Could You Toss Out the Desktop Computer and Point-and-Shoot Camera?

BlogHer Original Post

The New York Times has an article today about the gadgets and items you can get rid of now that the army of technology has marched on. Before I clicked over to read it, I expected it to tell me that I could finally get rid of my Walkman. (Though someone please explain to me what I'm supposed to do with all of my audio cassettes of mixes I made by taping stuff off the radio. I can't get 1986's "Eat Me I'm a Danish" on iTunes.) But instead of hearing I should toss my '80s technology, I was encouraged to get rid of my desktop computer, point-and-shoot camera, and that USB thumb drive that is currently in my pocket. And my first thought was, you'll have to pry them out of my cold, dead, luddite hands.


The New York Times covered 10 items:

  • Desktop computer (lose it)
  • High-speed internet at home (keep it)
  • Cable television (maybe lose it)
  • Point-and-shoot camera (lose it)
  • Camcorder (lose it)
  • USB thumb drive (lose it)
  • Digital music player (lose it)
  • Alarm clock (keep it)
  • GPS unit (lose it)
  • Books (keep 'em)

While I'm thrilled that I get to keep my books, there were plenty of other places where I strenuously disagreed.

Let's start with the desktop computer. There's a reason why I set up the computer in the living room rather than an office, and it's because I want to monitor what sites my kids are going on. They know that I'm watching over their shoulder and while this isn't a big issue seeing that the twins are currently six, I can see it becoming a big issue in middle school. I don't want a portable laptop that someone can take into another room, away from my prying eyes. I want them to have the fear of mum in them.

And frankly, I think the Amish were onto something with their ideology which keeps the family from fragmenting into separate rooms. I may not be able to walk their walk and give up electricity, but I can take a page from their book and take steps that keeps the family in a centralized location rather than alone in individual rooms. And a desktop computer that can't be moved does just that.

My point-and-shoot? You want to take away my point-and-shoot? You're crazy. Last night, I went through over 500 pictures I took on Smith Island in order to compile them into a slideshow for a presentation I'm doing. Are you actually suggesting that I want to take 500 photos with my phone? Plus, my point-and-shoot fits in my pocket or my purse -- a DSLR can't. And frankly, I can't afford a DSLR camera.

My thumb drive? Are you insane? That little thumb drive has saved me on numerous occasions. There are plenty of times where I need to put up a presentation, and I can plug the thumb drive into a classroom computer when I'm speaking at an elementary school. Does this guy seriously think that the school will be cool with me logging into my email on their computer, dragging out this document, downloading it to the school computer (which I truly don't want to do because I don't want my pictures left there), and doing my presentation? With the thumb drive, I plug it into USB port, do my presentation, take it back out, and leave. Simple. Plus, it can be reused whereas burning the presentation onto a disc creates clutter. And I got my USB thumb drive free at BlogHer from the good people at Crocs Inc so it has sentimental value.

I have to admit that I can never see a day where I want a GPS (I wouldn't use one even if it were free -- I'm a map sort of girl). And while I love my camcorder, I can sort of see his point based on how often I use mine (I'm assuming he means a recorder with tapes vs. a Flip camera). And I'm certainly glad that my alarm clock gets to stay.

What was much harder was coming up with my own list of technology that I can get rid of in order to reduce the clutter. I mean, my shoulder is aching from how much I carry in my purse, and it all feels necessary. I couldn't even eliminate the damn Walkman because -- again -- what do I do with all of those tapes?

I finally set my Palm Pilot aside, feeling that my phone duplicated all the functions on that device without losing anything. I took out my portable speakers since there rarely seems to be a time when everyone needs to listen to my iPod at the same time. And then I repacked the rest of my purse, shoulder be damned.

What gadgets do you think people can get rid of? Do you disagree with the New York Times list as well?

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her novel about blogging is Life from Scratch.

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