Goodbye typewriter – seven gadgets easily dead
by Keris Lahiff
2011 heralded the death of the good, ol’-fashioned typewriter as the last manual typewriter was manufactured. As a salute to the original and old-school QWERTY keyboard and desktop – and as the evolution (and redundancy) of technology accelerates – we look to the gadgets which are experiencing a similar death.
We count down the seven gadgets that are on the fast track to obsolescence.
These had so much potential when they were first released. But with any laptop worth its salt able to play DVDs, and with many movies and TV shows accessible through softcopy distribution such as Netflix or iTunes, not much warrants the purchase of these $100 paperweights.
Cheap, yes, but if you already own a laptop, smartphone or tablet computer, make use of it as an all-in-one entertainment device as well to watch movies and TV shows on the fly.
Of course these do have a nice premise behind them – rotating slideshows of those dear to you displayed on your desk is always a lovely way to jazz up your workstation. But with many of the devices you probably own already with the same functionality, paying $100 or more for these one-purpose gadgets seems superfluous.
Why not create a photo slideshow on your computer as a screensaver to display those precious memories? Or, if you own an iPad, you can choose to have a range of photos changing constantly on your lockscreen display.
If you own iPhoto or a similar program that compiles all your photos, it will be easy to turn these devices into digital photo frames. Actual digital photo frames, on the other hand, require you to move photos across to it via USB or memory card slot.
The Stashcard is one of those rare gadgets which never even had a short period of usefulness – though to be fair, on the surface, the idea does seem ingenious. Toted as a ‘secret compartment’, this small metal case slides into your PC card slot on the side of your laptop, making use of this ‘wasted’ space to store items such as credit cards, money and drivers license.
While it is clever to stow these items in a place thieves won’t look, storing them in a device which is potentially more valuable than those items is a little redundant – if your laptop gets stolen so does your ‘safe place’. Then you have no laptop, and now, thanks to Stashcard, no money, ID or credit cards.
At one time, these were amazing additions to the car and invaluable to the lost driver. But with navigation apps now readily available on smartphones, shelling out for an in-car GPS navigator seems an expense not justified. Rather, spring for a device holder for your smartphone and connect to the maps app for this purpose.
You may be glued to yours at work but come home time, you may be paying for a landline connection that is useless. Consider how much you use your home phone and whether you may be better suited to rely solely on your mobile phone.
These were once the staple of business but with most paperwork never even entering the paper stage, it is easier and more affordable to just email documents or even resort to snail mail.
Sick of accessing Twitter on your smartphone or computer? The TwitterPeek has come up with a solution – a device, like a smartphone, dedicated to tweeting and accessing Twitter.
But for $200 for the handset and unlimited Tweets, why not just access this free social networking site at no charge on your smartphone or computer.
As smartphones and laptops integrate more functionality into the one model, many specialised, niche gadgets become superfluous. Before buying any new one-purpose gadget, think again – do you already own a device that could execute the task the same way, if not better?
Published on: Wednesday, August 24, 2011