I’ve become a pretty big fan of Leo LaPorte’s various podcasts. They’re funny and informative and make me feel like I’m not surrounded by people for whom light bulbs are a sinful decadence.
But when it comes time for their recommendations, I feel like a country bumpkin. Recent Leo and Steve Gibson were talking about the new Sony Reader and Leo said that it only costs $349. Only $349? That’s half my weekly salary!
I think that a lot of the folks out in Silicon Valley and, to a lesser extent, New York City have a distorted perspective as to what is affordable. In a place where a house like mine can cost five times what I paid for it, the idea that $349 for a version 1.0 eBook reader is a good deal is probably correct. If you’re paying $2500 a month or more for your mortgage, that probably is a good deal. (And if you’re making, as you should be, four times your mortgage payment every month, it’s definitely a good deal.) And judging by what the folks on MacBreak Weekly or TWiT are saying, they’ve got tons of money to throw around, buying Quad Core Mac Pros with dual 30″ monitors and $600 BluRay players and $400 gaming systems to go with their $2,000 HDTVs. (And if it sounds like I’m jealous, you’re right. You wouldn’t like to be able to afford things like that?)
But for most of the rest of the country, where the cost of living is significantly lower, $349 is a pretty big chunk of change. I’d have to spend a few months saving to be able to afford a Sony eBook reader, so I don’t want to buy one until it’s compelling enough to make it worth it. And before that, there’s a bunch of other things I’d rather buy. I still haven’t picked up a 250GB hard drive to do backups, and my Powerbook is starting to feel its age. (And it also doesn’t stay closed.) So I don’t think I’ll ever have an eBook reader, at least not Sony’s.
So to any tech columnist who might read this; I understand that you’ve got tons of money because you’re a super duper tech writer. But realize that not everybody is a super duper tech writer or a Web 2.0 millionaire. Some of us are still poor schlubs pounding keyboards and paying mortgages.
(Hey, maybe there’s a niche out there for a “Penniless Geek” column. I’m not going to say that would make a good domain name, because I want to avoid the quantum domain name effect.)