It appears I am going to need to acquire some new gadgets in the next several months.
An MP3 player. I admit it, I am an embarrassingly late adopter to the whole MP3 thing. I've not really had the need to rip any music before now though. I either have my laptop with me, on which I could play my CDs, or I can play them on the CD player I got for my car. That pretty much has satisfied my music-playing needs up till now. There are a couple of downsides to this arrangement, however: one, I have to shlep around all my CDs around with me, with occasionally unfortunate results, and two, that the laptop isn't a really portable electronic device. I can listen to music while I'm sitting down, but not while I'm walking around.
And that's what I really want to do. Not listen to music while walking, but listen to it while running. As I've mentioned before, I hate running. But I discovered last summer that I was able to get through it when I replayed a Huey Lewis and the News concert from the night before in my head. I'm beginning to drool over future triathlon opportunities and think I need to get off my butt and start training. I suspect that's much more likely to happen if I have an MP3 player to keep me company.
But what to get? I did a little research and it appears I'll need to get a flash MP3 player. Downside: they're smaller in storage volume and proportionately more expensive. Upside: they are also smaller in terms of dimension, and they're solid state so they can endure jostling.
Yet beyond that, I'm not sure how to make a good decision. I figured I should get one with at least a gig of memory so that I can put on most(?) of my collection. But then what? I'm intrigued by the ones that allow for easy ripping of input, since I've got a ton of records and tapes I've never gotten around to ripping, but that might be a gratuitous feature. And other than that, what should I look for? What brands? What models? So far, these look intriguing: Creative Lab's Zen Nano Plus, or the iRiver iFP-799. What mostly attracts me about the latter is the really cool waterproof case you can get for it. Not only could I run with my MP3 player, but I could also SWIM!
Are there other brands/models I should be looking at?
A PDA. I have a Palm Vx from 1999 that I'm quite satisfied with, except for the fact that it's no longer working reliably. It's not a huge problem right now because I have my laptop with me all the time, so I just use the computer version of the software to keep organized. But it would be nice to not have to shlep my laptop everywhere, and I think this aspiration might require getting a new PDA.
Again, what to get? I'm pretty happy with Palm and not keen to give Microsoft more business, but I'm not sure I'm satisfied with the feature bundles on Palms. Then again, I'm not sure which features I want. To replace the functionality of my Vx wouldn't require very much money and I could get a nice, tiny device. But maybe it would be good to add some features, especially if it meant that I could stop shlepping my laptop everywhere. Lots of people at Bucerius, for instance, used to take all their notes with keyboard attachments connected to their PDAs. Since my laptop is getting old and I might not want to replace it until I get an income again, it might be worth offloading some of its functionality to another, cheaper device I could carry around instead of it.
If I do that, though, then I need to confront the feature-set question. Since I have a T-Mobile wireless subscription it might be nice to have one that could handle wireless internet connectivity, especially if I could run Skype on it. Then I could save my cell minutes. However, the Palm devices don't (last time I checked) seem to be able to accept a microphone input. Perhaps when I'm ready to buy that will have changed, but it currently changes the what-to-purchase equation.
The other possibility is to get some sort of PDA/cell phone combination. There is some appeal in getting a cellphone compatible with world-wide networks that I could just swap out sim cards for. Right now I have an American cell phone and a German cell phone, and I think everything is sim-locked so that I can't swap sim cards in and out. It might be nice to have only one device that not only works everywhere but that I can put a German card inside when I'm in Germany, a French card in when I'm in France, etc. Under the current set-up if I go to France I'll have to either get a new phone that can handle a French carrier, or pay an arm and a leg to O2 for out-of-Germany roaming.
Anyway, the cell phone telephony is also a gadgetery problem to solve, and perhaps when I solve the PDA one.
A Digital Camera. I've been a hold-out mostly because I like the tangibility of picture prints. But I'm getting tired of film, and now that it's not too hard to get hard copies of pictures, maybe it's time to make the switch. Given the way I take pictures, I think it would be good for me to be able to be less uptight about worrying about which ones to snap, since it would be costless to keep snapping and so I could end up with some better ones.
The problem with my gadget wishlist is that it's an expensive list to satisfy. I suppose the digital camera is lowest on the list because it's the least-needed. I'm not that avid a photographer, and my current camera is still ok. I think the PDA will need to be acquired in the somewhat near future, but I can probably wait a few months until I'm done with school before dealing with it. The MP3 player, though, I think I'll want to add to my life sooner though. I need to start running…