I have to admit it. In many ways I’m just a stereotypical male. As the quote goes: “Human nature is what we’re here to rise above”, but I don’t always succeed. My Achilles heel, like many, is shiny bits of technology. I’m like a Magpie. I see something shiny and I want it.
I’ve tried to control this urge to buy high-tech gadgets for many years with varying degrees of success. I’ve got gadgets coming out of my ears: laptop, digital camera, photo printer, mobile phone, my own bowling ball, car with lots of fancy toys, mountain bike, a watch that I’m not even going to mention because you’ll think I’m insane for buying it and many more things that I don’t really need, but make life more fun anyway. It’s a terrible affliction really. Take my current obsession.
I’ve had various mobile phones for years and for the last year and a half I’ve had a Nokia 6210, which is a fine piece of kit. It synchronises with my laptop via an IR port and my contacts appear in Outlook for my convenience. The battery needs charging about once a week and it does everything I’d ever want in a phone. End of story? Not quite. Nokia have brought out a new phone that has caught my eye, the 6610. I first spied this one about six months ago and it was scheduled for release about now, so I’ve been waiting. It’s got a colour screen, polyphonic rings tones, FM radio, hands-free speaker mode (how cool is that?), is tri-band and you can run java applications on it (like games). But now that the phone is about to be released (in the next couple of weeks) I’m not so sure.
I’ve spent a lot of money lately on one thing or another and the price of the phone is going to be around 170 UK pounds. Which is a lot to pay to replace my current phone when there’s nothing wrong with it. My long-suffering girlfriend (who has good monetary sense) says that I shouldn’t waste my money. And she’s right. But the problem is that I’m quite impulsive and I know that within ten minutes I can walk into a shop and buy the phone. So this is a test. A test of discipline and mental toughness. She suggested I wait until after Christmas to see if the price has gone down (which it inevitably will) – and that makes perfect sense. So that’s what I’m going to do. Really.
But one of my friends has just gone out and bought an even fancier phone priced at around 200 quid. Playing with his phone reminds me of why I’d like to buy a new one, so my brain was constantly saying “can the Nokia do this?” and “can the Nokia do that?”. My imagination also wanders a bit and without realising it I’m visualising going to the shop, buying the phone, taking it back, plugging it in (you need to charge them for ages the first time), reading the manual, fiddling with all the new options and features, choosing my ring tone, messing about with photo messaging and adding all the swear-words to its internal dictionary.
I’ve got to snap out of it. I don’t need it. My current one works perfectly. And by buying a new one I’m just falling into the hands of all those evil marketing people out there who try to persuade you that everything is obsolete as soon as you’ve bought it. Everybody’s got to have a vice. Some people smoke. Some people take drugs. Some people smoke and take drugs. I buy shiny kit. Maybe I need some sort of support group. I could start a charity and call it: Support and Help for Idiots with Technology Engrossment (or SHITE for short)…