Director Mitch had an interesting take on his personal consumption of technology. We have similar degrees and tenures in high tech and a similar adoption rate of technology. I’m usually in the Late Majority or Laggard cycle:
- Personal Computer – This is probably the closest I’ll ever be Early Adopting. My first computer was an Odyssey 2 video game by Magnavox. It had a keyboard and there was a special cartridge you could buy to program it. It was totally lame, but somehow piqued my interest. Shortly thereafter, my high school had some Apple ][s available for the computer math class. My final project was a crudely drawn Pac-Man figure that ambled halfway across the screen to a revolver. When the user “hit any key to continue,” socially dysfunctional things happened …with sound. We eventually got a Commodore 64 for home with the coveted floppy disk drive as an alternative to the cassette tape.
- PDA – Very Laggard. My spouse had a PDA back in 1996 and used it constantly. I bought an uber-PDA in 2002, but it broke when I dropped it. Except for the Astraware games like Bejewelled and Runes, I haven’t missed it.
- Cell Phone — I was very Laggard on this, in part from some bad experiences carrying a pager. In 2000 I was at a dot.bomb who provided one because it was cheaper than a corporate phone system but less expensive than those Herman Miller chairs! After that company folded, I kept the phone for four years. I finally got a new phone when I switched providers, but am not particularly wowed by using the dinky web browser over the glacially slow, intermittent connection and shitty user interface.
- DVR – Mid-Majority. I picked mine up in late 2003 when ReplayTV was practically giving them away to my employer. It’s a paradigm changing device.
- Digital Camera – Mid-Majority. I bought a very nice one back in 1999, driven mostly by wanting to provide kid photos to the extended family. I blew a lot of money and time getting photos developed, scanning them in and touching up in Photoshop. I dropped the while trying to photograph road signs along I-90. I finally bought my wife a replacement for Christmas.
- Digital answering machine — Late Majority. The tape-based one worked fine for the few messages I receive. When it stopped working, the DAMs had displaced them in the stores. What I’d really like is a DAM with a remote phone and caller ID built into both the remote and the base station. One power cable shall rule them all.
- DVD Player — Laggard. I bought a DVD player in 2002 after convincing myself NetFlix wasn’t going to be another Home Grocer — great concept, wonderful service, dead in two years. The only good thing about buying electronics at Costco is their liberal return policy. The device broke three months later. When I returned it, I got a much better model for the same price.
- Wireless internet — Late Majority. I got a good deal on some wireless A/B/G equipment from an industry contact. Unfortunately, wireless A is totally useless in a home — I won’t bore you with the technical reasons. I sold that stuff (at a small profit) and have super-G. I have no intention of doing the It basically lets me roam in the house and near front/back yard. Speed’s fine, too.
- Broadband — Early Majority. I had employer-paid ISDN in Austin, a spiff for having to carry a pager, and was already addicted to the fast connection. It was too expensive here, though. Short story: Qwest dicked around with DSL for several years until King County granted Comcast/ATT BI/@Home/TCI its franchise (monopoly).
Because there’s still no competition, it’s expensive. I’d love for a WiMax-alternative to become available, but I’m not going to hold my breath.
- VOIP — Laggard. I still don’t have it. Maybe this is the anal-retentive pilot showing, but I’m concerned about the reliability and lack redundancy. With a land-based phone system, there’s an entirely separate set of wires and power. Cell phone might alleviate some of these concerns once they get past the spotty reception. Or, I could get ultra pissed at my phone monopoly.
- Flat screen TV — Laggard. Too damned expensive. My current TV, a 20″ RCA purchased in 1990, works fine for my needs. Flat Screen TVs look like a great idea, but they’re too damned expensive. As Mitch said, the last thing I need in my entertainment center is another box requiring power. When they have built-in HDTV decoders and there’s adequate programming and I don’t have to pay extra for it on my cable bill and my current TV dies, then I might look at it further.
While I was writing this, I was noticing my appliances are generally much older than the average quoted in Consumer Reports.
|Washer and Dryer||12 years||Bought when we moved into our first house|
|Refrigerator||13 years||Bought when we moved into our first house|
|TV||15 years||Purchased after our apartment was burglarized|
|VCR||14 years||Purchased after our apartment was burglarized; we waited for a while on this one.|
|KitchenAid mixer||14 years||We didn’t eat out much in graduate school…|
|Stereo system||18 years||A Christmas gift when I was in college.|
|CD player||14 years||We bought one when we were convinced CDs weren’t going to be a fad.|
|Lawnmower||5 years||I hated having to buy a new one, but I couldn’t get parts for the old one.|