After reading two posts:  The Las Vegas Rules II: Stuff Science and the Last Viridian Note, I found the inspiration to look at the highly intelligent stuff in my life. To qualify as highly intelligent stuff in my life, the stuff had to see heavy usage or mulitple regular use, or just rank extraordinarily high in the Viridian Note’s criteria of:

  1. Beautiful things
  2. Emotionally important things
  3. Tools, devices and appliances that efficiently perform an important function.

1. IPod Touch MP3 Player

Using an IPod Touch for just MP3 listening may qualify myself for heresy by the Apple Church.  My IPod Touch has seen daily use since December 2007.  As at 2012, that is five years of heavy usage.  Compared to my previous MP3 players, my IPod Touch has longer battery life, a convenient method of uploading songs, easy navigation of playlist and songs and a easy way to recharge the batteries.  My IPod does not have a rainbow colored neckstrap so that I do not need to find a pants with pockets to put the IPod in every time, but I guess I can purchase that as a third party accessary.  From stories of his personal life, Steve Jobs may have many years to go in perfecting his spiritual life, however he is definitely up there in designing awesome products.  While I only use the IPod for one function, the superior way which the IPod carries out its function makes the IPod generate as much value for me as the other multi-function items below.

2.  Desktop

I have used my desktop cobbled from separately bought parts since 2008.  That is about four years at the time of this post.  I have used it for many functions, from word processing, internet surfing to playing games.  My desktop has provided me with the most functions in a single time.  Kudos for lasting so long.

3.  Samsung Galaxy S

Yes, it has less Apps than an IPhone, particularly an app that shows what times the local bus would arrive at any bus stop.  Yet, it has lasted for nearly one and a half years while I am waiting for the contract to expire.  This is a long time in the world of smart phones, where the same company releases a model every year and people change their smart phones even more frequently.  In the mean time, besides checking text messages and making calls, I have also used my phone to navigate in unfamiliar neighborhoods and book movie tickets.  I have also stopped carrying around my digital camera unless I need to take a photo with 1080p resolution and higher.  It catches up with my desktop in terms of the sheer amount of functions compressed into a single item.

4.  Dumbells

My 3kg dumbells offer me more exercise options than most exercise machines on the television infomercials.  From strengthening core back and leg muscles to working out on the ole big guns (Biceps for all the non-meatheads out there), only a kettlebell may conceivably offer more exercise options (crosses fingers and prays not to catch the notice of kettle enthusiasts). Is included for the amount of functions compressed into a single item.  Being recently bought, only time will tell how much value it gives.

5.  Shoes (Hush Puppies and Nike Pegasus)

The first time I bought my Nike Pegasus, I took the saleman’s claims with a heavy pinch of salt. The particular pair I was buying was developed for outdoor trail running was ‘weatherproof’, even against snow. I was buying these shoes on a tropical island one degree north of the equator which will never snow even in an ice age. The salt was thrown out of the window when I was walking on a snow and sleet covered sidewalk in Philadelphia like it was summer while all around me, my friends were struggling to keep their balance. By backing up its claims, this pair of shoes helped to reduce the cynicism of a growing 20 year old.  The shoe lasted three years of daily abuse in the summer by an undergraduate, retiring with honor (and wear and tear) when the undergraduate began to work.

The Hush Puppies leather court shoes were also advertised to be waterproof.  Having walked miles in leather shoes that soak up water from every puddle, I was skeptical of the claims.  So far it has been doing a good job of backing up its claims.  For doing the awesome job of being a waterproof leather shoes that you can where to your office, it deserves a spot on this list.

6.  Honorable mentions

There are a lot of items in my life that carry out a single function well and have lasted for a reasonable amount of time.  For example, good shirts, socks and underwear.  However, they have not exceeded expectations enough to reach the category that would make people turn heads like my IPod or Hush Puppy Waterproof shoes.

As for final comments, the items that are the smartest in my life are either electronic gadgets, shoes or exercise equipment.  Surprising, an item can qualify in two ways.  I was expecting items with many uses to qualify, but I never noticed that items could carry out one function (play mp3s, walk on snow) so well that it would bring value into my life.  So the definition of smart items can be extended to items that improve the quality of their output.  Not only can you compress more functions into one item, an item can optimize its existing functions as well.  Hopefully, this post can give you food for thought on the existing smart items in your life and how you can invite more smart items into your life.