I like gadgets, at least in theory. I don’t buy too many of them, because a lot of the gadgets out there don’t match the way I live. But I’ve been around for decades worth of gadgets. I don’t generally the very first of the season, but when things get discounted, I may well be there. I remember Dad buying an electronic calculator when the price came down from $300 to $100 (and that was the model that not only had plus, minus, multiplication and division, but also a percentage key!) And having one of those LED watches where you had to push a button to see the time. And everyone would gather round at 12:59 to watch all the digits change.

I was there for the era when suddenly everything seemed to have a digital clock built in. And for the era when suddenly everything also played music CDs. And now for the era when everything also plays MP3s.

And add that with the Black Friday love I have. Yes, yes, it’s all horribly crass and commercial, but there is something to be said for a group of people showing a once-a-year enthusiasm, getting up at insane hours and standing in line for something cool and cheap. Last year, I got a DVD recorder. Yes, it also played music CDs, and I think it even played MP3s. The software in it was quite good. The hardware proved cheap and unreliable, and the device is no longer being used.

This year, the score was one of those GPS navigation systems, a unit which Amazon sells for $400 at $150 after rebate  (with an added 1 GB SD memory card for $3 after rebate.) This is my first time playing with one of these, and this is one sweet little gadget. It knows where it is, has a number of ways for you to let it know where you want to go, and it knows the route, with the entire US map in there standard. Today, I let its British voice guide me to the supermarket, warning me of all the upcoming turns, displaying the local map in an angled format, and generally showing that it will keep me from ever again having to try to drive with a MapQuest printout in one hand. If I leave the path, it refigures the route.  Small enough to fit in a pocket and designed so that you can use it for walking as well as for driving, this’ll let me do some geocaching at some point, which I’ve wanted to try. It is currently giving me much happiness.

And yes, of course it also plays MP3s.

Published in: on November 26, 2006 at 1:05 am  Leave a Comment  

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