Needing a new really loud alarm clock a couple of weeks ago, I typed "loud alarm clock" into Amazon and was served a long list of possible candidates, most with cool digital readouts and lots of cool bells and whistles (no pun intended).
Looking through the list, I suddenly felt the need for something really simple in alarm clocks, and picked this Sonic Boom alarm clock with an old-fashioned clock hands and controls.
Having got it a few days ago and used it now a few times, I'm sold on the simplicity of the device.
I didn't have to crack open a manual and the thing just worked as advertised. And I didn't use the relatively fancy vibrating puck that adds an additional way to wake you up.
Yet this post is not about a loud alarm clock, but more about my recent need to simplify one's expectations in gadgets, both cutting edge or prosaic.
The New York Times explains this alarming tendency even in gadget-freaks like me, with this piece titled "At a certain age, simplicity sells in high-tech gadgets". It explains:
"The point is that technology does not always come naturally. And everything seems to be getting more diminutive and more complex just as I am getting older and slower.
“There are folks who are feeling that things are getting too complicated,” said Jim Barry, a spokesman for the Consumer Electronics Association. “The good news is that you have a lot of choices. The bad news is that you have a lot of choices.”
I can certainly vouch for this trend.
Amidst just overwhelming choices in products with a chockful of features, I'm increasingly opting for the ones that meet just one or two key critical requirements. It's why a product like the MacBook Air has become my laptop of choice, despite having other MacBooks that are far more capable.
And the trend extends to websites. I'm increasingly more comfortable with the simplicity of a social networking site like Twitter than the increasing complexity of my Facebook account.
I'd disagree with the Times though that this trend doesn't mean that I'm getting older, just a little wiser.