You’ve got how many laptops?

Three (at the moment) and one of them isn’t mine, and one is on permanent loan to a friend who needed it a few months ago and now doesn’t, but still finds it useful. And actually, one of them belongs to work.

So none, actually.  But I use one everyday, mainly because it is cheaper to run than my desktop, and for most of the things I want to do it is perfectly adequate.

I just want to step back a bit and put a few things into context.  Just so you know, I’m a very nearly fifty year old bloke, whose main business is helping people to make sense out of hardware and software, and fixing said hardware and (occasionally) software so that it does what people want it to do.  “So,” people say to me, “you understand all this new technology…”, but it is not quite as simple as that.

For a start, what do we mean by “new”?  We (and by that I mean people of my generation) tend to think of computers as new technology, but our children were born into a world where computers were already becoming ubiquitous.  I can remember working on a punched-tape reading teletype terminal when I was at school, around 1978-79, and now my spell checker is so ageist it does not even recognise the word “teletype”.  My children have been au fait with PCs since they found out that you could play games on them, and cheerfully do end-runs around my pitiful attempts to secure our router and server.

It’s not that I dislike computers, mobile phones, iPads (actually, yes I do dislike iPads) etc., it’s just that there are so many more and different ones every year that I’m running full tilt to keep up.  And I probably only dislike iPads because I haven’t got one.  What I object to is not the technology itself, but the impossibility of owning a new one of everything.  Aside from the cost, it is simply that I do not have time to learn how to make effective use of all the new shiny bits of electrobling that I a dribble over on the web.

From the first I was an “early adopter”, or “mug” as we are probably called by large technology company marketing people.  I have always loved and will always love gadgets, especially shiny, small and clever ones.  My first mobile phone cost a fortune to buy and run, and lasted about half an hour on one charge.  I kept it in a shoulder-holster case.  My first PC cost (in real terms) more than all of the computers currently in my home (7 at last count), and I have literally thrown away three and given away as many.  I simply cannot remember how many mobile phones, PDAs I have had, and I still keep finding mysterious adapter leads and mains chargers for devices I cannot even remember acquiring.  It seems that as soon as I have one mobile phone it is out of date and I need another.

Well, I have given up chasing the golden dream of owning one of everything at the cutting edge.  I have decided that, unless I need a device for work, or it is not possible to do without it, I am sticking with my current crop.  I have a phone with no camera on it, (I have a camera, for goodness’ sake), an mp3 player that has no fruit logo on it and does not play videos, and I cannot get enthusiastic about 3D TV.

So no new toys.  (Unless it’s really shiny).

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