The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Theoretical Technology Edition

Yesterday, I was talking to a close friend about what sort of technological device would actually make our lives easier. I took a look at the things I actually use all the time already – my pocket calendar, my pocket notebook, Wikipedia, my RSS feed reader, and my book collection – and I basically described what, for me, would be the one ultimate technology device that I would buy. I’d like to see a very sturdy device, roughly the size of a sheet of paper, with a screen that you could write on like a tablet. It would allow you to effortlessly store and bring back these jottings. You could also flip it sideways and use it for touch typing if you wanted to. It’d include an integrated calendar and an integrated web browser that could be manipulated with the fingers quite easily. It’d also have the ability to be an Amazon Kindle-esque book reader, and would have the ability to both use Wi-Fi and cell phone signals to access the internet, as well as built-in GPS for mapping purposes. It could also function as a cell phone with a Bluetooth headset. The ability to work on a presentation (i.e., a version of Office for it) would be stellar, too. The technology is out there in bits and pieces, spread all over the place across tons of devices. There’s some company out there (Apple, are you listening) that could pull this all together – and it’d be huge.

This is the device that I want, one that actually serves a lot of very useful functions in my life. It’d save me a significant amount of time, enable me to get productive creative work done in a lot of places that simply don’t work well right now, and make work-related traveling significantly easier.

But here’s the interesting part. Knowing the exact item I want – and seeing other items fall short of that standard – keeps me from wasting my money on gadgetry. I know what I want – I’ve described it above. Until that device comes along, I’m not buying a gadget that takes care of some of those features. I’ll get by with my old beat-up cell phone, my old laptop PC, and my pocket notebook.

Knowing what I want and waiting for it versus falling in love with the neatest thing that comes along that does a few of these things (hi, iPhone!) is saving me money, because it keeps me from even being interested in such halfhearted devices. I have no technolust for the iPhone because I see all the things that are missing in comparison to the device that I actually do want.

I’ll keep waiting, and putting $5 a week away into a fund for that device. I’ve been doing it for about eighteen months and that account has about $400 in it. By the time someone gets it together, I’ll be able to get what I actually want with little effort.

Anyway, here are some interesting articles of note.

Do We All Really Spend More with a Credit Card? My feeling on this is pretty simple. If you find yourself spending more with a credit card than you would with cash, you shouldn’t be using a credit card. A credit card is a tool to give you buying protections and some benefits. If you use it as “free money,” that’s inherently dangerous. (@ free money finance)

Quick and Easy “Survival Menu” #1 There are simply some periods in your life where the events overwhelm you – and in those situations, many people fall into a rut of eating out. MSM’s solution to the problem is a bit different – she has a “survival menu” to help deal with crises. Excellent idea – it saves big money as compared to eating out. (@ money saving mom)

The Sunk-Cost Fallacy: Good Money After Bad Before you click through, a hint: the article is not about World of Warcraft. He’s using it as an example to describe something much more important. (@ get rich slowly)

Taking a Deep Breath Stress is one of the biggest reasons that people fail in their carefully-planned financial resolutions. When the chips are down, don’t respond by picking up the credit card. (@ my open wallet)

Do You Really Care What Other People Think? “The reason most folks overspend is that they care too much what other people think. They’re trying to keep up with the Joneses, so they spend and spend.” I like that quote. (@ no credit needed)

How Does the Fannie Mae and Freedie Mac Bailout Affect You? Good answers. I don’t think corporate bailouts are good for anyone. In my opinion, they should have been allowed to fail and their assets auctioned off. Their CEOs certainly shouldn’t have gotten the golden parachutes that they did. (@ wise bread)

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