There’s an old joke that computers are obsolete as soon as you buy them. It was only a few years ago that this was very close to the truth. It seemed like a new program was coming out every week that required a bigger, faster, more powerful computer just to run them. As multi-tasking became easier in the 1990’s, you had to be able to run even more of these resource hungry programs at the same time. Nobody was looking for computers on places like ebay.co.uk, because those computers were used and therefore out of date. Computer retailers like Dell, HP and IBM would like us to believe this still holds, but is it really still true?
What About Updating Your Website?
To be effective a website should always be easy to navigate, quick to load, and these days it definitely needs to be mobile-friendly. Outside of that, as long as it doesn’t look more at home on Geocities back in the 90’s (anyone remember that?), you’re probably good. Of course we recommend that you use Linux hosting, GoDaddy’s service is decent and you can check out CouponFly.org/ for some coupons. You don’t need the newest, fanciest homepage slider or whatever feature is currently popular in the design world. Just make sure it works on a smartphone and potential customers can easily find what they need!
Should I Update my Computer?
Moore’s Law states that computer processing power will double roughly every 18 to 24 months; this trend has held true for more than forty years, and software developers have relied on this trend to release larger and more complex programs. There are certainly some specialized applications that continue to need more power, but the home user’s requirements have reached a plateau and no longer require frequent upgrades and replacements.
The typical home user is primarily concerned with web browsing, email, word processing, spreadsheets and perhaps a few games. Email, word processing and spreadsheets have changed little in more than a decade; the programs used to perform these tasks have added new features and new capabilities, but very few users take advantage of these features.
Likewise, although the World Wide Web is completely different than it was ten years ago, the web browsers used to access it have not changed radically. Games continue to push the limits of home computers, but there are still thousands of games that will run on PCs from five or even ten years ago. Instead of buying the latest games, why not save $40 and grab a new game from the bargain bin. Most newer games even offer the option to play with reduced graphics in order to run on older computers.
So with the backbone of what PCs are expected to do remaining fairly static, why are we still pushed to upgrade to a bigger and faster PC? We’re always told we need the latest and greatest, but sometimes old and reliable works just as well. Do you really need Office 2016 or does Office 2003 do everything you ask of it? If Office 2003 works perfectly for you, then why upgrade?
Many people are keeping computers longer than ever simply because newer software doesn’t offer any significant advantages to the average user. Although a computer won’t last forever, users should investigate whether they really need to upgrade every two or three years. Sometimes, all that is required is a minimal investment in more memory or perhaps reinstalling your operating system. Next time you decide you decide you need a new computer to run the latest software, ask yourself what the newer software offers that you really need. If you have trouble thinking of anything, then maybe your six year old Dell really isn’t obsolete after all.