Obsessive-compulsive computer disorder

This guest article was submitted by Chris King.


“Hi, my name is Chris and I have OCCD.”


Here we are with our economy in shambles, yet companies keep pumping out all of these small computers . . . and we can’t get enough of them. From Sony, we have the VAIO P and from Viliv we have the new S5. UMID has brought us the mbook M1, while ASUS, Acer, HP and others continue to come out with multiple models of netbooks. Apple introduced us to the wonders of the iPhone, while Nokia gets ready to update its Internet Tablet. Small notebooks that used to cost upwards of $1,500 can now be had for less than a third of that, with even smaller dimensions and more features. You gotta love the march of technology, but I’ll tell you, it’s enough to drive me crazy sometimes. In fact, it may have already started.

I know I’m not alone, not on a website devoted to these kinds of devices. No need to raise your hands, I know who you are. Even those of us lucky enough thus far to escape the clutches of OCCD are right on the cusp, edging ever closer with each new product introduction. We can name the specs of these devices from memory as if we were being quizzed in school. Buzzwords such as Atom, GMA500, SSD, and Bluetooth would be required entries if we were creating a new dictionary today.

It can start innocently enough, maybe with the purchase of one notebook.

That’s what happened to me about 15 years ago when I bought my first subnotebook, a PowerBook Duo 280c. At a cost of over $3,500, I remember I had to save for months just to afford it. But it was worth every penny because it was the height of technology in the Apple ecosystem at the time and it was extremely thin and light. From there, after a few years I would find myself owning a few more PowerBooks, and it was becoming apparent that OCCD was taking over.


Fast-forward to today and the situation has worsened. Right now sitting at my MacBook Pro 17" typing this article, I can look around on my desk and see no fewer than four other small computers. An Eee PC 900A running the new version of Windows 7. A Fujitsu U810 running Windows XP Tablet, while its younger sibling U820 hums along on Vista. Oh, and did I mention the Everun Note I just purchased? It’s here too, along with a MacBook Air and a Toshiba Libretto U105.

Why do I have all of these? I have no idea! Maybe just because I can. Is that a good enough reason?  It should be because the way technology and price keep moving in opposite directions, it will probably continue.


These are just the devices that I currently have, and I'm sure I have left out a few. In fact, I purposely left out quite a few because I wanted to avoid getting a cramp from typing all the various models. But look at the picture to the left and you can understand how OCCD has had its grip on me. In that picture, I don’t even own the top two netbooks in the stack anymore, and I'm really surprised that I still own the other three. That's how dire the situation has become. In the picture below, I have enough boxes to keep UPS and FedEx busy in these downtimes, so you can’t say I’m not doing my part to stimulate the economy.


Of course, this article is just my light-hearted way of bringing up a situation that many of us face. By no means am I being boastful of how many small computers I have, because I know there will be someone out there who has just as many. In fact, I can think of one person who may have me beat, and she occasionally reviews new products on this site. We all know who I'm talking about (Hi Jenn!).

But seriously, how often do most of you buy these small computers, and do you own more than one or two at a time?  I would like to hear some comments from my fellow OCCD sufferers, since therapy can be the best cure.

Chris King (orbitalcomp) is a long-time handheld tech user, dating back to the original Newton MessagePad and then moving on to dozens of different devices over the years. Currently, he finds himself surrounded by a multitude of touchscreen devices, including a pair of Fujitsu U-series, a Nokia N800, and an iPhone 3G.

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Guest Contributor

Pocketables is a US-based online tech magazine that brings news, insights, opinions, and comprehensive reviews on various mobile computing devices, portable technology, and related topics to a global audience. We focus on devices that fit into pockets of all sizes, from jeans and jackets to backpacks and purses. The gadget experts that comprise our staff produce high quality articles and original features colored with real-life use of products over weeks and months, not first-impression opinions formed within hours or days.

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16 thoughts on “Obsessive-compulsive computer disorder

  • Where is the one with the Pixel Qi screen and power saving tech with 5 fold increase in battery life?

  • The cure is very simple, although it requires some willpower. Simply set the rule: one device enters, one device leaves. Doesn’t matter how you do it: eBay it, put it on craigslist, give it to your mother – just get into the habit of it, and you’ll be able to keep a handle on things! It’s why I like my system, and it seems to work for recovering OCCD folks I know: one desktop/desktop replacement, one mobile device, one phone, and one media player. That’s it! Everything has their own prescribed purpose.

  • Well, is the limit one small device, or one device *of each type*? I have a Powerbook G4, an Eee PC 701, and an iPod Touch. Each of these fills a different niche for me, and I feel I can justify that. But as the temptation grows to acquire more of these devices, I find myself looking for smaller and smaller niches that haven’t yet been filled. Lord help me if I get as far along the curve as Chippy or JKK.

  • Lets see… In roughly reverse order of purchase? My currently owned portable devices:

    Nokia N800
    2 x OQO model 01+
    Toshiba NB100
    Acer 5735
    Asus EEE 901
    iPhone 3G
    HP TX2114
    2x8gb iPod touch
    Fujitsu U1010 (U810)
    Nokia n95
    Macbook (Core 2)
    Toshiba U100
    A large pile of Sharp Zaurii
    IBM a21p

    I refuse to incriminate myself further by going any further back in time, or talking about my desktop rigs. I may admit that I might have a bit of a problem.

  • i kinda like the fact i am hooked on buying mobile tec (my wife feels different)
    i currently own
    oqo 01
    oqo e2
    vaio u3
    vaio u50
    vaio ux280
    vaio ux1
    vaio tr5
    panasonic toughbook cf5
    toughbook t2
    nokia n880, 800 and 770
    zarius, 3100, 1000
    sony clie ux50
    touch hd, tytnn, advantage, tytnn 2, jasar (2)
    iphone, ipod touch,
    raon: vega and everun
    hp 2133, hp t1100.
    asus eepc 701, 900, r2h
    samsung q1 ulra.
    samsung nexio.
    hp jornada.

    i really want the vaio p and the vilv. although times now are a little tougher and money not as easy to come buy.

    no doubt i have some kind off disorder… but it makes me happy ;-)

  • Avatar of orbitalcomp

    Willpower? What is that? :-)

  • Avatar of orbitalcomp

    Thank you kahm and dean…after seeing your lists of devices, I know I’m not alone.

    So where should we hold our support group meetings?

  • Dynamism’s Head office?

  • Avatar of orbitalcomp

    Perfect! While we are there, we can pick up some new devices :-)

  • I completely agree with Steven Law, in fact, that is what I do. I hate to have devices taking dust on a drawer, so, when I’m planning on buying a new device, the first thing I do is to sell the last one.

    Currently I have a similar setup to what Steven was describing, a main computer, an ultraportable computer, a mobile phone and an MP3 player.

  • Willpower hmmm… I think it means to buy more portable gadgets… LOL Now I feel normal, after I read everyone’s list of gadgets, so its normal to have at least 8 gadgets at a time. :)

  • Long time reader, first time poster here hehe. I am 100% sure that i got OCCD :).

    I agree with Steven Law as well. I never use MP3 players or PMPs though. I think that a nice pocket pc phone or a smartphone does the job better.

    Here is what I got:

    1 PC (self assembled and I would like to think pretty high end)
    1 Laptop (old Dell, that turned out to be almost indestructible :))
    2 Phones:
    – SE Xperia X1 (the best phone I have ever touched)
    – Nokia N95 8gb (media monster)
    1 PSP (I don’t use it anymore, after I got the X1)

    I got 1 old PC and a broken (soon to be fixed hehe) Laptop too. A couple of old phones laying around.

    Currently in the market for a good UMPC/MID. That Viliv S5 looks pretty good, but I would like to have a sliding keyboard. No laptop form factor either, thank you.

  • Although I can see the logic in one device in one out. most devices i own are more like collectables, similar to a stamp or a some other collection. with the exception of my archos 5 and i phone, i tend not to heavily use my other devices. I bought my 7 year old son a asus eepc… it pains me at the amount of times its dropped. My wife regards devices such as laptops as workhorses that get scuffed and damaged. I see them as works of art that are altrustic ie greater than the sum of there parts, yikes, have just said all that :~)

  • It is good to here that I have so many to share my OCCD. I have always loved gadgets and small form factor computers/handhelds. But this really started with the EEEPC 701 and then spiralled down hill after that purchase.
    EEEPC 701 (modded with touchscreen)
    HP Mininote 2133 (did seel this one)
    Acer Aspire One (gave it to my son)
    N800 (sold when I bought the N810)
    Ipaq 4150
    HP Mini 1000
    HP Mini 2140
    Viliv S5 (on order)
    Iphone 3G
    Nokia E71
    Nokia N95 (recently broken :( Loved this phone)

    Just can’t help myself.

  • Get a grip guys and gals!
    Its only shiny new toys. You would think you were magpies or soemthing.
    I got sucked in by a competition to design one and won an N800. The 3 devices rule works for me:
    Desktop, Portable and PocketPC/Phone.

  • I have Fujitsu U810 (XPT), iphone and my Viliv S5 is arriving tomorrow. 3 devices that can all fit in my smaller than letter size purse all at the same time… U810 works so well for me. If only the S5 had a built-in webcam and mic, not as importantly a SD card reader, it would have been the perfect mobile device I’ve been waiting for. I guess I’ll make do with USB webcam and card reader or just consolidate to the new Fujitsu U series that has everything but the form-factor…AND I also want the Sony P for no reason.


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