Monday, July 26, 2010

My Story of Stuff

For someone who is such a network / resource person I keep a pretty low profile on technology. At least on hardware and things that include a monthly fee. I'm cautious about such matters, wanting to weigh them out carefully before I make an investment that may cost a lot and not necessarily pay off.

Right now the distance between me and "cutting edge" is about as big as it has ever been in relative, 2010 terms. After all, I amused myself driving cross-country by listening to cassette tapes on the stereo in my 1998 car - only the third car I've ever owned - stopped to take pictures with my 2005 camera - the first digital I ever purchased - and wondered why I wasn't picking up a signal on the very basic, 100-minutes-a-month mobile phone I got for free from Virgin Mobile. I don't own an "i" anything.

It's not that I'm bad with tech stuff, or afraid of it. Just cautious, and kind of a skinflint. My conservative habits help me keep on my slender budget, and save me grey cells to use keeping up on other things that are more important to me. And being on sabbatical, trying to live a quieter, more balanced life, I opted to defer the stress related to making unnecessary decisions or changes. (See my post on life, change, and stress).

Yet now as we come to an end of the sabbatical, I anticipate working alone and from my home for at least a season. I'm wondering if a giant leap forward, tech-wise, is in my future.

I did already do this one thing: I talked to my roommate about setting up a wireless network in the house. Can you believe I've gone this long without one? For a long time I could pick up signals in the neighborhood - no longer - or occasionally borrow the roommate's little plug-in modem. Mostly, though, I took my laptop to the library or a series of nearby coffee shops.

Frankly, this was a way to keep some boundaries in my life. The thought of being able to do anything on the internet anytime I wanted - to live a complex, social life without getting out of my pajamas - didn't sound too healthy to me. I wasn't sure I could be trusted.

But I told Deb I wanted to give it a try. She did the research and made the leap. We're all hooked up. So when I get home, I'll have high-speed access to anything and everything. I'll be able to blow off the dust on my seldom-used Skype equipment.

And, I suppose, I'll want to set some new boundaries to keep me from abusing that and spending too much time in front of a screen.

 Here are some essay questions for you, dear reader:

Thinking about the tech changes and purchases you've made in the last five years...

1. Which changed your life the most?
2. Which had the most positive effects?
3. What negative effects did you experience, and how did you compensate for or contain them?
3. Are there any tech upgrades that were really a waste of money or that you regret?


Sherry said...

1 iPhone
2 iPhone
3 Used the iPhone too much in public. Kept on doing it.
4 Every upgrade has been well worth it.

Marti said...

Thanks for writing, Sherry! I am wondering if that might be just what I want, actually. Though I would like to know more about the upgrade aspect. With a new version on the market, would it be smarter and just as satisfying to buy an old one? Or is the obsolescent factor too great?

Paul Merrill said...

I'm the wrong person to answer - I love technology.

No smart phone yet. But I love my iPod Touch, though I use very little of what it has to offer. (Mostly I use it for the old main offering - listening to music or audiobooks.)

And of course my Mac is an indispensable part of my daily life.

Marti said...

Well now, loving technology doesn't disqualify you! I do have an MP3 player, and like it. But I wouldn't mind getting a better one...

alohawebguy said...

1. iPhone. You didn't get to play with it that much when you were here, but it has proven to be very handy.
2. iPhone.
3. I did find with the GPS and the Internet on the iPhone my battery would drain QUICKLY. So, I bought an external battery that pretty much lasts all day.
4. Well, the iPhone 4 upgrade was free, but I think my jailbroken version 3 phone was better. In this case I don't think Apple did better than the hackers out there.

I've always said that I'm willing to abuse any piece of technology in order to build relationships and get the work of the Kingdom done.


Dean Smith said...

I have an macBook Pro, an iPhone and an iPad. I would way that the one that changed my life most was the macBook, but that's because I've had 3 of them now and I've had them for a long time. The iPhone is a delight and I can do a lot of things with it. But I suspect that if I were asked this question in the future, I might well say it is the iPad. I find myself using it more and more. I only reach for the macBook when I want to print or want to watch a flash video. That's not very often. That will change in the next few months as the world shifts to HTML5 and printing comes to the iPad.

The iPad has 10 hour battery life. That becomes really important.

It is best, however, to have a computer of some sort to backup the iPad.

Marti said...

Thanks for commenting!

I do know a lot of people with iPhones and other smart phones and can see the appeal. I mean, I am not really comfortable talking on the phone, but since these things can do everything else under the sun as well...

Not sure on the iPad idea. Would need to play with one more.

And, Chris, I am a big fan of extra batteries/power cords - they've saved me on more than on e occasion!

Dave Hackett said...

Yep it's iPhone for me. An incredible tool. Social media, mail, trip entertainment, gobs of apps (of my 130 apps I prob use 20 of them a LOT), and it consolidates everything in one tiny form factor: schedule, mail, docs, phone.

As for upgrades, an external battery is good