Managing Expectations

I think I’ve already mentioned that I started budgeting as I started to be an adult.  If not, well… there.  It’s mentioned.  I pay attention to my income and my expenditures, I prune back on my bullshit spending, and I set financial goals.  Those goals range from the fairly short-term (monthly spending) to the fairly long-term (retirement).  It’s mostly the medium-term… if that’s the right terminology.  Stuff that’s year-to-year or that I am looking to do in the next few years.  Maybe I’ll describe it some other time, more because I feel like writing about shit really makes me sit down and think about it than because I think I’m doing a great job.  I think I’m handling it as good or better than at least 50% of the population, but I don’t know for sure and that’s still not great even if it is true.  Two things I know I do poorly are serious investments and retirement planning.  I’m working on it, though.

Something I feel I do very well, however, is budgeting for household items.  I budget for furniture, appliances, electronics, cleaning supplies, and just added organizational tools.  I see certain electronic items as household items because they are useful and sometimes essential to the maintenance and improvement of my home or my personal life.  The most basic level of this is bill paying.  Out of my about a dozen bills (about half a dozen being monthly) all but two are either on auto-pay or are otherwise payable through the internet.  That’s rad and all but it’s also not the only thing that electronics are good for.  To be clear, I’m talking mostly about my laptop.  That has probably been my top used device until the last year.  Since then, I’ve picked up an iPhone and that has replaced the laptop as my most used device.  The problem with the laptop is that, as mobile as it is, it isn’t mobile enough.  I want to take the internet into my living room, onto my balcony, into my dining room, and especially into my kitchen.  I suppose it would be nice to bring it into the bedroom, too, but I think a Kindle would be best for that anyway.

The laptop isn’t mobile enough for that.  Use, I can take it off of the power cord.  I can disconnect my trackball from it.  I can do all manner of things to make this easier on me but it’s never quite easy enough.  When I do move the laptop, it doesn’t encourage me to be more mobile.  It just makes me be sedentary in a new place.

My smartphone does allow that level of mobility and it’s surprisingly powerful, but it is far too small.  My eyesight is bad enough and not getting any better, so even when I do use my phone to look up recipes in the kitchen, game guides on the couch, news in the dining room, or blogs on my balcony, it fucks my eyes to hell.  It’s too small to read and there’s not enough on-screen room when a reasonably sized font to read without constant scrolling.

But wait, there’s more.  I’ve found that this fancy dancy phone is a great way to share things with people.  If I want to share photos with family or pop up a news story in an intriguing discussion, I reach for my phone.  But man… what a shitty thing to do to their eyes.  Woof.  On top of that, there are things that the phone just can’t do or just can’t do very well.  This includes sharing things on bigger screens.  Sure, you can plug your phone into a TV to share phones.  I may be missing some information on how to do this right, but it’s been my experience that putting my tiny phone screen on someone’s enormousness TV screen just doesn’t work very well.

Here’s how this all ties in together: my laptop is old as balls and ready to go.  My budget is all ready for a new laptop.  I’m sick of laptop computing and I still have a fairly powerful laptop for anything that really requires some kind of PC.  I do still need mobile computing and I’d like to improve that mobility but my most mobile device is too small.  I want to take my device to all of those places and outside of my home to share things with friends and family.  That’s what I want.  And I know how to get it.

I just bought an iPad.

tl;dr – Happy you read that long, drawn out story to find out I bought myself a new toy?  HA!  BITCHES!!! DROWN IN MY SHAMELESS SELF INDULGENCE!!!

I don’t have it yet, by the by.  I ordered the day after the new iPad was announced.  That thing looks pretty sweet, but I’m stingy so I opted to get a refurbished iPad 2 for $350.  I haven’t gotten a case or any other accessories, but plan to.  That $350 price point gives me some budget wiggle-room to pick up such things.  I was planning on getting a knock-off polyurethane smart cover, but I’ve been reading some not-so-great things about many of them.  I’m definitely getting an iPad to HDMI thingy, but that cover thing may wait.  Or maybe I’ll splurge for the leather one.  Anyway, I’ll have it later this week and I’m sure you’ll hear more about it when that happens.