This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

March 6, 2008 - real men aim for maximum gadgetude

I believe I know what most red-blooded American men want. It's not what you think.

And it isn't easy. There are many obstacles to be overcome to achieve the ultimate aim of maximum gadgetude.

First came my need for a computer. My first PC (a Kaypro II) was called "portable," in exactly the same way a sewing machine is portable. It folded up to a compact package weighing about 30 pounds.

I was, I now realize, obsessive. I didn't just go in and buy one. I researched countless magazines. I prowled computer stores. And because, back then, I was just starting out in life, I had to take out my first loan. For a gadget.

The next gadget that obsessed me was years later. I bought the second model of the Palm Pilot, which ran on two little batteries. It took me six weeks of use to cram my life into its modest dimensions.

Since then, I've upgraded twice. It's painful, when you realize that you have the oldest model in the meeting. The displays, the speed, the apps, are so much better these days. And that's bound to make you more productive, right?

A PocketPC? Please, I have my standards.

As time went on, I felt new stirrings. First, it was a laptop, although I persuaded myself that it was for my wife. Oh, the beauty of a MacBook!

When I tired of carrying a laptop around in my travels, I hit on a new strategy: an Internet Tablet. I settled on the Linux-based Nokia N800. And it was almost perfect, needing only an Igo Stowaway Bluetooth Keyboard to complete me as a man. For a while.

(Or, of course, there's the N810.)

I watched in amusement and sympathy as the drive for maximum gadgetude took root in my son, Max. He needed an iPod Touch. He needed it so bad. His latent research skills (he is the child of two librarians, after all) wakened: he read every review, in paper and online. He was on a first name basis with the good people at the Apple Store, where he made biweekly pilgrimages.

Finally, Christmas!

Then, there was wii -- what passes for physical exercise these days, albeit in a virtual universe.

Just lately, my wife ran across an ad for something so brilliant I wish I'd thought of it first. It's called a MusicPad Pro. For just $899, you can have an electronic book capable of storing, displaying, and allowing notations on, all your sheet music. Pop it up on the piano or music stand, tap a button to turn the page. One device, tens of thousands of works.

I gotta have one. I gotta.

The Sony eBook: I felt pretty cool sitting there on the plane with 8 novels packed into a slim and elegant case. Until the flight attendant told me I had to turn off my book for landing.

So I was forced to pull out a science fiction magazine, picked up from one of our library booksales for pennies. And I thought, as I flipped through it, handled it, sniffed it, read it comfortably, then left it behind in my hotel room later for the next person... you know, this print stuff?

It might catch on.

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