Monday, 11 November 2013

The Death of Gadgetry

Other children of the sixties may remember this.  It's a Texas TI-30 scientific calculator and I became the proud owner of one just in time to take my GCE Maths back along at the end of the 1970s.  It had a funky red LED display and I worked out a way of powering it up and down by pressing a combination of buttons that didn't even go near the ON/OFF switch.

A calculator, albeit an updated one, was eventually joined by a whole lot of electronic gadgetry that used to vie for space in my bag - a music player, camera, PDA, Louis' game consoles and a phone that was just a phone, period!  I'm just in awe of the fact that all these devices now fit into the palm sized rectangle that is my smartphone.  And there's more.  It's a radio, video player and recorder, stopwatch,  torch, GPS system and a rather superior replacement for the Encyclopedia Britannica and a whole library of other reference books which, of course, could not be lugged around willy-nilly.  In researching this post, there's other things I've come across that I want to add, an offline dictionary/thesaurus called Terminology,  a budgeting tool called Mint and I'm saving the best until last.  For a paltry fee that is about 10% of what my TI-30 cost in really money, not adjusted for inflation, you can download Starwalk, an app that tells you the names of the stars that you can see if you point it at the night sky.  How cool is that?

So, why am I telling you all this? Well Christmas is coming and the shopkeepers are getting fat.  That silly season approaches when lots of us are scratching our heads over present buying.  This article from the Guardian reminds us that because sheer diversity of what can be fitted on a smartphone, that the purchase of many of the extraneous and indeed expensive gadgets out there is now a total waste of money.  Go forth and buy chocolatey gifts instead!

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