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Five rules for digital wisdom

india Updated: Apr 28, 2013 20:59 IST
N Madhavan

When I began this column years ago, the first one I wrote was on what I call the Law of Diminishing Digital Returns — and you must have experienced it by now. The law says that digital technology gets cheaper and better with time, and hence you should buy things carefully.

Sadly, I have never followed my own advice and I am here to confess today about stuff that I did but should not have — or nearly so. I list them as rules that should help you.

1. Check if the product has evolved: I bought myself external speakers for an MP3 player. It was a cheap option bought online, and ahead of its times. Now you have beautiful, well-designed docking stations. I was buying one cheap, before the design matured. It was made of tacky plastic, and needed old-fashioned battery cells.

2. Can you use it? Really?: I bought a smart TV dongle from LG and found it a complex device. It was difficult to set up and the worst part was realising that you cannot watch a YouTube video on your TV easily because the TV remote is not quite a keyboard. Typing and searching for stuff was way too difficult.

3. Put convenience above fashion: I paid good money to buy myself a Samsung S2 Duos. Realised that I was not comfortable with the touchscreen (yet) and gifted it away, but not before messing up by syncing my address book with it. Somebody’s cool may not be hot for you. And yes, why did I buy a dual SIM phone? I don’t know.

4. Watch where the ball is going: I still have cassettes with songs in them, but pretty sure that I don’t have much use for the Philips player that I bought to rip songs off cassettes to USB sticks. By the time I realised it is time consuming, most of the music was available for cheap downloads.

5. Is it worth being ahead of the curve?: If you believe in value for money, you have to be careful, because a better one is coming along, even as the one you buy suddenly goes down in price.