I was just reading about how Apple and Steve Jobs are so incredibly inventive and the top of the technological development for computers. REALLY? I believe this nonsense only for the 1st few months any Apple product comes out. I’ve researched and read plenty how temporary the digital world is. But why praise these ‘giants’ of technology when the product can’t last more than it takes to pay off a car loan?
This is a debate I have with people who think that digital photography is the end-all-be-all of the future for the media. I disagree. As temporary as our future could be because of our abuse of the planet, there is a way to make new technology last. Why did my iPhone fail after less than a year of owning it? AND not 1 but TWO of the replacement iPhones fail?!
Technology is ephemeral and instead of it being regarded as the next step from analog, we should review it with scrutiny. Yes, it helps further our species. Yes, it is convenient. Yes, it is cheaper. I am all for being on a budget- because I am constantly on one- but people, at least Americans, don’t think about longevity in the items they buy. They only think of the cost and if it’s the latest-and-greatest thing to appear on their Consumer Wish List. When I decide to purchase items, whether it’s photography supplies or clothing, I consider a few options:
Products I own are always put to the durability test because I don’t make many purchases besides basic living expenses (such as rent, utilities, booze, and movies). I can buy $7 basic black pumps that everyone loves, but they only last me a year. I buy computer stuff- software & hardware- and I know that no matter which brand I buy, I know that I can only REALLY count on it for lasting 5 years (hopefully more). And that’s not just because the hardware might fail, it’s because the hardware AND software becomes obsolete.
This is the exact reason I wanted to blog about this. Not that anyone will read this. But it’s just nice to get my thoughts out.
I’ve come to the conclusion, with a few people I’ve chatted with, that PC/MAC and software companies (Adobe, Quickbooks, Microsoft Office) all have secret meetings annually to determine how best to SCREW their consumers over. Narcissistic and gluttonous- they not only have enough money to do whatever they want for the rest of their lives, but they decided to meet frequently enough that within a 5 year period a consumer will be REQUIRED to upgrade their computer system full of hardware and software.
I’m only 26 years old, but I’m coming from beginning my career as a photographer with film and still LOVING to use it. Not only because it is constant and I can always count on it, but also because it has a uniquely distinct and bitchin’ quality about it that can’t be replaced. I have a Apple Powerbook G4 tower that’s ….2.6Ghz? I think. NOT Intel. Running on OS 10.4. My laptop is even sadder- it’s 1.6Ghz running on 10.3.9.
Now, I understand not being able to upgrade my laptop. But, REALLY?!!!? I can’t upgrade my HUGE desktop computer to OS 10.6? That, and so many other applications won’t upgrade unless I have an INTEL processor. I say, “Bull CRAP, Steve Jobs!” My computer runs with a few hiccups now and then, but it’s still a beautiful machine. Instead of making my computer practically scrap metal, why not build an OS with at least a backwards capability for one more generation?
The worst, however, is Quickbooks. I think they were the tipping point for me. I upgraded my boss’s iMac to OS 10.6. His version of Quickbooks is from 2007. The only way I can keep using Quickbooks is to spend the SAME amount as everybody else- there’s no cheaper upgrade option! And even though he can afford to pay the $190, there’s another problem. The accountant he uses only has the earlier version and CAN’T upgrade because her Mac computer is only at OS 10.4 and even if she did upgrade to OS 10.6, some of her clients can’t upgrade! Hopefully that explanation wasn’t confusing. So why would an accounting program NOT be backwards compatible? That’s even WORSE than Apple’s policy of forcing people to upgrade! (Don’t even GET me started on the iPhone and Apple techs telling me that to get a working phone I had to PAY to upgrade when I owned my phone for less than a year.) So, to get the latest Quickbooks and to be in sync with your accountant- you’d have to upgrade to the latest version of Mac OS X AND all of your accountants’ clients would have to upgrade their Quickbooks AND Mac OS software! CHA-Ching for Apple & Quickbooks!
Alright, I think I’ve made my point. I think I get frustrated because more and more of the digital products I own are becoming obsolete before I can even pay off a car loan.