Personal computers or peace? For me, the choice is easy

Computers have played a huge role in my life the past decade, but even the Online Guy knows where to draw the line. I'm referring to a recent survey that showed Americans want new computers this holiday season more than they want peace and happiness.

Gimme a break. Does anyone who completed this survey realize that we're in the middle of a war or two? Beauty pageant contestants everywhere must've choked on their herbal diet pills when reading that headline.

Upon further review, I see the source of the poll is the Consumer Electronics Association, which might have a stake in drumming up sales for all things gizmo, including new laptops, desktops and hand-helds. I suspect a similar survey by the International Dairy Foods Association would put a double-thick malted milk shake atop its wish list.

The Associated Press story about the 2007 holiday gift desires said big screen TVs, clothes and money rounded out the top five. The order of finish last year had clothing in the first slot, followed by peace and happiness, money and then computers.

Americans are projected to spend $160 billion on electronics this year, which is an 8 percent jump from last year. The survey also showed household spending this year on gadget gifts at $358, compared with $337 in 2006. That's a lot of music players, phones and digital cameras.

I know I'm about ready for a new computer at home, as it's been four years since my last upgrade. Do I want that new Apple Mac Pro with dual Quad-Core Xeon Woodcrest processors and 30-inch cinema display more than I want to see an end to wars?

Get real.

I never knew I had so much in common with Miss (fill in the blank).

Another recent gizmo-related news item had me breathing a little easier, when AP reported that many people report feeling the vibration from their mobile phone even when the phone isn't attached to their body or riding in a pocket.

I'm not alone.

The story said this phenomenon is a symptom of being an addict, so I'm admitting that I fit the stereotype. I never leave home without my Treo; I check it far too often for incoming e-mail, sports scores or text messages; and I do reach for it when I feel what I swear is the silent-mode buzz, only to realize my e-buddy is laying on the desk across the room or charging beside me on the seat of my truck.

I also admit to packing a spare battery in case I'm unable to plug in during the day to keep my Treo juiced.

In the past six months, I've noticed many more people sneaking peeks at their BlackBerrys, Q's and Treos. We're all connected, all the time.

Another story reported Intel Corp. has instituted "no e-mail Fridays."

It's something to wish for.

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