Samsung Galaxy Note tablets, iPhone 3, 3G, 3Gs, 4, 4S, 5, Samsung Galaxy, SII, SIII, S4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7…I’ve owned them all.
Tech Devices: The Newest, Safest Drug
Before I say anything, let me qualify this little article on device addiction. In the last four years I have owned and used over two dozen cell phones, two dozen tablets (both iPad tablets and Android tablets) and a dozen different e-readers. I’ve had five different laptops. I jumped on the netbook craze (and owned a dozen of them)…then jumped right back off. I have rooted, re-rooted, bricked, jailbreaked and hacked dozens of devices.
A Super Consumer!
Entire advertising campaigns are conducted for gadget junkies like me. I am not a man’s man; I am a consumer’s consumer. You might think I have a problem, and I do, but I guarantee most of you tech aficionados hide a similar list. We collect gadgets like Gollum. My precious. I know I am not alone.
Just consider how much you’ve spent on those little babies in the last few years. I bet you don’t WANT to think about that. In my case, I know I have spent more on mobile technology in the last year than I contributed to my savings account. That’s a real problem.
The Only Benefit to Latest Technology Hoarding
Whether you think I have issues or not, having that much experience with that many devices qualifies me for one thing: I can speak about the two operating systems with some authority. I have probably setup and installed and updated the iOS and Android operating systems over a hundred times, and that doesn’t include experiments with jailbreaking and overclocking. I am the go-to guy among family and friends when they consider a device purchase, a position of some prestige. But at what cost?
Does All This Mobile Technology Improve Our Lives?
Why have these gadgets become a cornerstone of our lives? A cell phone has become a limb today, leaving owners unsettled if they are even in a different room. And forget losing one. A lost cell phone is like a lost pet. Sure we can replace them, but we’re haunted by speculation: What ever happened to it? Is it out in the cold, alone and starving, blinking Low Battery, Low Battery? My God!
Like most of you, I also obsessively check my phone. I can justify that by saying I use it for business, and I do. In fact, my cell phone is my primary means of communicating with clients. But that’s not why I always check it. I check it because I might have a message, a Facebook posting, an email, an alert, what’s on Drudge Report, what’s the weather like, what happened to Tsar Nicholas II, oh they found him in the Nineties … This instant access to infinite knowledge has turned into legal and cheap crack. Do a line of data and then freebase some facts.
Breaking the Cycle of Being a Gadget Groupie
I finally ended the cycle when I amassed my tax receipts in December. I sorted my receipts into different piles, and I had a separate pile for work expenses (yes, yes, I consider my smartphone and tablet work expenses). I noticed the work expense stack just got higher and higher…and when I saw it was higher then my account statements from Valic Retirement Savings, I decided to list all the devices I had owned in the last few years. I was horrified. That horror stuck with me.
Sorry, I Don’t Have an Answer for You Tech Addicts
I don’t know why we get so addicted to technology. I’m a writer, not a psychologist. Like any addiction, we all have different reasons for starting but we all end up in the same place. For me, it was an empty savings account and a drawerful of dead devices and empty cases (you should see how many Zagg screen squeegees I have). I am only sharing a single story. Devices are useful, even essential, for our lives. In today’s world, NOT using the Internet just isn’t plausible. But that’s not an excuse for buying each new device as it comes on the market (and its Zagg Screen Protector and the Otterbox case) and burning through thousands of wasted dollars. My friend, keep that in mind.