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Pace yourself in the high-tech race

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Many of us share a tactic in the way we approach our personal technology.

We wait, letting others push on into the minefield of obsolescence. Nobody wants to be "Betamaxed," or watch a new, single-purpose toy get "converged" by the shimmering new wave of do-it-all devices.

But then hype wins out over our hesitancy. We go for it.

Sometimes it works out.

I fell fast for the compact disc, buying a basic shelf CD player in the late 1980s, not long after the devices went mainstream.

CD players ended up in my car's dashboard and clipped to the belt of my older child.

It's taking me longer to buy into the digital-video-disc (DVD) scene. From what I've seen - at Best Buy and on the office computer - the picture is sharp. Fast forwarding is easy. But most of the DVD story seems to be about better audio and "bonus" movie scenes (likely edited out for a reason).

I might be more interested in high-fidelity movie soundtracks if a home-theater system were hooked up to my TV. Or if my TV were a pricey high-definition model - useful for whenever more programmers get around to broadcasting in the HDTV format.

Meanwhile, I'm thinking of picking up a PlayStation 2, once they can be found, to upgrade my video-game system. A side benefit: The machine also plays DVDs.

You may be having your own internal dialogue about high-tech acquisitions. Today's lead story offers a walk through the labyrinth.

What we can't answer: Who'll win key convergence wars - the makers of cellphones that double as personal digital assistants, for example, vs. PDA-makers whose products also work as phones?

Also: How do we recycle all the old-tech tools we replace? Reach us at work@csps.com.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society


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