Mind Your Wallet

Today's a pretty good day for buying things on sale I hear. Just remember, as time marches, things will get even cheaper, anyhow. And this year, you may already have the perfect gadgets in your hands.

I like the "last year's model" and "buy nothing" ideologies. I like knowing that buying less gear means less old gear in landfills. This year, however, a lot of our favorite technologies have either slowed down the pace of improvement, or have sped it up using the same hardware that gets upgraded by software.

I wouldn't say now is a great time to buy a TV unless you're still on a CRT. The new sets now hardly even come close to the pre-recession Kuros and XBR8 Sony LCD from 2 years ago, and if you look hard you can still find those sets on clearance. We're in a lull. Camera tech has been jumping in leaps, towards DSLRs with video, but it's clear these things are hurting for some decent video controls, seeming more like hacked devices than polished combination endgames for the camcorder and DSLR world.

Any computer made in the last 5-6 years does all your basics well enough to live with til it breaks. It may even run a recent operating system, but why even bother? When so much of what we live with today lives on the web, it's all pretty much the same youtube, facebook and twitter.

I am thankful for Xbox's quarterly upgrades. The same with TiVo and the iPhone. A decade ago these new firmwares would have been rolled out in new hardware. We'd feel left behind. Now, the upgrade pace has slowed down considerably. The upgrade path won't ever stop churning, and as gadget diehards, we don't want it to. But at least we can have some of the new good stuff today without buying more hardware and in some cases, more anything. And this is only going to become more and more common as time goes on, hardware becomes more generally capable and long lasting and gadget buyers become more sophisticated and demand gadgets that last longer.

Happy Black Friday, everyone. May your wallet stay in your pocket as often as it can and should.