I upgraded my computer today. It is one of those bittersweet moments that I should learn to get accustomed to. It’s an exciting experience, accompanied by an underlying guilt, similar to driving that brand new car off the lot, complete with a fresh set of payments. It’s a pleasure forced upon me, not by my own will, but rather by the design of the powers that be.
Of course, we can’t expect a company, which can stretch the boundaries of science beyond those of our collective imagination, to put forth a product that will last longer than it takes to save up for an “upgrade.” It’s the same model that has kept the automotive industry afloat for a century, a product of scientific genius controlled by steadfast capitalists and made available to the public, for a fee. Why give away what you could sell?
As I said, this is really nothing new to us. Technological advancement always comes with a price, and not a one-time fee, but a lifetime of payments. Whether it’s scheduled maintenance, a necessary repair, or the lure of an upgrade, we’ve been dipping into our bank accounts in order to preserve our way of life forever. It’s not unlike a chemical dependence. We are drug addicts, hooked on convenience, and, as we enter the new millennium, the “dealers” are licking their chops.
Cars are a great analogy. The manufacturers know how vital these machines have become to most of us. Sure, there is public transportation, just as there are libraries with computer access, but a large part of society relies heavily on a vehicle to get through the day. It’s fairly evident that we‘ll eventually scrape up the cash necessary to stay so conveniently mobile or, using the drug comparison, to stay “high.” Now, if you consider that we are willing to spend a small fortune to satisfy our need to move from one place to another, you can only imagine what we would pay to keep our Internet connection, and all the life-changing services it brings, intact. Actually, when you think of the pressures the web has relieved by slicing through our gob of red tape with only the slightest finger movement, the price of a new computer seems rather generous.
I certainly felt symptoms of withdrawal while I was disconnected. What began as some light swearing soon grew to a violent frenzy, not unlike a dope fiend tearing the room apart for a fix. Finally, after dismantling two busted and quite antiquated computers (meaning over four years old), which I comically attempted to repair using a soldering iron, I knew there was only one choice, regardless of my budget.
By the time I reached Best Buy, an outdated, pre-Internet hassle I was forced into by my problem, all financial obligations were out the window. I needed it to live! Within minutes, I was swept away by specs (specifications for a computer which basically measures its capacity to perform and store memory… guy stuff) and became another victim. I raced home with the vigor of a true addict who just scored! Thankfully, they’ve made it quite simple to kick your old machine to the curb and move on. It’s amazing what they can come up with when they try. Just swipe your card, then “plug and play.” (Sounds like "sign and drive," doesn’t it?) They’re good.
Surely, the stuffed shirts across the globe would be delighted to know that they have another piece of my pie. I could post a great article on computer maintenance and list ways to maximize your system’s performance because there are many preventative measures that you could and should take. Ultimately, however, if you plan on joining us in this Golden Age of Laziness, you should be prepared to take some unexpected hits. The exact statistics vary because all of this is still relatively new. I like to imagine the country freaking out about a hundred years ago when they began to realize the Model Ts were, well, Fords, and began the famous acronym, “Fix Or Repair Daily.”
Now, if you are in the upper class and have no concern for things like money, then I applaud and envy you, and I thank you for reading this far. With that said, I have enjoyed typing this piece on my new Acer Aspire R1600. It’s very compact and extremely affordable. It comes without a CD drive, but an external drive is not expensive at all, and, because of the very nature we just touched on, cutting edge models are constantly made. So, anything you buy is probably an upgrade. (Maybe it’s good that they don’t hand us too much power in one serving?) You could keep up with flow of the computer industry right at Amazon.
Thanks for reading and remind me, I need an oil change.