Gadget reduction

Anyone who isn't a blatant Luddite these days risks getting the epithet "gadget freak" (okay, "gadget whore", but I have some problems with that term) thrown at them. It doesn't take much — just have some idea how most of the features on your cell phone work and you're on your way.

Personally, I don't understand why people spend hundreds of dollars on something and then barely learn how to use it. For one thing, the more you know about a single, well-chosen gadget, the fewer gadgets you need.

The need for a separate cell phone and MP3 player disappeared a while ago. To those about to complain that MP3 software on phones suck — not if you get the right phone they don't. So there's one gadget gone.

Not everyone wants or needs a pocket-sized computer, but I do. I used to carry around a paper notebook, but my handwriting is sufficiently awful (and has been since I was a little kid, thank you very much) that typing is by far the best way to go.

And if you're going to carry around a pocket-sized computer — a Nokia N900 in my case — it makes sense that it should have a SIM card slot and a phone application, yes?

So now I have a single gadget that plays MP3s, lets me do things like write this blog post on it, and acts as a cell phone. And it fits in the little book bag I just made, not to mention a coat pocket.

More gadget consolidation can be had, though. Cameras need to be considered. Nothing can replace a good SLR, of course, but for quick snapshots... Again, a lot of phones have awful cameras (and they wonder why people don't video call more!), but there are decent snapshot cameras built into some phones. My Nokia gadget has a Zeiss lens, flash, and takes remarkably nice snapshots. They're much better than my old snapshot camera's, anyhow. I even found a free app to downlod to make them look like film photographs.

Okay, so now I have no separate MP3 player, cell phone, PDA/netbook, or digital snapshot camera. Last night, when I was browsing through the list of free apps available for the N900, I found a utility that lets me emulate remote controls. If I could put all those away, I could clear up my coffee table space and save on batteries. That would be... five more gadgets out of my life.

Eight gadgets in one. Only one set of batteries to recharge/replace, one item to remember to bring along, one potential little solid-state box for the garbage bin when its time finally comes.

It would make being a geek downright virtuous if I had been able to skip right to having the N900 in the first place.