Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Where Have All the Gadgets Gone?

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the where-have-they-all-gone-to? dept.

Cellphones 278

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."

cancel ×

278 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Trashcan (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189449)

Where all new gadgets go when they die, the trashcan in the sky

Re:Trashcan (2, Interesting)

coastwalker (307620) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189515)

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:Trashcan (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189559)

What do you mean by owned by a corporation? Why should owning one device mean you're owned by a corporation?

Does that mean if you have more devices you're not owned by a corporation and instead owned by more corporations?

You can always switch to a different multi-use device.

Re:Trashcan (4, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189839)

What do you mean by owned by a corporation? Why should owning one device mean you're owned by a corporation?

Does that mean if you have more devices you're not owned by a corporation and instead owned by more corporations?

You can always switch to a different multi-use device.

I think he means owned as in pwned. The point being that the cost of switching in both time and money becomes so high that you stay with the company.
The more DRM'ed software and data you use, or the more apps for which there isn't a port or the API is proprietary, the more you owe your soul to the company (app) store.

You don't have to reprogram your calendar, re-buy office software, stop playing your favourite game and set up numerous accounts again if you change your camera from company A to B. Unless, of course, that camera is on a mult-function device. Then you have a strong reason not to change your camera, or if you do, stick to the same company. Pwned.
Doomed to mediocrity too, given that a multi-function device is always a jack of all trades, master of none.

I like the freedom to choose, and change individual gadgets easily. You don't need the modern day equivalents of TVs with built-in VCRs, and if you think a little ahead, you probably don't want them either.
You know that guy with the shiny smille and a device that does lots more things than yours does? Don't follow him; he's a Judas goat.

Re:Trashcan (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189577)

I want my very own pussy hole to do with as I please, and I want it now! Right now! Why don't one of you worthless, insolent women come and pleasure my penis with your pussy hole?

Re:Trashcan (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189595)

There's an App for that!

Re:Trashcan (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189681)

Where all new gadgets go when they die, the trashcan in the sky

That's in China [time.com] , right?

hmm. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189467)

that dog sure gained a lot of hair while you were losing the gadgets

"Personal experience as evidence" (and more) (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:"Personal experience as evidence" (and more) (3, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189669)

What's going on? It's a stealth "I love my iphone" story. Nothing to see here, please move along...

Re:"Personal experience as evidence" (and more) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189813)

My son asked me how girls are different from boys today. I was more than happy to answer his question, and so I told him, "Well, son, women are nothing more than sex objects to be used and abused by us men. You can turn a woman into your slave; you can turn make use of her pussy hole; you can fill her asshole up with cum; you can do anything you please to women because they only exist to serve us men. That is how girls and boys are different."

I didn't even have to think about the answer to that question; it just instantly popped into my mind. Yet, there are a myriad of full-grown adults who haven't even realized this simple truth! I would expect such ignorance from women, but from fellow men? It's preposterous! Men need to be taught from conception that all women are mere sex objects owned by men. Otherwise, I fear for society's future...

Re:"Personal experience as evidence" (and more) (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189995)

What's going on? It's a stealth "I love my iphone" story. Nothing to see here, please move along...

So which app replaced his rice cooker?

"I don't eat rice much anymore."

Bizzare.

Re:"Personal experience as evidence" (and more) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189885)

I agree... the microwave and rice cooker are not obsolete or replaced by other gadgets, and thus they exaggerate the quantity of items in the first picture.

Re:"Personal experience as evidence" (and more) (1)

Mr0bvious (968303) | about a year and a half ago | (#43190067)

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...

Hmm. (5, Insightful)

Psychotria (953670) | about a year and a half ago | (#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. (3, Insightful)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year and a half ago | (#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. :)

Re:Hmm. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189585)

I spy with my little eye a pussy hole in need of a fucking! I'll fill that womb of yours with cum, you worthless whore! Pussy holes belong to men, and don't you women forget it.

Re:Hmm. (1)

Psychotria (953670) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189613)

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. (4, Insightful)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189623)

"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.

Re:Hmm. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Hmm. (1)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189817)

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.

Re:Hmm. (1)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189969)

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 turn them on faster than your camera - no fiddling with unlocking, starting camera app - just shoot.
Too many things to carry? Priorities, i say. Go put on your jacket, and then empty your pockets on a table. Add a small camera, and see whether it makes an impact. An if so, whether there's something else that can go.

For other occasions, a DSLR or even a micro four thirds might be better. That awesome falcon sitting on your mailbox might just be a dark blob on your cell phone picture, but might come out quite nicely when shot through a 200mm lens. Hey, even your children too - when you're far enough away that they don't pay attention to you, you can get some awesome shots.

Looking at my Lightroom catalogs, I can honestly say that more than 95% of my family's best pictures were not taken by a cell phone camera.

But if it makes you happy....

Re:Hmm. (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189691)

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 flock to this kind of stuff, put up with the screaming kids, or the missing stuff in the drive through, or the sloppily assembled burgers that were the best attempt of a non English speaker's understanding of her 30 minute training by another non English speaker.

Re:Hmm. (1)

massysett (910130) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189743)

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.

Re:Hmm. (1)

walshy007 (906710) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189829)

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.

Re:Hmm. (1)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#43190021)

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.

Re:Hmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43190023)

It's pretty easy; I just pick it up. It fits in my purse. I really just pick it up and bring it with me all the time. Funny, nobody thinks my pictures have to be instagrammed to be interesting. Am I shooting Ansel Adams quality photographs? Nope. But it works a hell of a lot better in a bar, at the kids games and whatnot. Yes, that's where I spend my life now.

I guess i'm bucking the trend (3, Interesting)

Daetrin (576516) | about a year and a half ago | (#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!

It's because you buy too much crap (1, Troll)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189483)

Yeah, my house doesn't look anything like that. I love how the guy just *assumes* that everyone is like him. "How many devices have you dropped?" seems a perfectly reasonable question, when in fact it betrays that he's one of those idiots who just likes buying crap.

another thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189489)

What is equally striking to me from those pictures is just how dominant Apple products have become in the (high-end) consumer market...

Re:another thing... (1)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189907)

What is equally striking to me from those pictures is just how dominant Apple products have become in the (high-end) consumer market...

High-end? I wouldn't call it that. Middle class - the great masses, more like it.
Apple don't have many products that compete in the high end, except perhaps for LCD displays. Otherwise it's mediocrity in a shiny package, and no, I'm not trolling. You simply can't compare iPhone earbuds to a nice pair of high end Sennheiser or Grado headphones. You can't compare the iPhone camera to a Leica or even Panasonic. You can't compare even their top computer to an enthusiast PC with dual octacore CPUs, 256 GB RAM and RAID 50. An Airport Extreme isn't exactly in the same class as Cisco/Juniper equipment.
Apple products in general are solidly mid-range, popular with the masses. Nothing wrong with that, but tone down the oohs and aahs a bit.

Single vendor focus (2)

sosume (680416) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189493)

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!

So you used to have a lot of cool gadgets (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189495)

....and now you're just an apple fanboi

One thing (2)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189499)

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.

Where Have All the Gadgets Gone? (5, Funny)

Smidge204 (605297) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189503)

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?

What singer to hear in your head? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189825)

The above sounds sooo much different if you hear in Bob Dylan's or Bono or Paula Cole's (Where Have All the Cowboys Gone).

Then, think of a rap with one of the classic guys - like ICE-T - it takes a completely different meaning.

Then there's Weird Al. He's singing about "Where All the Badgers Gone."

Re:Where Have All the Gadgets Gone? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189887)

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

Looks like he matured and quit playing video games (0)

ModernGeek (601932) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189505)

and got rid of a bunch of random cell phones.

Re:Looks like he matured and quit playing video ga (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about a year and a half ago | (#43190017)

And, for some unexplained reason, stopped eating rice.

Yes, consolidation has happened. (3, Insightful)

Trip6 (1184883) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189507)

Your point?

True (1)

lennier1 (264730) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189517)

Tools have become more efficient. News at eleven!

Re:Yes, consolidation has happened. (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189667)

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.

Re:Yes, consolidation has happened. (1)

Trip6 (1184883) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189711)

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.

Re:Yes, consolidation has happened. (2)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189781)

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 gloves off to use it (my smartphone has a capacitative touch screen, so you can't drive it with gloves on).

lower-grade instant cameras

I still have a separate point-and-shoot camera (Canon Ixus) - the phone doesn't come close because it only has an LED flash, doesn't have a viewfinder, doesn't have a lanyard, has a much worse battery life and is probably a lot less robust to knocks and drops. I also have a DSLR, which can't be replaced by a phone. Despite both my DSLR and point & shoot cameras having a much lower pixel count than my phone (which idiots seem to use to indicate the quality of camera), the photos they can produce in a wide range of conditions are much better than the phone. The phone's camera is good so long as you're taking photos in bright daylight and don't want to zoom.

lower grade purpose built hand-held games.

Not something I've owned since I was at school, so not something I'd consider my phone having replaced.

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.

As I said, I can think of a lot of things that have been integrated into devices like smartphones, but I can't think of anything that I've actually replaced because of this. The smartphone integrates lots of functionality, but none of it is anywhere close to the dedicated devices, so it gets used only when I don't have the dedicated device with me - if I already know I'm going to need something (say, GPS or camera) then I take the GPS and camera with me.

Re:Yes, consolidation has happened. (2)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189843)

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.

Re:Yes, consolidation has happened. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189749)

I prefer this way.

If only some companies realized this, their devices would probably actually sell.
Sony, for example. PS Vita + phone extension = best gaming device there is. Will they do it? Fuck no, because they are stupid.
Instead they release PS certified hardware for playing early or simpler recent PS games like PS Minis.

And as much as I hate Apple, they still release dedicated hardware for various tasks and in varying form factors.
I guess at the silly prices they are, some of that profit goes in to actually keeping such things afloat.

Both systems can still work together, but for the most part, people are going towards compact multi-purpose designs, even if it means a watch would last a few hours. (still, even I was quite interested in the idea if iWatch, who didn't want to be an ultra awesome spy from the last decade with their watches?)

24 (0)

dohzer (867770) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189509)

Lullz, 24 is on TV. How embarrassing.

Microwave, bread maker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189513)

Take out the specific ones, microwave, breadmaker. He replaced his TV. His video cameras now seem to be one video camera. The computer is different, the CD player and MP3 player, he's dropped the CD player as many of us have. He's ditched the calculator, but I went back to owning one, after a period of using my phone as a calculator.

But in my household there's a wealth of new specific computer devices.

1. The house now has a Network attached RAID/ Media Server +1:
http://www.zyxel.com/us/en/products_services/nsa325.shtml?t=p&tabOrder=3

2. A wifi router +1

3. A media player for the TV + 1 device:
http://www.asus.com/Multimedia/OPlay_Mini_Plus_Netflix/

4. Surround sound speaker system, device, it replaced the DVD player, since it also contains a DVD player. +1 -1

5. We have two Android tablets added, 2+ more devices,

6. And a laptop, which will probably be the next thing to go

7. Cameras? Well I tried and failed to make do with a phone, so I bought a Nikon with a decent lens. Then another waterproof camera for snorkling, I ditched an old digital IXUS so I'm up one camera.

So overall, we have more devices than ever. The smartphones are really no substitute for a good lens camera, and they're no substitute for a decent waterproof rugged camera. I find I like privacy, so I keep separate devices for separate uses. So I don't let the Android devices have photos or phone access, and don't buy camera with Facebook features.

Now that TVs are thinner I think I want one in the bedroom, so that might get a TV and media player too. +2

Good Enough (2)

spike_gran (219938) | about a year and a half ago | (#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:Good Enough (2, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189917)

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.

Re:Good Enough (1)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#43190109)

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 than SACDs, but that doesn't imply that the quality has gone up lately. High-hats still sound like a bag of broken glass.

It all boils down to consumerism - you produce something convenient enough for the consumer to want over what he has, at the lowest quality goods a consumer will buy and command he highest price he's willing to pay.
As long as it's good enough, cheap enough, convenient enough, you will make money and the consumer will be happy as a pig in shit. And the world will go on, but not necessarily forwards.

Where has all the hair gone? (1)

rizole (666389) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189527)

Have you similarly gone through a process of folicle consolidation?

The author is wrong (5, Funny)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189531)

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

Geeks, don't throw out stuff . . . they hoard. (5, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#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:Geeks, don't throw out stuff . . . they hoard. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Geeks, don't throw out stuff . . . they hoard. (1)

DiSKiLLeR (17651) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189757)

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 :)

Re:Geeks, don't throw out stuff . . . they hoard. (1)

houghi (78078) | about a year and a half ago | (#43190011)

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 less to me then the time I would have needed looking for it.

so your an Apple Fanboi. (1)

ferret4 (459105) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189551)

judging by your current list, if Apple had bought out a robotic vacuum cleaner I'm guessing you'd have 1 more appliance still.

Got rid of your Kindle because your iPad has the Kindle App? Please, you either don't read much or you prefer ruining your eyesight on back-lit displays.

so you're a bell-end (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189689)

The contraction of "you are" is "you're", it's not difficult.

so you're an anonymous coward (1)

ferret4 (459105) | about a year and a half ago | (#43190019)

and I'm drunk, so I don't really care much. Please, continue to have fun scouring the Internet for easily parsed grammatical mistakes while I do something slightly more enjoyable like open a door and pass into the next room.

What about his microwave? (2)

paradigm82 (959074) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189553)

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.

Re:What about his microwave? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189635)

There's probably a microwave simulation for the iPad. An app that shows something being cooked. Yum.

Still, how does he vacuum his floor with the iPad (replacing the roomba)?

The one thing that looks a lot more electric is the dog.

Re:What about his microwave? (1)

Teun (17872) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189875)

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.

In other news... (1)

cpicon92 (1157705) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189561)

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

Yes consolidation - and now when one gadget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189571)

dies?

Your life is completely shut down.

As an experiment, he should lock his single iPad/iPhone in a metal box for one day and see how "productive" he is...

He's not being very "smart" about his entire life being dependent on some (one) company. Maybe this is why so many nerds are democrats - they're already dependent on the government, so they're okay with depending on just one company for their livelihood.

"Two is one and one is none"
"Those that ignore history are doomed to repeat it"

Re: Yes consolidation - and now when one gadget... (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189661)

Everyone is dependent on the government or did you think the army is just a group of concerned citizens or contract law came about through the generosity of the wealthy? I get that you want to be dependent on luck for your health and well-being but sane people realise a safety net is as good an idea as everyone being taught how to read and write.

Re:Yes consolidation - and now when one gadget... (1)

cjjjer (530715) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189949)

Personally it has less to do with consolidation and more with priorities. Let's face it when you are in your 20's or 30's you might be more willing to buy toys or gadgets just for the cool factor but once you get older and have kids and more responsibilities that often falls to the wayside. I am pretty sure that he didn't consolidate his game consoles for anything other than he is older and lost interest in shooters and other types of games that require an investment of time, now simple puzzle games and such are his focus.

My 2 cents

Lazy and stupid consumer... that's all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189589)

As mentioned before... there is no middle, 'Pro-sumer' grade gear now a days. You either spend for the high level equipment (DSLRs, $800 tablets) or you wallow in the consumer grade 18 month turnover garbage (Kindle, smartphone).

As for the authors 'thinning'... no. More like he simply got rid of redundant crap. Does a remote control count as 'tech'? 3 phones?

He still has a t.v. that, while multi purpose (has internet, AV inputs, stereo) he also still has multiple internet access devices (what? the t.v. interface not good enough you still need a table, PC and smartphone? Pick one! Remember gadgets are getting BETTER).

Crap articles like this simply mad the internet a sad place where any semi random though can be considered 'information'.

I have more devices than in 2005 (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189593)

I clearly have more electronic devices than I did in 2005, all of them are really useful and there is very little redundancy.

"To prove the point" (1)

Little_Professor (971208) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189597)

"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

But you haven't changed too, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189601)

I don't know about you, but I think that between the age of 35 and 47, I shed a lot of gadgets because I was no longer fixated on them and realised I got more pleasure making a decent loaf of bread than having racks of whirring AC-powered gear in my closet, idling.

(Still have a corridor-of-death that has them all stacked in, gathering dust. Just in case the 88GB SyQuest external makes a comeback etc.)

Personal choice (4, Insightful)

cuby (832037) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Personal choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189679)

I especially like the fact that he threw out his freaking record player. Yes I know the sound degrades of time, but to throw out a working device is just freaking wasteful. The article should be entitled "where has all this eWaste come from".

Re:Personal choice (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189775)

It's a fucking record player. The format is mostly dead beyond some misguided fashion/decorating choice by hipsters. It's more about being seen with a record player than the fact that a record player is in any way necessary.

I threw out a working record player with an 8 track system over 15 years ago. Even then it was just cruft.

Who cares about the rest of those gadgets... (1)

jpatters (883) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189649)

That is one awesome robot dog he's got there!

Fewer but better devices... (1)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189659)

~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.

Re:Fewer but better devices... (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189815)

No it hasn't.
A touch-based smartphone is a joke compared to real handheld gaming device.

Gadget nerd here with Palm T3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189683)

Just because things have become more convenient, it doesn't mean old gadgets should be thrown out. Unless you absolutely need to switch to something multi-purpose like say... if you need mobile internet for work, well -- getting a smartphone is a good choice. So then you can get rid of your alarm clock, your mp3 player, and your palm pilot. But, old electronics need some loving too.

A trend? I don't think so Wade. (2)

tconnors (91126) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189685)

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.

Re:A trend? I don't think so Wade. (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189777)

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 do care about quality. But they also care about convenience, cost, and even brand identity.

They're also free to assign different weights to those parameters.

Re:A trend? I don't think so Wade. (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189939)

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.

Canine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189703)

Your dog's gotten a lot bigger, too, and changed his furstyle.

Oh, the paradox! (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189709)

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?!

increased number of active gadgets (4, Informative)

drolli (522659) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189717)

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.

Re:increased number of active gadgets (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189961)

*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.

He changed. The world still the same (2)

houghi (78078) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:He changed. The world still the same (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189901)

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 negative affects from the caffeine.

Some things just have replaced other things. e.g. the NAS has replaced the CD/VHS player.

I did not RTFA, but that's a supporting argument, not a contradictory one. The NAS has replaced the CD player and the VHS player.

Re:He changed. The world still the same (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189979)

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.

Re:He changed. The world still the same (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43190031)

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.

All ur stuff soon belong 2me (5, Interesting)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | about a year and a half ago | (#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:All ur stuff soon belong 2me (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#43190013)

Funny thing is in Australia something like that would probably be called a border collie cross.

Where did the Microwave oven go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189835)

"Thanks mainly to the iPhone and the iPad, which take the place of so many other dedicated devices, the herd has been thinned to about 15 objects."

So the iPhone and/or iPad cooks his food, too?

Fewer? (2)

damnbunni (1215350) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189877)

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.)

I'm guessing most households have more ... (4, Insightful)

MacTO (1161105) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

... duh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189991)

How does such an incredibly obvious thing, become such an article, that it then gets linked to on slashdot?

Microwave and Breadmaker (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about a year and a half ago | (#43190009)

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

Re:Microwave and Breadmaker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43190115)

Dog food is highly underrated. Your attitude does not help the situation much.

Define *gadget* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43190053)

I think I have more than ever. But my gagdets now morph into each other as necessary so I don't have to carry as much. They're called 'apps'

Consolidation, yes. Loss of gadgets, not so much (1)

rocket rancher (447670) | about a year and a half ago | (#43190061)

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 slim, elegant two-way devices that hang on my walls. This is not a loss at all -- what I am seeing is a consolidation of redundant hardware, not a loss of gadgets. Gadgets exist for their functionality, and I have all the functionality I've ever had, plus new capabilities I only dreamed about twenty years ago. The big win is not having to replicate all the gadget's hardware in every place that I want to use the functionality of the gadget.

Not a fair comparison (1)

fa2k (881632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43190069)

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.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>