I’ve been bitten by the new laptop* bug. Hard.
I’d love to see a sleek new ultrabook or Macbook Air sitting on my
dining room table desk, instead of this 6 year-old secondhand Acer. Don’t judge me. I got this thing for a Coke and a smile.
Or maybe a sleek new iPod Touch to replace my aging MP3 player, since I only stream music from my phone and don’t want to kill my battery after a few hours of listening.
But then I got to thinking.
What do I use these things for? I use my computer as a word processor, a browser, and storage. And local storage is becoming less and less of a priority. Sure a sleek new unibody looks fantastic, but I’ll never use it enough to justify the $1,000+ I’d pay for it, and I’d probably mess myself when my daughter came at it with a Sharpie (like this one). It’s no workhorse, but I don’t have the need. A RAM upgrade last year got her purring like a kitten, and the $40 battery replacement that I’ve been putting off will have it running better than the day she was made.
My cheapo Sansa Clip won’t run apps, and it sure isn’t pretty, but I’ve never once had to baby it. It’s a cheap little plastic box that’s nothing more than a glorified flash drive with a postage-stamp sized screen on it. And I love it. It holds more music than I could ever hope to listen to in a day (or three). It’s been covered in dust, rained on, sweated on, dropped, and never once have I worried about it. If it breaks, no big deal. I’m out $40 instead of $400.
That’s when it hit me — I don’t really need these shiny new things. I just want. My computer and MP3 player, both of which I literally spend hours with sometimes, work just like I need them to. If we step back and take a closer look, most of the time what we have is plenty good enough. It’s just that the honeymoon’s over. 9 times out of 10, a little maintenance and some minor upgrades, most of which don’t require much more than a screwdriver and a few spare minutes, will get us years out of the gadgets we already have right in front of us.
As much time as we spend with our electronics, they become like old friends. Every bump, scrape, scratch, and rumpled old sticker tell a story, and you just don’t get that with something brand new out of the box.
Have any “old tech” you still can’t bear to part with? Tell us about it in the comments.