August 27th, 2013

A Purple Straw Hat

The Original Kindle Fire and Decluttering

A couple of years ago, Amazon put out its first small tablet, the kindle fire. In looking over my orders from when it was released and shortly thereafter, I'm a little flabbergasted at how nuts I went over this device and inflicting it on All My Friends or, more specifically, All Their Children, because a lot of people were hesitant about the iOS universe because of the expense. When I bought some (remember, this was long pre-iPad Mini, and I wanted a small format tablet), I bought three, because I knew what the competition could be like with The Children. We did use them, a lot at first, then there were long breaks in using them, and sporadic returns. But for whatever reason, the iPads continued to win (mostly because of the more diverse app universe) and thus our original kindle fires are now close to two years old and still very functional.

I thought, Self, you should look into finding a new home for these. And because I had trouble giving away an Original iPad, but no trouble at all selling it for an Apple Store gift card, I started my search on Amazon, where I discovered that these puppies are apparently worth $50, give or take, in the form of an Amazon Gift Card.

Wow.

Apparently tablets are like Hondas. They retain a lot of value.

There is a 2 item limit; I don't know if that's per transaction or per customer id or what. I'll find out.

ETA: Other people who I bought Fires for are seeing them hit end of life; they have had much more continuous usage, however.
A Purple Straw Hat

GlobalStar, Amazon, WiFi Everywhere, FemtoCells and More!

Over my vacation with my sister and her family, I got to talking to her and her not-husband about a variety of things. I currently think that the biggest limitation on the more universal adoption of digital ... Stuff is the difficulty of setting up and maintaining a home wireless network. I want to be clear: it's absolutely possible to set one up and maintain one, especially if you pick reliable, simple to use products that are designed to work together, rather than things that have more flexibility but require more knowledge to set up.

However, for all that is is possible to set up and maintain a home wireless network, my husband and I have three relevant degrees between the two of us, my neighbor has PhD in physics and I'm not sure what not-husband has, but he's pretty damn knowledgeable about this stuff. And we have all had trouble getting the coverage right for where we live: we all have to deal with spots in the house that don't have coverage, or deal with coverage extending further than we want it to and so forth (another neighbor -- another MIT grad -- made sure his coverage extended to us during an outage, so too great coverage can be a win). While The Men tend to downplay how annoying this is, I cannot help but think what this would be like in a household with, shall we say, less technological savvy, and, say, broken equipment that is not recognized as such. Because broken equipment can suck the life out of you and make you feel incompetent if you don't realize it is broken.

I don't know that I convinced anyone in the room with me that the difficulties of setting up and maintaining a home wireless network are significant roadblocks in universal adoption of mobile devices (and the Final End of Paper as a Communication Standard -- which is entirely dependent on mobile + cloud at this point). But not-husband wanted to talk about femto cells (which I'd never heard of). And when I got back from vacation, I kept hearing about Lab 126 testing GlobalStar spectrum for TLPS. So with a little digging, I found this, where all becomes clear. Read it. It's totally worth your time.

http://www.globalstar.com/en/ir/docs/Globalstar_Webinar_Presentation.pdf

I'm not sure this will really happen, but it has an element of plausibility to it.

ETA: I'm not talking about satellite broadband. GlobalStar is proposing to use its spectrum for terrestrial purposes. So whatever you want to say about latency and blah blah bleeping blah, well, you misunderstood what is being proposed.

Satellite broadband is interesting, particularly in Not Urban areas, but that isn't what I'm on about here.
A Purple Straw Hat

Remarkably Useless Commentary on decluttering and electronics

I recognize that when it comes to boxes that products arrive in, there are Those Who Keep and Those Who Trash. Generally speaking, I am firmly in the Those Who Trash camp. I _might_ hang onto a box for a month if I'm worried the item might need to be returned, but I'm actually not all that likely to return the broken items anyway; I'm more likely to just buy something new (and from a different maker and/or retailer) as to attempt a replacement, because I've spent too much time in replacement hell already over four plus decades.

My husband is firmly in the Those Who Keep camp, on the theory that it helps to have original boxes when moving. Which right up until I started living with him made absolutely no sense at all, because he hadn't moved in forever. Ha! He was just allowing for the possibility of me to appear. Perhaps. I actually don't like reusing original boxes when moving; I'd rather have uniform sized boxes because they stack better. But never mind that now.

We kept the boxes for all the various small electronics that are now being shipped (on someone else's dime!) in exchange for gift cards at places we buy stuff at anyway. IT DID NOT MATTER. Apple's PowerOn has you go in and then FedEx package it for you (all part of the service). Amazon's kindle return service is pretty laid back about how you send it to them, so at least there maybe it helped to keep the original box.

So I don't think it matters if you Keep or Trash the original packaging. I really don't. I think trashing is easier, but if you like Keeping, hey, it's on you and whoever has to share your space.

But that doesn't excuse the rest of this:

http://www.oprah.com/home/Whats-Your-Clutter-Style-Peter-Walsh-Declutter-Tips/3

"1. Banish boxes.

"There was a time when you could sell used electronics, so it made sense to keep the original packaging," says Walsh. Unfortunately, "no one wants your old gadgets anymore. Technology moves too fast." He recommends recycling an item's box within a month of purchase and donating old devices to a women's shelter. (When you move, pack your electronics in bubble wrap—or better yet, a towel.)"

The comments on the article indicate the web page is from the last couple years. The idea that "no one wants your old gadgets anymore" wasn't true in 2012 and it's increasingly Not True in 2013.

Perhaps when Walsh wrote the advice, it was still the Era of the Feature Phone. *shrug*

But it is brain dead advice now, and makes absolutely no sense in this context, since the perpetrators he refers to include:

"Perpetrators
Twenty- and 30-something Apple devotees"

I've complained before about the low quality of decluttering advice when it comes to decluttering stuff on computers (whether devices, laptops or desktops -- the advice usually is more clutter-ful than anything I'm already doing). I'm going to add a complaint about the low quality of decluttering when it comes to electronic devices.

I don't know _why_ the advice is so bad; perhaps I'll edit this if something occurs to me. Or perhaps one of my Dear Readers can help me out.