Tech Lust: How to Cope with Gadget Envy

Yesterday morning was a rough one for me. It’s a day I both dread and crave every year: Steve Jobs’ Macworld Conference keynote address. I’m a Macintosh fanboy from way back, and as other Mac fanboys can attest, there are few things more dangerous to our wallets than new products from Apple.

In fact, there’s almost a ritual to the whole thing. In the weeks leading up to the Jobs’ speech, the rumor mill begins to grind. Will there be a new iPhone? iPod upgrades? A tablet computer? After the holiday hubbub has died, visions of shiny new laptops begin to dance in our heads.

On the morning of the keynote address, geeks everywhere eagerly refresh browser pages containing live coverage of Jobs’ speech. Yesterday, Nickel and I sat drooling over our keyboards and chatting via instant messaging while watching the updates stream in.

Obviously, this sort of behavior is not conducive to saving money. When you build up a product in your mind, when you allow yourself to become obsessed with it, it’s easy to find yourself buying something you do not need.

Resisting the urge

The best thing a geek can do to prevent himself from succumbing to temptation is to limit exposure to his weaknesses. It’s folly for me to submit myself to the Apple marketing machine. I know I’m weak against it, so why participate? If I didn’t know what was out there, I wouldn’t know what I was missing. I’d be satisfied with what I already have, and wouldn’t long for something new.

Here are a few ways a geek can mitigate the lust for new technology:

Avoid advertising

Beware the insidious power of marketing. You are not immune. We are all subtly manipulated in ways we cannot possibly imagine. When I watch the Macworld keynote addresses, I’m acting as a willing consumer of advertising. Don’t do this. Steer clear of advertising whenever possible.

Avoid temptation

The best way for me to avoid buying video games is to stay out of the electronics store. If your weakness is audio equipment, keep away from the stereo shop. It’s easier to avoid temptation when we don’t submit ourselves to it in the first place. If you know your weakness, don’t set yourself up to fail.

Remember it’s not a competition

You’re not going to “lose” by choosing not to purchase the latest equipment. There’s no need to keep up with the Joneses. If your best friend buys a MacBook Air, don’t let it bother you. Don’t buy a new Treo just because your sister got one.

Make the most of what you have

If you’re a gadget-hound, you already own lots of toys. Resist the urge to upgrade when your current option still works fine. I used to buy a new computer every year. Now I can’t imagine doing that. I’d rather use a machine until it could no longer keep up with me.

Remember your larger goals

What is it you want to accomplish in life? Will buying a new iPod help you or hinder you in pursuing your dreams? I’m not saying that you should never buy new toys. But before you do make a purchase, be sure that your decision doesn’t stand in the way of a greater purpose.

This advice doesn’t just apply to geeks with gadget envy. The same techniques can be used by audiophiles, car enthusiasts, and knitters. These principles work no matter what it is you covet.

Giving in

What if you’ve tried to resist the urge, but it’s just no use? What if you’re certain that new Robotronic 2084 would make your life complete?

First, do one last check to be certain you’re not rationalizing your “need” for the item. I used to tell myself, “If I buy this new camera lens, I’ll be able to take better pictures. It’ll pay for itself in no time.” Unfortunately, that was never the case. That sort of thinking is just a rationalization to buy new toys.

If you’re certain you’re going to buy the new Robotronic 2084, do two things:

1. Save for it

Don’t purchase the item on credit. Going into debt to purchase a tech item is foolish. I should know — I’ve done it many times. I’d let myself get sucked into the “need” to have a Lappy 386 now now now, and rush out to charge it on a credit card. The following year, I’d buy the brand-new Lappy 486 even though I still owed hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on the first machine. Now, however, I use targeted saving to buy new toys. When I decided I “needed” a Nintendo Wii, I saved for it. I’m glad I did.

2. Wait for it

I want a Mini Cooper, but I’ve decided I’m in no hurry to buy one. I’ll drive my current vehicle into the ground first. A car is a very big gadget, but the same principle applies to smaller items. I’ve also wanted an iPhone for a long time. It hasn’t made sense to get one, though, when my current phone works fine. Because my current phone is a company phone, I’ll soon be losing the use of it. Now I can purchase an iPhone and not feel guilty that I’ve done so.

If you really want to buy a new gadget, be methodical. Save your money. Wait until the purchase makes sense. There’s nothing wrong with upgrading to new technology when you need the new features and you’re able to pay cash.

Focus on your goals

After yesterday’s Macworld keynote address, another geeky friend sent me a short e-mail:

Seen it? MacBook Air. Pant, pant, pant.  Want, want, want.

I agree — it’s a fine looking machine. But you know what? This year I’m not taking the bait. This year I’m not even tempted. My current laptop is only 15 months old, and it runs well. A new computer would be nice, but right now I have more important goals — tech lust is just a distraction.

Update: This morning, Lifehacker asked its readers “How do you deal with gadget lust?”

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There are 66 comments to "Tech Lust: How to Cope with Gadget Envy".

  1. Sam says 16 January 2008 at 05:24

    I can’t understand the early adopter folks who run out and pay top dollar for new technology. The price always come down and the tech always gets better.

  2. LM says 16 January 2008 at 05:37

    yeah seriously, I came home last night and my boyfriend said “can I have $1800?” I didn’t even have to look on the apple website. I told him maybe in a year. (I’m so glad he lets me do the bills and manage all the money)

  3. plonkee says 16 January 2008 at 05:38

    I also don’t get the tech gadget envy, but I’m a sucker for household objects. I went to Ikea the other day and spent £100 on very little, and didn’t even manage to get the thing that I needed.

    Fortunately, I’d budgeted for that kind of spending in advance and I restricted myself to things I’d actaully planned to buy at some point. Apart from six 9p tea light holders. That’s not bad for a complete impulse purchase.

  4. Kyle Hayes says 16 January 2008 at 05:46

    I don’t look at the MacBook Air as being something I want because I am looking at the negatives about it. Not enough USB ports, no Firewire, no ethernet and larger price tag. My current MacBook has all of that with a smaller price tag. I am satisfied.

    Now…let’s talk time capsule 🙂

  5. J.D. says 16 January 2008 at 05:54

    Ah, the early adopter mentality. Sam, that used to be me all the way. I still have that urge deep inside, and I’m always fighting to suppress it. New technology is fun! It’s cool! It makes me feel like I’m living in The Jetsons or Star Trek. But it also costs me money. That’s why I’ve learned to ignore the urge.

  6. Curtis says 16 January 2008 at 05:55

    I’m reminded of a fridge magnet my aunt used to have about dieting, which is very closely related. It said, “Dieting is NOT a matter of will power, it’s a matter of WON’T power”

  7. My Shoestring's2Short says 16 January 2008 at 05:55

    The knitting struck a cord with me, as I can hardly get my MP3 player to do the things I want it to! Fortunately my latest project uses yarn I already had, and the Addi Turbo knitting needles are part of the budget for my mom’s special gift! Otherwise how do you justify $40 for needles. The wool didn’t cost that much!
    Fortunately all my stores are not easy to get to, so the temptation is easier to bear!

  8. Brett McKay says 16 January 2008 at 05:58

    I know exactly what you mean, JD. I desperately want a Mac. I don’t even want the Mac Air. I just want a Macbook. I have the money for it and it would be so easy to go to a Mac store and buy one. But I don’t. I’ve worked hard saving this money up and I’d hate to see it go. I’ve got bigger fish to fry.

    P.S.
    That’s not to say I’m not willing to buy a used Macbook from anyone. If any of you decide forgo JD’s advice and upgrade to a Mac Air, I’ll be happy to take your old Macbook off your hands for a reasonable price. 🙂

  9. Bill says 16 January 2008 at 06:11

    JD,

    Thanks for this post. If there was a support group for electronics addiction, I would be in it. My problem with most of your suggestions is that I work for a tech company and part of my job requirement is to keep up on the latest and greatest out there. So as you can imagine, it is tough for me to avoid temptation. Also, the Macbook Air is a sealed unit like an iPod and iPhone, so there is no easy way to replace the battery, this is a huge issue in a laptop especially since you get 5 hours use out of it before it has to be charged again, so there will be lots of recharging of the battery, which will limit its lifespan quite a bit…. just my two cents.

    Bill

  10. SJean says 16 January 2008 at 06:15

    Wow, the Mac Air looks really slick.

    That being said, I have no plans to buy one. Not even in a couple years. I appreciate apple for pushing technology in ways that other brands haven’t and I get the lust sometimes. But I usually resist.

  11. Jeff says 16 January 2008 at 06:24

    Saving is the key for me. If I decide I want something, putting away a little every month really helps me hone in on it. I love the shopping for electronics though, it’s more fun then the actual gadgets. If I wait six months, then I really have a lot of time to figure out exactly which TV I want, and I have plenty of time to save.

    My next tech purchase is going to be a new LCD TV. The one I want has gone down by $800 in the last five months, and I’m hoping it will continue to drop through February so I can afford it. The great thing is, while I’m thinking about this TV, I have no desire to buy anything else (like a new computer). When I get bored, and want to research something, I look for new reviews about LCD TVs.

  12. Rev says 16 January 2008 at 06:26

    I personally use the wait until the next hardware revision. That will usually give you a year or so with apple and gives you good reason to hold out. Keeps you excited for what will come out and also knowing it will be more stable because all the kinks will be worked out. It has kept me from diving in on the iphone just yet.

  13. Paul says 16 January 2008 at 06:28

    I just wanted to chime in and say that as long as the gadget is doing what you need it to do, it’s not obsolete.

  14. Ben C says 16 January 2008 at 06:32

    9:01am: Visits TUAW and Mac.ars
    9:02am: lusts after MacBook Air
    9:03am: drool begins to form and itchy fingers open up a second tab on Firefox to check ING Direct balance
    9:06am: emergency fund is at $6,500…I could drop it by two grand and get me a new MBA and still have emergency money leftover
    9:10am: begins wondering if I should visit some PF blogs to curb my appetite
    9:11am: banishes GRS and fivecentnickel from my mind and starts transfer to checking account.
    9:15am: configures MBA on Apple.com and begins checkout
    9:20am: frantically realizes that I have financial goals and this isn’t one of them. OFF TO GRS!
    9:25am: DOH! GRS is talking about MBA’s, AAAAEEEIIIIIIIEEEEEIIII!!!!1!111!!0! What do I do now!?!?!?!?!
    9:30am: writes comment…

  15. brooke says 16 January 2008 at 06:35

    I have a 2003 Mini Cooper and I’m about to hit 100,000 miles. I still owe some $$ on it, but so far I haven’t had to do any work to it besides regular stuff (brakes, tires, etc) with the execption of 1 $200 sensor. When you get around to buying one, you will LOVE it 😉

  16. Hyder says 16 January 2008 at 06:39

    This might actually be my first Apple product. Though I’m leaning more towards the MacBook Pro.

  17. Bean says 16 January 2008 at 07:23

    I curbed my gadget lusting by setting up an “allowance” for myself that I could save up and spend on what I want.

    This keeps me wasting money on super-expensive things immediately, and when I DO buy something, I can do it guilt-free because I know I saved up for it, and it won’t blow my budget.

  18. d.a. - allingoodhealth says 16 January 2008 at 07:24

    Since buying a new home, my husband and I have become stricter in our purchasing habits. This year, we’ve both been saving money before indulging in gadget lust, and it’s been eye-opening for us both. Although we work in fields where keeping up with the latest and greatest is a requirement, waiting and saving for a few weeks (or months) hasn’t seemed to hurt either of us.

    BTW, J.D.: I’ve found the iPhone to be totally worth the price. It’s saved my backside when our broadband home account was down, when we’ve been lost on the road, I could go on. I saved up for the phone as well!

  19. Ron@TheWisdomJournal says 16 January 2008 at 07:35

    If you wait around a few weeks, Steve Jobs will probably drop the price anyway!

    And Ben C. — an MBA costs a lot more than 2 grand 🙂 (trust me!)

  20. My Super-Charged Life says 16 January 2008 at 07:37

    The products you mention are hard to resist because they are so well marketed. This makes them the hot items. In reality, we often want the image that these products project rather than the features they offer. I get lured into the frenzy as well. When this happens it is hard not to obsess like Ben C details so well in his comment. The only antidote that I have found is to stop and ask myself if I really NEED the item or if I’m just getting sucked in by all the hype. This is usually enough for me to at least delay my purchase. The delay then lets the obsession evaporate which allows me to avoid a high price mistake.

  21. KC says 16 January 2008 at 07:46

    Like JD says…”Wait for it.” I’d also add “pay cash for it”. It’ll really hurts when you are couting out $20s or $100s. The people in the store probably won’t know what to do with this green paper stuff, either.

    I think tech envy (as well as other envys) wear off as you get older. I’m still tempted by the new gadget or whatever, but I seem to want the latest things less and less these days. I take a certain abstemious pride in not being cool.

    And there is certainly nothing wrong with letting technology age a bit before purchasing (early adoption can be expensive). I apply this in a lot of areas. I’m a big tennis fan, but I always buy racquets that are at least 2 “technologies” old. In other words 2 newer models of the same racquet have already come out before I purchase the old one. This way I can get basically the same racquet for about a third of the original price. I’m still going to use it hard, beat the hell out of it and need a new one in another year. So why pay the big bucks up front?

  22. VinTek says 16 January 2008 at 07:48

    Frankly, I don’t get it. Only 1 USB port? No Firewire? No optical drive? And they want me to pay how much for it?

    Also, what’s the battery life on this thing? In my experience, lighter and smaller batteries tend to mean shorter battery life? It’s always been a trade-off for laptops: in order to gain mobility in the form of a lighter unit, you have to give up some measure of mobility in the form of seeking a wired power source more frequently.

    If I were to go to a mobile Mac platform, I’d think that there were better alternatives from Apple for me. There are way too many compromises in the MBA to get the “cool” factor.

  23. Sandy says 16 January 2008 at 07:53

    Your article confirms what I have often suspected for years – the incredible temptations, and then the serious $$$ tech people must be spending for all the latest gadgets. I’m actually thankful I’m not a “geek” just because I feel like I would be in the poor house if I were. How would I resist?? But my son-in-law IS. He’s an electrical engineer, working for a good company in HI -his company provided the computers for the show Extreme Home Makeover, (their 2 hr. season premier show in HI), so he worked at the house and was filmed. His dream job would be to create computer games. He has so many of them, and so much stuff, LCD t.v., latest computer equipment & is always buying more. He is a hell of a nice guy, but I can’t help but think that he and my daughter will NEVER-EVER get out of debt because he is so tech-smart. He is truly brilliant in his field.

  24. jtimberman says 16 January 2008 at 08:06

    Macs are appealing, but the price tag isn’t. For the same price as one 17″ Mac notebook, I could get two similar Dell notebooks. Sure, Macs have MacOSX, but its not worth $1000 premium to me.

  25. TosaJen says 16 January 2008 at 08:13

    What KC (#21) said, almost verbatim. We used to be a lot more gadgety (DH was in hardware engineering), before we got into YMOYL.

    I’ll add that if you’re like us, you have a collection of obsolete electronic gadgets that were once money. Looking at (or even thinking about) that collection puts the brakes on our tech purchases.

    And Jobs’ guru-ness gives me the willies — always has.

  26. Kevin says 16 January 2008 at 08:16

    J.D.

    I have been saving for three years to buy a new laptop from Apple and was also eagerly reading the feeds this yesterday. And I have to say that the MacBook Air is underwhelming to say the least. It’s this decades Cube, a niche product great for some people, but not adequate for a primary machine.

    I’ll be putting in my order for my MacBook next week when I am fairly sure they won’t get a minor speed bump… well as sure as you can be these days.

  27. femme.fatal says 16 January 2008 at 08:17

    this isa good writing but sometimes it is sooooooooooo hard all of that list goes out the window. this is why i try not to carry cc’s

  28. Sam Ereni says 16 January 2008 at 08:19

    Finally! The MacBook Air! This exactly the laptop many have been looking for who find the 5 pound MacBook much too much to carry. Just what I need, something with less power, less memory, less USB ports, no firewire port, all for $700 MORE than the MacBook. My God, if 2 additional pounds is too heavy for you, hit the gym. Seriously, I’m no gaget-geekfreak. I bought my 12″ Powerbook G4 used for $600 and it was 3 years old. It works like a champ, and isn’t that much behind the MacBook Air. I mean, how many programs utilize the 2 processors? Why I even have a bigger HD & and a built in optical drive. I’ll keep it until down the road I find a nice MacBook or 15″MacBook Pro for $600.

  29. Michael Houghton says 16 January 2008 at 08:50

    I think I use reverse-reverse psychology or something.

    Basically, whenever I see something I want to spend X hundred quid on, I go and look for other things I could be getting with the same X hundred quid. Simple indecision usually means I hold onto the X hundred quid either for a lot longer, or until some sensible purchase comes along to resolve the deadlock.

    I’ve used this technique successfully on urges to replace my current iMac and my current (secondhand) Fuji S2 DSLR. Both have now been in my posession for three years. I’d like to upgrade both, but can only (scarcely and justifiably) afford to upgrade one.

    Other tricks: ‘wait till next revision’ also works, as does ‘wait until the next trade show and see what gets launched’, and so does ‘the one that is Y hundred (unaffordable) pounds more is the only sensible purchase’.

    Currently, I am waiting for the next trade show (PMA08) to see if it confirms or challenges my (well-grounded) opinion that the Nikon D300 is an appropriate and timely replacement for the camera. There won’t be a next revision of that of course, but maybe the next revision of the cheaper D80 will suit my needs.

    If the D300 remains unchallenged, I’ll buy it, without acquisition guilt.

  30. Ryan S. says 16 January 2008 at 09:04

    I would love a new MacBook Air (or a MacBook for that matter) to replace my aging iBook G4 that I’m typing on right now.

    Right now, I can’t afford it.

    Until I can, no new MacBook.

    Wish I could, just can’t.

    Ryan
    http://uncommon-cents.net/

  31. Rachael says 16 January 2008 at 09:04

    Hi J.D.,

    I’ve been lurking for sometime, and am finally commenting… I just wanted to say that I *really* enjoy your website. It’s probably the singularly most helpful financial reading I’ve done in a while!! All very practical and down-to-Earth. So, thank you for such a wonderful site!

    Also, I was born & raised in Salem, and am a fellow Willamette alum. Go, Bearcats! Unfortunately, I’m now dealing with student debt… ugh.

    At any rate, I’m drooling over the MacBook Air as well. My current machine is an iBook G4 bought at the very beginning of 2004. So, yeah, it’s 4 years old and definitely could stand being replaced. And as cool as the Air is, I have to keep telling myself I have not even been PLANNING on getting another laptop; a more-bang-for-my-buck desktop will work better. I’m saving for a new system at an agonizingly slow rate right now – $20/month so far – while I try to build up my emergency fund. Sigh.

    But… I keep telling myself how amazing it will feel to buy a computer with cash for the FIRST time ever in my life!! It will be worth it, I think, to break that consumer debt cycle.

    Keep up the good work, J.D.! 🙂

  32. fivecentnickel.com says 16 January 2008 at 09:05

    To whoever asked above, battery life is rated at 5 hours. Not sure if this applies to both versions (one has an 80GB flash drive, the other has a 160GB regular hard drive). So the battery life is pretty good. I must admit that I’m not sold on the other features (or lack thereof).

    Interestingly, people said much the same thing when the iMac was introduced without a floppy drive. Given the increased availability of high speed, wireless internet, it’s probably just a matter of time before 99% of your optical drive needs will be served by a go-anywhere wireless connection of some sort.

  33. kick_push says 16 January 2008 at 09:14

    must.. resist.. temptation!

    the macbook air looks really cool.. but i don’t think it’s worth the price.. i would wait a year or two for the price to go down

    that being said.. i don’t plan on buying a computer anytime soon.. i still have a year and a half old imac that works well.. and my bro just bought a macbook that i use when he’s not on.. so getting the macbook air makes no sense for me!

  34. Nick S says 16 January 2008 at 09:23

    @fivecentnickel.com

    the flash drive is 64 GB, the regular drive is 80 GB. there is no 160 GB standard config.

  35. Dave says 16 January 2008 at 09:55

    Before Christmas, I finally sprung for a really good video card for my PC. I’d been saving up for ages, and for the first time ever I have something that can play current games.

    Problem is the new card has heat problems, and my case isn’t well ventilated. I bought a cheap fan that takes up an expansion slot and blows air right on the card. It’s loud as can be, so I actually crack the case open and plug it in just before I launch World of Warcraft, then unplug it when I’m done.

    I find I’m having tech lust over a new case. My cheap solution works fine, and it’s really not much trouble at all. There’s no practical reason for me to upgrade, I JUST WANT TO.

    > Robotronic 2084
    > Lappy 486

    A golden age of video games reference and a Homestar Runner reference in the same article? Color me impressed!

  36. Kayli says 16 January 2008 at 09:58

    This is good advice for belly dancers, too. I paid hundreds for my first “real” costume — used, from another dancer. I’ve worn it maybe 5 times, and I’m lusting for others — price range of $350 – $1,000 each. It’s an expensive component to an otherwise budget-friendly hobby. I can’t justify it. But this costume craving is unlike anything I’ve experienced before!

    Avoiding temptation and keeping larger goals in mind are key for me.

  37. Rick Francis says 16 January 2008 at 09:59

    I agree with KC (21) the drive to keep up with the latest and greatest dies down as you get older. I used to try to keep up with the latest computer technology- but it was just too expensive of a habit. Plus, once you have kids you have a lot less time to spend playing with gadgets.
    Here is a story that may make some of you reconsider spending on the lasts technology. I am clearing out the garage and selling things I don’t use anymore and ran across my most expensive gadget. A NeXT Station- this is an old computer (from 1992) that was also from Mr. Jobs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Next_Computer). It was years ahead of its time, and was truly a revolutionary machine. The applications were really amazing and the programming environment STILL puts Microsoft’s .NET to shame!
    I still really like this gadget, but I haven’t used it in years. It was also several thousand dollars, I suspect I may be able to get a few hundred for it from a collector now. If I had invested that money in the S&P500 that money would have more than tripled NOT including dividends! So, be aware that your gadgets will become virtually worthless over time while investments will grow.

    -Rick

  38. Jjhox says 16 January 2008 at 10:05

    I let my wife tell me what to get and when. Since she is out of town I’ll finally be getting my iPhone on the way home today…

  39. Lily says 16 January 2008 at 10:20

    Hehehe – mind you, I love Macs, they’re great value – but I’m no fetishist. I’ve used my iBook for 5 years before reselling it, now I own a MacBook and want it to last. My bf on the other hand… he called me yesterday and excitedly showed me the new air-thing. I was like, uh, ok 🙂

  40. Dave Farquhar says 16 January 2008 at 10:40

    Regardless of the make or model of the computer and what operating system you run, you can always squeeze more life out of it with memory upgrades and replacing the hard drive with a newer, faster model.

    You can usually install a couple of gigs of RAM cheaply and that always makes a big difference in performance. Due to the way Intel CPUs handle memory, there’s no point in installing a full 4 GB–install 3 GB, or perhaps 3.5 GB.

    Replacing an old hard drive with a new model makes a big difference in performance. They’re always packing the data in more densely, so even when rotation speed stays constant, a newer drive will deliver more data per rotation than an older drive.

    I’m still using a computer I built in 2002, with cheap and simple upgrades. I’m sure I’ve saved a couple of grand.

    So new computers don’t get me very excited. Newer, faster hard drives do, but as long as I stay away from the tech sites until my computer can’t do something I need it to do, I don’t spend money.

  41. singlemomindebt says 16 January 2008 at 10:41

    To add to the “save for it, wait for it” philosophy (which is great), I would also add that new technology purchases are nearly always replacing one or more items that you already own. Sell them. If you can’t sell them, donate them for a tax deduction. Not only will this help (a little, or sometimes a lot) with the cost…it also helps to keep down the clutter!

  42. Sarah says 16 January 2008 at 10:45

    Re: paying cash…

    On my one and only trip to the Apple store, I saw a guy pay for a new Mac laptop entirely in $20 bills.

    It’s a shocking thing to watch, not just because I’ve never held that much cash in my hands before, but also because it makes you think, “Wow, that guy can actually *afford* a Mac laptop.”

  43. geoff says 16 January 2008 at 10:46

    Here’s the trick: don’t focus on the technology, focus on what it will do for you. The new notebook looks really cool, but it’s significantly less functional than my current setup. So why upgrade?

    OTOH, I had no problem shelling out for a new iPod and a new PDA phone because both items made my life significantly easier, and are therefore worth the investment.

    The neat thing about this is that it’s a great way to outsmart the Apple marketing machine because most of these products are form over substance anyway.

  44. Balfour says 16 January 2008 at 11:02

    As an Apple groupie, I too was sucked right into the Air hype, until I caught up on the commentry of the web hive-mind pointing out everything that was wrong with it, such as on Gizmodo: http://gizmodo.com/345051/apple-macbook-air-is-worlds-thinnest-notebook-looks-absolutely-amazing

    Took the Air right out of it!

  45. Mrs. Micah says 16 January 2008 at 11:04

    Isn’t it amazing? But I’ve told myself that I’ll actually get a much better deal someday on a similar laptop, so it’s ok. And I don’t use Macbooks anyway.

  46. fivecentnickel.com says 16 January 2008 at 11:06

    @Nick: I stand corrected. I got my info from one of the liveblogging events, and not from Apple itself. Yeesh. That’s not much storage.

  47. Bob says 16 January 2008 at 11:25

    I’ve been doing really well surpressing the gadget lust for some time. My old phone worked perfectly fine. No problems.

    Then my wife bought me an iPhone for my birthday. (at least she paid cash.)

    Now I want everything I own to be black glass and aluminum. That phone is amazing and I fell in complete love with it within 5 minutes.

    But the MBA is unimpressive. Too expensive for the power available. It really is simply all about the looks for that.

    Plus, with the iPhone, I’ve discovered that ubiquitous network availability has changed my life and it clearly serves every need I have for a ultra-portable computer.

    Now if the MBA had a full multi-touch screen and a built in cell card… I might be in trouble this morning.

    I’ll find a good used MB or MBP to satisfy my Apple design lust for now.

  48. Wayne Mulligan says 16 January 2008 at 12:37

    I’d add 2 items to this list:

    1. Wait for a 2nd Generation – This is true for all gadgets but it’s ESPECIALLY true for NEW gadgets. The iPhone and the Amazon Kindle come to mind. Go look back at the very first iPod…looks much different than your current sleek and slender iPod Nano or iPod touch, doesn’t it? First generation gadgets are usually “test the water” products and haven’t gone through a period of customer feedback and refinement yet. So wait for the next generation (or two) before committing a few hundred dollars to something like this – you’ll get a much better product.

    2. Remember Murphy’s Law – Meaning computing power will double every 12 – 18 months – and therefore the COST of computing products/components (e.g. the processors, memory and hard drives that go into all of these gadgets) will get cut in half every 12 – 18 months. So if you can hold off for a year there’s a very good chance you can buy an older gadget for half of its current price. Look at the iPhone – they slashed the price by almost 40% within 2 months! Patience isn’t a virtue in this game – it’s a requirement!

    -Wayne

  49. The Shopping Sherpa says 16 January 2008 at 12:55

    THANK YOU!

    Especially for mentioning knitters. Just before I read your (spot on) post on Bloglines I read a friend’s (http://happyspider6.blogspot.com/2008/01/cool-change.html) in which she showed off some very cheap wool she picked up yesterday.

    I started itching and twitching and mentally adding up how much of this week’s grocery budget (about the only part of my budget that’s negotiable) I could turn into wool and how much tuna and rice I could cope with eating in return.

    Then I read your post and my sensible side took over. I’ll be avoiding the wool shop. I’ll be buying eggs and cheese instead. Safe. For now.

  50. The Tim says 16 January 2008 at 13:23

    Here’s the real question: How long can J.D. resist the urge to talk about his Mini Cooper dream car on Get Rich Slowly?

    So far his record since first bringing it up on August 23rd is the 60 days between September 17 and November 16. The average time between mentions is 18.25 days, with an average of every 11 days since December 3rd. I bet he can’t go three months.

    :^)

  51. Rich says 16 January 2008 at 13:45

    Re: the new Macbook – remember, migration is a pain.

    re: Mini Cooper – My sample size of one friend with one isn’t really enamored of the repair bills/time it’s had. YMMV.

    re: everything – The having often turns out to be not as good as the wanting.

  52. Tommy says 16 January 2008 at 14:17

    I think the “avoid advertising” thing is a BIG key to all of this. Ever since I got Tivo years ago, I’ve spent much less time watching ads and have found that I simply don’t want stuff that much any more. Anyway, I’m not entirely sure if this is a function of skipping about 99% of ad time or a partly due to be married now or even partly due to growing up a bit, but I figure getting rid of ads can’t hurt.

  53. JB says 16 January 2008 at 14:22

    So if I’m in the market to buy a new laptop (my computer is 6 years old and horribly slow). Would you recommend I get a regular Macbook or a Macbook Air based on the specs? I don’t know that much about computers and this will be my first Mac and I’ve saved for a new computer and I’m ready to buy. (Although $1099 is way more attractive a price than $1800 for obvious reasons.)

  54. J.D. says 16 January 2008 at 15:12

    The Tim said: Here’s the real question: How long can J.D. resist the urge to talk about his Mini Cooper dream car on Get Rich Slowly? So far his record since first bringing it up on August 23rd is the 60 days between September 17 and November 16.

    HA! 🙂

    This is a hilarious comment on many levels, but mostly because it’s so true. I do obsess, don’t I? But also I love Tim’s observation because I’m a stats junkie and I love how he computed averages, etc. Funniest comment in a long time.

  55. Baker says 16 January 2008 at 16:22

    I don’t understand this at all. That laptop is overpriced trash. Aside from looking cool its about $1200 more than a comparable windows notebook. I really don’t understand all of the apple people supporting a company who constantly overcharges them for products that generally equate to form over function. Yes their items have a great wow factor and the whole mac vs. PC argument has its merits but is it worth the huge markup?

  56. Marie says 16 January 2008 at 16:45

    Having techno lust now. Our desktop computer (8 years old) randomly restarts frequently. Our laptop (5 years old) is on its last legs. We are dealing with this by trying to wait till we move in 6 months – since the technology will probably be different anyway. If we weren’t moving, I think we would fail putting it off. We feel like its reasonable to replace at least one of them.

  57. Two Nickels says 16 January 2008 at 17:51

    I too watched/read the live feed. I automatically dismissed the Macbook Air (I have a Macbook) and Time Capsule. I took a look at the Apple TV Take 2, but it’s hard to justify with a Tivo HD prepaid for 3 years already in the house and a Netflix subscription. I’m still waiting on the iPhone to get REAL GPS and 3G as well as for my Verizon contract to expire. Had they announced that last part…whew, I would have had a tough time waiting the last 4 months to change carriers.

  58. thriftytechie says 16 January 2008 at 18:33

    I analyze and decide if the utility/price ratio suits me.

    Example: I was under contract with Sprint and was looking for a smartphone.

    July 2008 iPhone (e-mail+web+sms+music, etc.) ? $599 + $200
    Oct. 2008 iphone (e-mail+web+sms+music, etc.) ? $399 + $200
    Nov. 2008 Centro (e-mail+web+sms+music, etc.) = $99

    Also, tip for guys: to control gadget spending, just get married.

  59. Frugal Dad says 16 January 2008 at 19:33

    I’ve found that by the time I save for things I no longer want them, and I realize that I’m not willing to part with the cash I took so long to save up. Your advice to avoid advertising is excellent as well. I stay away from catalogs and electronics circulars like they are the plague!

  60. Jess says 16 January 2008 at 20:07

    *high fives you for the Strongbad reference*

  61. Incognita says 16 January 2008 at 21:08

    JB (#53):

    If I were you, I’d get a (slightly upgraded from the base model) Macbook.

    ENJOY your new Mac.

  62. fathersez says 17 January 2008 at 08:51

    Thank God, I don’t have this problem.

    The downside is that I am a tech Neanderthal, but it seems a little better than buying the latest only to find it at 25% or more off a few months later.

    My laptop is now in its 5th year and working fine. I think Nokia has also stopped making the phone I still carry.

    Thanks for pointing out that I need not be counted among cavemen.

  63. Jarick says 17 January 2008 at 08:51

    Excellent, excellent, excellent. Saved and will re-read, and going to subscribe to the RSS. Don’t know why I waited so long.

  64. Robert says 17 January 2008 at 10:39

    Years ago when i first got into computers I had a friend who was always broke because he had to upgrade everything all the time – to the point that his beater vw bug turned into a rolling deathtrap due to neglect. When I decided to finally bite the bullet and get a computer, I promised myself I would not turn into him. The specific promise was that I wpuld get a new computer every 5 years. So far, so good. 1995 = Mac Performa. 2000 = Mac G4. 2005 Powerbook G4. The G4 Tower is dying, so we are considering an iMac – I can’t rely on the laptop for everything. Oh, and by the way, I’m a GraphiC Designer. Life (and work) is easier knowing I don’t have to deal with all the learning and compatibility issues that each “step up” offers.

  65. Mark - Productivity501 says 17 January 2008 at 11:00

    I find that if I really concentrate on how a new gadget or toy will help me be more productive it makes it easy to resist many of the new bright and shiny objects. When I start thinking about how much time it will take to learn a new device, transfer information over, etc. it starts to make a lot more sense to stay with what I already have.

    When I do upgrade I feel I can go all out and get top of the line equipment because I plan to use it for 3 or 4 years. For me it is easier to buy something really good (that I’ve spent 6 months thinking about) and expect it to last for a long time than trying to jump to the next new thing at every product announcement.

    Another trick is to use a rewards program for items that you don’t absolutely need. I bought my laptop with cash because I needed it. I bought my iPod car audio and other “toys” using reward points from a credit card.

  66. Lazy Man and Money says 07 February 2008 at 21:47

    No Ethernet, changeable battery, or DVD drive? I just think it would have more problems than it’s worth. My cellphone fits an SD card, they couldn’t squeeze one in there?

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