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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 Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 16, 2013 @04:41AM (#43189471)

    Uh? What's going on here?

    Also note the pictures: It seems he changed, not the world in general.
    In 2005 we see a microwave and stuff that seems to be a lot of mobile phones and remote controls. What is preventing him from getting lots of unused mobile phones today? The remotes seem to belong to the stuff below the TV, he got rid of his fancy stereo (with CD-player, amp, loudspeakers).

    Yes, the world changed. Yes, you need fewer gadgets. No, personal experience is not evidence and I think those pictures show only a change in his personality: From a young "I need to have every crap" he went to understanding he does not need every crap. Apart from that, the reduction we see in the pictures is not impressive at all. And apart from that, "personal experience" is no evidence for global developments.

    • by Dunbal (464142) * on Saturday March 16, 2013 @06:06AM (#43189669)
      What's going on? It's a stealth "I love my iphone" story. Nothing to see here, please move along...
    • by Mr0bvious (968303)

      What is the message here?

      Seems like a personal observation of a single household's journey through time...

      Is anyone here surprised that devices have become more functional and taken the place of more specific devices?

      Perhaps I'm just getting old but this feels like a OMG my rock and stick have been replaced by a hammer scenario...

      okay, okay, I'm crawling back under my rock...

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Losing the microwave is ok takeout food can compensate for that, but I wonder with what he replaced his vacuum cleaner...

    • by quenda (644621)

      TFA photo caption says

      the herd has been thinned to about 15 objects

      ... I read that as "the nerd hair has thinned ..."

    • From a young "I need to have every crap" he went to understanding he does not need every crap.

      Yes, some of it is probably that he's gotten older, and some of it is a cultural/technological shift that is probably going unnoticed by a lot of people. A decade or two ago, technology was such that you knew you'd "have to buy a new one" within a couple years, because the old one just wouldn't work anymore.

      In the 80s and 90s, a computer from a few years ago wouldn't just be slow, it would be absolutely obsolete. It wouldn't even run new software. And not just "I bought a new game, and I had to turn dow

      • In the 80s and 90s, a computer from a few years ago wouldn't just be slow, it would be absolutely obsolete. It wouldn't even run new software.

        That's still true on consoles. Xbox and GameCube were abandoned fairly quickly in favor of Xbox 360 and Wii. It's also true on mobile, where phones still being sold today can't run some of the apps on Google Play Store because the apps require Android 4.x and the devices are stuck on 2.x.

        You have a laptop that can run everything handily

        Except companies stopped making 10" laptops at the end of 2012 because they want customers to start buying a separate, higher-margin laptop and tablet instead.

        and a phone that includes the PDA.

        Except it can be far more expensive to consolidate. A PDA such as the Galaxy Player or iPod touch costs $0 per month more than what one's already paying for Internet. Replacing your dumbphone with a smartphone, on the other hand, means replacing a $7/mo bill with a $35/mo bill (source: virginmobileusa.com) because a lot of carriers refuse to activate voice-only service on a smartphone.

        • by Zuriel (1760072)

          Except it can be far more expensive to consolidate. A PDA such as the Galaxy Player or iPod touch costs $0 per month more than what one's already paying for Internet. Replacing your dumbphone with a smartphone, on the other hand, means replacing a $7/mo bill with a $35/mo bill (source: virginmobileusa.com) because a lot of carriers refuse to activate voice-only service on a smartphone.

          This isn't actually anything to do with the devices in question, this is shitty US mobile networks squeezing you for money because they can. Can't you keep paying for a voice-only plan, turn off data on the smartphone and swap the SIM card over? Or are you talking about signing up for a 24 month plan and getting a 'free' smartphone?

          • Can't you keep paying for a voice-only plan, turn off data on the smartphone and swap the SIM card over?

            Not especially. A lot of popular prepaid carriers in the United States are MVNOs on Sprint's CDMA2000 network, and CDMA2000 handsets in the United States typically do not use a removable CSIM. Even on GSM, AT&T has been known to add a data plan to any SIM used in a device whose IMEI is detected as that of a "smartphone" even if data is turned off.

    • by Jstlook (1193309)
      The things I see here is not that he changed, it's that the intent of the photo changed.

      To wit: The first picture? "I gathered every item with a microchip."
      The second picture? "This is what I use in my life now."

      Does that actually mean that he doesn't have those things any more, or that he just doesn't use them any more? That seems pretty darn unclear. If it *is* that he doesn't have them anymore, then props to him. I don't have enough time in my life to purge all the old tech and convert the pertin
  • Hmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Psychotria (953670) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @04:41AM (#43189473)

    I don't even have a mobile (cell) phone. I think my collection of gadgets is about the same.

    Anyway, the more important question is "what is the sacrifice you are making by embracing multi-purpose devices?" A DSLR will produce better photos than your iPhone (or whatever). A point-n-click camera will also. A dedicated scanner is likely to produce a better scan than a scanner tacked on to a printer. I could find examples relevant to the other examples as well but there is no point because they are easy to find. I, personally, would prefer a dedicated "gadget" that does one thing and does it well over a gadget that does many things but with less quality. YMMV.

    • Re:Hmm. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Zontar The Mindless (9002) <plasticfish.info ... m minus language> on Saturday March 16, 2013 @05:20AM (#43189575)

      The "do one thing perfectly" bit works pretty well with software, and in an unlimited or at least "big" environment.

      I don't see how that carries over very well to the hardware in my jacket pocket, though.

      Yes, I *do* quite like having a portable multipurpose device that performs many communications and data retrieval/display tasks acceptably well. I certainly don't want to carry a phone, an e-reader, an mp3 player, and an Internet pad on my morning ride on the subway when my smartphone will let me get phone calls, read my novel, listen to that Sun Ra album I found last night, and check the weather forecast to see if there's a chance the rain will clear out by lunchtime, all in one go.

      But since you've evidently lots of pockets, go right ahead. :)

      • We have different goals and expectations, that's all. For playing music and looking websites or reading some text, sure lump them together. For other tasks I am going to choose quality over quantity (of features) every time. YMMV :)

      • Re:Hmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DMUTPeregrine (612791) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @05:49AM (#43189623) Journal
        "Do one thing perfectly" works well in some hardware, worse in other cases. Cameras are a case where the physics dictates the size of the optics needed for certain capabilities, so to get eg good telephoto capability or good low-light capability one needs a dedicated lens.

        Likewise with printers. Sure an inkjet all-in-one printer/scanner/copier/fax is nice, but there are still uses for large format printers & scanners, and high-volume copiers. They're just not needed for the average household, so the specialized devices are relegated to the businesses and hobbyists that need them.
      • Yes, I *do* quite like having a portable multipurpose device that performs many communications and data retrieval/display tasks acceptably well.

        Multipurpose phones are nice because you've always got it with you when you unexpectedly need some function it provides. But I don't think they are often a replacement for the dedicated hardware...

        If I'm out and about and unexpectedly want to take a photo then sure, I'll use my phone. But if I was expecting to want to take photos I take my point and shoot camera or DSLR.

        If I unexpectedly need a GPS, I'll use my phone. But if I'm going walking I'll take my dedicated GPS.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "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 Sique (173459)
        I always have a point and shot camera with me, and it takes much better pictures than my phone. And interestingly, the camera is the smaller device.
      • by arth1 (260657)

        I don't know whether that's universally true. The best photos I have seen were composed, or taken with high quality cameras.

        Sure, if what you want a camera for are mementos and imposing your children on people to polite to point out how ugly they are and that they don't give a shit, carry one with you at all times. Preferably a dedicated point-and-shoot, so you can take pictures even when you're speaking on the phone or the light isn't good enough for a single LED to do the job of a flash. You can even t

        • by T-Bone-T (1048702)

          I completely agree with you but I must point out that cell phone cameras are getting very good. When my parents were visiting my family we went to the zoo and my dad took his DSLR and I just took my iPhone 4S. We took lots of pictures, some of them very similar but it seemed to be a toss of the coin which picture was better. I was pretty suprised, I didn't expect my phone to stack up so well. Plus, iOS 6 let's you get to the camera from the lock screen with a swipe up, so no fumbling there.

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      People have always been willing to accept mediocrity so long as it's packaged in a nice, shiny container. Herein lies the great success of many a corporation that has the marketing know-how to sell crap for a decent price. McDonald's, Wal Mart, and yes Apple are just a few shining examples. So while McDonald's marketing will swear you are having a 100% nutritious meal you are not exactly eating gourmet, or even healthy. And McDonald's does billions and billions worth of business every year, because people f
    • by massysett (910130)

      The DSLR does you no good if it is sitting at home, as it often will be because it is huge and clunky. The old quip is that the best camera is the one that you have with you.

      Furthermore, the iPhone has a key feature that most camera makers have willfully ignored: network connectivity. It can instantly share photos with other people. This boost of connectivity, combined with a much more convenient form factor, trumps a marginal increase in photo quality for most people.

      • by walshy007 (906710)

        Just bring the dslr with you everywhere, I do with mine.

        The eos 6d has wifi and can upload to facebook etc also. It's a far stretch from phone network connectivity but you can use your phone as an AP if required.

        trumps a marginal increase in photo quality for most people.

        Depends on what you are doing, taking iphone photos at night in ambient lighting is asking for nasty things.

      • by arth1 (260657)

        The DSLR does you no good if it is sitting at home, as it often will be because it is huge and clunky.

        Come to the dark side. We have micro four thirds and APS-C.

      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        The large and clunky argument died with the advent of micro 4/3rds. The OM-D with 25mm lens fits in most loose pockets.

  • by Daetrin (576516) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @04:42AM (#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!
  • by sosume (680416) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @04:49AM (#43189493) Journal

    So he went from a lot of manufacturers; Sony, Palm, Dell, Microsoft, etc, to one single electronics vendor, Apple. How do you keep so unbiased!

  • One thing I immediately figured out FTFA, don't overlay your photos with stupid transparencies. What, there is not enough space in HTML page? What, we don't have scroll bars?

    I couldn't even bother to read anything below the pictures, which I couldn't even look at because of that stupid transparency layer.

  • by Smidge204 (605297) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @04:51AM (#43189503) Journal

    Where have all the gadgets gone?
    Long time charging
    Where have all the gadgets gone?
    Long time ago
    Where have all the gadgets gone?
    Gone to smartphones, every one
    When will they ever learn?
    When will they ever learn?

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Where have all the keyboards gone, replaced by touch screens, every one
      Where have all the touch screens gone, broken by children, every one

  • by Trip6 (1184883) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @04:53AM (#43189507)
    Your point?
    • by lennier1 (264730)

      Tools have become more efficient. News at eleven!

    • Your point?

      I'm not even sure the "consolidation" that has happened actually reduces the number of devices people have though. Sure, I can now play video on my phone, but that doesn't mean I've thrown out the TV - the TV happens to do the job a hell of a lot better. Whilst I can think of a lot of things I can now do on a consolidated device, I can't think of any of them that have actually _replaced_ another device, other than possibly my smartphone which has replaced the PDA/dumbphone pair.

      • by Trip6 (1184883)
        I can think of several: hand held GPS, lower-grade instant cameras, lower grade purpose built hand-held games. For anything, if you want the "real thing" (like serious camera resolution and lensing) you will stick with the purpose built device. Or, a GPS device for golfing.
        • I can think of several: hand held GPS

          Whilst I do use the GPS on my phone a lot, I still have an old dedicated eTrex which I use for walking - the battery lasts a lot longer, its waterproof, the accuracy is better (I'm not actually that bothered about the accuracy, but why is it that my ~10 year old eTrex supports SBAS and I've not seen a single modern smartphone that does?), its generally more robust (IMHO the eTrex is going to survive a drop onto sharp rocks much better than my smartphone with its big glass screen), I don't have to take my gl

      • by Sique (173459)
        I actually have thrown out the TV. It's just a large, clunky object in the room. I never owned an MP3 player though, so nothing to throw out there. I put the navigation device to rest and am using my mobile with a navigation app. My children still have their diverse gaming consoles. So I am now down two gadgets. It might increase again, because I am currently pondering buying a 3D printer.
  • by spike_gran (219938) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @04:58AM (#43189519)

    In the TFA, he speculates that these multipurpose devices are now "good enough" to suit most needs, and I think that is true, But it is true that the quality of our audio and video experience seems to have gotten worse of the last couple of years.

    When it look at the pictures, or listen to the audio generated by the phones and tablets, or watch the video. It works, but, it just isn't very good.

    What's happening is that the middle layer of high-end consumer products are just vanishing: everything is either multipurpose devices or pro devices.

    For me, anyway, I still use digital camera and I still use dedicated audio that I used to play CDs and records. I'm a grumpy old man, I guess, but, it sounds better.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sique (173459)

      In the TFA, he speculates that these multipurpose devices are now "good enough" to suit most needs, and I think that is true, But it is true that the quality of our audio and video experience seems to have gotten worse of the last couple of years.

      Hm. This is the oldest complaint about home entertainment devices ever. If it was true, we would have the worst audio and video experience today since the advent of the videobox (Dickson 1891) and the phonograph (Edison 1877). But actually, the experience became better, we are just so used to the quirks and specialities of the devices of our childhood, that we miss them in more modern equipment.

      • by arth1 (260657)

        we are just so used to the quirks and specialities of the devices of our childhood, that we miss them in more modern equipment.

        My 6 year old cell phone has a camera with a mechanical zoom, augmented by a (horrible) digital zoom.
        My new one doesn't zoom at all.
        Is that a quirk, or just that it's too complicated for the masses?

        My old stereo had a 10-step equalizer for each channel. My new one has a 5 step equalizer for the entire system. Again, I think it's simplified for the masses, with "good enough" being the factor, not "improved".

        For many if not most people, convenience and price trumps quality. MP3s sure are more convenient th

        • Re:Good Enough (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Sique (173459) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @09:28AM (#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.

  • Have you similarly gone through a process of folicle consolidation?
  • by aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @05:04AM (#43189531)

    I've just purchased two old Casio organizers via E-Bay and a calculator! This proves conclusively that the author is wrong.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @05:06AM (#43189539)

    It can be old, broken and useless . . . but a geek will still hoard it. Every geek has a drawer, a box, a closet, or a garage stuffed with useless stuff. There just might be some possibility that it will be good for something in the future. Maybe the Zombie Apocalypse will infect Ethernet, so I will need that PCMCIA Token Ring card?

    Every time I go digging for something it's like a Computer Archeological Wonderland. Wow! BASIC programs on paper tape! The old HP 41C calculator!

    I never own less gadgets . . . just more. Where have all my gadgets gone? Who knows. But they are around here somewhere, and can find them if I look hard enough.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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

      • On the contrary, everything that can be transferred onto newer media and emulated, should be

        Unfortunately, such preservation is contingent on the continued periodic renewal of an exception in copyright law for circumventing copy protection on media for obsolete devices.

        Turing is god.

        Can god die? Turing did.

        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.

        I'm inclined to agree with you, with one exception: my classic game consoles. How much do you think it'd cost to buy a cartridge reader for each of a half dozen game consoles?

        In addition, there's still a vibrant hobbyist game development scene on the NES, and I keep my NES around specifically for that. I g

    • by DiSKiLLeR (17651)

      I actually don't horde.

      I put my shit up on ebay - preferably sooner rather than later whilist it still has value - and sell it all for $$$ which I can spend on newer toys!

      I always sell my current model phone to get the latest model for example. Thought I have a lot of crap still sitting at both my parents houses back in Australia I need to get rid of one day.... but I never never visit for more than a few days so it never happens. Oh well :)

    • by houghi (78078)

      No, not all geeks, just some.
      I trow out everything that I have not touched in a year. I used to keep everything, but then I realized that there is so much more space available when I just trow things out.

      Sure, I still have a bit of backup stuff, but do I really need that much cables? I just trow them out the moment I have not used them for a year.

      Yes, it has happened that I had to buy a new cable of the identical type I threw out a few months earlier. That is 5 EUR I happily spend. That 5 EUR was meaning le

  • Where has the microwave gone? I'm not aware of any technological developments since 2005 that has "converged" the microwave into any other device. Also, none of the devices he displays in the 2013 seems able to displace a microwave (unless there's some new app I'm not aware of). Hence, we must conclude that this article merely represents the lifestyle choices made by this particular person, with no relevance to the rest of the population.
    • by Teun (17872)

      Where has the microwave gone? I'm not aware of any technological developments since 2005 that has "converged" the microwave into any other device.

      He does not consider his new wife as a gadget.

      See the grey hair, he got married and she told him to get rid of the junk.

  • This man no longer cooks rice or uses a microwave, and his hair has gotten much grayer.

  • "To prove the point, here's an anecdotal based on a sample of one (myself)" I don't think proof means what you think it means
  • Personal choice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cuby (832037) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @05:38AM (#43189605)
    The change from some Bang & Olufsen speakers to the earbuds was a real winner... Most of his choices revolve arround the adoption of Apple products.
  • That is one awesome robot dog he's got there!

  • ~10 years ago I wrote on slashdot that I couldn't wait until my PSP/GPS/Phone/Point & Shoot/MP3/FM radio were a single device... that has now been achieved in spades.

    Basically I've culled my setup down to a smart phone, a tablet and a DSLR.
  • by tconnors (91126) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @06:11AM (#43189685) Homepage Journal

    OK, so he doesn't like good sound quality, so he got rid of the decent speakers and replaced it with Apple rubbish (that sound good to bad ears because they've just turned up the loudness and done wacky artificial things to phasing of the stereo signal). And same with cameras (personally, I think people who publish photos taken with an iphone should be shot for polluting the flow of electrons with their crappy photos). Where did his microwave go? Does he entirely eat out now? Concrete floor? Sounds lovely.

    Heck, I still go on multiday tours on motorbike (with not much spare room besides my tent and sleeping bag) with SLR and second lense *because it produces better photos*. It's a pity a lot of people don't care about quality anymore, but some of us still do.

    • that sound good

      What more, exactly, do you (by which I mean the generic "you," not you specifically, since we're all different) want from a pair of speakers?

      And same with cameras (personally, I think people who publish photos taken with an iphone should be shot for polluting the flow of electrons with their crappy photos).

      What about those fucking douchebags in Russia who had the gall to record that once-in-a-lifetime meteor event with a crappy dashboard cam instead of installing a Red One on the offchance?

      Heck, I still go on multiday tours on motorbike (with not much spare room besides my tent and sleeping bag) with SLR and second lense *because it produces better photos*.

      How nice for you. What is so vomit-inducingly wrong with other people going on holiday in their camper vans with their iPhones because they can't be arsed with an SLR?

      It's a pity a lot of people don't care about quality anymore, but some of us still do.

      Newsflash: people

      • by dbIII (701233)

        What more, exactly, do you (by which I mean the generic "you," not you specifically, since we're all different) want from a pair of speakers?

        Don't waste your money on a new set of speakers.
        You get more mileage from a cheap pair of sneakers.

  • To prove the point, here are before-and-after photos from one San Francisco household (mine)

    But, but, I have more gadgets than I used to. Since that's all that's required to prove a point around here, apparently, I've simultaneously proven the exact opposite! How can something be both true and not true?!

    • Sorry to disappoint you, but whilst the misguided article and your post do cancel each other out, they do not cause a paradox.

      We've yet to see a real paradox, outside of science fiction.

  • by drolli (522659) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @06:18AM (#43189717) Journal

    a) I still own all electronic devices which i owned in 2005, so the absolute number has increased

    b) I did not have three dozens of Gadgets in 2005

    c) Not even the number of "active" gadgets has decreased. active back then:
    * camera (compact)
    * mobile phone (Nokia 6310i)
    * palm (z31) (replaced also a stolen mp3 player)

    Now:
    *camera (compact)
    *mobile phone #1 (galaxy note II) - playing/reading documents/consuming media/surfing the web/feeds/google+
    *mobile phone #2 (nokia e63) - workhorse for phone calls and emails
    *ebook reader (sony) - use it when in eant a quite time in a bright place on a bench to read a good book (leave the other devices at home)
    *mp3 player (Used for sports/biking - before owning the galaxy note used also everyday)
    *tablet (galazy tab - surfing on th couch)

    I like that the gadgets got more diversified. Its just convenient.

    • by dbIII (701233)

      *ebook reader (sony) - use it when in eant a quite time in a bright place on a bench to read a good book

      It's a pity e-ink is such a closed shop. I could do with a few devices with screens I can see outdoors.

  • by houghi (78078) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @06:21AM (#43189723)

    Just looking at the pictures shows how his attitude has changed.
    In 2005 he thought it was cool to show (and have?) as much as possible, including all phones, his microwave and other assorted things.
    In 2013 he does not have a microwave anymore? Seriously?
    He only uses two speakers of his 5.1 system?
    And no router, hub or any other network connection anywhere? Not in either image?

    To me it seems that either his way of living has changed. e.g. eating healthier (Drop the coffee then) or he really wanted to show as little as possible where in the old picture he wanted to show as much as possible.

    When I look at myself, I am still at about the same in numbers. If I do not use something for one year, it is out. Some things just have replaced other things. e.g. the NAS has replaced the CD/VHS player.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      In 2013 he does not have a microwave anymore? Seriously?

      I haven't so much as touched a microwave in years. I own one, just in case I ever want it, but it's a small one and it's in storage. Microwaves save little time if any, and little energy especially in the cold season, and they produce inferior results in almost all situations.

      To me it seems that either his way of living has changed. e.g. eating healthier (Drop the coffee then)

      A lot of people are eating healthier lately because they can't afford processed foods. Doubtless, many of these people are actually buying less gadgets. Coffee has health benefits, if you're not consuming enough to have significant neg

      • by dbIII (701233)

        Microwaves save little time if any, and little energy especially in the cold season

        I can't let this go - are you deliberately trying to mislead the kids for some weird game or ideology or were you just using the thing the wrong way? It was definitely an easily measurable nobrainer moving to a microwave oven in the 1970s and they use much less power now while resistance heating remains about the same.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          It was definitely an easily measurable nobrainer moving to a microwave oven in the 1970s

          Yes, if you have no brain, you might think that cooking with a microwave is a good idea.

          and they use much less power now while resistance heating remains about the same.

          Resistance heating? Seriously? That's basically the biggest waste of electrical power that we have. I cook with natural gas, which just comes out of the ground. And if we weren't always inventing new ways to use it, we would have more than enough for that purpose without fracking.

          • by dbIII (701233)
            Well OK - a quick fryup with a gas stove is one thing but you were pushing the blanket case instead of a corner case (for instance once you boil, steam or bake stuff your argument fails). It really does look like a petty little game and you've just tried to both shift the goalpost and attack the man instead of the ball to win. You should be ashamed of yourself with your deliberate attempt to mislead people here.
            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              Well OK - a quick fryup with a gas stove is one thing but you were pushing the blanket case instead of a corner case (for instance once you boil, steam or bake stuff your argument fails)

              You can't steam anything in a microwave, so that is bullshit. You cook it directly at the same time you steam it. You can't bake most things in a microwave, either, because they want to be baked from the outside in, and microwaves penetrate to some distance. And most things you boil can be cooked in a hay box by using some foresight instead of being in such a hurry (yes, you might have to know that you get hungry around the same time every day, and cook ahead of time) and use far less energy than a microwav

      • by Patch86 (1465427)

        I don't use my microwave exclusively, but there's no denying that there are many things where it produces indistinguishable results.

        Example 1- I cooked a big chicken casserole (in a slow cooker) the other day, with around half of it going in the fridge for another day. Heating up stew in the microwave takes about 4 minutes, and can be done in the serving bowl. Doing it in a saucepan would take more like 10-15 to do it without burning or boiling, and create more washing up. Both results will be the same- hot

  • by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @06:48AM (#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.
    • by dbIII (701233)
      Funny thing is in Australia something like that would probably be called a border collie cross.
    • Woah, this takes "Where Have All the Gadgets Gone?" to a whole new level...

      I'd rather be paranoid and alive, than naive and dead.

      And just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you...

      Also, there is no law against using "and" or "also" at the beginning of sentences.

  • by damnbunni (1215350) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @07:12AM (#43189877) Journal

    My gadgets are multiplying like rabbits. Hell, I have five game consoles on my *desk*.

    A coupla cell phones, tablets, laptops, several computers, printers, a PDA I still use, portable game systems, and a rats-nest of cables and switchboxes tying it all together.

    Out under the TV I've got a VCR, HD-DVD, DVR, and a network media player. I have so many gizmos in the kitchen that it takes forever to reset all the clocks for DST. (Whyinhell does a fridge need a clock on it, anyway?)

    This isn't even counting all the gadgets I have left over from ages past that are packed away and no longer used.

    My cell phone hasn't replaced my 'portable music player'. My car has. (And the PMP was a Walkman.) The only other gizmo my cell phone has really replaced was the -really tiny- laptop I used to carry around for SSH use and light browsing. (A Toshiba Libretto 50CT.)

    Sure, there are gizmos that do -more- than they used to, but none of them do -all- of what I need my crapola to do, so I wind up with a bunch of them. I have a really nice tablet. I also have a netbook. Why? Sometimes I just want battery life and timekillers, and other times I need to run full computer software.

    (Although I could probably ditch the netbook if someone pointed me at a full Windows XP emulator for Android - all I can find is QEMU, which only works up to 98.)

  • by MacTO (1161105) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @07:35AM (#43189957)

    Convergence may have gotten rid of the need for multiple devices, but devices are much more personal these days. Rather than one phone per household, it is one phone per person. Instead of one computer per household, it is one computer or tablet per person.

    A lot of the old gadgets will still exist anyway. An individual may have a tablet to watch TV alone, but they will also have a TV to watch as a family. An individual may have a tablet for web browsing, but there will still be a computer for the kids to type up their school papers. While most families will be perfectly happy with their camera phone, any family with a photo nut will also have a digital camera. (The prior statement applies for most hobbies.)

    As for that disappearing microwave, I don't see how he managed that. It was a lot easier to cook eggs with your CPU in 2005 after all.

  • What exactly has replaced the Microwave Oven and Breadmaker? Has he stopped eating human food & now just eats dogfood?

  • All of the gadgets that existed twenty years ago are still here, but with only a fraction of the redundancy. I think about what my home looked like twenty years ago, and compare it to what it looks like now, and the difference is stark and revealing. Cable closets and their attendant tentacles of cat 5 abandoned for a single wireless router, telephones in the kitchen, bedroom, and den abandoned for one that I carry in my pocket, the bulky one-way media devices that tended to dominate a room abandoned for
  • He fails to correct for the fact that he may have changed in 8 years. If he was 8 years older in 2005 he may have wanted fewer gadgets then. He admits it himself with the consoles. I don't usually like to argue based on age, but it seems like a glaring omission in the analysis. To his credit, he hasn't changed that much physically.

  • Yeah, my phone has replaced my camera and tape recorder, but right now in my living room are two computers, a laptop (sometimes all three being used at once), VCR, DVD player, cassette player, turntable (I have lots of analog media I have yet to digitize), receiver, TV tuner (my TV is ten years old), LED flashlight, four remotes... in 2005 there was one TV, one computer, a VCR, and DVD player.

    I'm not normal. But then, what nerd is?

  • "How many electronic gadgets did you own in 2005? How many do you own today? The answer is almost certainly a lot fewer. "

    Nope, I am sure it would be more today than in 2005. I don't throw away stuff if it still works, and it doesnt take up mich space.

    In 2005 I had a laptop, an external monitor and an external keyboar and external hard drive. and an MP3 player
    I now have a desktop (bought in 2008) Two android tablets, 3 or 4 MP3 players, a much larger external HD, but I still have the 80 meg one I used with

  • Well multipurpose devices have certainly been on the rise it doesn't mean that single use devices still don't provide a better experience in that task they're mean't to complete. For instance my smart phone can also be a music player, camera, network share, wallet and a number of other things. Just because my smart phone can take pictures doesn't mean it's camera and therefore I still want a great camera for taking pictures. Just because my smart phone can be my music player doesn't mean it is, I can b
  • by unfortunateson (527551) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @09:09AM (#43190435) Journal

    Around that time, I got into geocaching. I'd walk into the woods with a GPS the size of a paperback book, a digital camera, my flip phone, and a Palm Pilot. Maybe an MP3 player.

    Now that's all one device, but...
    Now everything on my house is on the net: printer, home media server, satellite TV, Blu-Ray, home theater receiver, tablet, media streamer, Twine sensor box

    Interesting trade.

  • Microwave mea culpa (Score:4, Informative)

    by waderoush (1271548) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @05:47PM (#43193463) Homepage

    Author of TFA here. So many people have mentioned the microwave that I had to respond. Yes, I still have a microwave! It's built into the kitchen and it belongs to my landlord, so I wasn't about to rip it out for the "after" photo. I should have made that clear in the original text, which has now been updated.

    Thanks, (almost) everyone, for engaging seriously with the premise of the article. Of course it's anecdotal, of course I was writing about my own experiences. This is a given when you're writing a personal essay. But my guess -- and it seems to be correct, from a lot of the comments -- was that a lot of other people have also noticed that they're able to get along with fewer gadgets, especially since the new wave of touchscreen mobile gadgets are basically the Swiss army knives of electronics. Others haven't had this experience, and that's fine. My real point was that it's possible to get the same stuff done today with fewer tools.

    Sorry if my preference for Apple products put off a bunch of readers, but the theme would hold up even if I were an Android or Windows customer.

Possessions increase to fill the space available for their storage. -- Ryan

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