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Go, Go Gadget Dad

By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

I’ve got a confession to make, I’m an obsessive gadget guy. It’s the kind of thing that drives my partner batty in some ways. When we moved in together I brought along boxes full of things like a 3D printer, multiple
Raspberry Pi single board computers and Pi clones for various projects that I never got around to (partially because the 3D printer I planned to use for enclosures and components stopped working), Arduino boards, small capacitive touch screens, ribbon connectors, and various diodes, LED lights, button cell batteries and other electronic bits and pieces.

Most of those components fit conveniently in a small tackle box style plastic case that I keep in the bottom drawer of my night stand – easily accessible and out of the way of my clutter hating partner.

Other things, though, are really just obsolete pieces of technology that I can’t bring myself to part with because they still work, even if I don’t use
them. Things like old-school VGA monitors that require one or more adapters to work with modern computer video outputs, or a 20-year-old Dell Axim Pocket PC, one of the early PDAs and a precursor to the modern smart phone. In my early days as a reporter I used the Axim religiously. I could use it to take handwritten notes, and embed audio files so I had a complete recording of quotes I paraphrased in my notes. It didn’t always work as I wanted, and a few times I lost some important recordings. But
it really was a game changer and instilled habits that I have kept to this day, like noting the minute count of a recorder in my notes when I can’t keep up with a speaker. Despite the nostalgia, though, there really is no reason to keep some of these things and I probably should pass them on, either to someone who could make use of them or the recycling center. I know it would make her happy if I decluttered.

Despite all this, she knows me well. This Father’s Day she and the boys got me a Fitbit Ionic. I’d never really been interested in a Fitbit before (my idea of exercise is putting my Pepsi on the far end of the table and reaching to get it), but I do enjoy walking with her. And the Fitbit really scratched my gadget itch. It’s actually getting me up and walking more (you should never underestimate the power of achievements to motivate a gamer), and who knows – maybe the Fitbit will motivate me to get those boxes of old gadgets out of the attic and into the donation bin. After all, it
gives me extra credit for taking the stairs.

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