I am addicted to gadgets. It's time to admit it. They fill my life and I love it. You have about as much chance of spotting me without my iPhone as you have of spotting a sensible individual on Capitol Hill. Let's take our recent vacation to Costa Rica as a case in point:
First, there is the all important GPS. Never leave home without one. Yes, I am directionally challenged, and being directionally challenged in a foreign country without a GPS is an excellent way to get into trouble. Even in the US I never travel to a foreign city without making sure that I am satellite navigation ready. The day is fast approaching when I will purchase this functionality for my iPhone, and then there will be one fewer little box in my bag of tricks.
Second, but by no means less important is the iPhone. This little machine has served me phenomenally well on this trip, as it does everywhere else. I bought a $24.95 copy of a Spanish-English dictionary for iPhone as well as a 99 cent copy of Spanish for dummies. These were constantly open, and while I didn't truly need to use Spanish - since practically everyone we met in Costa Rica speaks some English - what's the point of traveling to a new country if you are not going to make an effort to learn and experience the local culture? Language is a key part of that.
But the iPhone is so much more than a glorified dictionary. It was my video game machine at night after the kids and Alpaca collapsed from exhaustion. It was also my connection to news and work e-mail (hey, I can't just not check email for 2 weeks), wherever WiFi was available. It was available everywhere. Also, did I mention that this marvelous device can make phone calls?
Next is my latest acquisition: a Flip MinoHD Camcorder. This world wonder takes 2 hours of high definition video and is literally small enough to fit in my jeans pocket. I was constantly using that thing and the video quality, sound and color are all excellent. I do have three complaints though: because this machine is so tiny, every movement of your hand shows up as a jerk in the video. You really have to be mindful of holding the camera steady. Battery life is far from spectacular, but I did charge up the camera every day and I was never close to running out of juice. Finally, the zoom on the camera is pretty pathetic. Overall though, as excellent purchase.
Next comes the iPod. But wait. Why would I carry both an iPhone and an iPod, you ask. Here we go. That's where the trouble with gadgets starts. They are just not made to play nice with each other. I have an FM transmitter for my iPod that I use to connect it to the car stereo. This same connector connects to the iPhone but then a screen comes up telling me that the accessory is not compatible with the phone... early on I tried to find some FM adapters for the iPhone but was never able to find one that actually worked. All I got was very noisy links full of static. So, an iPod and an iPhone it is.
I cannot neglect to mention our Digital SLR from Cannon. As gadgets go, this one is pretty ancient. Had it for probably five years or more. It's a 6 mega pixel jalopy for crying out loud. This one is definitely approaching the end of it's life and a new Digital SLR is in our future.
Last but not least is my trusty ol' ThinkPad laptop. It goes wherever I go. On this trip I was really not planning on doing any real work, but I carried it just in case. The ThinkPad was relegated to the undignified role of charging up my various gadgets from iPhone to Flip, and to acting as my data back-up and extra disk space. Our videos and pictures all got moved to the computer every day.
As you can probably tell, I love gadgets. Yes, I spend some money on gadgets, but to be honest, technology is just not that expensive these days. What can I tell you, gadgets make me happy.
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