2007-10-27

Toys

I had a birthday celebrating a numeric amount that is evenly divisible by 10. Western culture increases the significance of this even simply because of the nature of the number being evenly divisible by 10. Well 16, 21 and probably even 18 has their own reasons for attracting importance. 21 detracts a lot from 20.

I elected not to have a large party with all the friends and so forth. In fact, I very very rarely have a birthday party with all the friends. The celebrations are more of a family affair. And only then because they all know my birthday, and insist on doing something. I almost was able to contrive being out of the country over the allegedly significant day, but decided against the expense, and was thwarted by the family's insistence that celebrations would simply be delayed. It's not that I don't appreciate the family's efforts, I just don't want so much fuss made over simply having survived to this point. My family is full of great people, so a get together is nice.

We all got together and because of the divisible by 10 nature of my age, I got some uber gifts. The Nintendo Wii is an awesome video game platform and I highly recommend it to everyone. That isn't just people who enjoy video games, but people who enjoy being entertained. The bundled Wii Sports is an absolute hoot and a wonderful way to exercise - yes! A video game that requires gross physical effort. Dump that XBox 360 and the PS3 and get your obese children a Nintendo Wii. And a bicycle.

My fiance has seen me making eyes over the new iPod Touch, and took me out to the largest Dick Smith's store that I have ever seen to pick up this little box of wonder. I have read the reviews, looked at the iPhone and bemoaned the issue of the device being tied to an evil telephone carrier. The iPod Touch looked like the device I wanted, and I was so very right. Sure it has some features that are messed up because Apple is playing silly-buggers with their customers, but the features that are working are just phenomenal. I have demonstrated this device to friends and family and they are all blown away. My mother, who is over 60, but looks much younger :), was easily able to figure out how to work the device in seconds. To me this is a mark of how intuitive and simple the interface is. The video is clear, the screen is large enough to read web pages and small enough to slip into my pocket. So simply to browse the web (slashdot, digg, flickr, ebay) and watch some video podcasts (Ask A Ninja, Totally Rad Show) from anywhere in my wifi range. Awesome. I love it!

Recently some bright person has figured out how to "JailBreak" the iPod Touch, which means you can install a number of fantastic third party applications and fix the short falls of the system yourself. I have been hesitant to do this at the moment because I love the features already built in and I also want the next update that Apple has promised to fix the Calendar to allow you to actually enter information (this can be fixed with JailBreak).

A couple weeks before my birthday, I was heading to the Philippines. I always spend some time in the airport duty free but rarely do I ever purchase anything. I noticed the Nintendo DS on sale with the "More Brain Training" software. I had convinced an Uncle to purchase this little monster about six months ago and he has been raving about it ever since. Brain training sounded like an excellent excuse to pick up one of these devices as I am starting research for a PhD and will need all the brain power I can get. Maybe I don't need the distraction but I certainly need the brain power. So my brain did a tricky thing where I justified the purchase on the terms of brain exercises, fun for my fiance as well as myself, and there was a quickly approaching birthday that was evenly divisible by 10. Another factor was that the Brisbane International Airport duty free is actually very good value and I often regret missing out on taking advantage after I leave the airport. So I bought a baby blue Nintendo DS with the "More Brain Training" game - and had a blast. According to the device, my brain is getting younger :) Another highly recommended device.

All these guys along with filling my Flickr account with images taken with my new Canon EOS 400D + lenses have made for a wonderful set of toys. (I still love the Canon IXY!)

Creativity, entertainment and exercise. Getting older is cool!