My Technology Arsenal: To Kindle or Not to Kindle

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I inherited the early adopter gene from my father, who had a digital calculator in the early 70s that must have cost him hundreds of dollars.  He’s given me things over the years that were very cool: a briefcase stereo that played albums (remember albums?), tapes, and radio in the late 70s; a Canon XapShot digital camera in about 1985; and more.

Now that my technology junkie budget is my own, I try to be a bit more circumspect in my purchases.  So, what are the most important things in my technology arsenal?  You might think that I’m positively a Luddite, but here’s the list:

  • Dell Latitude D820 laptop running Vista — It’s a little old, it’s a little clunky, but it gets the job done.
  • Apple’s iPhone 3G — This is my most recent acquisition, and the latest "How did I live without this?" item.  It’s not really a phone: it’s a computer that fits in your pocket and makes phone calls.  I can surf the Web from anywhere, get directions, find out what song is playing by pointing it at a speaker, my son can manifest his love of light saber play, and on and on and on.
  • TiVo HD — This is my second TiVo platform, after my old Series 2.  If you don’t have TiVo, GET ONE.  It changes the way you think about the idiot box in a positive way.  We don’t just watch TV very often anymore, we watch TV we want to watch.  That ‘500 channels with nothing on’ complaint doesn’t totally go away, but it doesn’t come up as often.
  • iPod Touch 20Gb — Another old model, but, hey, it holds more music than I can listen to and it works.

What prompted me to write this post is that my wife "bought" me an Amazon Kindle for Christmas.  I put bought in quotes because you can’t actually buy one of these things. The current shipping delay listed on the Amazon site for the Kindle 1.0 is 8 to 10 weeks, almost an eternity in tech.  My wife presented it with the permission to say no if I didn’t think I’d really use it.

The Kindle promises to revolutionize reading in the same way that the iPod revolutionized music.  I’m a big reader, so it seems to make good sense, but am I ready to give up paper?  I look at my book collection (along with my CD collection) as a sort of journal.  I remember when and where I bought many of my books, whether they be shallow "airport books" or tomes that changed my thinking in some way.  Can that happen with a digital file?

The Kindle 2.0 is expected anytime, too.  So should I wait for it before taking the leap?  From the pictures I’m seen and reviews I’ve read, it isn’t significantly different, but isn’t the new model always better in some way?  And what about generation next?  One of the big content areas is magazines, but would magazines read well in black and white or is it worth waiting for a color version?

I’m not sure what my answer is going to be, but on the assumption that there are people out there reading my musings, I’d be interested in thoughts about the Kindle.

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