February 27th, 2010

red panda eating bamboo

First-world problem; or, ceci n'est pas un marketing survey

Lately I sometimes find myself idly shopping for a digital camera, an e-book reader, or a device that will put Google and email access in my pocket. I already have an iPod (the touchless variety) that I like because it's big enough to store my entire music/audiobook library, a cellphone that's nothing special except it has a qwerty keyboard, and a digital camera that I like because it's tiny and don't like because it doesn't have image stabilization.

It occurs to me that if I follow through on this shopping, I have a fundamental choice:
  • Carry one device that does a mediocre job of most or all of these things and has one battery and power cord and computer cable and takes up one pocket in my backpack.
  • Carry four or five devices that all do their respective functions very well and all use batteries and power cords and computer cables and backpack pockets.
It also occurs to me that people I know have solved this issue for themselves in various ways. So I'm soliciting anecdata. (Hey, it's cheaper than actually buying anything.)

Do you regularly carry portable device(s) that serve any of these functions? Why did you choose the devices you did? Are you happy with your current solution?

Digital camera
E-book reader
Cell phone
Wireless Internet
PDA
Music player

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red panda eating bamboo

Look what I found in my brain...

I've been listening to CoverVille podcasts all day; mostly it's been background music. But when I started listening to the Alice Cooper episode something weird happened.

I didn't think all that much of Alice Cooper when his band was active in the 70s and I was majorly obsessed with rock music. And I don't think I've heard most of these songs even once in the past 25-30 years. But as soon as I began playing them, they all came back into my consciousness in perfect condition, and I enjoyed all of them quite a lot more than I used to.

Music mostly gets stored in my memory in a sequential access manner, like a cassette tape. As soon as I heard each song, I recognized it, and when the cover version was different from the original, I remembered what the original sounded like. I would have expected my memories of music that old to be fuzzy and distorted like a cassette tape stuffed at the back of a closet for years. But the storage seems really detailed and accurate.

Music is a pretty reliable way for me to feel and express emotions and I guess that's part of the reason the storage is high quality, because people supposedly store memories better when there's strong emotion involved. But what's especially weird in this case is that I didn't consciously like most of these songs back then. I guess on some level I did like them or at least reacted to them emotionally.

What's it like for you when you re-encounter music from your past?

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