Monday, November 13, 2006

Not enough gadgets

I've run out of gadgets to want!

For as long as I can remember (well, at least as far back as 1982, when I wanted a ZX81) I have had a mental list of gadgets that I want. This generally gets more specific and realistic as Christmas approaches. But this year I have a problem. I have all the gadgets I want! In the past two years I have managed to get or be given all of the three gadgets I had previously been wanting. They're all fab, and they are:

1. The Bug - DAB digital radio with almost every feature a radio could ever need.
I dropped enough hints two years ago that I managed to get given this fantastic gadget for Christmas 2004. It has lived up to all my expectations. Indeed, it exceeed them as (due to a firmware upgrade) I can now search the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) and use it to select programmes to record up to a week in advance. The combination of bug radio and an mp3 player that plays mp2 files means that it is easy to record lots of radio comedy (mostly Radio 4 and BBC7) and listen to it on the train on the way to work in the mornings. Fab. Worth every penny (that someone else paid for it!)

2. PVR with Freeview tuner
Christmas present to myself last year - got it for under a hundred quid in the January sales. Compared to current spec PVRs it is pretty poor, given that it only has a 40Gb hard disc and only one tuner but, given the amount of telly that I actually want to watch and get the opportunity to watch, it is all that I need. Only about twice a year am I faced with the dilemma of two programmes that I want to watch on simultaneously. And in that situation I either wait for the repeat on BBC3 (or whatever) or even use the age-old technology of a VCR!

My wife didn't 'get' why I wanted one of these. She didn't think it had any advantages over a VCR. That was 11 months ago. She now uses it more than me and loves the ability to pause live TV (especially if you can then fast forward through adverts later).

The criteria by which you can judge the utility of a gadget is this: if it dies, will you replace it? If our PVR were to die it would certainly be replaced. If the VCR were to die now I'm not sure we'd bother.

3. i-Mate JAMin - phone, PDA, mp3 player, etc., all in one.

This is (almost) the ultimate geek toy. Computers are great, you can do work on them, write e-mail, surf the web, listen to music, watch videos, etc., etc., but they're not very transportable are they? Even laptops require you to carry them about in a bag. What I want is a computer that can do all the above, but still fits in your pocket. Right, now why not add in a tri-band phone, a 2M pix camera, bluetooth and wi-fi as well for good measure? All this in a box that is basically the same height and depth as my old phone and only about 2cm wider. Brilliant.

My only issues with it are software related, and someone will solve them eventually. With hindsight, I probably should have gone for the K-JAM (with built in keyboard) rather than the slightly thinner but keyboardless JAMin. But it is fantastic. And the screen is not too small to watch anything on - I think its the same resolution and slightly larger than the screen on the video iPod, and plays a wider range of video formats. I watched a couple of episodes of a TV series on the train a couple of weeks ago. Made the journey seem shorter.

But what next for gadgets? I don't really need anything. I don't even want anything else - except incramental improvements to things I already have, and I'm in no hurry for them.

Where are all the cool new gadgets?


At 9:51 pm, Blogger Gareth J M Saunders said...

Have you seen the gadget blog at

At 10:16 pm, Blogger Ricky Carvel said...


Like the gadget blog, thanks.

And actually, on reflection, there are a few gadgets that I would like.

One (which I have forgotten the name and make of) is a small memory stick / SD card / USB / etc. reader. But unlike most this doesn't plug into a computer, it simply transfers files from one input to another, so you can transfer files from SD card to USB memory stick or from USB to Smart Media cards, etc. There is one out there that looked quite good for about 50 quid, but I can't remember what its called now. Anybody?

Another gadget that I'm probably going to buy is the music angel. Which is cool.

Or I might get a pair of these.

Actually, I'd quite like a bluetooth watch - which displays the text of incoming texts on the screen and can act as a sort of handsfree kit, very Dick Tracy. But I dunno if anyone has invented that yet.


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