Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Gadget Freak

My name’s David Read and I’m a gadgetholic. There, I’ve said it. It feels a lot better now I’ve got that out in the open. I’ve certainly tried to deny it: oh, I’m just interested in electronics, they’re labour-saving devices, they will help me work/study/organize my life better. But these rationalizations can’t really justify the sheer amount of money I’ve spent on gadgets over the last few years (and probably what I’m going to spend in the future). I realized the truth of my addiction yesterday when I was clearing up my apartment and logged all the stuff that I’ve got. Take a deep breath:

Three digital cameras, one video camera, two mobile phones, one dictaphone, two mp3/4 players, one PDA, two laptops, one portable hard drive, one Playstation 2, one Sony PSP, one printer, one wireless router, one DVD player and a bloody partridge in a pear tree.

And this is just the stuff I’ve got at the moment. I’ve sold or given away numerous other gadgets that I didn’t use or I’d replaced with something newer and funkier.

Now, the bizarre thing is that I was a bit of a technophobe until I was in my mid-twenties. I had never really touched a computer until then, and it was only that my new job came with a PC that I had to confront that fear and buckle down and learn how to a) turn on a computer and b) use it. Maybe it was just the elation of overcoming that fear that fed my obsession, but now it’s become a real financial drain. I went to work in Korea for a month recently and before going, I was literally sweating with anticipation. Not because I would experience a new culture, new food, meet new people, but because Seoul has the largest electronics market in the world (called Yongsan). I realized when I finally got there that there is no way in hell that I could ever live in Korea or Japan. I would be broke within a week and my wife and child would have to live on whatever food scraps they could afford with the money left over from my latest gadget purchase.

But I’m trying to get control of my addiction. I told my wife I would only buy one major gadget this year (notice the sly use of the word major, a get-out clause for a series of smaller purchases) and so far I’ve stuck to my word. I bought a new laptop in Korea and I’m determined that will be the only thing I buy. Still, I feel a bit like a nicotine addict who’s promised himself he’ll smoke only five a day, and it’s now midday and he’s smoked all of them. Christ, it’s only April, and I know that Sony are releasing their ebook reader in the spring and that looks really cool. I don’t suppose that would be considered a major purchase, would it my dear?

3 Comments:

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10:08 am  
Blogger Michael said...

Ah, gadgets! I must confess I suffer from the same wallet-thinning affliction; have you seen the ipod nanos? Very nice machines. And the Treo smartphones? Also cool (tho a bit too bulky to just slip into your pocket on the way to the pub). I bought an ipod cos i figured I could use it in class to record students, play listening activities, etc; haven't done that yet tho it is great for background music during speaking activities. You know, a *video camera* would be perfect for class. And a digital SLR camera--now *that* would be fun to have.

BTW, how's the secret shopping coming along? I am sure the bootleg CD hawkers and tough old babushkas are in need of review.

9:59 am  
Blogger David Read said...

I have a bit of a thing against Apple, so I don't have any of their MP3 players. Instead, I've got an Archos PMA430 - which pretty much does everything (music, films, internet, documents). I did fancy a Treo as well, but then a lot of the funky stuff like email etc are difficult to access in Kyrgyzstan, so decided against it. Yeah, I keep planning to get a decent video camera (ideally one with a largish hard drive, like the JVC Everio) but I don't have the money for now. Probably should be saving money anyhow to, well, look after my family...

6:07 pm  

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