Afternoon Inquisition 9.30

I used to carry a phone, iPod, camera and PDA in my handbag.  All four, all the time.  This summer I condensed all that into an iPhone, and I’m pretty happy with it.  For me, it does almost everything I need.  (But man, can someone please convince Apple they need a cut & paste ability, and useable notes?  KTHXBAI.)  I’m surprise to find myself so attached.

What’s the tech you can’t live without?


A B Kovacs is the Director of Døøm at Empty Set Entertainment, a publishing company she co-founded with critical thinker and fiction author Scott Sigler. She considers herself a “Creative Adjacent” — helping creative people be more productive and prolific by managing the logistics of Making for the masses. She's a science nerd, a rabid movie geek, and an unrepentantly voracious reader. She doesn't like chocolate all that much.

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  1. Well these days Photoshop is practically my livelyhood, but as far as compulsory tech goes it’s hands-down Google Reader for all my rss news, blogs, and science feeds.

    Also, living in a dorm with no form of meal plan, I have to say the George Foreman is also pretty high up there.

  2. Macbook Pro and my iPod classic that lets me carry around far more podcasts than i could ever listen to in one day.

  3. The Internet. I was born into the internet era, and I honestly can’t understand how people lived without it. The internet is a majestic idea. The person who came up with it should receive the Nobel prize, IMHO.

  4. This is really an interesting question. After the huirricane a couple weeks ago, I was without most of the tech we take for granted for about a dozen days or so. I was amazed at how fast I stopped thinking about getting online or wanting to turn on the TV.

    I was able to keep my iPod charged though, so I had tunes. But there’s a lot we can live without, and easily when forced to.

  5. Well, I could probably live without most of them, but I sure would be sad without my laptop and the internet (including wireless)! Especially since that is how I keep in contact with all of my friends and most of my family!

    Also, before I bought my car a month ago, I would NOT leave my house without mp3 player. It kept me sane when utilizing Phoenix’s public transportation. Now it’s not such a concern, though I still take it everywhere. Along with my Nintendo DS.

    That said, the only thing(s) I really can’t live without are books. Which is very nerdy of me.

  6. Har har, yuk yuk, blah blah. Sorry. : )

    I recently jumped on the Mac bandwagon, then traded in my Dual-G5 tower for a MacBook, and at the moment, that’s what I’m most in love with. It’s sexy, elegant, capable, portable.

    A close second goes to my Wacom tablet. …And that would probably edge out my MacBook if I had the Cintiq (basically, a monitor that you draw on like a tablet).

    I fucking hate my Blackberry.

    I lost my Minolta 5D digital camera about 18 months ago. I really miss having an SLR: I thought a cheapo CoolPix jobbie would replace it well enough, but… no, there’s no love there.

    So, yeah: MacBook

  7. My Macbook Pro.

    It’s pretty much capable of doing everything any other bit of technology I own does. Maybe not as well, but it does it.

    TV/Movies: Check
    Music: Check
    Camera: iSight is a bit crappy, but it works
    Work: The thing is my primary workstation, even at the office.
    Phone: Click on my VoIP softphone and no one even knows I’m not in the office.

    If mobile data cards could be used for phone calls, it would be capable of replacing literally every gadget I carry around.

  8. @Sam Ogden: +1; good point.

    I agree, I could live without damn near any of this technology, and probably enjoy it.

    Plumbing would be nice, though.

    @lukeradl: Man, if I knew we were considering technology, I would have said “Ruby”. (The programming language.)

    And I agree: Photoshop is one of the best-designed pieces of software ever written. Linux gets a close second. …honorable mention for Mozilla.

    @IdanH14: +1. Changed the entire world.

  9. Let’s get a few of these out of the way, so nobody has to hunt through the comments for the snide answers.
    – dialysis machine
    – iron lung
    – pacemaker
    – colostomy bag
    – house arrest ankle bracelet

    – Skephick

  10. My blackberry. Sometimes, I leave it at home by mistake and it’s like I’m missing a limb. It’s a little scary. :) I don’t like being disconnected.

    Oh, and it has notes and cut n paste that are pretty good…

    Old school tech, in terms of what I am glad we have? Running water. And hairdryers…

  11. @JRice: D’oh. Stupid typing fingers.

    Although I disagree. Why couldn’t someone from a rural background, without a lot of formal education, still be skeptical? Unlikely, maybe, but not oxymoronic.

  12. @JRice: Oh, shit. Not another “can X be a skeptic” discussion!

    I’ll go unpack my best ad hominems and meet you back here in about 100 comments.

  13. None. I spend too much time on the internet and I wish I could/would stop. I do much better when I travel, but when I am at home, I am an internet junkie.

  14. @Evolved Rationalist: do you live in the us? where did you get yours? i can’t get a straight answer from anyone if all the features will work in the u.s. with at&t. especially the newest one. the 8GB one.

    i have a samsung blackjack II. i like it. though i can’t read any sicence blogs on it’s rss reader since SB changed their formatting a few months ago. i get a black column on the left that blots out the left third of the black text. i’d rather have the nokia e71. ‘cept i can’t seem to find a silver one. i think they call it white for some reason. (maybe it is white and it just looks silver like the magazine pics of the tag heuer grand carrera calibre 6 rs. looks cool and silver in the pics, but in real life looks much better with the black dial).

    i carry my phone almost everywhere with me and my ipod to work and back. that and my new thin wallet/money clip and i’m good to go.

  15. Hmmm, would I rather loose my vision or my sight? Would I rather be color blind or unable to taste food? Would I rather loose my legs or my arms? If you could only have one CD to listen to what would it be? If you could only have one meal again and again what would it be? Would you rather have electricity or plumbing. If sex (heterosexual) was limited to oral or vaginal for the rest of your life what would you choose?

    I suppose I’d rather think of the increasingly absurd nature of these ‘what if’ questions than really answer one.

  16. My iPhone (or ifonay as I call it) is a must…. but so is my laptop.

    And the ‘net.

    Also, as a non driver I NEED my Light Rail and am so very happy to live somewhere that has a decnt system.

  17. @marilove: But the Internet wouldn’t be around without networks!

    …And networks wouldn’t be around without computers!

    An computers wouldn’t be around without transistors, or Turing machines, which wouldn’t be around without electricity, which wouldn’t be around without kites*, which wouldn’t be around without paper, which wouldn’t be around without pens, which wouldn’t be around without ink, which wouldn’t be around without mills, which wouldn’t be around without gears, which wouldn’t be around without the wheel, which wouldn’t be around without fire, which wouldn’t be around without GOD**!

    * That’s a joke.

    ** That, too. You know, the whole “original cause” argument… No? Aww, never mind. It was weak.

  18. To answer the question literally: open-heart surgery, anesthetics, dachron, etc.

    I would most likely be dead by now without that stuff.

  19. @Masala Skeptic: You can thank me later. It’s a no lose! Movie times, directions, webernets…all there, all the time.

    The only things I wish my iPhone did that it doesn’t do now? Laundry, wisk me away to romantic assignations with fiesty men, teach me day-trading while I sleep (or answer work e-mail), and make a great creme caramel.

    Since everything but the laundry might complicate things, I see this as my iPhone looking out for me.

  20. My laptop with wlan. It has everything. Books, music, Internet, games and pictures of my family. And it’s pretty good to have when writing papers and doing homework.

    I might make it without my mobile phone, but it’s still good to have. My mom would miss me otherwise.

  21. recently went to my dad’s cabin and had NO INTERNET FOR LIKE 3 DAYS!!! i didn’t realize how bad i had it until then. i can’t live without anything i normally use that has a microchip for more than a couple of hours. it’s sad, really.

  22. My Palm T3. And laptop. And cell, which connects them to the ‘Net. And the ‘Net. And WWW. And Blogs. And Skepchicks.

  23. @IDanH14: I agree. I can remember when the only Internet was in Arthur C. Clarke novels. None of my friends could figure out why I was so excited about it..and now, none of them can live without it.

  24. My blackberry and my bluetooth (I love making people think I’m talking to them in line at the store) …

    Also, because I’m a music snob, my 160GB iPod – I need ALL the space for the music – so the iPhone won’t do it for me.

  25. I’m not a big gadget person, but that’s solely because I don’t have the cash for them. I do have to have the internet. But I justify that because it’s also my job and livelihood. That works, right?

    @Elyse: We should have an AOTW! Winner gets to … send us Skepchicks more hot pictures.

  26. @TheSkepticalMale: Wait, isn’t that the opposite of a music snob? If you were a snob, wouldn’t you only have the very best music?

    If you really need all 160GB, doesn’t that make you a music glutton or something?

    (I’m a music snob! 736 songs, 14.7 GB! …Not counting all my podcasts/language lessons)

  27. @JRice: That depends largely on level of snobbery coupled with size of the music file. He may in fact need all that space not because he has a lot of music but because all of it is lossless compression or mp3’s compressed at the max of 320kbps.

  28. @JRice: You may be right … Well, the last person who got a listen to my “Recently Played” commented, “You’re too cool for me.” … I just don’t understand that comment, I mean, I have a couple of hair metal bands too.

  29. @Elyse
    lol! aw. that just confirms that i am going to have to take a road trip to a skeptics at the pub and get tipsy and hit on you sexy skepchicks. don’t let me fool you, though- i really am a nerd though no matter what i tell you after 20 beers or so. man if only the real hotphysicsboy got as much attention as his gravatar! @Jen- you’re a genius. let’s see ’em skepchicks!

  30. @Elyse

    i know! i used to live downtown on wabash and congress right in the loop. i actually just got a new car this last weekend too. i say the next weekend that is light on physics and math homework and there’s a skepchicks at the pub it is SO on!

  31. Gerber multitool. Accept no substitutes (save for the Leatherman Wave-those are decent too.) You’d be amazed how much more fun the world is when you have the ability to fix anything in the world with what’s in your pocket. Indispensable if your job involves anything besides living behind a desk.

  32. @Tina
    oh, totally not! if it is i have no business being here! actually i think being in touch one’s sexuality and self aware of the sexual forces that instinctively drive us is just another offshoot of the skeptical mind seeking out scientific explanations for our world. that being said, your myspace pic is totally hot :)


    OK, I don’t have any yet. Hmm…I’d say at the moment my DS Lite :D

    I get very annoyed without my iPod as well, I travel a lot so both of the above are essential for blocking out screaming kids, gossiping teens and snoring old men.

    I am lost without the internet, professionally at least.

    Refrigeration is pretty high up there.

  34. I’m usually too late any more to comment on these, but gotta this time. After losing power for a week from the windstorms, I gotta say the only thing that I really couldn’t live without was hot water. Plumbing was nice, but I think I’d prefer a bucket of hot water and a ladle to taking a cold shower. Bleh. :P

  35. @Jason W: It’s never too late, my friend. Old thread is never too old.

    As for me, I’ll skip the basics like plumbing (but, um, YES) and say my laptop, which I use as a television, stereo system, communication device, and Skepchick HQ.

    Second up would be the iPod. A commute without music is like a commute without oxygen.

  36. Actually, I can’t live without my computer, land line and my planner. Because as a web developer, I need my computer running and my schedule in front of me.

    And since I live in Western Wisconsin, cell phone connectivity is shaky at best, and our power occasionally gives a flicker.

    Though when the power is out or I’m pooped? I’m happy to lay hands on my trusty battery-powered book light and then dive into my library. Written word just rocks ;)

  37. Nokia E61.
    Has notes, has cut & paste, does everything the iPhone does and more… and it did it 2 years ago.

    I use it to replace my MP3 player, PDA (and all it’s applications), Phone, SatNav and the wireless micro-laptop I never got.

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