your favorite thing that goes bleep.

Jay asks for input on how to properly spend some gift cash. I shared my opinion, and told him that the iPod touch (which is on his list of possible buys) is my most indispensable electronic gadget.  I used to be a faithful Palm PDA user, but the iPod touch is so far superior as a pocket computer that it’s no contest.

As a tech hound, I like to acquire shiny things, but there’s a natural limit to that tendency that is fiscal in nature.  I don’t generally buy bleeding-edge gear, since you have to pay a hefty premium to have the newest, fastest, and bestest device in a category–there’s a huge cost jump from “fast and competent” to “fastest on the block”, and you can save a lot of cash if you buy tech that was at the technological spearhead last year.

Here’s your audience participation question of the week: what’s your one electronic gadget that is indispensable to you–the one piece of tech most dear to you?


35 thoughts on “your favorite thing that goes bleep.

  1. bluntobject says:

    Funny — I own an iPod touch as a development platform, and I never use it for anything practical.

    I’m having a hard time coming up with an indispensible piece of tech, but the one most dear to me is the buckling-spring Fujitsu 4725 keyboard on which I’m typing this comment. Unless I can count software, in which case it’s vim — which is truly indispensible.

    • perlhaqr says:

      I knew I liked you. 🙂

      (IBM Model M, vi, hell yes.)

      As for other techno-widgetry, I guess I’d have to say “cell phone”, since it’s the only one I’ve got. Hell, I don’t even have an MP3 player. But I hardly even use the cell, either. *shrug* And it’s just a boring old phone. Makes phone calls, sends text messages, that’s about it.

      For a nerd, I’m not very techno-advanced.

    • Eseell says:

      Ha! I was just extolling the virtues of vim to a co-worker today. It’s the one *nix text editor you can always count on.

    • aczarnowski says:

      Dammit. This is going to get me to try vim one more time.

      I’ve used it and know it well enough to get things done when I have to. But I haven’t been able to get out of my Textpad muscle memory gravity well. With your latest post on C and this vim ping, my hacker karma feels in desperate need of some attention…

  2. Eric says:

    My “critter” – my iPhone 3G. With 9 screens full of applications, it’s indespensable!

  3. Astronomy Guy says:

    I gotta say the iPhone has taken a most of the other technology out of my life. You gotta have a phone – and this does everything else. I go to conferences without bringing a laptop now.

    The applications are just gravy on the basic functionality of the device for email, some web access, phone functionality, calender that syncs, etc etc.

  4. Carteach0 says:

    My most ‘necessary’ thing that goes beep is my Palm Lifedrive PDA. It takes a lot of weight off my shoulders at school.

    My favoritist thing that goes beep is my Canon SLR camera.

    After that…. I can go beepless any damn time I please, and I am pleased to do so often. Except…. I keep looking at the Kindle and the Nook.

  5. Chris C. says:

    I recently gave in to (strong-arm) hinting by my boss and got a Blackberry. As a salesman, I’m on the road a lot, and the damned thing has proven its crass nickname of “Crackberry” to be accurate and well-deserved. It has resolved problems on an average of twice a week, bailed out my age-reduced memory on an even higher frequency, and provided some mental floss by having a few simple games to play. (Seems to work better, and cause fewer frightened stares, than the primal screaming I used previously to blow off stress.)

    BTW, I love my Kindle, but I’m already relaxed when I get to that, and it doesn’t help me make enough money to pay for the other stuff.

  6. Snarky says:

    Definitely my iTouch. I’m so glad you talked me into buying it. I love my shiny.

  7. Riley says:

    iPhone for sure. I only use the laptop for paying bills now. Pretty much all my surfing is done on this now.

  8. Al T. says:

    My PC. I’m pretty much a Luddite when it comes to technology. I only have a cell phone as it’s cheaper than a land line and I have an aging Mom.

    Doesn’t go beep, but I am rapidly being impressed by red dot scopes. Won’t replace good glass, but sure makes iron sights obsolete past ten yards or so.

  9. Gerry N. says:

    That’s dead easy. .30 M1 Carbine. Mine’s an Inland, commonest of the common and functions perfectly. Batteries and power cords not required.

    Gerry N.

  10. John says:

    Panasonic Toughbook 19. Information, entertainment, tough enough to use as a defensive weapon.

  11. Diane says:

    My iTouch. It will be an iPhone whenever Apple gets off their butts – and off ATT.

  12. B5K says:

    Laser rangefinder. Hands down my most useful “tech” gadget.

  13. Tam says:

    My desktop PC is seven years old.

    I usually leave my $15.99 cell phone at home unless I’m on a roadtrip.

    The only moderately new-ish gadget I use on anything like a regular basis is my iPod Nano, and it’s already two generations old.

  14. og says:

    I have a Garmin Etrex H that I use while hiking and hunting.

    I loathe every other electronic device I own. Well, maybe not loath. Detest? Despise?

    yeah, it’s loathe.

  15. dave says:

    My Droid 😀

  16. Justin says:

    Definetly iPhone. It has proven useful in every category from ballistic calculator to navigation aide. The fact that it handles calls is just gravy.

  17. My iPod Nano. If I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t exercise. And that would be a Very Bad Thing.

    And I have to have a computer with internet. No specs. Any computer will do.

  18. Jeff says:

    Hmmm…Latest technology (not favorite) is a recent model Blackberry. It is obtrusive and I have it for one reason: 9-11. My wife works in DC and on 9-11 it took hours to determine she was safe. The Blackberry has phone, texting, email, etc. to improve the chances of a message getting through. Well, she retires in sixty days (we’re counting the seconds) and once Susan is done with Bedlam on the Potomac I won’t give a hoot in hell if I carry it or not. If someone needs to get ahold of me, they can leave a message on the answering machine.

    Most appreciated electronic technology: This is a toss-up between the Alphasmart Neo (the best design work I’ve seen in decades) and Crimson Trace laser grips for the Ruger SP101 revolver in 357 magnum.

    Most used technology: another toss-up between a 1950 Underwood desktop manual typewriter which is reliable, smooth, indestructible and a delight, and a Pelikan Souvran 800 fountain pen which makes handwriting a physical pleasure.

    • Marko Kloos says:

      Revolver, Alphasmart Neo, manual typewriter, and a Pelikan fountain pen. Sounds familiar, somehow, though I can’t quite put my finger on it…

      • Jeff says:


        The Alphasmart is due to your great reviews, which were right on the money. As to the other items, who would have thought two people could have such good taste and discerning judgement. And I’m not even German! 🙂

  19. crankylitprof says:

    People ‘bleep’ me all the time. Apparently I have a potty mouth.

  20. Scott says:

    My Timex wristwatch.

  21. aczarnowski says:

    Most dear and indispensable are different categories for me.

    I’ve carried an electronic brain since the original Palm Pilot. Today it’s a Droid, but in some form or another I hold dear a pocket sized information machine.

    As for indispensable, a computer with a normal sized physical keyboard (model M space saver preferably). My X61 ThinkPad fills that slot while still being toteable anywhere a bag goes with me. The Droid is handy, but I couldn’t do my work on it and feed the family.

  22. Fodder4Thought says:

    My iPhone, sad to say. Of course, this is largely because my job blocks all Internet access, making the idolphone my only contact with the outside (I’m on it now).

  23. eli says:

    amazing how one-click wonders and electronic rolodex’s improve so many folks live’s.
    Me? Let me know when the HP Jornada (clamshell style) comes out sportin’ W7 Starter and a 3G radio.

  24. MarkHB says:

    Chipping in late, I bought myself a Google Nexus One for my birthday, and I am fucking loving it. It’s like the Palm, but done right. Technically a smartphone, it’s thus far kicked the snot out of the iPhone in every field. I don’t even have a SIM card for it yet, and it’s still the best frakkin’ PDA I’ve ever owned. The display alone (OLED 800×480 compared to iThing’s 480×320) is so bloody gorgeous I’m surprised it doesn’t have… stains… on it yet. Despite it’s SIMless state, I can wander from WiFi hotspot (home) to WiFi hotspot (work) to WiFi hotspot (bar) and have enough connectivity for everything I habitually do.

    Also, I mounted it as a hard drive and dragged a 10Gb of music, video and Miscellaneous Crap onto it. Just like that. No iTunes shite, no “synching” or other flummery (though it synched up luvverly with All My Google Crap as one would hope), just… drag, drop.

    Oh, and a widdy installer got it grokking Grafiti 1 and 2, too.

    Bliss untrammelled.

  25. Mark says:

    My iPhone 3GS, which replaced my Blackberry and my iPod Touch. With it and my Swiss Army Knife there are few worthwhile things I can’t do.

  26. Chris says:

    iTouch. It blows any other PDA I’ve owned out of the water.

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