Anyone who knows me will attest that I can be a tightwad and set in my ways, and am not afraid to go totally against the grain. For example, I have never purchased a new car, and never will. The 25 percent depreciation in the first year of ownership appalls me. Let someone else take the hit, and I'll buy used, giving up 20-25K on the odometer to save $6-8K.
When I was a student at Michigan State, I used to check class textbooks out of the library and keep renewing them every 2 or 3 weeks, rather than pay the outrageous price the bookstore charged for even used books. Back in those days, MSU was on a quarterly system of 10-week sessions, rather than today's 15-week semesters. So it wasn't hard to milk the library resources.
In more recent years, I have resisted the temptation to purchase the latest and greatest laptop, tablet or smart phone. My current MacBook Pro is a 2010 model. And until just the past week or so, I have been one of the few "flip-phone" holdouts. Since I obtained my Motorola cellphone in 2008 and my family cut off our landline forever, I have been content with a phone that can send/receive text messages, take pictures, and that's about it.
In recent months I started a job that requires me to be out on the road a lot. Google maps, GPS and a compass are vital tools. It's also great to be able to check email, phone numbers and addresses whenever I want, rather than have to find a business with wireless Internet and lug my laptop inside to log on.
The iPhone is every bit as versatile and powerful as I imagined, and then some. As a lover of music and talk radio, I can listen to great tunes via the miracle of mp3, and enjoy talk shows sans commercials by downloading podcasts.
But there is quite a learning curve, and my 22-year-old son, a veteran of all things Apple & Mac, quickly loses patience with showing me how to do things. He loves to make disparaging remarks about Baby Boomers too often being technologically challenged and slow learners. I pointed out to him that his generation has a huge advantage, having grown up with computers, the Internet, cellphones, and eventually smart phones. He seemed not too impressed with that argument.
But I recall an incisive quote by Alvin Toffler, author of the 1970 book "Future Shock." Perhaps in a prescient warning about one of the many pitfalls of apathy and laziness, Toffler stated, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ”
Fortunately for those of us who grew up using typewriters and suffered through the dark days of WordStar/Wordperfect/MS DOS, 80MB hard drives, floppy discs and 14.4-baud dial-up modems, Apple makes user-friendly, intuitive products. Play around with it a bit, and you'll usually catch on in a hurry. That's what I intend to do. But NEVER while driving, of course!