Wednesday, April 22, 2009

pull the plug!

A few months, my computer got its life sentence. It took the form of a small pop-up bubble that comes on every time the computer starts up, saying "Java Update Available". Nothing against Java. But the pop-up bubble - the one at the bottom right of the computer screen - you know the one I'm talking about...

That bubble is a sign of impending digital death, or at least significant slow-down. Our circa 2003 laptop (Jurassic Period) has about 5 of these pop-up bubbles now. When I turn on my laptop, I can watch them come on one-by-one while eating a delicious breakfast omelet, because it takes about the same time to start up the laptop as it does to make a delicious omelet.

The point being, as soon as I fire up a new computer, it begins a slow death via an endless queue of updates, packages, etc. that sometimes manifest themselves as cute pop-up bubbles. I'm pretty sure most of these updates are excuses to make my computer run slower and slower until I give up and buy a new one with more processing power.

There's even a word for it.

"Planned obsolescence is the process of a product becoming obsolete and/or non-functional after a certain period or amount of use in a way that is planned or designed by the manufacturer." - wikipedia

How sinister!

Thank goodness for the "Remind me Later" button. The perfect passive aggressive tool against the sleazy manufacturers of planned obsolescence.


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Dawn said...

Ha! Your first comment is asking, in a mildly irritating and big-brother is watching you way, the same thing I would...when you going to buy a new computer? :)

Megan said...

My 2003 laptop's life was over 2 years ago. It is a good thing that yours has lasted so long.

Sarah Black said...

Buy a mac.

Matt said...

This isn't planned obsolescence. Planned obsolescence, for a computer, is when the hardware is designed to last for some period (usually about 3 years). The pop-up updates are just typical updates that software producers (not the hardware manufacturers) roll out. Some updates (like changing to Firefox 3 from Firefox 2), actually run faster than the old versions. Many also fix important security flaws--so you should probably install them.

Stapletons said...

Hi! Just saw Gabe at Stk. Conf!
Hope you're doing great!