Sometimes you look at a gadget and you think, “Man! That thing is going to change my life!” and once you own it you realize reality is a very different beast.

In Dec. 2010 (thanks for remembering, Amazon!) I purchased the Olympus LS-10 Linear PCM Recorder and a protective silicon skin for it. I thought that I was going to use this thing all the time for recording interviews, recording podcasts on the go, making notes to myself… I basically was going to be using it 24/7 and it was going to be fantastic.

… then it arrived.

I have absolutely nothing against Olympus, nor the LS-10 Linear PCM recorder, but as soon as I saw just how complicated it was to use and this wasn’t something you just hit a button to record and you were done. No, it was a bit more complicated than that, and I tossed it in a drawer vowing that I would sit down and learn all of its ins and outs when I had time down the road.

Where have we all heard that one before?

For the record, it did have – and still does – have a lot of nice features:

Studio-Grade Recording on the go. Combining the advanced technologies derived from Olympus’ decades of experience in the recording field, the compact and portable LS-10 brings you high-fidelity sound recording that’s ideal for everything from live music to the singing of birds. The LS-10: unparalleled sound quality, anytime, anywhere.

24 BIT/ 96 KHZ Linear PCM Recording. Whether you’re in the recording studio or at the office, the LS-10 will let you Capture It All™–exactly as you hear it–with dependable, extra-high-quality digital recording that sounds better than a CD.

Up To 12 Hours of Recording Capability – 2GB Built-in Memory and SD Slot. The 2GB built-in flash memory assures immediate recording, while the SD slot allows for expanded capacity. Long battery life allows you to record music, performances or lectures up to 12 hours with two AA batteries, so you can spend less time worrying about recharging or replacing batteries.

Three Recording Formats: WAV, MP3, WMA.
The LS-10 makes it easy to record audio and play back the files in the format of your choice. With three compatible file formats, the LS-10 offers impressive versatility and enables longer recording capacity.
Up to 12 hours of recording capability – 2 GB built-in memory and SD removable card slot. The 2GB built-in flash memory assures immediate recording, while the SD slot allows for expanded capacity. Long battery life allows you to record up to 12 hours.
Aluminum body and compact design. The durable, easy-to-grip and lightweight, 5.33-ounce body allows you to use the recorder with one hand.
Built-in stereo speakers. Despite its compact design, the LS-10 incorporates built-in stereo speakers that allow you to enjoy high-quality sound playback anytime, anywhere. Versatile and functional. The LS-10 Linear PCM Recorder is ideal for any musician or nature enthusiast looking to record audio in the highest possible quality. The recorder is also great for journalists who need to interview and report news on the spot.

Here we are, nearly four years later, and the only reason this device came out of the drawer was so I could take some pictures of it. At this point I’ve given up all hope of ever learning to use it, and since most smartphones now have some form of audio note recording, I have to wonder what the point is to even try. Yes, I know it would be a higher quality recording, but I don’t need that for in-person interviews, and I can honestly say that not once have I thought, “Boy, it sure would be nice if I could record a podcast right now at this totally random time and place.”

This wasn’t the first time I made a silly purchase like this, and I highly doubt it will be the last (no, I know for a fact it’s not the last since I’ve bought something else I regret since then), but it is definitely one of my biggest ever tech regrets.