I love gadgets. But I don’t like the environmental unfriendliness that their batteries typically create. So I draw the line on many gadgets where I feel that batteries are a bigger negative than the small labor they are bypassing or perhaps the wire that really isn’t a nuisance. A simple example of this is using a wired mouse and keyboard at my desktop. I don’t care that the wires may look messy if the price is wasting batteries. Besides, you’d be surprised how often I’m beckoned to troubleshoot a problem caused by dead batteries that the user didn’t realize were part of the system.
The arrival of the “smart home” and “the internet of things” has brought some cool things within economic and practical reach of many American consumers. The most recent news-worthy gadget is the Amazon Dash Button. It is a button for a specific product that you get from Amazon and place near where you would typically use the product. When you see you might be running low, you simply press the button and it pops up on your smart phone as an Amazon order item and you can choose whether or not to order it. Convenient? Sure! But do we really need it? Probably not, so you can bet the marketing departments at these big companies will be giving them to us to push their product. I’m not against clever marketing, but I do think those folks have a propensity for masking the waste involved. The stack of unsolicited college fliers addressed to my daughter in our mailbox each day is testament to that. That’s why I look past the “cool factor” on these and say “c’mon man, do you really need this?”