Just smiled familiarly through Josh Marshal’s lighthearted reflection “Adventures in Obsolescence” on Talking Points Memo. He acknowledges his inability to dispose of dated gadgets event once he’s replaced them, and the condition (who’ll be the first to clinically diagnose it?) is all too familiar. He’s responding to a friend who’s in need of a second hand iPod since hers gave up the ghost and he decides to gift her his dinosaur, “one of those early all-white, physical scroll wheel, boxy archeo-Pods that probably many of you had at one point or another.”
Easy generosity, right? Give away something you no longer need or use, a gadget that’s already well into artifact-dom that nevertheless can help out a friend. True. And yet there is a funny compulsion which I admit to sharing that makes it difficult to part with these relics. Josh explains:
“So even after some gadget is well into its planned obsolescence and I’ve replaced it and it’s clear I’m never going to use it again, I just can’t manage to toss something I once found so cool and also dropped a decent amount of money on. And because of that, I have a small tribe of old i-Gadgets totally unused, sitting in boxes or drawers, living on borrowed time, or perhaps subsisting in suspended animation on borrowed time, because I can’t get myself to treat them as worthless and toss them in the trash.”
I periodically manage to pass these on, but generally they just collect and collect. I recently gave an older Sony Vaio laptop to a tech buddy who wiped all the memory and donated it to a charity that refurbishes computers for people who can’t afford to buy one. Cool idea. But all too often inertia prevails and the gadget graveyard fills up. So I’m making a resolution that when I return from Shanghai — and before I head off to San Franciso for DrupalCon — I’m going to eBay, fiverr, freecycle and craigslist my backlog of geriatric gadgets. If you’re in need, keep me honest!