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I am an absolute technophile.  I love seeing all the new gadgets that come out and what they can do for me.  I love to think about how I can then modify those gadgets to do even more for me without me having to pay anything more.  I’m a cheapskate, and an enthusiast.

The term “enthusiast” is not one I’ve used all that often to describe myself.  If there were a scale to describe how much of an enthusiast a person could be, I’d imagine I’d be rather low on the scale.  But the fact is, I’m still ON the scale.  There is a very sad down side to being an enthusiast (well, there are probably a few); those same devices that you find you can’t live without aren’t usually everywhere you might need them.

Case in point (and most relatable example I can think of):  you have standard, run of the mill broadband internet.  It doesn’t need to be the fastest thing on the planet for this example to work, but it’s better than a 256k ISDN.  You use it at home to browse, do email, read blogs, whatever.  You then go over to your parents/friends house, and while there you try to show them something you found online (like our awesome website here) . . . only they are on dial-up.  And slow dial-up at that.

That’s the downside I’m talking about here.  To point back to Schmidty’s announcement of Chrome; it’s so fast and nice that it’s all I use . . . except at work where I have to use IE to work with Oracle and I nearly scream every time it takes 5 minutes to load a page simply because the browser is so bloated.

Well, there’s another device that’s in this category; the DVR.  Call it a TiVo, an HTPC, a DVR, or whatever else you want, these little babies will change your life.  Anyone who owns and regularly uses them will testify to you just how much they will change your life in regards to TV.  I’m not trying to make them out to be like a religious experience or anything, but they really are that pivotal.

Your spouse wants to talk to you during the game?  Just pause the show.  Your show is only on at 1:00 AM? Set it to record!  There’s an interesting documentary on squid that you know you’d be interested in but just don’t feel like watching it right now?  Record it for later!  Kids are killing each other?  Dinner is on the table NOW? Don’t like commercials?  Guests come over unannounced?  You get the idea.  Our favorite use is to record a whole bunch of shows the kids like and have them at our fingertips whenever we want to reward them.

Screenshot of Vista Media Center from MSDN blog
Screenshot of Vista Media Center from MSDN blog

The down side is that not everything is hooked into a DVR.  We don’t have one in our bedroom, so when I miss something important that was said I can’t jump back to hear it again.  If there’s something interesting I want my wife to see, I can’t pause it and wait for her to get in the room.  I find myself listening to the radio on my way to work in the morning and habitually reaching for a remote that doesn’t exist to jump back 15 seconds or so to re listen to something that was said!  That’s how messed up I’ve become.

If your computer can barely run Windows XP SP2, I don’t want to touch it (sadly, that’s my computer at work).  If you have a whole 5 channels on your TV, please don’t ask me if I want to watch anything (everything I’d want to watch is already recorded at home anyway).  I know this makes me look like a snob, and to a degree I am one.  But the secret fact of the matter is it’s just painful for myself and other enthusiasts at times.

Sure, we’re in a 1st world nation, with access to some of the best technology in the world (not counting cell phones where we seem to be permanently stuck in 2002), but I’m not interested in what technology could do for me five years ago; I’m interested in what it can do for me tomorrow.

Zuke

Co-founder of Stolendroids.com and Executive Producer for Stolendroids Podcast. Also resident 'tech-head' and de-facto leader of the group.
  • zohner

    My boss was recently telling me about a person who contacted him asking why we don’t do beta testing on things that are compatible with her computer.  She is using a Windows 95 machine.  I’m guessing that you wouldn’t want to touch that either.  

    Actually, I completely agree with you on this matter.  I hate old technology.  Once I move on to new technology, I can’t go back.  When we moved to Syracuse, DSL wasn’t available and we didn’t want to pay for Comcast broadband.  Our dial-up got blazing speeds of 22k.  On a good day.  Most of the time it was around 15k because we are so far out in the boonies.  I couldn’t take it anymore so I got Comcast.  After a few months, my wife suggested going back to dial-up to cut our monthly expenses.  I couldn’t do it.  Going from broadband to slow dial-up would have killed me.  I’m glad that I was able to talk her out of it. 

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