New York and Tech Gifts

I’m currently in NYC staying the night at stevesbets’ apartment.  He lives pretty close to Columbus Circle (because he’s in the Fordham MBA program) … pretty nice area.  I always have mixed feelings on NYC when I visit.  On the one hand, it’s awesome because there are so many friends around, so many girls to meet, so many things to do, etc.  You can basically do almost anything.  Not to mention the 24-hour Apple Store (great for night owls like myself) and tons of other conveniences.  I can’t imagine a better place for me to live on certain levels.

On the other hand, I really dislike a lot of things.  First, the weather is pretty miserable.  There are so many far superior climates to live in — and weather is really important to me.  Second, it’s so absurdly expensive.  I don’t know if this info is private so I won’t mention details, but the amount of money that Steve pays for this place is absolutely ridiculous.  It’s like people are packed into this city like sardines and they all pay a massive premium for the privilege of living as closely as possible with millions of others.  I don’t really like the idea of being so close to everyone.  Third, the lack of ability to drive comfortably is not something I like.  I really like driving on open roads (assuming the car is up to it).  Steve has a brand new M3 convertible and he has to leave it in a super cramped garage all day (don’t even get me started on the parking spot, it’s utterly ridiculous that he somehow manages to fit in that).  I would want to be driving that thing on country backroads all day, not to mention testing out the speed potential.  In NYC, you have to deal with short blocks, ton of cops, bumpy roads and a general lack of ability to safely go fast anywhere if you don’t want to drive 30+ minutes out of the city.

Anyway, long story short, I don’t know if I would enjoy living in NY.  Sometimes I think yes, sometimes I think no.  I guess I won’t know until I try (or, if I try).

Moving on, I recently read this post on Gizmodo: http://gizmodo.com/5119165/dad-wheres-the-digital-photo-frame. The post itself isn’t anything all that special, but some of the comments are terrific. It really reminds me a ton of my own family, although my family isn’t nearly as bad in a number of ways.

For instance, I recently bought my mom an iPod Touch as a holiday present (I don’t celebrate religious holidays, but I’m happy to jump into the gift-buying part of things). She has been using this archaic Palm device for her calendar needs. Also, she’s a doctor, so she uses this program called “Epocrates” which somehow helps in the process of prescribing drugs (I’ve never really asked for the details on how it helps). I noticed that Epocrates had an Apple App, so I figured it would be the perfect gift. I also installed about 10 apps on it which I thought she might like and gave her a brief run-down on how to use it. She isn’t NEARLY as bad as some of the parents described in the Gizmodo post, but she still has a “show me how to use this” attitude instead of a “I’ll figure this out” attitude. Not saying I blame her for it because, 99% of the time, it’s much faster if I just show her. But what I really see from my family is a general lack of early adoption or branching out without some pushing on my part. I don’t think they even got HDTV until sometime last year. And I also gave them a Logitech Harmony universal remote (I think a year ago), but it’s back sitting in my room completely unused because they have no interest in setting it up themselves. This is despite the fact that I still see like 4-5 remotes on the couch by the TV when I go home and, in well under 1 hour, they could replace all of them and have a much easier overall media-controlling experience. I think it’s just a general ambivalence about the benefits of a new technology, even when it’s being presented directly to them. Not saying I blame them, just an observation. Now, on the other hand, my grandparents are a totally different story… I shouldn’t even get started.

What about your families? Do you have experience giving “tech” gifts to the tech n00bs of the world?

4 thoughts on “New York and Tech Gifts

  1. Eric

    I think New York is one of those places where you either like it, or you don’t. Obviously, if you want to drive a car around the city, New York just clearly isn’t going to work for you. But if you think about the fact that we are all so close, and you don’t need a car, then factor that into the price of your apartment, the prices come down a bit. However, being so close to everything and everyone, you go out more and spend more money — so there’s that. I don’t think New York is the sort of place where it’s easy to live for your whole life. During your 20′s and 30′s is one thing, but raising a kid there is another. The schools are crazy expensive, hard to get into, etc. Other cities, like Philly for example, are hard too but a bit more manageable. New York, for me anyway, was something I always wanted to experience. Not necessarily for my whole life, but for a few years at least.

  2. Nancy

    Nat — I’m actually getting angry reading this. I’m guessing that your parents are probably my age or a bit younger. You assume that everyone is as technically savvy as you younger kids are. You have an advantage over us. You continually speak with friends who are into new gadgets and you are also constantly reading up on every new gadget on the market. On the other hand, parents have a lot more to deal with than figuring out new gadgets. Yes we love them but sometimes don’t have the time to figure them out so they sit there.

    The best part of “my” getting a gift from any of my kids is that part of the gift is either the installation and/or the total explanation of it. It’s not just a gift given and opened. When I got my first Ipod for mother’s day a few years ago, part of the gift was that all of my favorite songs would be downloaded on it for me. Yes, Michael did this. I didn’t have to do anything. When I got a new TV for my bedroom, the old one was removed and the new one totally installed and ready for use. I just got a new copier/scanner/fax and everything else you can imagine machine for Christmas and, guess what????? It was installed and ready to go. That’s part of the present.

    So I ask you to give your parents a break and go one step further when you give them a gift. You can’t imagine how much more appreciative they will be.

    You know I love you Nat but I think this post will end up making your parents happier with the next gift you give.

  3. Nancy

    Now to comment on the NYC part of your post….There’s nothing better than living in a big city for part of your life…especially when you’re young. I know New York’s rents are ridiculous for what you get. Michael was just in there this weekend looking at a new Toll Brothers building on 33rd between 2nd and 3rd. The location is amazing. Buying is definitely the way to go in the city and, if you can get new, it’s even better. And, if you have parents who live in the suburbs like we do, you get to take your car out on the open road as often as you’d like to visit them which hopefully, in my case, will be often. :)

  4. Nat Post author

    I don’t assume they’re as technically savvy. It’s more of an attitude thing I see from the different generations. It seems like it shifts for people born in the 1970-1975 area. A vast majority of the people born in the 60s or prior seems to have relatively little interest in learning about tech stuff. And a vast majority of the people born after 1975 seem to be much more into it. Obviously there are tons of exceptions. But I don’t really think a 29 year old lawyer has any less to deal with than a 55 year old lawyer. I think it has more to do with what people were born with, brought up around and, most importantly, what their peers tend to do.

    Just to clarify, I am not blaming anyone or saying anyone should change their patterns. I’m just making an observation about something that is obviously of great interest to a lot of people (see the comments on that post).

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