published Friday, March 4th, 2011

Courter: Gadget guy over the moon for Apple

Growing up, I always considered myself a tech geek, though in reality, I was only a casual geek. I loved tinkering with stereo equipment, though my experiences were pretty much nothing more than hooking up equipment, running speaker wire and moving things around.

I was pretty good at putting in car stereos.

Truth be told, I was, and still am to a degree, more of a gadget guy than a take-it-apart-and-put-it-back-together guy.

I bring this up because whether we admit it or not, we are all pretty much gadget geeks these days. It wasn’t that long ago that the idea, or prediction, that every home eventually would have a personal computer in it seemed like science fiction of the highest order. It’s not unusual today for people to have two or three, and most everyone has a cell phone that can do way more than phone a friend.

These electronic gadgets have become so much a part of our daily lives that we don’t give them much thought until they suddenly quit working. Folks who spent any part of this week without power know what I’m talking about.

My daughter does her homework surrounded by a phone that constantly beeps with new text message alerts, a laptop, an iPod for music and a TI-81 calculator that I think can be programmed to run NASA if needed. This is all very normal for her and no more unusual than using a No. 2 pencil was for us.

Some people, however, become quite enamored with computers and cell phones and the like.

My son, for example, is an Apple loyalist to the core. We’ve had long discussions and debates, though they are usually one-sided from his standpoint, about the pros and cons of buying Apple.

To his way of thinking, talking about any other brand or product is a huge waste of breath.

This was driven home to me recently when his dream became reality and he finally got an iPhone after Verizon began selling them.

The day before, I got a text from him saying he was at the Apple store in Knoxville with his two buddies who were there buying iPhones.

“This is exciting,” he wrote.

The next day, my son was there buying his phone.

Later that night, I sent him a text that read, “You happy?”

He came back with “Ecstatic.”

Then came this, “I feel somehow completed.”

All I could think to write back was, “Wow.”

I then got, “I waited three years for this. I’m thinking of sending Steve a note saying, ‘Thank you, and get well soon.’”

The Steve mentioned is, of course, Steve Jobs.

I think I wrote back something about wedding bells, hotel rooms or some such, but at this point, I figured I had a decision to make. I could walk away, knowing with all my heart that my boy was kidding with me, or I could continue the conversation and run the risk of learning that he had lost his mind and gone completely over the top.

I walked.

I’m now waiting for word that his next must-have will be an iPad, which he will need to control the electronics in his VW Bulli.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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