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 Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :

Todayís Dilemma

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
My first purchase of any sort of electronic device was way back in about 1957 when I bought a transistor radio. Up until that time I had made radios from crystal sets and other stuff you bought from magazines like Popular Mechanics. I canít recall too much about my first portable radio and now that I think about it, how did you power them? I donít think small batteries such as we have now had been invested.

Anyway that first purchase was like a drug to me, from that moment on I was hooked. The next thing I remember was a stereo when I was in the Army. If you recall, we went from old 78 records to 45 records to 33 1/3 records. Each one was a step up (or a step down depending on your frame of mind) and required a new purchase. In our cars we went from an 8 track tape system to a cassette to a CD to whatever (MP3 IPOD) we have now. Iíve lost track of many of these. Iíve heard you can still buy and sell these, but my question is why would you want to do so?

Donít get me started on televisions. First we had black and white with rabbit ears. Then came color, then flat screen (ours weighed in at about 400 lbs) then Plasma, then LCD and now we have LEDÖor it might be the other way around. Oh, and HDTV fits in here somewhere...or at least I think it does. Who can remember? When you buy a television today, they ask you how many HZís you want and shouldnít you be looking at a 1080P or how about a clear span of 240 degrees with a 14 bit video and 3 or 4 HDMI inputs. Oh and did you want the optional SD card slot with the built in HD function? Do I really need an 80K:1 dynamic contrast ratio and finally is my resolution going to be adequate for the size room I am going to be putting the television in? All I want is something big and easy to watch with a cord to plug into the wall and a remote with as few buttons on it as possible. Preferably an on/off button, a channel changer and volume control. Thatís a remote Iíd like. Thatís remote I can live with. The one we now have has about 75 buttons that can be pushed. Allowing the remote to slip from your hand and fall down beside you on the couch is tantamount to disaster. The simultaneous pressing of some unknown combination of buttons at the same time can cause you to lose anything you have recorded, put your television in a permanent sleep mode or force you to listen to Lawrence Welk music for three days or until your 13 year old neighbor kid can come over and get you back on track. I feel fairly certain that the designers of our remote used to work at some sort of nuclear launch site and these devices were originally designed to prevent any accidental missile launch.

Our recorders went from BETA to VHS to DVD to things I donít have but am sure Iíll need in the coming months. My garage could be a graveyard or museum for obsolete electronics. No one throws these away and no one wants to buy them so they just sit there on the shelf and will end up going somewhere when I get my just reward. I hope not with me. Heaven has enough clutter as it is, so Iíve heard.

Having said all of this, it leads me to todayís dilemma, I am looking at an advertisement in todayís paper for items I think I want to buy, but for which I know absolutely nothing about. For example, here is a new Blu-ray player. Now, I have no Blu-rays to play nor do I think Iíve ever heard any of their music but they must be good since I am seeing ads them all over the place. I know about Ray Charles and the Raylettes, and I know about the bluesÖso I suppose this is some sort of new variation of this theme. Iíll let you know.

Here is a 2GB DDR2 PC2-6400 memory on sale for $39.99. There is a picture with the price, but I canít begin to figure out what I could use this for, but would like to see one in person so I can determine if I need to grab one before the sale ends. Next to this is a 128GB, 2.5 inch solid state (as compared to liquid state?) drive with notebook upgrade kit bundle for just $249.99.

If I hurry I can get the 500 GB simple (simple is good) drive turbo (I had a turbo car once) usb 2.0 external hard drive for only $49.99. I should rush over and grab one or two of these before they run out of stock.

The last item I think I might need or could use is a 24X Sata DVD-RW for $34.99. I recognize the lettersÖDVD. Nothing else means anything to me, especially the two items mentioned before the DVD. A notebook upgrade bundle? Come on, what is this? Iíve had notebooks; there isnít any way to plug an electrical cord into one of those things. Theyíre just cardboard, paper and some wire on the edge.

Keep those cards and letters comingÖ.


© Peary Perry
Letters From North America
- April 14, 2010 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com
Complaints go nowhere.
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