01/31/2012 05:10 EST | Updated 03/31/2012 05:12 EDT

The Perils of the Early Adoptor

Flickr: adactio

Ok I admit it -- I'm a Gadget Guy. A Gadget Guy is loosely defined (by me) as a person that has to have the latest electronic device or they simply won't be able to sleep at night.

This has been a lifelong affliction of mine. I think it all started with my first calculator, a Texas Instrument TI59. It was cool. Then I got a calculator watch from Casio -- way too cool.

An early adoptor is a person who embraces new technology before most other people do. Early adopters like to buy or try out new hardware items and programs, and new versions of existing programs, sooner than most of their peers. According to a theory called Diffusion of Innovations (DoI) formulated by Everett Rogers, early adopters make up 13.5 per cent of the population so I am not alone.

I have not been a particularly successful early adopter. My basement is proof of that. I was extremely proud of my Sony Beta HiFi VCR and was pretty upset when VHS won that contest (kids -- we used to record TV shows and rent movies on magnetic tape!). The list goes on -- Digital Compact Cassette (DCC) was to replace old analog cassette tapes (nope). Digital Audio Tape (DAT) was another piece of hardware destined for my technology graveyard. My calculator gave way to the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), and I have a few of them from Dell and Palm in the growing heap. I lucked out when I jumped on the compact disc bandwagon but had a harder time with my video game consoles. Anyone remember CD-i? Sega Genesis? 3DO? Game Cube? Coleco Gemini?

No? Well come on over and I will show you.

It was hard enough back then to make the right choice but it seems to be getting a lot harder for us early technology adopters. My HD-DVD player (and 30 HD titles) is now in a box on the shelf right below my HP Touchpad tablet. Both new formats are dead as doornails. I have a Blackberry Torch, a Samsung Android Galaxy Infuse, and an i-Phone/Pad/Pod. My Playbook is almost ready to join the HP tablet in the morgue. I always upgrade to beta versions of unreleased software and I am dying to get my hands on the new Android 4.0 operating system and install it on as many devices as I can.

Have I learned any lessons along the way? Only one: Have a big basement.