Where would I plug it in?
Photo: Matt Rosoff Business Insider
In all seriousness, I don’t know what we’d do with an iPad. Look at all the stuff we already have.
Here’s a rundown, starting on the left and moving clockwise.
- My trusty old 15″ MacBook Pro, on which I’m writing this. This is my day to day work computer. It’s about 4 years old and has recently needed its I/O board replaced twice. (The second time on warranty.) But I’m not getting rid of it until it’s dead and in the ground.
- A brand new iMac. I walked into the Apple store a couple weeks ago to get my wife a birthday present. She wants an iPad, but she also blogs about baking and takes thousands of high-resolution pictures with her Nikon SLR camera and was complaining that the MacBook is never available since my last computer died, because I’m working on it. The iPad wouldn’t help her with these things. This thing is awesome — it even works with our old HP printer (not shown) where the Macbook never has. Plus, we haven’t had a desktop since we left our old one in Seattle in 2010. (It was a white box PC built in 2000 with Windows XP and a 9GB hard drive. It would not die.)
- A crummy Toshiba netbook. I used to have another Windows laptop, a 17-inch Dell gaming machine, but it was heavy. So I bought this, thinking that I’d use it only occasionally for live blogs and travel. It turned out to be completely useless. It’s so underpowered that if I have more than one browser tab open and somebody sends me an instant message, it freezes. I still use it when I need to test something on Windows 7 and the PC version of Office, knowing that I’m getting the lowest-end possible experience for these products.
- A Chromebook from Google. Google sent this to me to test it out, and while I never use it — it can’t print or connect to our camera — my 5-year-old daughter uses it to play Starfall at the kitchen table. If somebody spills apple juice on it, who cares? It’s a Chromebook. Plus, it was free.
- Two iPhone 4s. That’s “iPhone 4” plural, not “iPhone 4S.” The white one is my wife’s, if you’re wondering.
- A Samsung Windows Phone from Microsoft. They sent this so I could test out what it’s like to live with Windows Phone. I actually really, really like it — the Contacts function automatically sucks in all your contacts from all your email addresses, plus Facebook, then figures out which ones are duplicates and merges them. It makes the iPhone contact system look dumb. But I won’t switch my phone service because I’m still paying for my iPhone on my AT&T contract until November.
This doesn’t even count all the other electronic stuff we have in our house:
- The previously mentioned broken Dell 17″ PC, down in the garage (it lasted 7 years, which seems pretty good).
- The previously mentioned Nikon SLR camera (we use it all the time).
- A small “casual” Nikon digital camera. We thought I might use this for work, but the lens covering broke and we didn’t have time to get it fixed under warranty and now it just sits there.
- An old Kodak digital camera that’s totally busted up but still works.
- A Flip video cam. We bought this before both got iPhone 4s, which have video cameras. I don’t know where it is.
- An iPod nano that Apple sent me a few years ago when I had a freelance blog about digital music for CNET. It’s connected to a Bose sound system in the kitchen.
- An iPod Touch that Apple sent me at the same time. We use it in one of our cars.
- A Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, which Google gave me at I/O last year so I could test it out. (Verdict: it’s down in the garage.)
- A broken Xbox 360 that Microsoft sent me five or six years ago.
- Two Palm Pilots.
- An electronic photo frame.
- Various portable media players — Zune, Portable Media centre, Sansas, most of which were sent for review.
- A couple of amps and an electric bass that I never use because I have young children and don’t play in rock bands anymore.
- Various other electronic devices that most of you probably have, too — big-screen TV, Blu-ray player, stereo.
Plus this. I don’t even know what this is or how it got into the house, I just came home from work one day and there it was:
Photo: Matt Rosoff Business Insider
The fish move, and there are also turtles (not shown). My 18-month-old son loves it almost as much as our real fishtank.
I know I’m lucky to have money to spend on all this stuff. I’m also lucky to have worked in this industry for 15 years, which means companies sometimes send me free gadgets to play with.
But it also makes it hard to justify spending $500 (or more) on another really pretty computer that doesn’t do as much as a full laptop, which I already have several of.
I just took my daughter to see The Lorax yesterday. The movie itself is pretty bad — Dr. Seuss does not need to be updated with a cheesy rock-pop soundtrack. But I also had to explain to my daughter that the Once-ler, the evil industrialist who cuts down all the trees to make these items of clothing called Thneeds, wasn’t the only bad guy. The whole problem could have been avoided if people had just asked themselves beforehand, “do I really NEED one of these things?”
Planned obsolescence. Conspicuous consumption. Those are complicated concepts to explain to a 5-year-old. It’s better to lead by example. And there, I’m a terrible parent.
That said, I’m probably going to buy a new Windows PC later this year. That netbook just isn’t cutting it any more, plus Windows 8 is coming out.
Someday, we’ll probably have an iPad, too.