The Planned Obsolescence of Electronics
In my writing career I’ve covered the entire arc of electronic devices, from the IBM Golfball Selectric to Amstrad, BBC Wordstar and eventually the intuitive joy that is the Mac. I haven’t used a PC for decades and the closest I’ll ever get to using one again is the Kindle, which is clunky enough, thank you.
I’m completely cable-free and have a glass desk so a mouse is out of the question, but the trackpad takes some getting used to, and later keyboards (the minimal non-thunky-thunky ones) have less accuracy.
I virtually live on my computer so it’s never switched off, and gets very heavy use. I don’t watch movies on it because I don’t pirate, and that means I’m stuck with the nonsense of region encryption. If you want to hear how little ‘professionals’ know about coding, hang out in an electronics store while the counter clerk explains HD, Blu-Ray, Ultraviolet and 3D codes to a punter – it’s hilarious.
Lately I’ve grown suspicious that Mac might be aggressively planning obsolescence. I’ve usually had a computer for three years before it starts sharply slowing down. Some say the Lion OS upgrades are causing this now, but it mysteriously happens within two/three months of the new Macs’ appearances – am I being paranoid?
Although sitting at the desktop Mac is a good experience, I can’t praise the Mac Book Air highly enough. It lives in my bag and goes everywhere I go, and with a dongle like MyFi I can usually get online for research. Couple with the iPhone camera and apps it becomes unbeatable and makes the thought of an iPad redundant, especially as I’m not much of a magazine browser. But every major update means recalibrating the lot – and now I’m thinking of Cloud storage for photographs and space-heavy files. Ultraviolet uses the same principle for your movie collection, but there’s talk of them eventually charging for storage – so if you don’t make the payment you lose your collection.
Perhaps in the future we’ll only rent and won’t actually own anything. Could it be that if information is currency, storage will be the new profit margin?