Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Gadget freak or conservative?

I see people all over the spectrum on this one and I think it'd be interesting to see how it pans out.

Are you more gadget freak, with a PDA, cellphone, beeper, keyboard, camera, fingerprinting kit, night vision goggles and site to site transporter clipped onto your belt, or are you conservative in what you carry? Is the most complex thing on you a glasses-mounted display or a keychain?

I think it's interesting how some people have (and often even use) tons of gadgets, to the point that they use that holster, and others do just as well or better with a pen and maybe paper.

What do you guys carry around?

Mike Swieton
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Dell Inspiron Laptop (almost 2 yrs old - need a new one), Compaq I-paq, had a rio mp3 player..,..

Prakash S
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Oh, Gadget Freak, definitely!

Apart from the Palm, it's mostly survival-type stuff... torch, spare batteries, Leatherman etc.

And strangely enough, I have often had need to use them. But never for the intended purpose, oh no.

For some strange reason, the universe finds it very funny to trap me inside public toilets. Either physically locking me in with a padlock and chain, or switching the lights off while I'm in the middle of... well, you know.

Who could ignore hints like that? :-)

Pat Galea
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

I have a very deep rooted passion for gadgets. Even before I used computers, I always had a fascination for any kind of device that could solve some problem.

As a child I rigged up a motorized tray and pulley system above my bed. The night before I would load up the tray with breakfast and thermos bottle full of ice cold milk for the cereal (it would still be nice and cold by the morning).

In the morning, I could then just sit up in bed, and then press a button on a panel I had taped to the wall. On the floor you could the see 6VT lantern battery that powered the whole thing. Anyway, pressing the button would lower the tray down, and presto, breakfast in bed!!

After eating, I would host the try back up with the dirty dishes at the press of a button!

Thus, the promise of technology to me was a way to get breakfast in bed! How fantastic technology can be!

As far as mechanical things go, computers are the ultimate machine, since you can build a machine in software, and it runs. Software is a machine, but one of the mind! It is no wonder that so many mechanical minded people also like software.

The promise of technology was always way cool, but it HAS to solve some problem. When technology or some gadget solves a problem AND is cool, then you have a really great gadget! You also have a true product when this happens.

Further, some gadgets are of no use to many people.

I have one of those folding keyboards for my palm. It still stuns and amazes people when I pull it out. It has a great wow effect. Interesting, many of my friends also have pda’s, and think the keyboard is way cool. Fact is, that NONE of them really can, or WILL USE the folding keyboard if they had one! They kind of would like one, but they really don’t need them. The reason here is that they really don’t utilize their pda’s very much. My job makes me need one! I use the keyboard for project notes all the time.

I need the keyboard, and I certainly do use it. So, for me, that keyboard is both a gadget, and is cool *and* helps me every day.

However, the real breakfast in bed feature in my pda is my time/billing software. I can walk into a client, and start a new billing session.  When I need a invoice for the client, I drop it in and sync. On the pc side, out comes a nice invoice (that pc invoice part I wrote myself…so I do eat my own dog food). Those invoices look like:

http://www.attcanada.net/~kallal.msn/test/IV1.html

Anyway, so, that gadget of mine actually lets me make invoices with NO paperwork. I hate paper work. Further, I really hate doing billing paper work! When I walk out of a clients place, I am done my billing!

On Fridays I can stop at the pub for beer on the way home and be Completely relaxed. I am relaxed since I don’t have a bunch of billing paper work piled up from all my hard work during the week.

I used to hate Fridays with all the paper crap at the end of the week!

It is unbelievable how much such a simple thing like a pda can change my life. The piece of mind I have during that beer is amazing, and a large part is due to the fact that I don’t have this pile of paper waiting for me. You better believe that I love my pda. Often, while having that beer I might make a phone call and again out comes my pda, and my cell phone. What a simple joy it brings having all my phone numbers at my finger tips. I have also used a cell phone for more than 10 years now (still same phone number also!).

So, are these things are gadgets? Yes, but foremost they are also tools that solve problems for me. They are little cool robot machines that work all day for me. These little machines solve problems for me and ask nothing in return. I love those machines. I have used some type of pda for more then 10 years now.

Technology really does give me piece of mind, and that is the best kind of gadget money can buy.

Now, if I can just get some machine to clean those dirty dishes in that tray above my bed, I will really be doing well…

Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Kallal@msn.com

Albert D. Kallal
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Not quite a gadget freak you'd expect the 20 year old nerd to be.  I carry my sony VAIO r505 everywhere, along with my LG flip phone (wap and a simple calander are all I need).  I have friends though, who spend more on gadgets every month then they do on their car payements. 

Vincent Marquez
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Albert,

I am sure someone from Palm is going to call you, and ask you to be in their advertisements:-)

Prakash S
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

I carry a Nokia 6510 cell phone. And I wear a casio digital watch..is it considered a gadget ..just kidding..maybe I will get a Ipaq later in the year.

suhu
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Hmmm, I don't wear a watch and often leave my mobile at home, does that count me out?

John Ridout
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

I have:
Pro-star 5654 laptop,
Comapq I-Paq,
Palm m505,
Sharp Zaurus 5500,
Palm V
Motorola StarTac phone.
Most of the PDA's are for development though. I guess I am a gadget freak :)

Yaniv
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Used to carry lots of stuff (Palm, Phone, MD player etc) but dropped it all and am back to paper agenda and a mobile phone.

It's a lot better to deal with non-tech people when discussing biz as you don't look like a Star-Trek fan...

Also, I had the painful experience of having it all stolen once... and as surprising as it may be, it made me feel a lot lighter. Life simplification is now a "core objective" for me and gadgets do not bring that.

But I confess that I still *love* that digital cam for snapshotting the whiteboards :-)

Philippe Back
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Strangely enough, I wouldn't consider myself a gadget freak.

I have to convince myself that there is some problem I need solved by a gadget before I'll part money. I wouldn't want any GPS device - I've got a pretty good sense of direction and plenty of maps at my disposal. I held out on getting a mobile phone until just under three years ago when I started being away from home more due to onsite visits.

Then again, this works well with developing software, so I don't have a tendancy to leap in and do the "fun but pointless" stuff.

Better than being unemployed...
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Just the portable and a mobile phone. Thinking of getting  a PDA (something like http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=614803/ut=86b8415774d567d8 ).

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Conservative.  Aside from my (surprisingly good) Vaio, I only have what others gifted:  nokia cell, swissarmy "cybertool", 256M usb pendrive, gameboy -- but mostly I bring my ol' pilot pen.

I sometimes want that fog gun at Thinkgeek to play with my pets, but they'd probably get bored with it.  Or lego mindstorms, but I might get bored too.  Wishlist: handmade keystroke logger (purely defensive, no admin can take away root from my machine!), mini maglite, night vision + hi/low freq sound detector.

Tj
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

I was thinking of getting a PDA, which would have replaced my breezeblock-sized Filofax.

But I didn't like the two options for data entry, which were: learn a new form of handwriting and write with the stylus; or, use the stylus to press on a virtual keyboard.

So I asked about folding, virtual keyboards, and they showed me one about the same size as my Filofax. Add the PDA to it, and it would've been the same weight, too.

I just wanted to record addresses and appointments in a lightweight, slimline, portable format. So I got a Sharp text-only thingybob. It takes up a fraction of the space of my Filofax, at a fraction of the weight.

I also got a cell phone when there was a family emergency, and I've kept it ever since. No more getting into contortions running for a pay phone every time I want to make a remotely sensitive personal call during office hours.

Otherwise, that's it.

Fernanda Stickpot
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Like the last 2 posts, I just have a notebook (Vaio, couple of years old) and a cell phone - nothing fancy, though.

Justin
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

I don't like gadgets.  I find them more inconvenient and more costly than the services they provide (to me at least).  I don't even wear a watch and the only phone I own is plugged into the wall.  Now you might argue that a watch provides a worthwhile service, and I would have to agree.  Therefore, I sometimes, carry one in my pocket.

Dave B.
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Eventually I give in and get a cell phone or whatever, but I learn as little as possible about it, and try not to read the manual. I don't like getting a new computer because it takes all day to get things working. I don't like to get new software. I take notes on paper (although I don't like paper either). I mostly try to keep as much as possible in my brain.
I love technology, but there's just too much of it.

The Real PC
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Conservative.

I carry a Franklin-planner-like-thing, and I'm about to get a laptop for work.

My general opinion is "if you carry a cell phone, then people will call you at home."  Same for pagers. Same for PDA's with wireless networking. :-)

My car has a remote door unlock and remote trunk pop.  Does that count?

Then again, I'm just generally conservative.  My full name on JoS is real, my email addy is real, etc.

regards,

Matt H.
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

>> "It is unbelievable how much such a simple thing like a pda can change my life. The piece of mind I have during that beer is amazing, and a large part is due to the fact that I don’t have this pile of paper waiting for me. You better believe that I love my pda."

Sounds to me like it's more about money than anything else.  You use your PDA to bill clients for your outrageous consulting fees.  That's the reason you're happy at the pub.  You know your work isn't worth what you charge the clients.


Tuesday, March 11, 2003

<<
Sounds to me like it's more about money than anything else.  You use your PDA to bill clients for your outrageous consulting fees.  That's the reason you're happy at the pub.  You know your work isn't worth what you charge the clients.
>>

Apparently you're clueless.  Find out what it costs to hire a senior developer plus pay his/her benefits.  It's easily over $100,000 and that's  a conservative number.  And you need to keep this bub busy.  So if you have a 3 month project - it's well worth it to spend $40,000 on a consulting contract, simply because you don't have to lay anyone off, continue paying them through unemployment, etc. 

GiorgioG - Yes I'm back.
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

I'm a gadget freak, but I find myself not carying too much around commonly.  Just a palm and a cellphone (which I loathe because I've developed feelings of loathing for every form of telephone other than a modem because it always interupts me while I'm in the middle of something and never when I'm not in the middle of something)  At any rate, they live in my pockets, making carpenter pants with extra pockets a very important convenience.

I still carry around an HP-48G because nothing else does RPN calculations with unit conversions and hex the way I want it to, but that lives in my backpack.  I've tried quite a few different palmpilot calculator programs and all of them have something missing.

I have two laptops -- one from work and one that's mine.  The work one comes home when I'll be working from home and the home one stays at home where it is generally used to goof around. 

I don't carry any survivalist tools because I'd just end up accidentally carying them onto an airplane and have them confisgated.  And I lost my photon microlight. :(

flamebait sr.
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

>> "Apparently you're clueless.  Find out what it costs to hire a senior developer plus pay his/her benefits.  It's easily over $100,000 and that's  a conservative number.  And you need to keep this bub busy.  So if you have a 3 month project - it's well worth it to spend $40,000 on a consulting contract, simply because you don't have to lay anyone off, continue paying them through unemployment, etc."

ROFL.  See the threads below about salary, taxes etc.  You don't need to pay anyone $100,000.  Outrageous.  There is no one worth $100,000.  There is no consultant worth $40,000 for three months.  Go ahead, throw your money away.  Why hire a "senior" developer anyway?  What's the difference between a senior and junior.  The senior surfs the net twice as much.  Hire a smart person who gets things done and pay them $30 - $40k a year (adjust for CoL).  End of story.  I would never ever ever hire a consultant.  Consultants are greedy beasts and full of themselves.  I can't tell you how many projects I've worked on as a full time employee that "consultants" started for the company.  None of the programs these people wrote actually worked and if they did they were strewn with bugs.  I've got news for you, the dot com era is over.  The get rich and charge big money for nothing scheme is gone.  Get off your high horse.


Tuesday, March 11, 2003

I feel as if I'm talking to someone on Slashdot.  Maybe your experience with consultants during the dot com days were bad.  I've got news for you, there's plenty of companies out there paying more than $100k to their developers.  How do I know?  I work for one.  No, I don't make that kind of money yet, since I don't have the 10 years experience.  But our top developer is making well over 100k (plus add the benefits + overhead) and he's more productive than any other member of the team - as it should be.

GiorgioG
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

No end of gadgets, I'm afraid. The first two in the list are the only ones I'd lay claim to taking everywhere with me. As for the rest, it depends, I generally wouldn't take my PDA, the tablet from work, AND the laptop to a meeting, just one will do.

Leatherman.
Flash memory "Pen-Drive" on my key-ring.
Laptop.
Casiopeia E-115 PDA.
Tablet (which is the only thing in the list which belongs to employer).
Ericsson T68i Bluetooth mobile phone.
USB bluetooth adapter.
USB phone charger / data lead.

Robert Moir
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Not even remotely a gadget freak.  The only thing I have resembling a gadget is the HP Jornada, sort of like a micro-laptop that runs Windows CE.

I don't even have a cellphone.

programmer
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

I have an analogue watch inherited from my dad.

Mobile phone: certainly not.

Laptop: only when issued for a specific job.

However, I frequently carry examples of that most potent and durable of technologies: print on paper.

And I always wear high-index corrective spectacles (except when asleep).

Call me shortsighted if you like!

Mathematical Dunce
Wednesday, March 12, 2003

I would like to equip myself, but being newbie I need some advice.
How do real gadget lovers carry around all that necessary equipment?
Rambo style belts with pda's and phones instead of bombs and bullets?
Santa's bag on yer shoulder?
Or maybe shopping carts?

drazen
Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Why Tardis lining of the trouser pockets of course ol' chap.

http://www.geocities.com/~mjbrant/drwho/images.html#tardis

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Conservative; Only gadget is a work issued cellphone, in asmuch cellphones qualifies as a gadget these days.

Patrik
Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Being somewhat style-conscious, it usually means that gadgets are a big no-no. Most of them are designed for techno-freaks who couldn't care less, that is true, but there are some that are stylish and cool, nevertheless. Cool, that is, even to a mixed audience. No PDA's unfortunatelly, but that's ok, since I never needed one anyway. The cell phone can do all the stuff I need in that direction, that is, calendar notes and wap/email.

So, I carry around a cell phone, which everybody else does (here in Europe, it starts to be considered impolite if you don't have one). A Nokia right now, but I am looking at the smallest Ericsson, it seems rather nice. And basically, that's it. I have a laptop, but I don't consider that a gadget.

What I really would like to get, is a nice small digital camera that you can always have with you. That means, again, it needs to look good, since by having it with you all the time, it becomes some sort of fashion accessory. I heard there is a certain Sony model that actually draws women's attention, which is quite the opposite of what gadgets usually do. Quite revolutionary in that way. Somebody said it's almost as good as a dog, and my friends, a dog is the ultimate weapon. Besides, you can take pictures with it, which you can't really do with a dog, and you don't have to take it for walks, you can take it to bars... So I'm really drooling after one, as you can imagine.

There, you have had my opinion. Grow up? Me?! Are YOU talking?!?!

Dimitri.
Thursday, March 13, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home