Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Closet geeks, unite

I admit it, I'm something of a gadget geek. Always have been, as a matter of fact.

I'm not sure where this started, but when I was a kid I wanted our family to have a TV with remote control in the worst way. My late father used to laugh when my brothers and I would lobby for a remote control, saying that he didn't need that as long as he had us!

As a teen and an avid music lover I got very tired of having to wait my turn to get access to the family stereo, so after I got an after-school job my first purchase, naturally, was my own stereo, to which I added over the years. To show you how much that stereo meant to me, I kept the components until about eighteen months ago. And I'll be 50 next year, for those who are keeping score.

I always wanted a good stereo in my cars, too, and until I was able to buy cars with decent built-in stereo (with tape and eventually CD) capabilities, I always added the best aftermarket unit I could afford. I have memories, not so fond, of spending long afternoons and evenings alone or with friends struggling to figure out how to connect an add-on radio or tape deck to my car-of-the-moment. And despite not having been brought up with any particular emphasis on being handy, I was always successful.

Now, that's not to say that I am always 100% cutting edge. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. And while I don't rely on others to change the channel (though I could have when my kids were younger), I am guilty of not getting with the program in certain ways. I was very slow to switch from 8-track tapes to cassettes, and from cassettes to CDs. My son now has a rather large collection of what were my cassettes, collected over twenty or so years. And when I jettisoned my ancient stereo equipment recently, along with it I sold off my record collection, with some of the titles dating back thirty-five years or more.

I didn't have a cellphone until an employer required me to have one and agreed to pay for service. I was very late in getting an iPod, too, but had been playing around with digital music for a while. I don't have caller ID on my land-line phone (yes, we still have one), but like it very much on my cellphone account.

Now, on the subject of TVs, my wife and I very much enjoy the home theater experience and have made a variety of investments in that regard. Our current setup includes a 52 inch LCD HDTV, a Blu-Ray high-definition disc player and a Bose sound system. Not like going to the movies, but the popcorn's a lot cheaper and the seats are considerably more comfortable.

And I'm writing this entry not on any old Windows PC but on a Mac, which I very much wanted for many years and am elated with it nearly two years after its purchase.

Technology is our friend, and I remind myself all the time that all of these devices are here to improve our lives. Although it doesn't always seem that way......

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