Things I Recently Bought

by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 04/29/2006

I’ve been on something of a possession acquisition and purging binge lately (ugh, the search visit’s that’s going to cause from anorexics). But my acquisition binge has been high-tech, and mostly concerned with adjusting my lifestyle to a tiny NYC apartment. I come from an 800+ square foot apartment in Philly, and have gone to half of that in Chelsea, here in Manhattan. To say I had to get rid of a lot of possessions during my initial move is an understatement. But now, after being in NYC for nearly two years, I’m finally replacing the stuff I kept with the stuff I really want, that’s more suitable for a NY lifestyle. For example, I used to have four large bookshelves packed with books. Now, I’m down to one.

But the most interesting stuff is probably my array of appliances that make life a little nicer. Each one deserves its own blog post, but because I know I’m not going to take the time, I’ll just throw this one out there for now. First, is the Tassimo single-cup coffee brewer. It uses barcoded discs to brew the perfect cup of coffee, cappuccino, latte, tea or hot chocolate every time. It uses discs that have real milk (not powder), and the hot chocolate discs contain liquid chocolate (not powder). It’s amazing, and has paid for itself by cutting down visits to StarBucks and Dunkin Donuts.

The next thing that has impressed me (really two things) is the Roomba vacuuming robot, and its partner, the Scooba floor scrubbing robot. I’m the type who would refuse to believe such a thing would work—just as I refused to believe cordless power screwdrivers could possibly have enough power to be any good. I was wrong on both counts, and now I have Roomba scheduled to come out and vacuum my floors every day. It automatically returns to its base and recharges for the next day. All I have to do is empty it each day. Scooba is less automated, but equally cool, giving me work-free shining floors—strange for a strait bachelor. Yes, I’m a straight, single guy living in Chelsea.

I have two cats, both about a year old. I love them to death, but cleaning up after them is a chore. So in addition to the Roomba and Scooba, which keep my place virtually cat-hair free, I also employed the Litter Robot. This is a marvel of engineering, and totally different than the flat boxes with automated rakes. The Litter Robot sits almost 25 inches high, and looks like a snow-globe that a cat walks into. After the cat does its business, the upper sphere rotates, sieving out the solid matter (not raking), leaving only clean litter. It still has to be emptied, but it’s very easy. Yes, the cats still kick litter out of the front, but it’s gone by the time I get home, thanks to Roomba!

What else? Oh yeah, I experimentally gave up digital cable. I have VERY basic cable now that comes with my RoadRunner high speed. But HDTV is being broadcast over the air, and I have a Samsung DNIe HDTV set (also highly recommended). So, to experiment with HDTV, I bought the ATI HDTV Wonder digital TV tuner card, for about $115 at J&R Electronics here in NYC. For only $115, I added free HDTV cable to my home. This has got to be about the best deal in home digital entertainment. Thank you, US government for the mandate. There’s no way any company would give quality like this away for free. Sure, it’s just the major networks with limited broadcasting right now, but for the money, it’s astoundingly good.

Now that I’m living in NYC, and gave up my car, I’m of course using the subway system. But I have been feeling a lack of connection to the space I’m living in like I got with driving. So, I bought a Dahon folding bicycle. I got the 26 inch full-size tire and frame model, so the ride feels identical to a normal bicycle. It just folds, which makes it ideal for a NYC apartment. Technically, it takes the same amount of volume to store, but it’s shorter, so wherever you put it in your apartment, it doesn’t stick out into the room. It’s a beautiful day today, and my plan is to go ride it after this post. I just got it last Sunday when it was raining, but I couldn’t resist taking it out in the rain and riding to the southern tip of the island. There I was: Diesel jeans, Ralph shirt, Kenneth Cole shoes, riding my new bike in the rain just to prove to myself I could do such things. It’s the Tribeca Film Festival this week and next, so I think that will be my destination today.