I bought my first computer in 1994: a Packard Bell with an Intel 486 chip. I paid extra for 8 MB of RAM rather than the standard 4, and some obscene amount for an extra hard drive, which I found later was “installed” by taping it to the chassis and power supply.
I kept that computer for a while, upgrading it myself along the way to a Pentium chip – at the time, the most nerve-wracking repair I’d ever done except for replacing the transmission on a 1970 Pontiac Catalina. In both cases, I had very little idea what I was doing. (And in both cases, I succeeded.)
I don’t need to tell you how much more powerful computers – heck, cell phones – are than that first machine of mine.
But that computer really began to nurture whatever it is in me that is obsessive about gadgets. I cannot possibly recall all the electronics stuff I’ve acquired over time.
I’ve gone through a lot of devices since that Packard Bell: personal organizers to personal information managers to mp3 players to iPods to tablet PCs to netbooks to cell phones.
It has gotten to the point where, when I saw a ballpoint pen that was also an 8-gig flash drive and a laser pointer, well, my only question was whether I should get more than one. If you understand that, then maybe you will occasionally find something of interest here.
I mean to talk about gadgets, some useful and some frivolous. In such a tech-savvy place, I mainly hope to stay out of the way. I’ve been lucky enough along the way to encounter folks with the patience to answer questions and the knowledge to answer them correctly – or admit they didn’t know – and to share their experiences, good and bad. I am sure that you can exchange ideas about repairs, recommendations for specific gadgets, notices when you find something really cool for sale somewhere.
So here’s for starters.
My family has four cell phones, and we’re within a few weeks of fulfilling our two-year contracts. I’m perfectly content with the provider I use and with my phone. But it’s also a perfect time to look around.
One of my sons is in college; the other is in high school. I promised them two years ago that if I didn’t have to buy a replacement phone for them, they’d get any phone they want. They kept their end of the bargain; now it's my turn.
Unlimited texting is a must. Figure three of the phones need to have Web access.
So my question is: Which provider do you recommend, and which phone? And why?