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Monday, October 15, 2007

Am I too old for that gadget?

So, today I was at Popgadget, and found a link to "Are You Too Old For That Gadget?", an article at Laptop Mag. It amazes me that someone would seriously write this thing...never mind the list of gadgets they object to!

From the intro:
"Just because it's shiny, costs a lot, and your grandmother can't use it, doesn't mean you should...there's a chance it was built for someone much younger."

Okay, why do I care who some ad agency thought should use it? If it works for me, it works. Period. I'm more concerned by the idiotic fashion designers, who are designing clothes for anorexic models or strippers, or for middle-aged women with no fashion sense. But I digress...let's look at their list of prohibited gadgets.

Here's the funny thing...they seem to like the Flip Video Ultra. They mention its ease of use and low price, as well as its portability. But you shouldn't buy it...because the bright colors "look like they should belong to a ten-year-old." And the quality? Well, it's only VGA, and it only holds sixty minutes. (But I'll bet thats about right for the price point...) So "don't expect to create any epic masterpieces." Well shoot. There go my plans to become a famous film maker, armed only with my Flip Video Ultra and my creative genius. Seriously, if you're considering buying this and you're this stuffy, the ten-year-old probably has a better chance at that masterpiece. At least they can use the video editing software.

Don't think regular cameras get a pass! If you buy the Fujifilm Z10fd, you should be totally mortified for using "a camera designed for Generation Z!" Never mind the host of features, including facial recognition, a bevy of modes, wireless sharing, and more. You can't have it...because the website's photos "all feature fresh-faced 15-year-olds."

What about smartphones? Those are sophisticated, right? Not if it's the T-Mobile Sidekick 3! Sure, it's "high-end enough to entertain 'tweens and adults alike," and it has "a feature package that includes full Web browsing, three messenger clients, an MP3 player, and a 1.3-megapixel camera." Still, its marketing rules it out, too; according to them, its owners are all ninth graders. Get a Blackberry, they declare. Then you'll look cooler in the airports; otherwise, you'll have to use it discreetly, so no one sees what you're using.

Next up on the taboo list is a truly drool-worthy laptop: the VooDoo Envy H201 Gaming Notebook. According to them, if you're old enough to have kids, you have no business taking your gaming seriously! If you do game, you must use laptops with screens 17" or smaller, and make sure the case is drab. Otherwise, company might see your boldly-colored, stylish laptop! ("Company" is coming? Who says that? No one I know with a journal-keeping little sister and a gadget-phobic grandmother, that's for sure! They can't seem to make up their mind about their target audience!)

On a side note, using "if you're old enough to have kids" as a standard seems pretty foolish. I mean really! I've know fourteen-year-olds with kids; many twenty-somethings have them, too. Does that mean you stop gaming as soon as someone your age you know has a baby?

And their last target is a pretty popular gadget: the PlayStation Portable, or PSP. Don't use this one on the subway, because you may "get a few bemused stares." I think young people are going to become surly, because you're using "their" gadget. The older people? Well, they may think it's an old Sega Game Gear, circa 1991! Horror of horrors! According to Laptop Mag, "If you can remember this toy, which was ubiquitous back in 1991, your days of public gaming should be over."

Over? I don't think so. I own a beautiful onyx Nintendo DS Lite, and I feel no qualms about pulling it out while waiting for a table or on public transportation. I graduated high school in 1991*, so I am certainly old enough to remember the Game Gear. What does that make me? Something bad, I'm sure. I think I'm supposed to hang my head in mortification right about now...especially since there's less chance my peers will mistake it for a "more adult" media player.

If I were the author, I wouldn't worry about my gadget choices making me look like an idiot; I would worry that my obsessive concern about what the "in crowd" might think would make me look like an insecure fourteen-year-old trying to fit in with the cool kids.

Meanwhile, I'm going to keep choosing my gadgets based on what I like and what works for me, rather than what random strangers on MARTA think of them.

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