April 18, 2009: New Shiny Shining Again

My hunger for a new shiny has resurfaced. I spent some time analyzing the iPhone, because even I — no Apple lover — have to admit it’s a very cool piece of technology. Sadly, it’s also an expensive piece of technology: by my calculations, an iPhone would cost me at least $1,600 over the next two years, between the cost of the phone and the voice and data plans. That’s way too much money for me.

I thought about the iPod Touch, but I can’t quite bring myself to spend $200 for something that I’ll only use to listen to music on the bus. (I’m not counting on being able to piggyback onto random, unlocked WiFi for ‘net access, so that feature’s a big ol’ question mark.) I just don’t think I’ll be saying, in six weeks or two years, “I’m sooo glad I got this!” (Which is what I do say about Writer’s Café and my laptop, respectively.)

I also flirted with a netbook, to the point of walking a mile to Best Buy on Mass Ave. in Boston to check them out.  They’re very cool, and having one would relieve some frustration I’ve been feeling recently. I love my Alphasmart to bits and pieces, but it’s essentially just a text capturing device. There have been days in the last few weeks when I’ve wanted to work on my story in ways that went beyond simply typing up new text: rearranging scenes, organizing information, things like that. In theory, I could bring my laptop to work, but that’s not happening in reality. For one thing, it’s too valuable in terms of money and data, and for another, and it weighs too much. A netbook doesn’t weigh much more than my Alphasmart, a negligible amount, and if I don’t keep much more than Dragonfly on it, it’s not as much of a disaster if something happens to it.

I’m reluctant to take the plunge, and I’m not sure why. I know cost is a piece of it, Trying to manage Dragonfly on two different machines is another piece of it. (I can run Writer’s Café on more than one machine, so long as I’m the one running it on those machines.) I think I have a workaround for that, so it’s less of a factor, but still…

I’d say that my hesitation is a clear indicator that I shouldn’t do this, but I hesitated buying my laptop and Writer’s Café in the same way, for roughly the same reason: was I sure I was going to use this thing, or was I about to waste a bunch of money on something that wasn’t going to be as useful as I was telling myself it was?

The good news is that I don’t have to decide tomorrow whether or not to get a netbook. I have time to sit quietly and listen to myself, to find out what it is I really want and why.

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