PSA: The Following Gadgets Have Jumped the Shark

In my recent travels I’ve seen a number of gadget faux pas. People walking around with out-of-date tech, that they think makes them look cool, but actually makes them look really backward and uninformed. Here’s a helpful list of gadgets you should not own/use if you have any designs on looking like a trendy geek.

The Discman
The original Walkman started a revolution in portable entertainment. It lent iPod-level cred to the geeks of yesteryear. The Discman was never that cool.

Sure, for awhile it was a necessity, and once we could burn our own CDs, it even became somewhat personal. But it was never well implemented. CDs are just too big to make a svelt portable player around, and the spinning platter made it horribly impractical.

If you’re still carrying around a Discman — probably flat in one hand, out to the side of your body, doing your best to keep it level so it doesn’t skip — you need to let the old girl go. Pick up an iPod, or at least a cheap knock-off, and usher yourself into 2003.

There was a time when having a RAZR meant you were on the cutting edge of tech.
That time has passed.

Granted its still a decent and usable phone (despite Moto’s horrible firmware), but the fact is, everyone has, or has had, a RAZR by now. Nothing burns through geek-cred faster than ubiquity. Once grandma can get a particular handset, its time for something new.

Personally, I’ve never kept a phone much more than a year-and-a-half. I kept my RAZR for about 3 months. If you’re still hanging on to yours, its time for a trip to your local Best Buy — or better yet, eBay for an unlocked phone. Just don’t sign any contracts… you could find yourself with another sadly out-of-date handset before your contract is up.

Non-Bluetooth Headsets
The only thing that bugs me more than some hipster-wannabe walking around with a Bluetooth headset in his ear, even though he’s not on a call, is some hipster-wannabe walking around with a corded headset in his ear.

Unless that headset is connected to an iPhone which, while not in a call is playing some tunes, you need to cut the cord. You do not look cool with that cable hanging out of your head (probably plugged in to a RAZR.) Its hard to believe that was ever cool.

If you’re really so important that calls come in with such frequency that you can’t hold a phone to your head while you’re walking, then get yourself a Bluetooth headset, and at least look like a yuppie from this decade.

Most people who have PDAs — Palms and PocketPCs — don’t really use them. I know, because I had them. Sure the idea seems useful, and occasionally its nice to be able to refer to a calendar, but everyone knows by now that the PDA didn’t really become useful until they attached a cell phone to it.

If you’re one of those people with a cell phone holster on one hip, and a PDA holster on the other hip, and you don’t work for UPS or some other employer that requires out-of-date hardware, then I have news for you, friend: you look like a dork.

Smart phones are the thing right now –but even a standard cell phone can do most of the PIM functions these days. If you’re as tech-savvy as you want people to think you are, and you can’t afford an iPhone or a Blackberry, then figure out how to connect your phone with Outlook or iSync.

If any of this is you, its time to get caught up. You’ll find that the future isn’t really that scary. Do your own research online, find what meets your needs and fits your budget, and make it happen. Whatever you do, don’t believe a word the Best Buy salesperson tells you. I over-heard one of those guys trying to sell a MacBook yesterday, and he didn’t have a clue what he was talking about.