Among friends, family and co-workers, I have gained a reputation as a tech-savvy person; someone who is always in on the latest gadgets and technologies. I admit that I do like technology and I tend to be pretty comfortable with it, and I do like gadgets, but I’m hardly an "early adopter" or obsessed with technology. Most of the time I just want my computer to not crash, my laptop to start up within a reasonable amount of time and the GPS unit to send me to the right hotel. Other than that, I’m not all about upgrading everything every year.
However, in the last few months, I’ve acquired a few pieces of technology that have greatly impacted my life and my entertainment options.
First was an iPod. I know I"m a few years behind on this one, but I’ve always put it off for a few reasons: first it was because of price and because the iPods weren’t big enough to hold my music collection. Then their storage capacities got bigger and it because an issue of price and being frightened by how long it would take for me to rip my music collection (1500+ CDs) to iTunes. But I always wanted one, and finally I was given one for Christmas and I haven’t stopped using it since. I use it on planes and in hotel rooms while traveling and listen to it nearly all day long in my office through a small speaker system. And even with XM Satellite Radio and a CD player in my car, I find myself using it there as well. I knew it would have a major impact on my music habits, but even I underestimated how much the brilliantly simple device would change how I "consume" music. I’ve listened to a wider variety of bands than I have in years, since I don’t have to haul around so many CDs. Getting all of my music collection onto it continues to be a daunting task, but I am picking away at it and enjoying getting to reacquaint myself with old albums that I had forgotten about.
Shortly after the iPod came the Nintendo Wii. Let me start off with a little context: up until last spring, the last video game system I bought was the original NES. Then after a little taste of Guitar Hero, I found myself in possession of a PS2. However we never moved any further than Guitar Hero – in fact, with one exception of about two hours when a neighbor brought over a Spider-Man game, I don’t think any game other than Guitar Hero has ever seen the inside of our PS2. So basically, it is a Guitar Hero console.
Then this past Christmas came when we got to try the Wiiat my fiance’s family’s house and after about 30 seconds of playing with the controller, we made the decision that we had to get it. It ended up being a present to us, and it has become a true entertainment center for us: from playing games to creating Miis, it has quickly become part of our regular routine and a primary "entertainment option." Super Mario Galaxy is the best video game I have played in years and nearly each game we’ve played on the Wii makes use of the Wii remote and/or Nunchuck in such an intuitive manner that just about anyone can quickly pick up a new game and start having fun with it. I recently read an article where a Nintendo marketing executive said that the major insight for the Wii was that there were more people out there who DON’T play video games (Nintendo’s Blue Ocean Strategy) than those who DO, and the Wii is designed for those who aren’t hard-core gamers, which I was never one (at least not since Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out). They wanted a FUN, easy-to-use video game system, not one that could render the splattering of blood in Call of Duty 4 with the greatest realism. The strategy worked: its fun and we’re hooked.
The most recent technological development – one that is only a few days old – is TiVO. Yeah, I know, I’m even more behind on this one – the iPod came out in October of 2001, the Wii in September of 2006, but the TiVo launched in March 1999! Nearly 8 years later, I feel like I wasted a lot of time running around with VCR tapes and actually trying to be home when a TV show is actually on. If you don’t have a TiVoor a similar DVR, and you watch more than 2 TV shows on a fairly regular basis, you really need to get one. Just last night, we were able to clean up after dinner while the Simpsons were paused and then come back and catch up with the show after we were done.
So that’s my tech update. Check back with me in anywhere from 2 to 7 years to see if I’ve jumped on the Blu-Ray bandwagon!