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January 05, 2007

ARE TODAY'S ELECTRONIC GADGETS WORTH THE MONEY? USA Today says that some are and some aren't:

Tech companies constantly revamp their product lines, as anyone who has ever paid top dollar for a cutting-edge device knows. Driven by brutal competition, they release faster, cheaper, more feature-laden gadgets each year. More than 2,700 companies are expected to unveil their latest and greatest beginning Sunday at the giant Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which is expected to draw more than 2,700 exhibitors.

The show's 140,000 attendees will see firsthand the effects of Moore's Law, an industry rule of thumb that says electronics roughly double their performance every two years.

But how much have they actually improved this year? Is it worth paying for a pricey, top-of-the-line camera, TV or other device that may be outdated — or obsolete — in a few months? Or would it be better to wait until next year to buy? USA TODAY asked the experts to find out.

I'm going to be attending the Consumer Electronics Show myself, as part of the Popular Mechanics contingent -- and yes, it was awfully nice of the PM folks to invite me along. I'm actually going to be doing more gadget reviews, etc., for them in the future.

UPDATE: What about my TCS Daily column? You may well ask. ("I am asking." "And well you may!") As some readers have noticed -- and thanks for that! -- I'm not doing the weekly column there anymore. I liked it, and Nick Schulz is a fine editor, but I wrote that weekly column for five years straight and it was starting to turn into a bit of a grind. Nick was gracious enough to let me go, and I think he's better off taking the money he was paying me and using it to hire fresh new writers, especially as he has a special talent for finding new voices and encouraging them. I've missed the column a bit these past few weeks, but Helen says I'm a lot more fun on weekends. A column's a lot more work and stress than an equivalent number of words in blog-post form; I'm not sure why, it just is.

I wrote a while back that I was trying to reduce my workload a bit, and I still am. When Helen was sick, this kind of work was a nice escape from thinking about our troubles. Now that she's doing better, I find I'd rather spend a bit less time at the keyboard.