Cool tools

Judging from all the people on campus sprouting cell phones, portable music players, Palm Pilots, laptop computers and other high-tech gadgets, it might seem that everyone is indeed rushing to prove that he who has the most toys when he dies, wins.

Hold on a minute, though. Most of the folks we asked about high-tech playthings actually put them to some practical use. In fact, some people are so practical that their favorite gadgets are decidedly low-tech.

Katie Tarbox, College ‘04
“It has to be the Palm Pilot because it makes me look important even though I’m really not.”

Franklin Shen, Engineering ’03
“Remote control, because then you don’t have to get up and walk. Do you know how far you sometimes have to sit from the TV? I even have a computer remote, so I can change the songs on Winamp.”

Vivian Leung, College/Wharton ’03
“I can’t decide between my cell phone and my Palm Pilot. They’re both small enough that they fit into my purse. Little phone, little Palm Pilot, little purse — it’s all little.”

Erin Murphy, College ’01
“I’m a big fan of electric screwdrivers. I use them to fix little odds and ends in my apartment. And I like the buzzing sound.”

Jesse Terry, Engineering ’01
“The electric toothbrush.” Do you have one? “No, but I think they’re a fabulous idea.”

Corey Brooks, College ’03
“The incandescent lightbulb, because otherwise everything would be dark.”

Serge Simpson, Medicine ‘02
“My stereo; it’s what I do to relax. It’s a little bit of an escape.”

Patty Walshaw, College ‘01
“I use my computer for e-mail. I check it every two seconds. It’s my link to the world.”

Mehdi El hajoui, College/Wharton ‘03
“My MP3 player; I use it between classes to bear the noise of most city places. It’s a good break.”

Caroline Mair, College ‘04
“I use my blender twice a day to make smoothies with.”

Nigel Caplan, Education Ph.D.
“My alarm clock — if I have to get up, I need it.”

Jay Wetterau, Law ‘03
“A pacemaker. I know people who really can’t live without it.”

Kevin Chan, Engineering ‘01
“My PC — I’m practically married to it. It’s for everything next to breathing.”

Jae Cha, Engineering ‘03
“My hot pot makes my life easier. I think I use it three or four times a week to make ramen.”

Joey Bajgier, College ‘04
“When I’m at home I play my PlayStation 2 for several, several hours a day.”

—Kim Vinh and Sara Marcus



Originally published on February 15, 2001