Confessions of a tech scavenger

jdbruewer's picture

The 50-inch TV in my basement is top of the line. The best that Hitachi had to offer in 1996. It was 12 years old when I found it next to the dumpster behind an audio/video store. The colors didn't line up right any more, but a visit to a friend who fixes such TVs and about $150 later, it works great.
It's attached to a Panasonic SA-HT830v MultiDVD/VHS player with surround sound that's at least 5 years old. I bought that for $50 off a coworker. The PS2 my wife got me for our first married Christmas in 2001 is also hooked in.
I've just installed a new antenna and amplifier to get a better chance of watching my Bengals play on Sunday and I'm thinking about cutting the cord and dumping cable completely. Not sure if that's high-tech, old-tech or new-tech, but it's tech that works for me.
That's the clincher. I don't need the latest gadget, I need the gadget that works for me right now.
I used the same Motorola RAZR phone for nearly five years before replacing it with an EVO I hope to use just as long. I splurged for Bluetooth enabled radios to let me stream the web through the phone to my car and get hands-free calling. I could have splurged for a new car with an integrated information system. Instead, I bought a universal phone holder and screwed it into my dashboard. That also gives me a dash-mounted video camera at no extra charge.
I've experimented with technology in areas like shaving and coffee making. For me, the old straight razor and two-sided safety razor were too hard to work with while still waking up in the morning. The five-bladed version that's taken over store shelves goes too far the other way. The multiple blades keep any one blade from cutting too deep so there are no nicks, but the shave isn't very deep either. Two-blades seemed to be the right balance, maybe three. The latest electronic shaver I'm using now seems to do the trick, but I haven't ruled out going back to a twin blade.
I spent a few years using shaving soap with a mug and a brush. Eventually I decided a 95-cent can of shaving cream worked as well and was less fuss.
I recently dumped my drip coffee maker in favor of a good grinder and a French press. The process takes a little longer but the taste is definitely better. I'd been through about five different types of coffee makers over the years. I think the best of the modern ones use a thermal carafe instead of a pot with a heating element. I was leaning towards one of those all-in-one jobs that grinds the beans, brews the coffee and puts it in a carafe. But I wondered what I'd do if one part broke.
As of Christmas, I've got a burr grinder, an electric kettle, a French press and a separate carafe. Each works great, and, except for the grinder, I can wash them all in the dishwasher. And, if one breaks, I just replace it, not all four.
I've traveled the trend-jumping path from the latest thing marketing wizards can come up with to replace what already works to going retro just to be different.
There's something to be said for both, but in the end it's about finding what works for you. Even if you find in in the trash.