I can live without lots of high-tech gadgets.
Cellphones, for instance. I honestly do not want to be in touch.
I also have no need for a tiny palm-sized computer. My thumbs don’t work that way. I’ve given two away and lost another. Places like YouTube and MySpace bore me. There are good reasons why these people are not being paid for their work.
But some gadgets seem essential to me. I’ll offer my list and tell you why each item qualifies.
Wide-screen monitor: Now I can have a Web browser open on one part of the screen, email on another and—at times—a small note-taking program on a third.
There is plenty of room on the wide 19-inch screen. And by being able to see several programs at once, I can do true multitasking that makes my work more efficient.
That’s what I tell my wife. And it’s true.
But I avoid telling her that my favourite games look really great on the wide screen. And, with my DVD drive, I can rest my eyes at times by watching a movie the way it was meant to be seen.
HDTV: Speaking of big, wide screens, my HDTV probably furnishes more enjoyment for the dollar than any other piece of electronics in my home.
The big screen and detailed picture makes watching Braves baseball games more like the view I get at Turner Field. And—unlike when I go in person—I can change channels when the team makes me mad.
Movies are great, especially when I crank up my audio system and let the big subwoofer shake the floors a little.
The high-definition picture is so beautiful that I often watch entire programmes about beavers, spiders and frogs just to admire the photography.
External hard disk: Years ago, when I first started backing up my data, I used floppy disks. Then I moved to CDs and finally, DVDs.
No matter what I used, I was forced to sit at the computer and change disks, as if I were feeding quarters into a slot machine.
Now, I simply click the backup button. Everything fits on my 200-gigabyte external hard disk with room to spare.
When I buy a new computer, the external hard disk makes moving data simple. I plug it into a USB port and move all my email, documents, music and photos with no hassle.
Digital camera: Photography is a hobby for me. But even casual snapshooters should own a digital camera.
You already know you’ll never have to buy film again and that you can instantly—and at no cost—electronically develop your pictures.
That’s great. But because everything is instant and free, a digital camera will change how you use photography and how often you take pictures.
If you have to take something apart, taking pictures along the way furnishes a great reminder when the time comes to put it back together. Or, you can bring a photograph of your den into the furniture store to get help selecting the right coffee table.
I find new uses for instant photos almost every day.
GPS: Wait a minute—I don’t own one. But I can imagine how nice it would be not to get lost all the time. Like most guys, I dislike asking for directions, so that has meant some very long trips—even around the city.
My wife tells me we have to save for retirement so I need to postpone the purchase. But I see from reviews that pretty good units are dropping in price. I think I’ll show her this column to prove that a GPS is essential.
Maybe you’ll disagree with some of my choices, or perhaps you have your own nominations.
The New York Times
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