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All Charged Up

All Charged Up

In an age of instant gratification, when I can get everything I need with my high-speed internet, GPS directional system, cell phone, blackberry, iPhone, digital cameras and, of course, my Flip Video camera, I should have increased my ‘free’ time by hours a week… right?

No more typewriters or primitive dial up (don’t even go there); no more bulky Thomas guides; no more phone booths (and loose change!); no more missed calls; no more trips to the library for random facts from an encyclopedia (what are they?); no more boom box; and most important to me as a photographer, no more endless hours in the dark room processing my film (and being asphyxiated by chemicals as I do it).  This is the life, baby!

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology, but when I think about what I have to carry every day of my life: laptop, GPS, Blackberry, iPhone, iPod, digital cameras—and chargers for everything!—it makes my head spin, and my middle-aged back ache.

On a recent shopping trip with my wife to Macy’s, she started power-browsing, as she does…and I found the only spot in the store with any kind of sweet spot: five full bars of internet and cell service! Nirvana!  I camped out while she shopped.

If a store out there is listening, they should offer cell and internet service, customers—and their spouses—might stay a lot longer. I was happily Twittering and surfing the internet when I realized my iPhone was at a nine percent charge. Well, that was it for us.  Within minutes, I was down to seven percent, and the needle was dropping fast. I had to throw in the towel: shopping trip over, my technological ADD was going to set in any second…

Given all this technology, when I really think about it, there isn’t nearly as much ‘extra time’ in my day when I take into account everything I have to do to keep my equipment charged.  I gotta be looking at a few hours every week.  And over a year, or a lifetime? Well you do the math.  As a photojournalist on a big city paper, a low battery could sink me quickly if I’m not careful.

It’s amazing how many gadgets I haul around that require my full attention before I walk out the front door. And nothing is simple because every one of them requires a different charger. I can’t be the only person losing hours a week on gizmo maintenance.

On an average day, when I’m shooting photographs for work, I need a checklist for my battery-sucking technology, with my iPhone leading the pack as the most ravenous power-abuser.  Okay, it’s conceivable I just have too many gadgets.  And now I’m facing the big decision: to iPad or not to iPad? There’s the rub. But even with all the inconvenience, I’m not giving up a thing.

As technology evolves faster than we can acquire it, batteries seem to be the only thing holding us back. But, hey, technologically speaking, who wants to turn back the clock? Bring it on, I say.

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