5 Computer Peripherals I No Longer Use

And 3 that I wish I didn't.

October 9, 2014

The other day my wife wanted me to order her a mouse. A mouse? I had no idea where to start. The last time I used an external mouse was during George W. Bush’s presidency. My complete lack of mouse knowledge didn’t slow her down. She just went to Amazon. (To quote my wife during our mouse discussion: “What do you do all day long? I thought you were a tech nerd or something.”)

This marital / mouse experience got me thinking about computer peripherals that I no longer use, and therefore have no knowledge or opinions. At one point in my life I had strong opinions about what mice to buy. The MacBook Air and the iPhone have made, at least for me, the external mouse obsolete. What else?

1. External Monitors: Many of you still hook your laptops up to big external monitors. Some of you have two monitors. I once had 3 going. (People thought I was day trading rather than working on online courses). No more. Being totally mobile means that I’m totally happy with my 13 inch MacBook Air screen. Having enough screen real estate to only look at one thing (usually Evernote, a browser, or Apple Mail), means that I’m not distracted by other windows. I don’t miss my old life of external monitors one bit.

2. External Keyboards:  How many keyboards have you purchased in your life?  How many different keyboard designs? For many years my keyboard of choice was the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic keyboard. The one with the split letters and the shape designed to match the tilt and positioning of our hands.  I’ve had wireless keyboards. I’ve had mini keyboards. I’ve had keyboards with fancy function buttons. I’ve had keyboards for work and keyboards for home.  I doubt I’ll ever buy another keyboard. 

3. External Hard Drives: The external hard drive is a technology not quite out of the game, but almost. I still have an external hard drive that sits under my desk at home, reminding me that I haven’t done a Time Machine backup for 63 days or whatever.  But is this really necessary?  Everything is in the cloud anyway. Between Google Drive and Evernote and Dropbox do we really need to back up our documents? Shouldn’t we all have Carbonite or Crashplan or some other service?  In the dark ages of personal computing (pre 2009 I’m guessing) we needed external drives to hold all of our files.  Today, we no longer keep music local (we stream it), and the drives that ship with our machines are big enough for everything that we need to accomplish.

4. Computer Speakers: Remember when everyone had speakers hooked up to their desktop machines? I remember getting these cool looking white speakers from Gateway.  (Along with a giant CRT monitor and huge tower machine with - wait for it - a built in zip drive!)  What did we play through these speakers? Was it more socially acceptable in the past to blast our computer noises to the world?  Or did we think that it was just so cool that our computers could double as stereos?

So we have 5 computer peripherals no longer in use (or at least that I no longer use): mice, monitors, keyboards, hard drives, and speakers.  

What's next?  

We haven’t been able to get rid of our printers.  Reading on paper is still way better than reading on a screen.  Will e-ink ever and e-ink readers ever become good and cheap enough to replace our printers?  Probably yes.

Scanners?  I recently purchased a cheap scanner to turn paper pictures into digital pictures.  What a pain to scan all those photos.  If the services that scanned your pictures for you and gave you digital copies had been more affordable I wold have gone that route.  The scanner, a Canon LiDE 110, was only $60 bucks.

External DVD players?  Until Netflix streaming is anywhere near the as good as Netflix DVDs I’ll need to keep my usb SuperDrive.

What computer peripherals do you no longer use?


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