Anxiety shopping

I’ve been resisting anxiety shopping. I could easily waste hundreds of dollars if I’m not careful. Here’s what I’ve been eyeing:

The reMarkable tablet. Such a sweet piece of technology! Super thin, it can be used for PDF reading, note taking and drawing. You can also use it as an ePub reader, but I’m told it’s not good for that, though they don’t give details about what it’s not good at. Oh, and it’s $400, and that’s its “introductory” pricing, where they toss in a special stylus and cover, which would be an additional $137. $400 is a lot of money, and I have no pressing need for it. I just admire the tech and it seem quite beautiful.

I recently (6 mos ago?) replaced my HP 17-inch Pavilion laptop. I had kept it going for years by replacing and upgrading parts. I got pretty good at that. The fans of that machine tend to fail after a couple of years (okay, maybe you need to puff air through the vents more regularly than I did…). I had replaced the fan a while ago, and did it again, but I must have tugged on the wire to the monitor because it suddenly went all green. So I bit the bullet and bought a ZBook G6 17, which is a fantastic computer. It weighs a lot, so it’s barely a laptop — they call it a “mobile workstation”. The stand I’m using is from the old Pavilion, the HP USB Media Dock. It has an integrated (removable) USB3 docking station that plugs into the base of the stand, which is also an Altec Lansing speaker. Much better and louder than the quite good B&O speakers built into the ZBook. Then I have an external old Samsung monitor that I keep on a heavy articulated arm stand clamped to my desk. I found the HP Display and Notebook Stand II (e8g00aa) made by Ergotron, and it’s verrry nice; I love Ergotron! Elegant way to hold the computer and an extra monitor while taking up much less desk space than I use now. It accommodates various HP docking stations, none of which, sadly, I can use with my machine, AFAIK. The port replicator I could use with my machine costs another $300 (the Thunderbolt 230W Dock G2 with the confusingly-named “combo cable” which is a power cord and USB-C cable glommed together; and I can’t even power my mobile workstation via the dock, so I would have a cluster of big, heavy, HP power bricks). Also it doesn’t have a speaker. But the stand is a very sweet design, and can be bought for $190. But I didn’t NEEEED it. Not really. But then I listened to the sound on my laptop stand, and the speakers weren’t working! Finally, an excuse! So I bought the e8g00aa. Then I thought, wait: have I updated the drivers of my DisplayLink docking station? So I did that, and … the speakers work just fine.

I canceled my order. *sigh*

I’ll be taking a Statistics class at UCLA Extension as a prerequisite for an MLIS program which I would like to start in a year. The course suggested a scientific or graphing calculator. It’s always nagged at me that I should never have thrown out the old HP-25 I had in college and used until the battery pack up and died. So I explored vintage HP programmable calculators. Now I want to buy an HP-41CX with the Stats pack. Like this one, on eBay. But, my god, $310? Without the manuals? Seems like a lot for something I don’t really need. I can do everything I need on Excel ON MY PHONE. But the vintage HP calculators are super sweet… And my Pixel 3? Eh, I have no emotional connection with it. This kind of thing is most fun when you get it at a thrift shop for $20 and spend $290 on fixing it up, right? Yikes. So I haven’t bought one … yet. But I have my eyes open.

I just recently spent $380 on refurbishment and repair of an old German Erika Naumann typewriter sent to me by a relative. It was such a sweet gesture, that I really wanted to do the repair as a gesture of gratitude and to honor the dead relative who owned it. And, if we’re counting, it’s a valuable typewriter.

More egregiously, I spent $1200 (!!) on a Comma 2 for my Prius Prime, to add more driver assistance features. It’s amazing, really. Works great. Beeps too much. It beeps when I engage cruise control and when I disengage it. It also puts a green outline on the screen. Too much feedback and the beeps annoy and frighten passengers.

My daughter says we should buy pretty much anything we want—I still have a job, Ellen is still working, what the hell! But I try to be careful… Not only on spending but on accumulation. I have two big bags of things I want to sell on eBay. Maybe when I’ve sold them I can use the proceeds to get that calculator…

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