Networking

10 gadgets you should get rid of... maybe

The New York Times recently listed several consumer electronics you may not need, from digital cameras to e-books. Is this common sense or heresy? Andrew Nusca offers his take.

One of the most popular recent stories on the New York Times' Web site is Sam Grobart's "Gadgets You Should Get Rid Of (Or Not)." In the piece, Grobart outlines several consumer electronics you might not really need. But in reading it, I found myself disagreeing with several of his suggestions, which are meant for a broad (but fairly educated) audience -- after all, the Times is among the most popular news outlets in the world.

So I feel compelled to respond with my own take, as an editor immersed in the gadget world for the last three years. I agree with the basic premise that we need fewer gadgets than ever; which gadgets we give up, that's a different matter entirely.

Note: This article originally appeared as an entry in ZDNet's The ToyBox blog. It's also available as a PDF download.

1: The desktop computer

Grobart's take: "Lose it... laptops have all the necessary computing power the average user needs."

Nusca's take: Agree. I gave up my desktop in 2005 and haven't looked back. (I currently pipe my MacBook Pro's visuals into a Dell IPS monitor, complete with external keyboard and mouse.) Gamers and other users with computing-intensive applications are exceptions, of course, but the vast majority of users no longer need the bulk.

2: Broadband Internet

Grobart's take: "Keep it," because a 3G mobile broadband connection may offer connectivity, but it fails at video streaming, data caps and coverage."

Nusca's take: Agree, but for different reasons. I do think a large portion of computer users -- those who use them occasionally -- could get by on 3G, video streaming be damned, but the data caps and spotty coverage give me pause. Broadband is more Internet than most homes need, but 3G isn't enough.

3: Cable TV

Grobart's take: "Depends. While you may and should hold on to a good broadband connection at home, it is debatable whether you need to pay for cable TV."

Nusca's take: Keep it, unequivocally. While I advocate cutting the cord in principle, my colleagues at CNET Reviews have demonstrated that the reality is not nearly as easy as it sounds. This isn't about sports or movies -- this is about simplicity. And setting up TV service without calling the cable company is about as easy as setting up a home network with Windows 95.

4: Point-and-shoot cameras

Grobart's take: "Lose it. Yes, a dedicated camera will probably take a better picture than the small lens and image sensor of a smartphone, but it will not be that much better."

Nusca's take: Depends. For candid photos around town and of the kids, a current-generation smartphone handles this task, despite some quibbles about resolution. But if you're still getting photos printed and framed, you might consider a proper point-and-shoot. (I still use them to cover events.) World travelers will likely go the dSLR route, anyway.

5: Camcorder

Grobart's take: "Lose it... that camcorder you have now is probably the last one you will own."

Nusca's take: Keep it, assuming it's a Flip-type model. Grobart says digital SLR cameras now handle HD video with aplomb, rendering conventional shotgun-style camcorders useless, but most folks aren't willing to shell out for such expensive (and bulky) cameras. If you've got a conventional camcorder, ditch it -- most cheaper models don't offer much better quality than the Flip and its counterparts, and handheld comfort isn't enough to justify a second gadget.

6: USB thumb drive

Grobart's take: "Lose it. File sharing does not require hardware anymore. In almost any case you can think of, you can move files around digitally via the Internet."

Nusca's take: Keep it. While Internet sharing is indeed a large part of the daily grind -- I send myself documents through the cloud all day -- connectivity problems and speed (large photos, home videos, applications) aren't worth taking the time to upload to the cloud, just to bring back down again. Always-on connectivity might work for the office, but it's not always efficient at home.

7: Digital music player

Grobart's take: "Lose it (probably). Do you have a smartphone? Then you have a music player."

Nusca's take: Agree for most of the population. Only gym rats would consider a small player like the Apple iPod nano, and even then, a smartphone just as easily sits in the cupholder of your treadmill. The only exception is the outdoors runner, who needs to shed weight.

8: Alarm clock

Grobart's take: "Keep it... setting and resetting smartphone alarms may require a dive into one submenu too many."

Nusca's take: Lose it. Modern smartphones can offer shortcuts into said menus, and unless you're attached to the babbling brook setting, your phone will wake you just as effectively. Plus, overseas travelers rely on them, since a U.S. alarm clock won't stay accurate plugged into a wall in Europe.

9: GPS device

Grobart's take: "Lose it... your smartphone can do the same thing, if not more, for half that price, or even free."

Nusca's take: Keep it, for the same reason that Grobart said to keep your alarm clock: simplicity. Sure, top-of-the-line smartphones have navigation capability, but it's a mess of menus -- not something you want to deal with when you're driving around lost. In due time, this will be corrected, but the GPS thing is still far too early to ditch your cheap windshield-mounted unit.

10: Books

Grobart's take: "Keep them (with one exception)... consider this about a book: It has a terrific, high-resolution display. It is pretty durable; you could get it a little wet and all would not be lost. It has tremendous battery life. It is often inexpensive enough that, if you misplaced it, you would not be too upset. You can even borrow them free at sites called libraries."

Nusca's take: Depends on your use case. If you're a public transit rider, an e-reader is a godsend, doing away with the weight and bulk of a traditional bound book. For beachgoers, paperback books can handle sand and sun and humidity without giving you heart palpitations. For armchair readers, an e-reader works just as well -- provided you can find the stuff you want to read.

That's my take. What's yours?

About

Andrew Nusca is the editor of SmartPlanet.

69 comments
myangeldust
myangeldust

...are the biggest filler subjects in the magazine world. Don't get me wrong, it's great in Maxim and Esquire where we're objectifying women or subjectifying automobiles. But for every other magazine publishing a faulty list of ten items that have little in common with one another is just gratuitous fluff. All the items in this article are still useful things to have. When I get home I set my mobile phone on a countertop. The mobile doesn't follow me around the house so why would I scrap everything for it.

TheWerewolf
TheWerewolf

1. Desktop Computer - Keep. There are still plenty of tasks for which a laptop just doesn't have the horsepower - like video compression or live TV viewing. Also, a beefy desktop is expandable while a laptop is 'what you get is ALL you get'. 2. Broadband Internet - Keep. Try pulling a 1.5GB movie over 3G. Actually, try PAYING for that. Not to mention, there are LOTS of places where 3G isn't available. 3. Cable TV - Maybe. Local TV is still hard to get on the Internet and while many current shows can be seen (legally or illegally) on the Net, it's not alway easy to find or watch. With apps like Media Center, watching TV on your computer is a great experience. 4. Camera - Maybe. You can get a 12MP ultraslim P&S with 4x optical zoom for $79. It's smaller than your cellphone, but takes significantly better photos AND HD video. That's worth the small weight and price. Eventually cameras and phones will merge, but we're not quite there yet. 5. Camcorder - Toss. See 4. Unless you're buying a very high end camcorder, it's not worth it. 6. USB stick - Keep.You can boot off them. You can't boot off the cloud. And see 2. 7. Music player - Toss. Just as PDAs merged with phones, so have music players. Only reason to have a dedicated one is if you don't own a cellphone. And if you don't own a cellphone... well, you've got bigger issues. 8. Alarm Clock - Toss. Most modern cellphones are easy to use for alarms contrary to what the fellow says. And they're more flexible as you can set them up for workdays, for example. 9. GPS - Maybe. If you tend to stay in the cities, you're ok with you cellphone. If you go between cities, this could fail. If you go to other countries - you're in trouble. I use my cellphone most of the time, but I keep a GPS in the glove compartment for when it's needed. They're cheap now. 10. Books - Maybe. I'd love to dump all my books and magazines - but a LOT of them aren't available in any kind of ebook format (legally or illegally), so this is a non-starter. Also, I have a large library that cost me a lot to buy over the years. I'm not going to rebuy them in ebook format. I can't afford that.

mark
mark

Desktop computer: maybe keep. For gamers and video editors, keeping the desktop is a no-brainer. Broadband internet: keep. The cellular providers are putting too many limitations on their services for them to be viable alternatives. Cable TV: personal decision. I never had it; don't watch TV enough to justify the expense. But right now, if you want the content you probably can't unplug unless you're willing to hoist the Jolly Roger. Point and shoot: maybe keep. They DO take visibly better pictures than a phone. My personal comparison is HTC Evo 4G vs Canon PowerShot A590is; the latter is worth carrying for serious picture taking situations. The phone is a nice go-to to have for everyday use. dSLR owners can probably lose the point and shoot; there isn't enough middle ground left for it, as they will use the dSLR for serious picture taking and the phone for casual everyday snapshots. Camcorder: maybe keep; it all depends on how serious you are about video. The real camcorder will have better optics and a zoom lens, and store video at a higher bit rate (= better quality) than a phone does. It's perhaps even more about the audio that goes with it; a real camcorder will let you connect an external microphone, which will get MUCH better sound than any built-in. USB thumb drive: keep. Small, inexpensive, handy for data transfer. And they can do one job that none of the replacements can: store a rescue system for a computer that won't boot. Digital music player: most users can lose it and use their smartphone, especially one with a streaming app like Rhapsody or Spotify. Smartphone refuseniks can keep. Serious runners will want to keep a small, light player like a Nano. Alarm clock: lose. The cell phone does it better and it's one less device to keep track of. Books: keep but cut back. Sometimes you want a disconnected device. Or you may want old content that isn't available in digital form. And you can lend them out to friends.

mark
mark

One shortcoming of nearly all smartphone-based GPS apps: they depend on cellular data connectivity to get their map information. (I believe that the expensive TomTom app for the iPhone is an exception; it actually downloads a map.) If you're in a remote location they don't work. A good standalone GPS and a current map will work everywhere.

mark16_15
mark16_15

Does anyone still have a plug in alarm clock? I know they still exist, but most alarm clocks are battery powered. Besides, if you have a plug in alarm clock, leave it home when you go to Europe and use your phone. I personally have my alarm times programmed into my phone calendar and wake up a different time every day. Try that with an alarm clock!

gbravin
gbravin

With an ebook reader I can enlarge printing characters without using a magnifing lens. This is the only real plus against the paper books, (for me).

abm99
abm99

I have a new HTC Evo 4G. It has two different driving applications and I've used them both. They're much worse than my $100 Garmin Nuvi. I already know how to get home, so I know the best route and it's the one the Garmin gives me. Garmin also gets traffic (and I assume the apps on the smartphone do too) but when I was testing them there was a big accident on the San Mateo bridge. The Garmin gave me a route change before the traffic guy on the radio said avoid the bridge. The phone app was taking me merrily into the breach rather than down to the Dumbarton. So, don't give up your Garmin. BTW, I REALLY love my Evo...

joehroy
joehroy

This is typical of the younger generation! The author should be drawn and quartered.

rgjr61
rgjr61

I like the portability and ease of use of online reading material. However, it would really suk if there were not "Real" books anymore. Some things just don't need improving.

rgjr61
rgjr61

I like tyhe portability and ease of use of online reading material. However, it would really suk if there were not "Real" books anymore. Some things just don't need improving.

Orodreth
Orodreth

Books are plentiful, available in wide variety of topics, relatively inexpensive, go everywhere, no copyright or download issues, make great gifts, collectible. Ebook readers have limited titles. Desktops as needed.

wendygoerl
wendygoerl

I find it interesting that Andrew thinks we should keep our alarm clocks in case GIGOs screw up the wake function on our Cloud-based phones, but sees nothing wrong in ditching our personal storage devices and relying exclusively on Cloud-based storage solutions, where the wrong keystroke can wipe our years of records and, as the Japan tsunami proved, your access to the Cloud can be cut off without warning for an indefininte period of time. It ain't truly yours unless you have PHYSICAL control of it.

JimWillette
JimWillette

My GPS has features my smart phone doesn't (trip tracking, breadcrumbs) that are occasionally useful. Not all books work as well on an eReader. Navigating a reference book is a pain, but a breeze with a "real" book. The article is thought provoking at least. It caused me to evaluate my gadgets and how I use them (and how much I use them).

j.baig
j.baig

The list is good for an average user. I like the comfort a Desktop provides. It is easier to work in if I need to upgrade to repair a part. It doesn't get as hot as a laptop generally would if you keep it on for days. Lastly the processing power on a desktop is cheaper than a laptop. Try buying Intel Core I7 laptops for $500. Same applies to point and shoot cameras, if you are even an amateur photographer you'll need a decent quality point and shoot camera with quality lenses, cellphones are not good alternatives. And to the phrase, "Broadband is more Internet than most homes need...", I say Buh Humbug!!! If anything the broadband speeds have not been advancing fast enough in USA. The world is moving in the cloud, all the media in the world is in the cloud already, we need more speed. All the other items are alright but on the ebook reader, try reading a computer programming book on kindle and let me how is that experience. Books are irreplaceable, there is nothing that can replace the scent of a fresh book. :)

larsonjs
larsonjs

Perhaps, I'm an odd duck, but my desktop has two screens full of multiple programs that I am running. I'm a researcher and I love the space of having multiple windows visible to me. My desktop is still faster than any laptop I've seen (even new mac book pro which I have) and it is WAY cheaper. I do take my laptop when I am writing on the road, but when I'm home, I love the flexibility of being able to sit with my keyboard in my lap and see my stuff on my dual 23" screens.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

[b]1: The desktop computer[/b] Not on your life! While a laptop may have all the power you need, the larger display available to a desktop and the multiple display capabilities are essential. Yes, it may be possible to do the same with a laptop, but then you either have to put up with one grossly-undersized display or flat waste the display capability by using multiple external ones--which also starts hogging the limited onboard display card resources. Add to this the average desktop's capability to have new video cards installed as more capability is needed, and the desktop overpowers the laptop very quickly. [b]2: Broadband Internet[/b] Absolutely not! One advantage to broadband internet is that, at least for now it's far faster and cheaper than over-the-air services from cellular providers. This may change in the future, but for now many, if not most, wireless providers only let you pull a couple of gigabytes of bandwidth before charging overage fees which add up quickly. Hard-wired broadband may be more expensive up front, but your usage is effectively unlimited (unless you're a real bandwidth hog) and the speed still exceeds wireless in most areas [b]3: Cable TV[/b] I could agree with this; I personally use satellite. However, the only broadband capability I can receive is via our local cable company and when you figure I have three PCs running almost full-time on the internet, I can't accept anything slower. This means that dropping Cable is impossible for me, even if I don't use it for television itself. [b]4: Point-and-shoot cameras[/b] Again I disagree; most point and shoot cameras offer far more capability than any smart phone, though admittedly you're more likely to be carrying your smart phone everywhere you go. A smart phone camera, however, is far more limited in ability to offer telephoto and unusual lighting captures. Just become some smart phones have as many as 8megapixels doesn't mean anything when the sensor is so small, the lens is so poor and the software is so basic. [b]5: Camcorder[/b] This one is quite close to the still camera for most reasons, but it's even worse because the instability of hand-holding such a tiny, mis-shapen device means your video is anything but stable. The least movement of the hand makes a huge swing of the image. It's bad enough trying to take a still image when your hand shakes with such a device, video is significantly worse. [b]6: USB thumb drive[/b] I could both agree and disagree here; I agree because the technology has pretty much obsoleted these things already-SD cards have as much or more capacity and are significantly smaller and lighter. On the other hand, the thumb drive has the advantage of its physical size to make carrying it without loss easier and, for now, has the more universal USB connector found or available on almost all computing devices. In my own case, I quit using them years ago. [b]7: Digital music player[/b] Another Yes and No answer; it's true that you no longer need one, but it still offers the storage and separate playing capacity to make it worthwhile. Your smart phone may max out at 64 GB, but are you really going to load your entire music library onto your smart phone for everyday use? Are you really going to use your smart phone as a music/video player on a regular basis when you're out and don't expect to have access to a charging device for a day or two? A dedicated player has its own battery and can hold significantly more music and videos than the largest available phone or tablet. It can play straight through for 24 or more hours with some models on a single charge and doesn't get interrupted during phone calls or other computing use of the phone. For the moment at least, a separate music player is still a good idea. [b]8: Alarm clock[/b] No. A smart phone or tablet could be used as an alarm clock, yes--again at the cost of draining battery power when you most need it under certain circumstances. Most electric alarm clocks today use a battery to keep the clock's settings and time going in the event of power failure and many now re-set their time to your national time hack sent by an atomic clock or other standards source. The simple fact that it stays put and you don't have to search for it to set it or turn it off makes an alarm clock a ubiquitous device in your bedroom. [b]9: GPS device[/b] Yet again, Yes and No; for pretty much the same reasons as the alarm clock and the music player--battery. Yes, I know you can plug your phone into the car while you're driving, but the simple fact still stands that if you don't have that power adaptor with you, you can't plug it in and you're draining battery needlessly. I get from three to five days regular use out of a charge on my iPhone 4 because I use it for what it was intended: communications. Yes, I have other apps on it and I do use them while I'm out--if I don't have my tablet or music player with me. If I used it every day for every purpose, I'd be lucky to get more than a day's usage from a given charge. [b]10: Books[/b] A last Yes and No; for other reasons. Yes, I do read books on my iPhone or iPad when I'm out, but the majority of the titles I want to read are simply not available in electronic format yet--and I'm talking 50-60 year-old books or older. The Gutenburg project is working as best it can, but they are far from transposing every literary work of all time into electronic format. Some of the books I want are out as reprints or I can find them at used book stores for a mere fraction of the cost of a single digital version; outside of Project Gutenburg it's almost impossible to find a free title that's any good (your impression of good may be different from mine). Add to this the relatively-limited storage capacity of some readers and the similarly-limited lifespan of those same readers and paper-and-ink books still have an advantage over digital.

access
access

My desktop is in my home/office (actually office/home is more accurate). I don't put any strain on it that couldn't be handled by a laptop, but why pay the premium? I'm a database software developer, so I'm on the computer pretty much all day, and comfort and usability are big factors. I have 2 monitors, and I wouldn't want to use a laptop keyboard all day. A selling point for laptops is that they are portable; but I don't want to take this computer around with me! It has personal info on it that I don't want to risk being stolen. I have a laptop I can take with me if I have to visit a client; it is an older model, but perfect for this use.

sysop-dr
sysop-dr

What you should keep and toss are totally dependent on who you are and following the word of some guy who writes words for a living may not apply to you. Desktop PC, I have 5 dedicated to me and I have 3 laptops, 2 for work 1 for home. And I have multiple smart phones (but only one is set up as a phone.) so would I recommend you do the same, not likely. Same goes for the rest. Yes my smartphone has 2 cameras, but my dslr has a way larger chip and so takes way better photos. It's not the number of pixels that matter (although they help) but a 35 mil ccd gathers more light than your average .5 so the images are way sharper. And internet, well I have both unlimited cell and fibre internet and use both equally. But then the internet is my lifeblood for what i do so I have to afford it. Music players? Even Windows Mobile has a decent music player, use your phone. Secure thumb drive is very useful, but not used often. GPS, in the car for my wife. Cable TV for the kids and science channel and cnn is useful for when there is an earthquake to monitor, but surf net too. Alarm clock, no need, I have kids. Books, have you ever tried to slap someone with a pdf? Does not have the same impact really and what about for putting under that leg of the kitchen table, you know the one that rocks because the floor is not 100% true Or for the second monitor on your PC because you bought two and the one is not the same height as the other? Books work.

cpagan1
cpagan1

I learned the hard way...when you lose 3G service, you have no maps. I'll never go on extended roadtrip without mine again.

davdun75
davdun75

I'll keep my desktops... love to customize inside and out, including peripherals. I use one desktop for general use, one for gaming, one for computer repair (using XP! where I can insert infected/damaged HDs and fixem with no fear of corrupting/infecting my main unit) and another purely for digital video playback to my large screen LCD TV (but I DO keep two laptops for travel and in-house portability). FlipCam is great - the HD model is cheap but I keep my click n shoot for spontaneous shots because of the higher resolutions. I still use (infrequently) a Pay n Talk cellphone... landline rates are cheaper for home use. Highspeed broadband? best thing going in rural areas in Canada. Alarm clocks will never go away... I'm a snooze button junkie and real clocks are more irritating than digital tones. Cable is OK... satellite TV is not much better - any "news" can be found online and movies are best in a theatre with popcorn and licorice. USB thumb drives are WAY faster and convenient for data transfer when you can meet computer to computer or want to boot into a "sterile" environment. Books should be revered and passed along to be shared; your paper bookmark means much more than a button on your browser. I don't use GPS; I can still read a roadmap and remember the directions...

aclayton
aclayton

There's another reason to keep the player--audiobooks. Most smart phones won't play files with DRM.

ufotrekker
ufotrekker

I've been working on this for days, so much so that it drove me to have a custom computer built come this weekend. But I still want to find out what the heck ERROR 12029 is, and why it prevents me from logging into HTTPS websites or any login site - that is, except this one...seriously...this was the first contact to one of my cyber accounts that actually didn't bring up an error or shoot me to the cannot connect web page. I even updated XP Home to SP3 with no luck (except here). Still comes up with the 12029 error and unable to connect to servers...Anyone got a clue on this? I'd be grateful for any info to solve this problem...h

Rowfus
Rowfus

Why? In particular order: 1. The ability to build whatever I need and want, for much less. 2. The ability to upgrade anything quickly, easily, and inexpensively. 3. The ability to service anything, quickly, easily, and inexpensively. 4. BIG, bright, beautiful displays viewed at normal angles, saving me from the common cervical musculoskeletal and neurological problems, and no eyestrain. 5. Easy, inexpensive, dual internal hard drives for drive to drive backups of anything and everything. (RAID, if I want it.) 6. Sockets, bays, and slots for everything, and room for as many more as I need. 7. Standard keyboards and mice/trackballs, saving me from the common RSIs, CTS, and other musculoskeletal problems. 8. Terrific internal cooling with every cooling option. 9. Multiple optical drives. 10. Good parts never go to waste, living on in new desktops. I could go on, but I think that???ll do. Sure I use mobiles for mobility, but I wouldn???t dream of using them in my office.

Faith1031
Faith1031

Keep what You like and quit wasting time talking about it.

EricHenry
EricHenry

I agree with those who say that smartphones and mobile devices that cover all these needs are not necessarily the way to go, but for a slightly different reason. While I would love a swiss army gadget that would do all of these things, I would much rather pack the bulk of multiple devices that -Begin Unix philosophy- Do one thing, and do it well -End Unix philosopy :)- I have a Sansa Clip+ for my music. It's tiny, 8GB + MicroSD slot and is perfect for my music. My phone makes calls and texts, and is very efficient at those. It does have a built in camera that I only use if I need to text someone a picture of something while I'm on the move. Any other pictures, I have my Nikon Coolpix S3000, which takes much clearer pictures (12MP vs. 2MP) For books, I find that my Kindle is one of the best pieces of technology I have ever bought. I had a multipurpose reader/tablet that was feature heavy, and found that it performed none of it's features up to par. Since I am usually carrying a backpack or messenger bag anyway, the combined weight of all of these items (which doesn't exceed 1.5 lb. total) means that I can comfortably carry them together with my netbook and still not notice the weight. On the subject of USB thumb drives, I must say keep, for two main reasons: Portable Apps and Linux on a stick :)

adamspivey
adamspivey

You can still get a barbones kit and build a desktop computer with better specs than a standard laptop for a lot cheaper. Especially if you use a free open source OS like Linux. Regarding the USB flash drive, a common problem when reimaging a PC is it fails to install the NIC driver. You aren't going to be able to copy that over from DropBox. Given, I'm not a "standard" user but I don't think there is a "standard" user.

Krandich
Krandich

I'm sure the cameras on phones will improve in time, but right now, the pictures you take on your smartphone don't come close to what you can get from the simplest of point and shoot cameras. Every time I look at the prints made from pictures taken with a 110 camera from the 70's and 80's I think "what a piece of junk that was". We'll have the same thought about photos taken with a phone camera in a few years.

gjwbiker
gjwbiker

How about we all do what works best for us? There are so many options, at varying costs. Incredible as it may seem, not everyone on the planet has a smartphone. Some of the responses reflect a reaction that people feel like they should be doing what the article suggests. Here's a radical thought - think for yourself! Unless you smartphone has already taken over.

kitts
kitts

Just because these 'gadgets' don't serve you does not mean they do not serve others. As for myself, as much as I love technology, my phone is my phone and I do not,nor will I ever, use it for the Internet. All these devices have their place, maybe not in your life, but in the lives of others who do not want to use their 'smartphone' for everything.

SKDTech
SKDTech

1)Get rid of the desktop? As has been stated several times already a laptop is no substitute for a desktop if you are plugging it into a monitor, mouse, keyboard, etc... Yes, a laptop can support the web browsing and email reading needs of the average user but unless you need the portability you would be better served purchasing a desktop. 2)Keep broadband, it is cheaper and less restricted than 3G/4G networks 4)Most people are perfectly happy with the quality of the cameras in their phones. For the remainder I doubt the dedicated devices are going anywhere any time soon. And to be perfectly honest the best camera is the one you have with you when you want to take a picture. 5)Same as with still cameras, although many DSLR still cameras can easily pull double duty as a camcorder these days. 6)The cloud really does not compare to the simplicity of and ease of a thumbdrive. And if you are often doing things over a 3G/4G connection you will hit your cap much quicker. 8) For someone who is advocating the smartphone for everything else grobbart's advice is somewhat off. And most people don't change their alarm clock setting every day so the "menu dive" is an invalid argument anyway. 9)I do agree with grobbart here, lose the GPS if you have a smartphone. I don't know about iOS but the default Google Navigation app on Android works very well and is very easy to use. Plus I never have to plug it into my PC to get map and satellite tracking updates. 10)Personal preference, but nothing beats the feel of an actual book in your hand and last I checked ebooks still cost too much in my opinion.

deltadan
deltadan

The fact that some people believed that this article needed to be written makes me worry that our latte-slurping, texting/tweeting society is no-longer capable of critical thinking...

jkameleon
jkameleon

1. Generally yes, personally not. Sounds crazy, but I'm still programming & occasionally doing database design at my relatively old age. I can't hold as much stuff in my head as I used to, which means I need every square inch of display I can possibly get. Big screens, multiple screens, RAID- only the ol' box sitting under the table can provide that. 3. Screw the TV, cable or no cable. It's pure propaganda. I should be paid to dumb myself down watching that crap, not the other way round. 6. It's affordable, so... why wouldn't I store the data myself? 9. I never even had a dedicated GPS gadget. When and if I get lost, smartphone duct taped somewhere near the windshiels is more than adequate. 10. Ditched. Having the entire library of your favorite books in your pocket is worth getting used to small screen & messing with menus. I agree with the rest.

bfunke
bfunke

That thing works ok for road warriors at the hotel but definitely not at home, especially if you work with guys in India. My phone sits in a charger far away from my bed. That way no clever guy gets the idea to call me in the middle of the night and wake me up. That idea for me is a big fail.

gopiqpp
gopiqpp

Gobbart is talking thru his hat- lose him

techrepublic
techrepublic

This author is out of touch with users' needs and desires. If he has his way, we'll get rid of all our devices that work well and end up with one device that you can hide in one hand that does everything you can think of, including combing your hair and patching the roof. This device will have so many buttons and apps that just looking at it cross-eyed will launch 17 apps accidentally and call half the people in your address book. The plus side is it'll do EVERYTHING - that is, if you don't care about controlling aperture, shutter speed, and focus for good quality photos, high-resolution video, moving files quickly, data security, easy-to-use computer keyboards, and durability. Also, if it's not safe to communicate with your cell phone while driving, how can it be safe to read a map and directions on your tiny cell phone screen while driving? I'll keep all my devices, including MP3 player, thumb drive, desktop, FILM camera, toaster, blender, etc.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Though I think USB drives, must stay, books must stay, Phone GPS is getting pretty damn good. ALarm clock? I use my phone as a backup alarm, not as my primary. Digital music player, I don't understand this, is it talking about your basic MP3 Player? I still use mine for traveling when I don't want to risk roaming charges. Camcorder? I have one of those Jazz flash video cameras, it works great, it can only go up to 1080 HD and has no optical zoom, only digital. But compared to my buddies iPhone its like night and day. For one, the iPhone sucks in dark displays, where as the Jazz figures out the problem and lightens the image or lightens what you are pointing at. If you are doing an action shot, the iPhone has a significant delay in refocusing, the Jazz is pretty much instant. The Jazz can zoom in and out while recording, and maintains the anti shaking effect all the way to the maximum zoom level (300 x 220 video). It was only a 60 dollar video camera, works great. And because it has no moving parts, it gets great battery life.

SKDTech
SKDTech

But I can not justify paying theater prices. You can easily feed a family of four for less than it costs to go to a matinee movie and get a drink and snack

Alchemist-Joat
Alchemist-Joat

Smart phones don't have enough capacity to hold all the music I have. I'm keeping mine.

ScarF
ScarF

I suppose you are using IE. Than, go to Tools > Internet Options > Connectivity > LAN Settings, uncheck everything and save. Another cause may be the AV you are using, or multiple AV and firewalls installed.

wendygoerl
wendygoerl

I've taken som every good pictures with 110's, thank you. In the late 70's/early 80's they even made a few 110 SLR's. Phone cameras are closer to the Kodak Disc. Good for "snapshots" (I really hate using that term for the common size, but that's what everyone knows them as), maybe 5x7" if you got a great (i.e. well within the camera's preferred condtitions) picture, but worthless for 8x10 or larger. But look at all the idiots that think "It looks good on my camera, it'll look even better if I get it enlarged."

inouyde
inouyde

Holy moly, krandich... haven't thought about THAT film format for a while... now I'm thinking about flashcubes...

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

The site has gone way downhill since the 'redesign' and most items are no longer relevant to professional IT people.

Slayer_
Slayer_

I made myself a custom MP3 sound, turned up the volume nice a high within the file (amplified it). My Pearl has the ability to turn the itself on and off. I have it set to turn off at 1:00 AM and turn back on at 6:00 AM. No one can call me between those times. At 7:10, the alarm goes off. I use Star Oceans "Mission to Deep Space" song to wake me up, its cheery and peaceful, but loud and abrupt enough to wake me up. I can upload it if you guys want it.

mwclarke1
mwclarke1

The alarm on smart phones just will not wake me most of the time, OK for travel but I have a loud very obnoxious alarm to get me up at home that I use.

janitorman
janitorman

When all our primitive digital/binary devices will be considered pretty much useless &/or "old tech." The analog computer chip (similar to the HP Memristor project) is coming soon. Devices deriving from this will most likely have a core the size of a sugar cube which contains every essential of today's computers (memory, hard drive, processor, "software" of all types, and interfaces for just about everything, including a keyboard if you want one, a holographic screen (which means a physical screen, or its size, will become meaningless,) voice recording, music output, etc. Most likely they'll soon be 1000s of times as fast as the most powerful computers available today, and this includes data center servers, mainframes, and your "gaming" system you may have bought for $5000. They'll also not be limited by having to store things in 1's and 0's and will be capable of learning tasks, preferences of users, etc. without code based programming. They'll be instant on, no waiting for 3 seconds to boot, and something with only the power of a AAA battery will run them for a year or more. Just wait! (sound like science fiction? 20 years ago you would have thought someone was crazy if they told you that you just took a picture of them on a mobile phone the size of three of your fingers, from a moving car, or sent them text while driving? By the way, don't do that!)

janitorman
janitorman

When all our primitive digital/analog devices will be considered pretty much useless. The analog computer chip (similar to the HP Memristor project) is coming soon. Devices deriving from this will most likely have a core the size of a sugar cube which contains every essential of today's computers (memory, hard drive, processor, "software" of all types, and interfaces for just about everything, including a keyboard if you want one, a holographic screen (which means a physical screen, or its size, will become meaningless,) voice recording, music output, etc. Most likely they'll soon be 1000s of times as fast as todays most powerful computers, including data center servers, mainframes, and what have you. They'll also not be limited by having to store things in 1's and 0's and will be capable of learning tasks, preferences of users, etc. without programming. They'll be instant on, no booting, and a single AAA battery will run them for a year or more. Just wait! (sound like science fiction? 20 years ago you would have thought someone was crazy if they told you that you just took a picture of them on a mobile phone the size of three of your fingers, from a moving car...)

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

Let's say you put all devices in to your phone. You spend all day listening to music and surfing the web. You take a few pictures but now your battery is dead and you can't make a phone call. My phone is for communication and that is more important than all these silly toys. I don't mind carrying two devices. Keep your entertainment seperate, don't mix business and pleasure. Big points missed: The GPS on your phone is not GPS. It's cell-tower triangulation and won't work without your network. A GPS is global, like the name suggests. The alarm clock on a cell phone can fail when the phone is "looking for signal". Cameras are way better for many reasons. Mine works underwater, for example. I love thumb drives. Books will never be obsolete. You need something to read when the power goes out. My advice to the original author: Do not get so locked in to your technology that you forget how the real world works.

jeb.hoge
jeb.hoge

Same here. I just took a mental trip back to being a 10 year old at my grandmother's house. Anyway, I love the metaphor. One other thing is that a cellphone camera in my experience is never as responsive as an actual built-for-purpose digital camera, or at least decent ones. If you've ever tried to get a cellphone picture of a fast-moving three year old, you know what I mean.

Daw1cb
Daw1cb

"The alarm clock on a cell phone can fail when the phone is "looking for signal"." What particular phone have you had this issue with, I set my phone to airplane mode at night so I can turn the ringer all the way up for my alarm (no network)

dhays
dhays

I prefer a clock radio, I do not like alarms. Cell phones are only handy when you have them with you. Last weekend, I went on a three day bus trip around the area and left my phone in the vehicle. I have gotten used to having it available, and couldn't call anyone with it not with me--not even to check in with my wife when I needed to. I have a separeaqte GPS (a gift), I wear a watch (this one gets its signal from WWV in Boulder, so it is always accurate) I prefer a wrist watch, I don't always have my phone handy (as above). My desktop is an XP Media Center one that I put in a digital card, so I can watch TV or record programs with the computer. My wife's W7 laptop has MC, but as far as I know no tuner card, so I can't use it that way. I have a hand me up laptop (was my daughter's) that I use on occasion when partability is needed. My desktop serves as my print server as we haven't sprung for a new printer with built in WiFi yet. (no need, this one still works) Don't use the cloud, don't trust it. I have external storage, could add computrs to a network and a RAID type storage, I guess, not that important.

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