Gadget graveyard

Over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at purging junk when things start to pile up too much. Except when it comes to gadgets, that is! Some bring back memories of a certain time of my life, some are oddities that were hot for 5 minutes before vanishing from the market (anyone remember the MiniDisc?), some made an impact on my life in some way…and some I just really enjoyed using. I also think it’s fun to look back at old gadgets and see what made them popular, and what’s replaced them since. It’s a mixture of things, but overall they just appeal to my geek side and I’m not quite ready to get rid of them, even if they’re just sitting in a box in the garage. (Some of them I did get rid of, which I now regret — see “Gone but not forgotten” at the bottom.)

Not my actual gadget pile.

Does this mean I have a gadget hoarding problem? Maaaaaybe.

Anyway, a few years ago I decided to round up all the old gadgets that were sitting in various junk boxes and see what I ended up with, and here’s the more interesting stuff I found. I’ll present them in roughly the order I had/used them, just to be all organized and stuff.

Pro-43 police scanner (with naughty modification)

DX-390 Shortwave Radio

Here’s another Radio Shack relic. It was one of the best shortwave radios you could buy back in the day — in the early 90’s I used to drive out into the desert, sit on the car hood, and spend hours spinning up and down the frequencies listening to strange stuff from all over the world. However, I recently discovered that there aren’t many shortwave stations still around these days. That’s kind of a bummer.

Garmin eMap GPS

This is what navigated me from Phoenix to Seattle back in 1999, and to this day I’m still kind of shocked that it worked so well with its little monochrome LCD screen. It was considered state-of-the-art at the time, being so compact and having an internal antenna. You had to buy the maps on CD, then transfer them to the unit with a USB cable via really clunky software. Such a slow process, but it’s what ya had to do at the time! Now we just have it in our phones and watches. Sheesh.

Sharp Mini Disc

Motorola Razr v3

80GB iPod

Nintendo DS & DS Lite

iPod Touch (32GB)

Awww, it’s so cute! And it was an amazing gadget at the time, eventually leading to the first iPhone.

AT&T Tilt phone

When everyone was dumping their flip phones for iPhones, I had my eye on this baby: the AT&T Tilt. It ran on Windows Mobile 6 (or 7?) and had a touchscreen, an itty-bitty stylus (I know–how quaint) and a slide-out keyboard. Something about this really appealed to me over touchscreen apps like on the iPhone. If course it was a chore to use because you had to tap that little screen with a baby-sized stylus, but I just love miniature versions of things and this was like Windows Mini. It wasn’t long before I admitted it was too tedious to use for just about anything, and I had to accept that the iPhone’s format was the future of mobile phones.

iPhone 3Gs

Ye Olde iPhone 3Gs. So small compared to today’s versions, and in some way that’s appealing. I even still have the box!

iPhone 4

The iPhone 4 came next, naturally. Remember the antenna bands controversy? People said the phone’s reception dropped dramatically if your fingers covered the bands on the side. And oh, did they squawk about it for months. I don’t recall having that problem, but I also didn’t make a lot of calls (and still don’t).

Creative ZEN Vision W

I bought the ZEN Vision W in 2007 so we could watch movies during our long flights, back when we were traveling to Europe every year. The screen was 4″ x 3″, and videos had to be sized and encoded just right for it to play them correctly. It had 30GB of storage so you could cram quite a few movies and shows onto it. It was a great little device for watching videos, three years before the iPad or any other tablet was available.

Boxee Box

Nvidia 3D Vision Glasses

This is something I was really sorry to see dropped by NVidia: their 3D Vision kit. For gaming it was a revelation: actual 3D graphics coming right at you via LCD glasses! No clunky VR headsets needed, just these glasses and the little transmitter. Of course it wasn’t without its limitations — games had to add support for it (and not all games did it very well), and your graphics card had to feature it. But when a game’s developers committed to supporting it, the results were fantastic. There are still games out there that will work with these, but Nvidia has long since abandoned it.

OUYA game console

The OUYA was a neat idea: a small, affordable Android-based game console. It came with a single (weird-looking) joystick, though you could buy an extra. It also had its own app store which tried to woo small & independent game developers. It was a valiant effort but ended up dying a slow death over several years — it still has a dedicated community, though.

A plethora of LG G-series phones

In 2013 I dumped the iPhone forever — I just couldn’t put up with Apple’s bullshit any longer. The first non-iPhone phone I bought was the LG G2. I skipped the G3, then moved to the G4, G5, G6, and G7. The G5 was cool because it was modular — you could swap out the battery for a fresh one anytime you wanted. I loved that, but I was apparently the only one so they dumped that idea with the G6. Meh.

Also, why am I holding onto these? I have no good reason. Maybe I have a problem…

Haze Dual v2 vaporizer

Gone but not forgotten!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. I don’t really know what the point of this post is, but it was fun trip down gadget memory lane for me, so whatever! There are more I haven’t included, so maybe I’ll do a Part 2 someday. I really should get rid of some of this stuff, geez…

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