When I'm not here pointing out dog videos, I spend the rest of my work day as a technology journalist. I decided that I wanted in on this line of work because I love gadgets. There was always something new coming out that I couldn't afford to buy. Now, as I get to play with new tech on an almost daily basis, I don't feel like I'm missing out on much of anything. My office is full of smartphones, computers, wearables and travel gear. It's loaned to me, I play with it and then, I send it back. It's such a privilege to have access to the sorts of swag that a lot of geeks like me drool over. I never get tired of playing with new products. But having done it for close to a decade has left me a bit jaded: what's new is seldom as spectacular as we want it to be.
Take this year's crop of flagship smartphones, for example. They're a little bit faster, a little bit glossier. Maybe the one you've been looking at has an edge-to-edge display. I get it: bezels on a handset are bullshit, so, you totally want one. I know I do. But I also know, having played with them, that the incremental differences between one year's model and the next is so moot, that they won't make a lick of difference in my day-to-day life. TVs are the same. Most of the folks I know just want the shows and movies that they watch to look their best. When 4K displays first rolled around a few years back, they were absolutely amazing–provided you could find something to watch on them. It takes content creators a while to catch up with the technology. A new flat screen might look great in your living room. But it's not going to do anything to change your life.
The TV I watch with my wife when I'm kicking back is close to 12 years old. It pushes out pixels in 1080p. I don't care about the fact that it doesn't provide me with the sharpest image or that it's not as thin as new models are. I love it because my wife and I can cuddle on the couch in front of it and share an experience together. A newer model wouldn't do much to change that. My smartphone is two years old. It takes decent photos and lets me stay in touch with people. Sometimes I watch a movie on it. I can't imagine myself saying anything different about this year's handsets. Would I love an iPhone X? Probably. Do I think that it's worth forking over $1,000 for? Not for a second. I'll use it until the wheels fall off because it's good enough.
Now, before anyone gets bent out of shape and suggests that I think I know what's best for people, let me tell you: I haven't got a clue of what's in your hearts. I don't know why you buy what you buy. It's none of my business. But I'm in the rare position of being a guy who gets to play with the shit that most people want to get their hands on. I'm suggesting that maybe that maybe the latest shit isn't as great as you think it'll be. It could be worth examining why you want that shit and what else you could do with the money it'd cost you to buy it.
Maybe living with what's good enough might make your life just a little better.
Image via Wikipedia Commons