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Wednesday, January 27, 2010, 00:37 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

Apparently, I have quite a few of them, according to my co-worker, Sandy, who recently called me “The Gadget Queen” upon seeing my new Sony Reader. It doesn’t seem to me that I have any more gadgets than the next person, but I admit having more than Sandy does. When I stopped to think about it, I realized that, far from being on the cutting edge of technology, I generally wait until an item has gone mainstream before getting one.

My home and car are remarkably gadget-free: I have no HD television, surround sound, TiVo, state-of-the-art music system, electronic appliances (except a microwave), remote starter, remote door locks, in-car CD changer, GPS, The Clapper, etc. (I threw in that last one just to see if you were paying attention.) Remote controls for things that always come with remotes don’t count, and neither do gadgets required by law like smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. What I do have are convenient and portable items that do regular everyday tasks, and they are generally as simple as possible. Beginning with the laptop.

Dell Inspiron 14 laptop computer. No one is going to be blown away with envy over this computer. I made sure I got more than enough hard disc space and memory, but besides that, there aren’t many bells and whistles beyond what came standard, which is basically a CD/DVD player/burner and wireless card. It is smaller than my last laptop (about the same width but less in screen height due to the wide-screen aspect ratio). It’s black, mostly because trendy colors cost more and I don’t consider my computer to be a fashion accessory. I didn’t even spring for the super battery because I am not morally opposed to plugging into a wall outlet and don’t foresee bringing it into the woods or onto the beach.

Logitech V222 wireless optical mouse. I only got this because my old Dell wired optical mouse died, and pretty much all the mice that were small and felt comfortable in my hand were wireless. I like the fact that the USB transmitter slides into the bottom of the mouse for storage and, at the same time, automatically turns off the mouse to save the batteries. The red is a little flashier than I’d like, but that’s the color they had in the store the day I went and it was on sale. Besides, once I put my hand on it, you can’t see the color anyway.

SanDisk Cruzer Micro 8 GB flash drive. Once I figured out that a flash drive was the easiest way to transfer music files from my son’s computer when his wireless router was acting up, it was a no-brainer. It’s also the easiest way to deliver digital photos to a friend’s computer without having to burn a disc. I have also been known to use it to bring the occasional file home from work (nothing sensitive, just in case the Privacy Police are reading, though it is encrypted). Yes, I carry it on my key ring, which I gather is the 21st century equivalent of wearing a pocket protector or hanging a slide rule off your belt.

BlackBerry Pearl 8130 smartphone. I never would have gotten a smartphone if I hadn’t decided to go cell-only and was told (erroneously, as it turned out) that my new plan included use of the phone as a wireless modem. I picked BlackBerry as opposed to any other brand because I could use the BlackBerry network instant messenger with someone out of the country, thus avoiding costly international text messaging charges. I picked the Pearl because it was the smallest phone Blackberry makes. I got the “amethyst” color because the only other choice was dark red (see color comment in Logitech mouse section).

Plantronics Explorer 360 bluetooth headset. It only makes good safety sense to go hands-free when talking on the phone while driving, and I admit I was getting sick of hopping out of the car at the gas station and nearly strangling myself on the wired headset. This model had the most comfortable earpiece, adequate range, good battery life, and was made better than some of the others. The picture shows a gunmetal blue color; mine is actually silver. By now you’ve figured out that neutral colors are the theme.

Sansa Clip 4GB mp3 player. I love this thing. About two inches high and light as a feather, it holds about 1,000 songs and has an FM tuner and voice recorder I never use. It’s my third Sansa mp3 player and each one was better than the last. My co-worker Nicole just got the upgraded version (Clip+) which has a memory card slot; evidently there are pre-filled memory cards available in various genres for those who don’t want to go through the trouble of building a digital music library.

Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS-300 electronic book reader. This is my newest gadget and the only one I consider to be an unnecessary luxury. I wrote all about it the day after I bought it. By now, you can probably recite the things about it that appealed to me: the smallest reader available… no-nonsense functionality… silver… on sale. And even though it is the least necessary item on this list, it is basically just a replacement for the lowest-tech things anyone owns, books.

Oh, I also have a portable CD player, but it doesn’t make the list because I haven’t used it since I made the jump to mp3.

Most high school and college students have a lot more techno-stuff than that, right? Between netbooks, digital tablets, portable DVD players, handheld gaming systems, virtual reality goggles, and heated socks (just checking, again), they are so far ahead of me that I might as well be stuck back in the 1980s.

(Edited to correct multiple typo, grammar, and punctuation errors because, apparently, I was stoned when I posted this.)

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