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Cellphones Handhelds Entertainment Hardware Technology

Where Have All the Gadgets Gone? 278

Posted by timothy
from the where-have-they-all-gone-to? dept.
waderoush writes "How many electronic gadgets did you own in 2005? How many do you own today? The answer is almost certainly a lot fewer. Counter to the dominant trend in consumer technology since the 1920s — and despite predictions of a coming 'Internet of things' — there may actually be *less* electronic stuff in our homes and offices today than ever before. That's thanks largely to the rise of multipurpose wireless devices like smartphones and tablets, which are now powerful enough to replace many older, dedicated devices like point-and-shoot cameras, music players, digital voice recorders — even whole home entertainment systems. To prove the point, here are before-and-after photos from one San Francisco household (mine) where the herd of digital devices has been thinned from about three dozen, eight years ago, to just 15 today."
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Where Have All the Gadgets Gone?

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  • by Daetrin (576516) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @05:42AM (#43189477)
    Maybe some people are choosing to replace game consoles and such with tablets, but i'm not. I've still got a PS3 and a Wii. I've still got a digital camera that i use to take "important" pictures because it does a much better job than my phone. I admit i haven't used my dedicated mp3 players in awhile, but i think that's the only device that's actually been phased out. Of course that only got phased out because i got a smartphone, so that evens that out i guess. And since then i've also added a Nook, a tablet and a Roku.

    Perhaps if you have less electronic devices it's because you decided you wanted less?

    Of course going by the sample pictures it looks like you have a lot of redundant pieces of electronics that i never bothered with. I've had one "boombox" type stereo system pretty much my entire life. No need for separate CD players or tuners, and i've certainly never needed a turntable!
  • Re:Trashcan (Score:2, Interesting)

    by coastwalker (307620) <[moc.liamtoh] [ta] [reklawtsaoca]> on Saturday March 16, 2013 @05:57AM (#43189515) Homepage

    The assertion holds true for the poor and people who are happy to be owned by a corporation. If you are wealthy a separate device still has the better performance - battery life, camera sensor size etc. If you dont want to be owned by a corporation then you probably will be avoiding anything called an "App" or any thing from Apples walled garden iChains. I am on holiday at the moment. I have with me a laptop, cell phone, two mirrorless camera bodies, a high end point and shoot, a IPV67 GPS, an ebook, a Sony mp3 player. To be fair I have stopped carrying around a radio these days, at least a broadcast reception radio because there is usually WiFi in the hotel - but I still have the pair of PMR walkie talkies for places out of cell coverage. I have never had so many gadgets before in my life, the idea of giving up the abilities of all these separate tools for a smartphone with a battery life of less than a day is abhorrent to me. They are all right for youngsters.

  • Re:Hmm. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 16, 2013 @06:53AM (#43189641)

    "The best camera is the one that's with you"

    An enthusiastic amateur photographer might well have an iPhone, a point-and-click and a DSLR. It's fair to guess that the amateur has his iPhone 90% of the time, his point-and-click 20% of the time, and the DSLR and accessories maybe 5% of the time.

    So perhaps the more important question is "what is the sacrifice you are making by NOT embracing multi-purpose devices?". Baby's first smile? "Hang on honey, I'll run upstairs to get my camera bag". Too late.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 16, 2013 @06:58AM (#43189647)

    Being a geek does not imply hoarding stuff. On the contrary, everything that can be transferred onto newer media and emulated, should be, in my opinion. Turing is god. Old hardware is often faulty, unreliable and takes up physical space. I play old DOS games much more often now that I have Dosbox set up. I don't think I'd ever bother playing them if I had to specially make the effort of switching from my usual environment to the "retro" PC. And once you've got your old data and games on a modern PC, it's so much easier to keep them backed up forever.

    Hoarding old hardware does not make any sense. I hate old hardware. I lived in that era, and I always hated the limitations and crankiness of the hardware of that age. Hoarding is a sickness. It does not confer you any geek credentials. You are nothing but misguided.

  • by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @07:48AM (#43189811)
    > To prove the point, here are before-and-after photos from one San Francisco household (mine) where the herd of digital devices has been thinned from about three dozen, eight years ago, to just 15 today.

    Awesome. Once burglary was a real hit and miss. Now your victims case their places for you. Even lists his dog. Google tells me his dog it is an Australian Sheppard. Sound docile enough. I can always get it drunk lol.
    http://www.wikifido.com/page/Rhody [wikifido.com]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Shepherd#Temperament [wikipedia.org]

    Now when will Wade be out of town?
    Xconomy robotics event 4/11 https://twitter.com/wroush [twitter.com]
    "Far too many people have too much information online as to their schedules and what they will be attending and where." http://protectitnow.blogspot.com.au/2011/07/your-home-security-never-before.html [blogspot.com.au]

    I'll just have to arrive early to beat the crowd. I have dibs on the Canon Powershot S5 IS and the iPhone5.
  • Re:Good Enough (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sique (173459) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @10:28AM (#43190529) Homepage
    The equalizer is a prime example of what I am talking about. You know, why it is called equalizer? Because with analog equipment, each frequency is slightly differently handled, some frequencies are higher amplified than others, and some are more muffled than others. With the equalizer, one can make it equal, amplifiy or muffle the different parts of the audio band to have the differences ironed out. For some general degradation of the overall signal quality, you bought a quite uniform handling of the frequencies.

    All the different audio types had different head curves. A turntable was different than an ultra-short wave radio, different than a ferro-magnetic tape or a chrome based magnetic tape. To connect them together, you needed an equalizer to adapt the different head curves to better fit together.

    With digital equipment, the need is gone. The signal gets digitalized once at the source, and then it is handled digitally until the final amplifier, where a DSP creates a new analog signal from the digital version. Each bit is threated the same, so no need to equalize it somewhere in the signal path. Differently than in analog times, where we had a signal-noise-ratio of about 60 dB (or less, depending on the equipment), now the signal has 96 dB. There is only one part we have to slightly equalize, that are the actual loudspeakers. For that, a 5-way-equalizer looks quite approbriate. Everything else is overkill.

  • Re:Trashcan (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 16, 2013 @12:57PM (#43191383)

    The average person really isn't looking hard enough to recognize the difference in picture quality between an iphone and a serious camera. My old digital shoots much better pictures than an iphone, and my girlfriend's 1 year old cheap digital camera also shoots MUCH better pictures, but most of the time nobody's going to notice.

    Examples of where the iphone shines and falters vs dslr:
    http://connect.dpreview.com/post/2863436371/leaving-my-dslr-at-home-iphone-experiment

    A lot of people don't need a camera that shoots in low light, extreme detail, or fast action. I needed to send my insurance company photos from an accident where I was rear ended before, my wife's cheapo digital took perfectly detailed photos in the evening effortlessly, with or without flash. The iphone just left us with a blurry mess, we were grateful to have her camera with us. In another situation I was selling a vehicle and a potential buyer wanted to see the paint quality, the iphone really just couldn't take a good enough picture to handle that. Our 3 year old dslr took wonderful pictures and helped me make a sale in that situation. Finally, I have kids in kickboxing and we all race motocross. Trying to take pictures of any of this with an iphone feels like trying to get a portrait artist to sketch live action. The dslr is a requirement for us to catch any of these moments decently.

    Bottom line: You might not need a "real camera". If you need to take pictures in low light, extreme detail and zoom, or live action you do. If you don't, and you aren't a perfectionist the iphone is actually a better choice for you, and you can always borrow a dslr from a friend for some rare occasion.

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James

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