The Gadget Guy, Peter Blasina, recalls a lifetime of gadget-wielding and names the one and only indispensable gadget left in his life.
Is there a gadget you simply cannot live without?
When I was four, I could not get by without my Meccano set. My first grown-up ‘can’t live without gadget’ was Sony’s first Walkman, way back in 1979. Around about the same time I had an Atari 2600, which brought video games out of the arcade and into the living room. Then came the Commodore 64 in the early ?80s, which made me utterly dependent on having a computer at home.
In 1994 I had to have an Apple Newton MessagePad to go with my Apple computer. It was the first real personal digital assistant, and the size of a brick.
As the publisher of Australia’s first dedicated camcorder magazine, I also had several Sony Handycams and Canon camcorders, which I collected throughout the 90s and 2000s. And my lifelong interest in photography meant I had also amassed numerous Canon, Nikon and Minolta cameras over the decades. Those old cameras used film, so are virtually museum pieces now thanks to the launch of the Sony Mavica MVC-FD5 digital camera in 1997. The digital photography revolution was ignited and I was hooked, adding a digital camera to my list of indispensables.
Then there was my PalmPilot, which from 1996 improved the way I got organised. I have almost been inseparable from a notebook computer from about the same time.
More recently (2002) I simply had to have an iPod digital music player to ensure my favourite photos, music and video clips were accessible wherever I went.
Shrinking my collection
Now, however, I carry very few gadgets because the reality is that my mobile phone has replaced every one of those technologies I couldn’t live without in the past.
My latest phone is actually a more powerful computer than many of the computers I have owned. Thanks to the launch of BigPond TV I can now watch a wide range of TV on demand, and I have to admit I have become hooked on the made-for-mobile soap, Girl Friday. In fact, in the week I wrote this column I watched more TV on my phone than on my home cinema!
My phone takes high quality pictures and movies and I can even use it to videoconference. It is my complete personal organiser, managing more than 800 contacts and a hectic calendar.
Of course it also allows me to make phone calls from a surprising number of places on the planet.
My mobile phone has become the single replacement technology for every gadget I couldn’t live without over the past 30 years.