in a house with cable. Now our TV does not even receive broadcast signals, never mind cable or satellite (it is only used as a monitor for our VCR and a borrowed DVD player).

Yes, the greatest thing I did to regain time in my life was get rid of cable when we moved 2 years ago. We get NBC/PBS by antenna, so I watch some of that, but it's easy to announce there is nothing on and turn it off when there's only 2channels

Now I have a Dana without wireless connectivity (I considered the lack thereof to be a major advantage in my purchasing decision). No games or graphics programs. It can only be used for writing.

TB: I keep no games on my laptop as a general rule as well, but I have to admit, internet browsing does sometime get the better of me. But I always shake my head when people talk about how great their computer is for gaming. I get sidestepped by FreeCiv once or twice a year when I succumb to the temptation to download it on a weekend and play, but I always delete it later and spend 6 or so months regretting the time wasted on the laptop.

I used to have a fancy watch. Now I have no watch.

TB: Ditto.

We used to live in a house with a broadband internet connection. Now we have dialup.

TB: tried that, wife wasn't happy, now have broadband again. May use VoIP to make cheap long distance calls with it so I feel I'm getting my money's worth...

I do have an iPod; though observing the trend, it seems I may soon replace it with a gramophone. Or whistling. (Or, at least, the iPod Shuffle).

TB: Heh. I like the shuffle and am considering one.

I liked your observations. I've done some of them, mostly the killing cable, b/c I view it as an imposition on my life and a distractance. People seem to regard me as 'hard core' but then wonder how I get so much read. Instead of watching late night I'm usually reading myself to sleep. Last night I read Seth Godin's Purple Cow. The night before the book was 'Mastery.' The side of my bed is littered with about 10-12 books I've finished and haven't shelved yet :-)

Posted by: tobias buckell at May 6, 2005 12:10 PM

We’re Early Abandoners.

Yes! That’s it. Me, too.

You’ll have to show me the Dana’s word processor some time.

Posted by: David Moles at May 6, 2005 12:54 PM

Go to http://www2.alphasmart.com/, David. They're great machines, I've been pimping them for a while (nalo swears by hers as well).

Posted by: tobias buckell at May 6, 2005 02:08 PM

Yeah, I've seen that, but I learned many, many years ago not to judge a word processor by its marketing material. :)

Posted by: David Moles at May 6, 2005 07:34 PM

I have AlphaSmart's Neo, which is just a word processor, without the Palm OS and accessory programs. I prefer my pocket-size Palm for the Palm stuff because I can easily carry it with me. The Neo is great (much better than the AS 3000). I transfer text to the computer with the USB cable because the IR transfer is not very good: it transfers to the clipboard and then pastes the whole thing into the document, whereas the USB transfer transfers a character at a time, as if you're typing, which provides the benefits of autocorrect, autotext, and the like.

Posted by: Michael Ham at May 7, 2005 12:19 PM

We had an old Alphasmart Pro, which was absolutely terrific. We used it constantly, far more than we used the laptop we got later. Sadly, we haven't really had an excuse to buy one of the newer, cooler ones (and after we let our toddler use the Alphasmart for a while, it broke).
I don't yet have a portable mp3 player, and I doubt I'll get one soon, but you'll pry Civ3 out of my cold, dead, CD tray. I have started using cassette tapes and VCR tapes again, particularly for things that I want to stop and start again, as it skips the tedious bit where I have to find where I was.
I like the idea of being an Early Abandoner, but I'm too late to Adopt to make it work.
Thanks,
-V.

Posted by: Vardibidian at May 8, 2005 05:42 PM
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