Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Temptation of the New

Ok, I admit it. I am forever and all Jonesing for new gadgets I can't afford, and probably won't even use enough to justify the purchase. I yearn for a Wacom Cintiq--drool, long for it, make puppy-dog eyes at the screen. But I'm on a budget tight enough that I occasionally still have to accept help from friends and relations to make base budget. Cintiq is on the wish-list, but off the likely-purchase list. Similarly I hunger and thirst not for righteousness, but for an MS Surface and, even hotter, the new Surface Studio. With a starter price that undershoots $3,000 by one lying, hypocritical dollar, that's so not happening.

My current new dream-boat, though, is even less likely, if only because it's less practical for me. I mean, I am a writer, and an amateur artist, and I could in theory get real professional use out of the Surface, the Cintiq, and the Studio.

Really. I might.

Stop laughing at me.

What I know I won't get income out of is the nifty new PlayTable, a specialized device intended to allow you to download and play boardgame apps. The device, about the size of a school cafeteria lunch tray, includes a touch-screen top allowing play. It's not yet clear what limits there are on available apps, or the quality of the compatible downloads. The promotional material (https://playtable.com/) makes it look like a board-gamer's wet-dream. At least to me.

And that's catch number one. I am not a board gamer, even though this product makes me fantasize that I could be! My board games of choice are checkers, Chinese checkers, and backgammon, for the love of God. I have yet to play Settlers of Catan...and that's one of the few to tempt me. I like Battleship--for about half an hour, once every ten years. I enjoy watching other people play Risk, so long as I can leave the room regularly.

I do not need a PlayTable. My kid, who loves games, may need it. I do not.

And, yet, every so often new technology comes out that's so obviously appealing. A console with all your favorite board games loaded up and ready to go! One that provides pretty, zoomy graphics and animation, that lets you move pieces around, that is eye-candy. Of course I want it--just the way I knew from the moment I found I could load digital books on my first tiny PDA I knew that I wanted a digital library: that it had to happen because it was a lust just waiting to be satisfied. I look at the PlayTable and my gut says it's desire in a box, for an almost endurable starting price of one hypocritical dollar less than $600.00.

(Do I have a grudge against companies which use $599.00 to somehow convince you you're paying less than $600.00? Why, yes. Yes, I do...)

I never know how to stop these longings--for the shiny Surface Studio or for the nifty-keen PlayTable. They offer the combination of novelty, convenient access to desirable pastimes, and elegant presentation, and I am lost. My only hope is that the lack of funds that prevents me from buying will also prevent me from investing in tech that fails to satisfy--and that time will bring similar tech at lower prices, to someday satisfy my lust. After all--Kindle and Nook became real things, and now every tablet out there lets me read premium lit at wholesale prices. So--hope springs eternal. Almost as eternal as temptation.

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