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Stuff No One Needs

I found these supposedly geek gift ideas on Krugman’s sidebar. I’m a geek, but I can’t imagine buying these things for anyone I know. This is what happens when businesses transfer most of their R&D budget to marketing – you get the same stuff re-packaged, but nothing really new and useful. This is another way of milking a cash cow by changing the container and saying it’s “new and improved”.

Someone in blogtopia made the point that the US is in trouble because we no longer make the things that people need, but try to convince people that they need what we make. This affects and distorts the market, because consumers don’t have a real choice if all of their buying decisions are based on determining which is the least bad product.


1 The Culture Ghost { 12.20.07 at 10:48 pm }

It’s all part of The Consumer Culture. The Consumer Culture is more powerful than any other agency on the planet. It won. Pretend we’ve been assimilated by the Borg and it won’t hurt so much.

2 Bryan { 12.20.07 at 11:56 pm }

I’d like a really good feeling keyboard for about $50 bucks, and they offer flashcards with rhinestones.

I don’t mind paying extra for something that lasts, but the garbage they sell today should have recycling instructions because most of it isn’t worth washing.

3 Badtux { 12.21.07 at 12:17 am }

I like the new Apple “flat” keyboard, but I’m weird that way. I prefer a very low-profile and compact keyboard, while most folks seem to like big sprawling keyboards with lots of bling.

Woe to he who tries to get me something geeky for Christmas. About the only thing geeky that I don’t already have is Logic (Apple music software). Which is more musick-y than geeky, now that I think about it.

4 Steve Bates { 12.21.07 at 12:42 am }

Some of my stereo equipment is giving out after 25+ years. Who makes anything to replace it that will last that long? I don’t want bling; I want The Last Sound Equipment I Will Ever Buy.

Computer equipment and s/w seem IMHO to have a useful lifespan of three or four years. Sometimes I push that to five years. For that, I pay a price. Under other circumstances, I’d be the first to argue for newer, more advanced technology, but… forget about my livelihood… how would that ever work? Are we expected to deal with Win 95 into the next decade, simultaneously with the latest and greatest?

I am indifferent between the two trends in keyboards these days. I have one of each in front of me… I’m typing on a lean-and-mean keyboard, but I’m OK with the kind that one could use to control the Starship Enterprise D. But I confess I literally cried when I got the first PC on which my old IBM brand AT-style keyboard would no longer plug in and work.

5 Bryan { 12.21.07 at 10:26 am }

Badtux, a keyboard is very personal and one size or type doesn’t work for everyone. I don’t want all of the extra keys, I just one that “feels” right without all of the extras.

Software is something that you have to select for yourself, because the user interface and capabilities are something only you would know. Buying me Logic would be a total waste of someone’s money, as would buying it for a Win-Box user.

The equipment exists, you just have to find someplace that sells it, Steve.

Kevin Drum located a source for the IBM Type-M keyboards, which are the follow on for the AT boards with the same feel. I have a new IBM board and it slides around and isn’t exactly the same feel. It also isn’t consistent on pressure, which is very annoying.

6 andante { 12.21.07 at 9:32 pm }

I have two 1 gig flash drives and another 2 gig in my yet-to-be-wrapped pile, but they are your basic USB-thingys – no diamonds or frills. They are wonderfully inexpensive these days.

Two nephews – college students – I hope will use them the way my daughter did….work from her apartment laptop could be easily be saved for the college computer lab or fancy-schmancy printers.

The other is for my sister, who is a database administrator and does some teleworking – part of her work clothes involve wearing a small capacity model from a chain on her neck. I hope she’ll thrill to the two gigabytes.

I don’t think they’re concerned with the glitzy models, and if they are they can buy it themselves.

7 Steve Bates { 12.21.07 at 10:50 pm }

Ah, flash drives. I hope they have a keyring loop, andante… unattached flash drives are the single most efficient way to lose large quantities of your private data all at once, to be used by Dog-knows-who for Dog-knows-what-purposes. Yes, I use them, but one stays always at home, and the other is affixed to my keyring. (If I lose the keyring, I have problems potentially even worse than the possible loss of data.)

8 Bryan { 12.21.07 at 11:05 pm }

Flash drives are a true gift, but they need to be readily identifiable as such. I’ll get a new 2 Gig sometime soon because they are just so convenient for moving large blocks of data around, even to the other computers on my local net.

My current Sandisk workhorse came with a lanyard, but it is big enough that I am not likely to lose it.