Gadgets and me

Yesterday, I was offered the Microsoft Surface that had been running around the office. I thanked my boss, but declined the offer. With hindsight, I realized that I took very little time to turn it down, but that was simply because I've thought about it quite a while over the last year.


My family loves gadgets. My dad and brother are both festooned with lovely little toys that blink and flash. Most of the time, one of them has the newest gadget to play with and spend hours showing off what it can do.

Every time I've tried, I used it for a week, maybe three, and then set it aside. This was the case for the Nokia n810, my Kindle Fire, my Palm Pilot, and even my Newton (loved the Newton though). I'm just not big on toys.

The longest I've ever used a gadget is the Kindle Fire. At the moment, I use it to check email and browse the web on the occasion when I'm not in the mood for firing up the laptop. Within five minutes, I'm done checking everything and I set it aside. I also use it to read books... that part I really like, but I go through a lot of books and I prefer EPUB over physical books in general.

In the end, my favorite gadget is a 6" x 9" graph pad. It has incredible battery life and I can do anything I want with it. Yeah, it isn't bright and colorful, but it works for me.

Gozer the Destroyer

My Fire has a Gummi shell on it. I got it the day I got the Fire and for a good reason: EDM stuck it in the dog's water dish within a day of me picking it up. Now, I occasionally find the Kindle smeared with oatmeal, yogurt, or oregano.

If I was borrowing the department's Surface... well, I can't really say it won't die a horrible death in the toilet or the litter box.


This is an interesting thing. I just came off a week of fairly critical, but long, meetings. One thing I noticed is that most of the attendees brought their laptops. When the meeting got slow, they started focusing on other aspects of their day-to-day jobs and not the meeting. When they had to pay attention, they had to drag their focus from the laptop to the phone or the questions given.

The same thing happens during the writing group. Occasionally, someone would bring their laptop and they would have the same thing. You'd have to poke them.

In the RPG games I ran, it was even worse. All but two of the players had laptops. When the plot didn't directly relate to them, they would be playing games. Though, since most gamers seem to be an obsessive bunch, it took more effort to drag them away from one game to have them focus on the game in front of them.

I'm afraid I would have the same problem. I get lost in computer stuff and I have a really good focus with what I'm working on. If I have that distraction of bright shiny computers, I'd struggle to pay attention to the purpose of the meeting.

When I use to run RPG games, most of the players brought laptops. Inevitably, when I would switch the focus on one of those players, I'd have to poke them to get their attention.

Production verses Consumption

Tablets are great for consumption. I like reading my email, browsing Reddit, and checking websites. But, there are very few things I can create on a table. They are poor development studios (at this point) and I haven't found a good text editor for novels. There are also relatively few tools for remoting into machines.

Most tablet also suffer for keyboards for me. I want a large keyboard on everything I use. Even my laptop's keyboard is flawed when it comes to working the way I want it to work. I'm a touch-typer and when I have to work with a different keyboard, I lost a lot of speed and accuracy.

Large hunks of my life is centered around creating things. I feel guilty using my Fire already, working with the Surface is probably going to be the same thing. I want to create and I don't quite get that.


In the end, I'd gave to give it up. Ideally, I would fall in love with it and want to buy one for myself. The problem int that aspect is that most of my spare money goes into SMWM's photography business, EDM, and writing. Since I don't enjoy gadgets that much, I end up not wanting to buy a new toy I'm going to not use.

Know thyself

A co-worker said I'm one of the "most self-described people they know." I just don't think a tablet is useful for me, mainly for my focus and because I won't get the benefit that most people seem to get out of it.

I'm glad they asked and I appreciate being considered, but it is just as hard to say "no, thank you."