Saturday, August 14, 2010

Return to Start

I spent a few hours going over the reasons why I wanted to buy an iPad or net book. Was it tech lust for the latest gizmo? A needed appliance in the household? Could it contribute to an earning opportunity or investment? Will it help my wife and kids learn new stuff, i.e. a learning opportunity? At first, I wanted an iPad as it seemed a truly revolutionary device but instead settled on the Lenovo Ideapad due to its value for money. But later I started to wonder why I wanted to buy the gizmo in the first place. Soon all sorts of combinations went thru my head such as buying a Sony Dash and a Barnes & Noble Nook e- reader as well. Later I settled again to buying an iPad before learning about the discount offered by Lenovo which finally settled my decision.

The key idea is that an interim device was needed I thought; something mid-point between a Laptop computer and a mobile device like a smart phone but could access the Internet. A realization the web has become indispensable. Basic web tasks like checking email, Facebook, news, movie schedules and the weather are now part of every day life at home. But it seemed a waste of time to boot up a computer just for simple web activities that took less than 10- 30 minutes. So a device like Sony Dash and Nook (with basic web browsing) made sense as an ideal low cost device. But other tasks are important too like reading online journals and web surfing but still without needing the full fledged functions of a laptop or desk top.

So the ideal device seemed an entry level iPad or net book with multi-point touch screen capability. Other interesting devices like Dell Streak soon surfaced but seemed more for techies. The small screen for web surfing and high price moved Streak out of contention. So it was beginning to look like an Apple until one sees its limitations when compared to a touch screen net book. The choice became a net book as more opportunities seem possible with a keyboard and connectivity to other devices being standard components unlike the iPad. So now comes the question on how new technology can simplify one’s lifestyle. Devices like Sony Dash seem a good choice - a smart device that allows constant Internet connection for simple tasks like email but the price seemed high.

Now the bottom line. The purchase need to be seen as an investment, something that will allow some payback to the amount spent and avoid being seen as frivolous. So the work style of a writer needs to adapt to new technology. How can a writer be better with a net book? Once the strategy is defined then one is off to make millions.  Was life simplified? Sure, time is saved as more convenient to do short and a simple web task in a net book and, eventually in a Sony Dash once the price is right. I recall Alvin Toffler’s book ‘Future Shock’ where some people where living in the future. His examples were those few households at the turn of the century that had telephones; wherein it’s inhabitants where living in the future, enjoying the modern convenience of the telephone when about 80 percent of the population did not have this luxury yet.

I guess that is the educational value of these gizmo purchases - to learn and live in the future. Soon these devices would be ubiquitous and everyone would have them. A head start would be an advantage. But there maybe a danger when one loses the point and instead, these purchases are thought of as a privilege. Something like buying a gun to protect oneself as compared to buying a gun to show off. The true value is lost when sensible function is replaced with desire or envy for new stuff. I guess that’s the benefit of reflecting on why one should buy, what basic need it serves and possible changes to life and work style for the better. After thoughtful deliberations using all sorts of visual tools, one returns to the original choice. One’s instinct is right after all although the exercise did result in a better tactic, i.e. buying at a discount from the source instead of Best Buy.

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