feb 6

My Digital Life

Even though my friends chuckle when I say it, I don't think of myself as a gadget person. "Rex, you carry around your email in your pocket everywhere you go," they say. "And you move music videos from your TiVo onto a cell phone just so you can show them to people at parties."

Okay, maybe that's a little nerdy. But I don't identify with more reputable gadgeteers because I only believe in technology that makes my life better. I have a simple set of criteria for a gadget to make it into my world: if it makes my life more complex, slow, or tedious, I don't want it; if it creates new, quick experiences, I do.

With that in mind, here's an average day in my life, with digital devices being the organizing principle.

8:00 AM -- Treo

The alarm on the PalmOne Treo goes off.

The best thing about my Treo is that I need fewer devices because of it. In addition to no longer tinkering with an alarm clock, there's no longer a home phone. And, for a long time, I didn't have a digital camera either. (The Treo's cam is pretty sucky, so I eventually bought a Sony Cybershot.) Some people think that forcing gadgets into a swiss army knife device will ruin them, but I actually long for the day that I can get a phone with a bottle opener.

8:02 AM -- Cuisinart Coffee

I can hear beans grinding in the coffeemaker.

Saving me the messy tedium of moving coffee grinds from grinder to maker is almost enough to make this device worth its money. Additional cool features: the timer, a filter-less setup, and the R2D2 look.

8:05 AM -- GoToMyPC

I sit down at my home computer and am instantly controlling my work desktop.

I'm not sure how I lived before GoToMyPC. Through some kind of miracle in engineering, I'm allowed to remotely take over my work PC. If someone were sitting in my office while I do this, they would see my mouse moving around and emails being typed. I could turn on iTunes for them, and play the new Daft Punk single.

I usually spend an hour answering email from home with GoToMyPC. This allows me to avoid early morning traffic while still being "in the office."

9:30 AM -- PC

At home, I drive a Sony Vaio with a dual-monitor setup. At work, it's just one monitor, but I consume so much media through other screens, including a couple TVs that play CNN/MSNBC/FOX all day.

Here are the applications that are usually running on my work PC all day: AOL Instant Messenger, Microsoft Outlook, Adobe Photoshop, Macromedia Homesite, Macromedia Flash, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Sony Vegas Video, and Apple iTunes.

3:40 PM -- Razor Scooter

Time for a break.

My razor scooter is probably the most stereotypical dot-com thing I own. I mostly use it to speed back and forth between the coffee machine and my office.

6:00 PM -- Sirius

This is where I tell you that I listen to Sirius radio on the way home from work.

But I don't. It would make sense -- Alexis bought me Sirius for Christmas, but I haven't used it yet. It seems impossible to somehow fit this into my bulging media diet. Instead, my half-hour commute home is usually the only time where I attentively listen to music on CD. Oh yeah, I drive a Mustang, which is one of America's last remaining attempts at good automotive engineering.

6:30 PM -- RadioShark

Time to catch up on the radio programming I missed today.

Part of the reason I'm not using Sirius is this little gadget. RadioShark is basically TiVo for radio. You tell it to record programs at a given time, and it will create audio files (WMVs) that you play on your PC or transport to other devices. In conjuncture with the iPod/iTrip, you can record programs and play them back in your car. I use it to record Marketplace, On The Media, and Future Tense. In the future, this device will hopefully evolve with more advanced futures like those on TiVo, such as keyword recording and recommendations.

6:45 PM -- iPod Mini

Time to go running.

Some people use their iPod everywhere they go, but I only use it for two things: jogging and parties. I happen to still love the compact disc, and enjoy the presence of my thousand-disc music collection.

7:15 PM -- Treo SMS

Alexis texts me that she'll be coming over later to watch last night's Desperate Housewives.

She uses SMS more than she uses the phone. I've always thought that texting was for people under 25, but she's out to prove the demo wrong.

8:15 PM -- TiVo

I quickly fly through last night's Daily Show. I tend to watch most of the monologue, skip the middle skit segment (unless it's "This Week In God"), and then watch my favorite part -- the interview -- closely.

Putting the plasma TV / TiVo combination in my bedroom has completely changed social aspects of my house. Previously, the focal point of the house was the living room; now, people hang out in my bedroom. This has been immensely advantageous to certain parts of my life.

8:30 PM -- TiVoToGo

I'm traveling this weekend, so I move a couple episodes of Veronica Mars onto my Toshiba laptop for later viewing.

TiVo once commandeered my bedroom, but now with the TiVoToGo software, it's a portable genius. Beyond allowing me to play recorded TV all around the house (on TVs and computers), it also functions as a webserver, so I can remotely access what's recorded on it. The potential is just starting to reveal itself.

9:00 PM -- Creative Zen PMC

I load up the PMC with the latest Beck, Atmosphere, and M.I.A. videos.

For the most part, this is still a device waiting for a use. The concept is basically "iPod Video," but I haven't really figured out how to fit this kind of viewing into my life. Right now, I load it up with music videos, and then take it to parties, where I pass it around for people to watch and talk about. This is very fun, but it hasn't exactly justified the $500 price tag yet.

I've moved full-length movies onto it (and television programming from TiVoToGo), but it doesn't quite feel right watching long programming on it.

11:00 PM -- Blogging

Time to blog. The mechanics of this part of my day are a complete secret.

Midnight -- xBox

I play a couple rounds of Halo 2 before falling asleep. No need to set the alarm for tomorrow -- the Treo knows.

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