It is pretty rare for me to write a post not even 24 hours after I posted my last one. But I read a supremely annoying article on Yahoo today (from the New York Times), and I had to comment on it. Here is the link, if you want to read it for yourself. In the meantime, let me summarize: You can apparently do almost everything you would ever want to do (and things you probably did not even know were possible) with a smart phone. Therefore, you don't need a point-and-shoot digital camera, a camcorder, a GPS system, or a digital music player. And apparently the desktop computer and thumb drive have gone the way of the dinosaurs.
Excuse me while I go throw out all of those things and go directly to nearest Apple store so I can buy a super-smart phone. I also need to burn my desktop computer, but how about if I finish this post first, okay?
We have a quite-old desktop computer. This may be a bad example, because the computer is now at the point where it turns itself off several times a day. Good times. But it is what you would expect from a seven- or eight-year old model, which has served us well over the years. I actually prefer it to the laptop that Brian's grandmother gave us, and not just because there is something wrong with the laptop battery which pretty much makes it a desktop computer. I don't need to take a laptop with me everywhere; I just don't find it necessary to be that "connected." In fact, Brian is trying to get me a replacement part(s) for my dinosaur computer because it will be much cheaper than our buying a laptop. Sorry, Times article writer, but I have to go with cost on this one. I also use a thumb drive (I guess that is the same thing as what I call a memory stick?) to copy/store various files "just in case." And I burn files and pictures to a CD once or twice a year, which probably is something the old folks did years ago, I am guessing.
We have a GPS unit from two or three years ago. Brian uses it when he travels for work, which is not often, and it mostly gets the job done (sure, it could use some updating). He would have to pay extra for a GPS app, not worth the $20 or so a month when the GPS is paid for. Me? I like looking up where I am going on Google and printing it out or writing it down. I also had AAA do a triptik for me when I drove to NC last year. Yes, I am clearly almost 40 (and should probably be 60).
My several-years-old digital camera is also not the greatest, but it takes far better pics than my "stupid" (i.e., not smart) phone. If I am out and without my camera, the cell phone is an okay replacement, but I would never use it to take "important" pictures (Christmas card, kid's concert, etc.). But perhaps these oh-so-spectacular smart phones take amazing pictures.
Because my digital camera also has video recording, I don't need a camcorder (I think ours is from when we got married; we never use it), so I can probably agree with the writer on that one. Unfortunately, my cell phone does not have video; if I had realized it when I upgraded last summer (for free, thanks to Verizon's "New Every Two" plan), I would have gone with another, less stupid phone with video. Oh, well.
It makes perfect sense that the Times writer said that the mp3 player is something you can probably lose since mine is only just over a year old and is not the super-cool i-whatever that the hip crowd uses anyway. Regardless, even though I like to listen to music, I don't download songs onto my cell phone or mp3 player; it is not worth the money for me (do you see a theme here?), and the memory on my phone is so limited. But I can't imagine people who are really into music could fit their entire library on their smart phone anyway. And even though I don't often use my mp3 player, it did come in handy while at the park with Jordan a few weeks ago so I could listen to the Pens game. I have also used it to hear the radio people during TV sporting events (because some national commentators are so anti-Pittsburgh). I would not have wanted to drain my cell phone battery instead. (If I had not almost been run over while running with an mp3 player, I would use my mp3 player for that.)
All those things aside, I think the article misses an important point: Relying on one small and expensive piece of equipment for so many things is pretty risky. I won't lose my desktop computer. I have yet to misplace my digital camera (surprisingly the same is true of my MP3 player and thumb drive), yet to his point, I do have more things to keep track of. But I know so many people who have lost or dropped their cell phones. My one sister-in-law has gone through numerous phones because they get wet, a kid chews on it, etc. Brian has an i-phone, through work. He has to charge it a lot, since he takes all his calls on it. Sure, he has downloaded some cool apps, but I think I am doing just fine without all those bells and whistles.
Yes, I am a bit of a technophobe. But do we really need all that stuff, particularly when the stuff we already have works fine (or good enough, anyway)? When my cell phone contract is up next spring, I may give in and get a smart phone; after all, I will probably be one of only 12 people in the entire country who does not have one by then (I know my buddy Mel will be right with me!). But cost will be an issue. Until then, I am hopeful I will survive without a smart phone and a working laptop. Wish me luck!