People always ask me how many gadgets, devices, computers and gaming systems I own. This is usually after they have been to my apartment and stare with a mixture of wonder and shock at the insane amount of stuff I have at my house.
Yeah I’ll admit I have a lot of technology at my disposal. One home desktop PC for gaming, two laptops, one netbook, and iPad, two T.V.s, a Droid phone, Kindle and every video gaming system you can probably think of (even some you may not think of). I use a lot of tech every single day, and it has forced me to really evaluate and take into account how addicting technology can be. After some time you can find yourself drowning in devices you don’t use or even need. It can be quite a daunting task for those that are new, or uneducated in the technology world. Allow me a few minutes of your time to provide some insight when it comes to buying technology.
1. What do you need it for?
Whenever I start getting a desire to buy something new, I ask this question. What do you want to do. If you want something just for typing and e-mail, for example, a netbook or tablet is what you are looking for. If you’re looking for a serious platform for gaming, find out what kind of gaming you are looking to get into. Would a console cover it? Do you want a real gaming machine such as a desktop? Lets take this example further for a bit. If you just want some great electronic entertainment, lots of game variety, and you don’t want to worry so much about the tech specifics a console might be the answer for you. Any game you buy for that console you are guaranteed that it will run. You have the added bonus of minimal set up (power, and plug into T.V.) On the other hand if you want something that you can customize, will have more than an entertainment use, and money is not as much of an issue a desktop computer might be for you. There are a plethora of questions you should ask when making a decision about what type of technology you want to pursue.
2. Research, research and more research
At my job I see this scenario at least 5 times a week. Someone makes a decision, “I want a laptop” and their first move is to go to a store; lets take Best Buy for example. The minute you walk into that laptop section you become nothing more than a mark for the salesman. I’ll admit that I have a bit of a bias towards computer salesmen, but you have to realize their goal is to make a sale. No matter how much you trust them, they want you to spend money in their store. The more you know coming into the store the better off you will be. There are an infinite number of sites that can provide some information on any number of electronics. You must come into a sale armed with what you want a device to do, as well as some information about what types of technology you are looking for. Here are a few small examples of technology sites that can give you a lot of information.
- Engadget – A fantastic gadget site for everything technology. One of the best news sources for tech, period.
- Gizmodo – Another gadget technology site.
- Lifehacker – A technology blog that focuses on a lot of DIY projects, as well as living in a technological world
- Kotaku – A tech site focused on video games
- Cnet – A good technology review site with a lot of information from cars to appliances. You also get the advantage of user submitted reviews.
I definitely recommend all of these sites when looking at buying some type of electronic.
3. Don’t get sucked into the hype!
It is very very easy to get drawn into the belief that “I must have it because it is just so much better!!!” Apple is the undisputed master of this type or marketing. Take the iPad for example. The majority of people I spoke to about buying one responded to the “Why” question with “I wanted to see what I could do.” Now if you happen to be rich that may not be a problem, but for those of us who work for a living that may not be a wise investment of funds. You may see a shiny new phone with some new features and while you may feel like you MUST have it, take the time to do some research. Again I turn to the Apple IPhone 4 which has a pretty well documented issue with both the Antenna seam and the proximity sensor. People saw some new features on the iPhone and literally went berserk trying to get one. With some digging there were articles all over the internet warning about the possibility of the antenna problem before the phone was even released! Please don’t take this as some anti Apple tirade. It is more of a tirade against ignorant purchasing.
I think all of my advice can be summed up with two words: PLAN AHEAD. Technology is not some daunting task that is just off-limits to anyone that doesn’t know any better. Some internet searching and time will arm you with the tools you need to find the technology you will want and be happy with.
4. Some advice on how to avoid being addicted
Once you have that technology, such as a gaming system for example, it can be tricky to avoid being addicted to using it. I’ll admit I am a gaming addict so I know firsthand how quickly you can spend 8 hours playing a game when you only meant to spend 15 minutes. My experience with this lead me to approach gaming and technology in general much like I approach my workout regiment. Schedule, schedule, schedule. Make sure you allocate some time to not using technology. For example I spent my entire day in front of a laptop screen at work. I have to block out a few hours a day just to get away from everything electric and just relax. Not only will you find yourself less addicted, but you will also notice your health improving a bit. For example I never noticed how much I squint when reading an LCD screen. Just having 2 hours to relax the eyes has drastically decreased my increased near-sightedness, as well as the migraines I used to get on a daily basis.