Behold the newest addition to my little grove of devices: a fifth-generation 32GB iPod Touch. Its aluminum back is a sweet matte blue, if you’re wondering, but I’ve also encased it in a silicone sleeve to protect its wafer-thin body from damage. Oh, who am I kidding: the case is there to protect me, to numb my awareness of the new toy’s ephemerality, for that’s what you get with the latest, smartest gadgets, like a warranty you have no choice but to accept: its precise fit to the niche of today’s needs means that tomorrow (which of course might be weeks, months, or we hope years away) it will be gone. Mayfly tech. But I’ll take those odds, and try not to feel ridiculous about the way my devices are multiplying into a swarm (I believe “ecosystem” is the trendier, more palatable term) whose numbers are less about the complexity of my workflow than about how pampered I have become. I still try, desperately, to iron out every crease and complication that would give me an excuse not to write; in the early 1990s that quest took the form of splurging on a Mac Classic because I liked the way it let me make folders for everything, and now, twenty years later (still beholden to that great brand-god Apple) it takes the form of an iPad 2, an iPad Mini, the new iPod Touch, and a MacBook Air, across which flow the synchronized data of notes, snippets, links, captures, and documents that collectively constitute my “research.” The Touch fills a specific and slender slot in that system, an additional node for Evernote entries and podcast playings, that I hope will make my life perfect. I learned a long time ago that such perfection is an illusory horizon, but that turned out to be only half the lesson. What I’ve figured out more recently — helped along by mayfly technology — is that you even when you know you’ll never reach perfection, you must keep plugging away at it.