some devices in my house, in which i observe and criticise these strange mechanisms and wonder aloud why they continue to exist around me

pixel buds

Imagine: headphones delivering sound to your ears without the aid of a wire. The pixel buds can do it for $100+. Many other headphones can do it for $20. The pixel buds are a disaster of design in that they don't stay in ears. They are shallow, back-loaded, and have a little string loop that's supposed to wedge into the upper fold of your ear to keep them in place. None of this works, and I assume they were tested on a very narrow range of ear types. Their propensity for falling out means a lot of fumbling and grabbing to keep them in (especially if you are foolish enough to use them while walking). This means you repeatedly engage the play/pause and next track touch functionality, losing your place in whatever it was you were listening to.

Pairing requires messing with their case while the actual buds are perfectly situated in little grooves. the string connecting the buds is hard to pack into the case, meaning that often when trying to pair they aren't perfectly seated and thus the pairing fails.

Almost as if to pile on insult, the actual sound quality is poor. There is no low range and the max volume feels very low, forcing one to strain to hear sharp and tinny sounds.

The only nice thing I can say is that being disappointed in these costs less than it would for me to be disappointed at apple airpods. I want to get rid of them but I don't know how. No one should buy them because they aren't worth real money; but I also wouldn't wish them on anyone. If a friend really wanted wireless earbuds and couldn't afford some I'd just give them $20 for earbuds that actually work.

I'd like to destroy them but I'm not sure what method is the most fitting.

letscom bluetooth earbuds

They cost $20. They come in a variety of fun colors. They pair effortlessly, are water resistant, require no special case, and come with swappable ear buds. they have a wrap-around piece so they stay comfortably in-ear when walking or even (gasp) running. There is a play/pause button that you have to opt into touching, unlike a touch interface. I love them.

Devices like this feel like they are designed for real people, while devices like the pixel buds (and apple airpods) are not for real people with practical concerns; they are for performative consumers, influencers, and people with too much money.

a dell inspiron from circa 2000 a.d.

I bought this laptop for $60 with a pre-installed, functioning copy of Windows 2k. It has an onboard floppy drive and numerous other ports. The touchpad is still responsive and the click buttons are sturdy and make a pleasing sound. The screen is in a comfortable 4:3 ratio.

My only sadness is that I have some software I was hoping to run on this laptop that would really prefer Windows 98. It's not the laptop's fault, though, and I have many pieces of software running that I am happy about.

The device is large and boxy. It would be uncomfortable to truly travel with it, but I appreciate being able to move it around the house with ease. It's definitely more convenient than having a desktop for this kind of thing (hobby vintage computing). If I did have to take it to an event, it wouldn't be hard. I'm glad that everyday laptops are lighter and easier to carry around but things weren't that bad ~20 years ago.

a blu-ray usb drive

Having a desktop used to make sense. It still makes sense, but I get issued work laptops now. I inevitably end up using them for everything. Both the constancy of laptops and the march of digital media made interacting with CD-ROMs, DVDs, and Blu-Rays was less common for me. After a lot of frustration with both legal attempts to consume certain content as well as piracy I realized that optical media is still very valuable. They are cheap to obtain on the secondary market and you can back them up for personal use, either keeping the discs around as a backup or re-selling them so someone else can have them.

I quickly realized how much I missed having a desktop with optical drives and have really enjoyed this Pioneer blu-ray drive. It can read/burn cds/dvds/blu-rays. It's fast enough and backing up discs is a lot easier than it was when I was doing it back in high school in 2003.

the cheapest phone i was allowed to buy at a target in the summer of 2018

it's a samsung something. i bought it to take to defcon in 2018. there were cheaper flip phones that i tried to buy but i had to show an AARP membership card. honestly this phone is fine. it does everything you need and has good battery life. it feels and looks cheaps but it functions in every expected way. my only annoyance is it took several seconds for the camera to be ready to take a picture after starting the camera application. it's weird how this has kind of become a benchmark to me for how "nice" a phone is. like, how well it can pretend to be a digital camera.

a canon coolpix digital camera from like 2012

this was my mom's camera for a long time. for christmas i got her a current-model point and shoot. it's really nice but that's not the camera i'm talking about. this one usually produces blurry photos. it's red. it's menuing is kind of baffling but it's not hard to get used to. i love how simple it is. once i was in a tent alone for 48 hours in the middle of nowhere in utah and the only clock i had was on a very similar camera (the same model but from 2005). i would take pictures just to look at the timestamps and see the passage of time. it felt perverse in a way; a few years later we had smart phones to muddle watches and cameras and everything together like that.

this camera that was my mom's fits comfortably in a pocket. i like that it's red. it lets you take terrible pictures at a low resolution which i really appreciate. it's a good starting point for creating pictures suitable for low bandwidth transmission. i think you can connect it to a display for monitoring what you are taking video of which is cool because it means you could do visual feedback like you could on an old video camcorder. my brother and i used to stare at that for hours.

i absolutely do not need to own this but i'm attached to it.

gpd pocket

This is a small computer. About 7 inches across and 4 inches tall; about a half inch thick. I am intoxicated by small computers. It's a desire that goes back far; probably from feeling so hopelessly tethered to my desktop. I'd be away from home for a few days longing and aching and hurting to see all the people and things I cared about. They happened to be online, and in the 2000s you didn't just own a portable computer. You had to be wealthy or well connected.

My first small computer was an Asus EEE 701. The GPD is the latest in years of compulsively buying similar machines. I use them on and off for a few months then end up back on a regular sized laptop. I struggle parting with them, though.

My fervent need for small computers started waning as I became able to purchase nice, full sized laptops. It was re-ignited, however, by my hatred of smartphones. I dream of something roughly as portable as a smartphone but equally optimized for creating textual content as well as consuming. None of the small computers have really delivered on this goal, but I have high hopes for the next little computer: the Popcorn Pocket Computer. It's still in the prototyping phase but I'm excited about it.

oculus go

The batteries in the remote for this mobile VR headset continually leak acid. I researched it and it's just an acknowledged issue with an official workaround of "just change the batteries more frequently." I've already had to replace one remote because of the extensive acid damage and I'm afraid to even put batteries in the new remote.

This is vestigial hardward. The new oculus quest is a fundamental improvement in every way. I hungrily bought the Go as soon as it came out. Much like my obsession with small computers, I compulsively seek low-cost, portable VR solutions. Nothing has ever really stuck or been practical for my usecase of being as "online" as possible while out of the house.

I had envisioned lounging in the back booth of a dark bar with a headset, typing away in terminals to program or write or chat. I wanted to end the flesh to the greatest extent.

I pulled this off. It was brittle but it worked. I took it to Hawaii and did my best to dissociate from my hotel room with the aid of black velvet. It didn't stick, though, for the flesh always creeps back in. My head got sweaty, my eyes hurt, the headset pressed hard red lines into my face. I used it in public a few times but could never shake the anxiety of someone stealing my stuff while I was off in SSH land.

I realized that ultimately I was trying to fix a focus issue with this. I wanted to focus so utterly on my computer and my tasks therein that I blamed my flesh for distracting me. I realized I can't escape the flesh because I am the flesh. It's inescapable because it's a priori. My faith in a conservative, quasi-enlightment mind/body dualism is eroded by my attempts to erase the flesh and by my time in therapy.

I might still replace this with a Quest but either way I don't know that I am as dedicated to mobile VR as I am to achieving a clarity of purpose and a healthy fleshy+mental state that encourages focus.

vortex race3 mechanical keyboard

My preference for keyboards is organic and chaotic. I type every single day and have tried all sorts of keyboards. I can't explain or theorize why I ended up with this particular one, but I know that it's my favorite after years of trial and error.

I love my Ergodox, too, but it's starting to short and I haven't made the time to debug the solder points; until I do the race3 is definitely the one.