tech splurge

October 19, 2008 · 0 comments

i've been on a bit of tech splurge lately. doled out some cash, spending a lot of time setting these devices up and trying to figure out how they will all fit into my life. here's a rundown of the recent acquisitions. this is by no means a review at any level of comprehensiveness, just how technology is enabling me.

netbook - acer aspire one

quick specs: intel atom running @ 1.6GHz, 512mb ram, 8 gig ssd hard drive, 8.9" screen, runs on linux lite, wi-fi enabled, 3 usb, 2 sd card readers, 3 hr battery life, webcam and loaded with all the open source productivity software you need.

i really fell in love with this device from the first time i saw it. super portable, yet fully functional. it's right in the middle of my smartphone and a laptop. i can't be that productive on the smartphone given the screen size and slower typing and navigation, but at the same time, the laptop was still a bit cumbersome and more intensive than a casual situation warranted. with the netbook, i feel at ease going to a cafe to drink and surf, or take on the subway for a little pre-work work.

where does it fit: right now it's opening up more situations that i want screen time, but before was always a pain to do with the laptop. now i can go to bed with my wife and catch up on my google reader without a bulky laptop on my chest or a huge screen shining in her face.

slingbox tv tuner

as if i needed to watch more tv. i first saw this device about 2 years ago when i previewed it at a digital conference. my initial thoughts were this is great for ex-pats who want a taste of the tv they're missing back home or heavy travellers to watch programming they're used to. neither situation terribly applicable to me so i kind of dismissed it. then i got one as a gift and took an about-face.

what i've come to love most about this is the ability to share it with all my friends. for nothing, i can point people to a piece of software to install and give them my profile info. from there, they too can enjoy live tv on their computer from anywhere.

where does it fit: mainly as background right now, especially for low involvement programming and the great company that tv provides. though i have a laptop, i still prefer to be desk based and the orientation of my laptop at the desk is not facing the tv. so this allows me to have the tv still in the background but without all the constant head craning.

linksys WRT610N wireless router with storagelink

now having a wireless router is nothing new to me, but i had to get this one in particular to help me build an inexpensive network. the key to this router for me is the storagelink. it allows you to plug in a usb hard drive, creating a network drive that all your computers can access. so now all my music, movies, pictures, files, etc sits on this hard drive (and not slowing down my computer) and accessible anywhere. and by anywhere, i mean i can access it over the internet to so i have all my stuff, where ever i am, on any computer.

sure i could have bought a server for a few thousand, but this cost me $170 for the router and $100 for a 500gb usb drive and i still would have had to by the router with the server to get wi-fi. yes, it's also super fast operating at 5ghz for all kinds of multi-media activity without stuttering.

where it fits: mostly already said it above, i'm trying to go completely digital, and completely accessible. this delivers on that really well and really inexpensively.

smartphone - samsung blackjack II

gone is the relic of a flip phone that used to have. in it's place a glorious and robust little smartphone i call jack. using windows mobile, this has a suite of programs to be all kinds of productive, manage my time and contacts, and even play some games. oh, the internet access on a reasonably sized screen isn't too bad either.

where it fits: obviously texting is a key component as i do a lot of that. so a full qwerty keypad makes that a lot easier. with a very small data plan i can access facebook and twitter anywhere to keep in touch. but the biggest reason for me is to have an easy way of jotting down notes, ideas, compiling lists, and genrally keeping track of data snippets.

so it's probably pretty apparent at this point that i'm a media junkie. the sum of all these parts is i'm taking in more information than ever. while all this technology allows me unequivocal access and unlimited data, it's the humanity of knowing when to stop, both in discovering new stuff and generally when to have other things in life.



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