Friday, September 17, 2010

Better Living Through Geekuitry

One of the first things I did after getting my diagnosis was shop. Specifically, shop for gadgets. I'm not really a bleeding edge, early adopter sort of guy. Unless it's free. And it's rarely free. But I felt like I couldn't wait anymore for certain thingamabobs I'd been coveting.

Because, as we all know, "you can't take it with you". Which either means you have to grab it now and enjoy it while you can or that you shouldn't bother getting it in the first place, because -- in the grand scheme -- material possessions are trivial. I opted to enjoy trivial things while I can.

So back in July I bought an iPod Touch and a Blu-ray DVD player that also streams media from my home computer and/or from Netflix. Yes, if I'd waited until September, I could have had the 4th Generation iPod Touch with Retina display and two cameras. But have I mentioned that I wasn't really in a "place" to wait around? (I'm only now discovering that what I actually purchased was a 2nd Generation Touch in a 3rd Generation package. Hmmmm. Well, this news makes statements below that much sweeter.)

On the whole, both purchases have served their purpose. My gadgets feed my need for desensitization through distraction. The Touch is a fine mini-computer which allows me to be in constant contact with the Twitterverse, Blogosphere, Facebookalaxy, E-mailgam, Textonomy, and all other parts of the Interweb. I spend more time trolling the depths of Netflix's library of Instant content than actually watching anything. But the point is that I could watch it, from the comfort of my family room, on my big TV (purchased just pre-diagnosis, mind you). Actually, for years, I've had a device that could broadcast content from my computer to my TV, but you know what they say: Once you go Hi-Def, analog will leave you beref[t]... and subsequently prevent a return to what previously seemed perfectly acceptable.

Oh, and did I mention that I can also watch Netflix on my iTouch? And search and update my Instant Queue from said Touch? And, oh, the many hours I've frittered away sampling [mostly free] apps. I've found some great games (for example, Doodle Bomb and Cat Physics) as well as completely useless tools (e.g. Coin Flip, Flashlight). And jailbreaking my Touch to free up more features has proved extremely satisfying (especially now, as I said, I've realized Apple sold me an old product in a new box). And now it's even legal.

Of course, more apps mean more progress bars to watch as I download and update. I love updates. It's like like getting something for nothing. And progress bars themselves have a built-in sense of achievement, as you watch, well, "progress" taking place right before your very eyes. Unless you're more of a progress-bar-is-half-empty sort of person. Or, if the progress bar is poorly designed and simply shows activity. I want to know percentage done! Fill me up with your progress, don't just chase your tail! Sorry. That's a pet peeve of mine.

So that's one or two or ten ways I've been passing the time through gadgetry. Has it improved my quality of life? Hard to say. But it's certainly kept my mind off my mind.

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