Hard Case: Addicted to the Upgrade Cycle

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Keatah

The industry needs to slow down to *my* pace; or else it is just wasting r&d costs on something I am not even going to look at.

 

Let's see here..

I have:

 a single core laptop from 6 years ago. It works.

a 2d tv set. It works.

a 5 year old cellphone. It works.

a 9 year old desktop that gets my email as fast as a quad-core system. It works.

a digital camera from 3 years ago. It works.

Why should I replace something that works? So some college kiddie designers and marketers can get their jollies selling me half-baked products that are overpriced?

I have little tolerance for a product that does not work correctly. I will all-too-easily return something if it does not do what I expect it to do. And the hell with re-stocking costs; let them eat it!

I also have little desire and interest in hype. Shit! My girlfriend still has a tube-type tv and we have as much fun watching that as going to the theatre! It's all about the content and to be honest much of the content today is filler material and garbage.

I am definitely off the upgrading bandwagon and am holding the industry to a higher standard. Let the industry make profit off of you, not me!

Somehow I envision a set of 3d glasses buried beneath old computer parts not being used. I have tried 3-d tech in the past and both times the glasses and hardware and drivers and software ended up in the spare parts box. I see no reason it will be different this time.

 

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IFLATLINEI

Im with you but big business can and probably will if this thinking becomes the norm start to incorporate planned obsolescence into their products. Many of these companies are just too big and in order for them to feed the beast they need you and all the rest of us to upgrade even if the old is still working just fine. Its just a giant game of money grab anb in my opinion its wastefull. The consumer really is in control but we need to be more restrained. Its not the American way but we cant afford to not be more selective these days.

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jrocknyc

"Why should I replace something that works?"

 YOU shouldn't. Those of us who want to edit 1080p video or record 24-tracks of drums or maybe just crank out an hour of CoD MW2 with friends, we'll upgrade. 

You sit back, relax, and keep justifying to yourself all the reasons why you are happy with your old cellphones and computers.

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JohnP

   I totally disagree, Lloyd. "Innovate or Die". If a company does not try new products even though they may fail, the company is surely going to stagnate and lose business.

 I lost my job because my company made the best products in their business but took way too long to "perfect" them. The company went from 42,000 to 15,000 in the past 6 years. One of the prducts that is a great hit is the ParBERT (parallel Bit Error Rate Tester). Sells extremely well. It was a nightmare to support because the division was too busy putting out new and better modules than try to "perfect" the ones already sold. Took years just to get a calibration routine from the division for instance. But it SOLD.

 Holding onto obsolete technology at home makes me shudder. Old cars and old washing machines are one thing, old computers and A/V equipment are completely different. Want an XBox360? Try hooking that up to a tube TV. 5.1 surround sound from a new DVD player? Good luck using your 10 year old SONY reciever. All the folks that hold onto the old stuff have all these kludy and broken ways to get things to come together. Switch boxes, adapters, cables galore, a real nightmare to figure out how to just watch a movie.

The ONLY reason people hold onto old technology crap is that they spent a ton of money on it and resent having to spend more! 

Think of technology as renting. You should be expecting to pay up some money every month to enjoy the benefits of new and better entertainment. 

 

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IFLATLINEI

"I totally disagree, Lloyd. "Innovate or Die". If a company does not try new products even though they may fail, the company is surely going to stagnate and lose business."

Yes innovation is important but not the most important. Ease of use, reliability, and value priced are equally important. 

   "I lost my job because my company made the best products in their business but took way too long to "perfect" them. The company went from 42,000 to 15,000 in the past 6 years. One of the prducts that is a great hit is the ParBERT (parallel Bit Error Rate Tester). Sells extremely well. It was a nightmare to support because the division was too busy putting out new and better modules than try to "perfect" the ones already sold. Took years just to get a calibration routine from the division for instance. But it SOLD."

I dunno I could be wrong but according to what you wrote here you lost your job due to Executive incompetance. Sounds like your company focused to much on the next project and not enough on the current ones. Creating new produts was too big a part of your business. If read correctlyim thinking Innovation is bad considering what you wrote.

 Holding onto obsolete technology at home makes me shudder. Old cars and old washing machines are one thing, old computers and A/V equipment are completely different. Want an XBox360? Try hooking that up to a tube TV. 5.1 surround sound from a new DVD player? Good luck using your 10 year old SONY reciever. All the folks that hold onto the old stuff have all these kludy and broken ways to get things to come together. Switch boxes, adapters, cables galore, a real nightmare to figure out how to just watch a movie.

Again im a little lost. First off this generation of consoles both the PS3 and Xbox can both be right at home on a CRT tv. Almost all include RCA connectors and many accept both S-Video and Component Cables which make connecting todays consoles to older TV just as easy as a new TV. NO CONVERTER BOXES! Proof that old tech and new tech can and should coexist  together. 

 "The ONLY reason people hold onto old technology crap is that they spent a ton of money on it and resent having to spend more!"

WRONG! Maybe its still providing enjoyment. The latest and greatest needs to prove to me that its worth the investment. It must also overcome the fact that maybe the customers older less featured product is still functioning just fine.

 I hear what your saying but you speak from the point of view of big business.  

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pastorbob

I agree with the basic premise of this article but it isn't a major issue for me. I don't upgrade to the latest and greatest of anything. I guess that is why the TV in our living roomis an 8 year old 32" CRT Sony, hooked up to a 22 year old Kenwood stereo sound system. It looks and sounds great to us. The one in our family room is a 12 year old 25" CRT Hitachi and we use the built in speakers on it. The two main computers in our household are Core 2 duo systems and they use the integrated graphics. My laptop is a four year old Compaq with a Sempron CPU. I didn't upgrade any of my systems to Windows XP until Microsoft dropped support for Windows Me. Never did upgrade to Vista. The most daring leap I have ever made is buying Windows 7 upon release but that only because I had been using RC for several months on a dual boot system and was quite pleased with it. Oh, and I do upgrade my Linux system with each new Ubuntu release, but that system is just for experimenting.

Our cell phones are just that - phones. They aren't mini-computers. We don't listen to music on them. We don't text. We don't access the Internet via our phones. If I am in a location where I don't havee access to music, email, or the Web, and a phone call does not suffice I wait until I get home to do such things.

I have two DVD players and I still have a collection of VHS and DVD movies that we watch on occasion and are quite satisfied with the quality. If I want 3-D and surround sound I go to the theatre and watch a movie. Probably won't buy Blu-Ray unless I am forced into it due to lack of DVD availabilty and even then it's iffy

So to summarize, we are the technology companies' worst nightmare. We are the family who doesn't get sucked into the latest gee-whiz gadgetry and flash that they try to shove down our throats. And ya know what? My wife and I actually have long conversations over supper and we spend time sharing about our days. Some evenings we don't even turn the TV on. In short, the devices that we use are tools for our use. We don't let the technology companies make us their tools.

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TKETZ196

I agree with you and i agree with this article. I feel as though everything moves way to fast and the companies shove the tech down our throats to make a buck or two. I am a tech geek, and most of my downtime alone is usually reading on sites like this. I have a 6 year old Latitude that was $1500 when i got it for when i began college. The funny part was that it had half the amount of power than that of a laptop for consumers that can play games on it with the price tag being significanly less. The most graphics intense game i can play on my system is Max Payne 2. The computer ain't worth s*@t at this point. It still works and i am running Windows 7 on it. It would be nice to have a new computer (preferably a tablet) but i am not dying to get one.

In regards to all the technology and the forthcoming devices, i do get easily impressed with what they can do and such. I have a windows mobile 5.0 phone that is 4 years old and i still get impressed with what it can do. It has certain functions that even the newest phones lack. I find with computers and smartphones, it is the apps and the content that i think adds the real value. It doesn't have multi touch, it doesnt have EDGE or 3G, or WiFi (but i add that with a card & i can add 4G capabilities). I use the GPRS b/c i don't really use the internet on my phone. IF i wanted to view full webpages, i would be on a computer. It does have a great web browser (Skyfire), i use a UI program to make my device fun & easy to use, i utilize SideShow for mobile (remote control uses), and i can stream music over the network, to my device then output to a stereo system. My device was one of the first on the market back in 2006 with integrated GPS So i have TomTom 6 installed on it. This is all on a 4 year old device. I bought it used with the hardware mic broken on it so i am forced to use bluetooth, but it is a small price to pay to be able to use all this technology (especially when the auction i won plus shipping came to $60). I do not mind buying "old" devices from other people b/c not only is it the "green" thing to do, but if it still works and the price is right then there is nothing wrong with it. I would rather do that than buying something new that will already be out of date a month later. Plus i look at it as helping to do my part to reduce e-waste.

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Keatah

Conversation for the evening is much better than surfing the net and texting like high-strung caffeine addicts. I buy a dvd if it is a memorable experience. So that means like 3 or 4 a year if that. I don't have blu-ray or ultra super def or whatever it is they are marketing today. My phones are phones - not cameras, record players, keyboards or whatever funk they sell these days! My computer is just that, a tool, nothing more. I went from a walkman I had taped to bicycle in the 80's to a 1st gen ipod nano I got in 2005. So that means I've really owned only 2 portable music devices in the past 30 years. I don't see a need to get a zunner thingy or micro ipod nano blahh blahh. I just got a USED gps from fleabay. I backup all my files on hard disks donated to me from computers being trashed and whatnot. 2 copies of eveyrthing that is important should suffice. No genuine *absolute need* to get expensive pre-baked backup solutions.

I don't subscribe to music services, or have 20 different voicemail/textmail/videomail services.

I watch tv at home, not on my phone, not on my walkman/ipod.

I type notes on my pc, not on my phone or camera.

I don't have call waiting on a high-def tv set.

I don't have 50 facebook accounts or myspace pages. I don't think I ever signed up for those. what do you do there?

I might have a .net passport or something, but it probably expired back in the 90's. I don't have online banking either. no genuine need!

 

 I am worse than U!

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fa1thful

I totally agree with the article.  I have had to many half-baked products and have regretted getting them.

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jpierce237

Who's got the money, time, or desire to continually replace perfectly good A/V equipment every time something new comes down the pike?  I'm a technophile as much as the next guy (at least on this site) but there's only so much one can hand down the old equipment before everyone has a free upgrade but you....you get to pay for yours.

 I've never been a fan of 3D Movies, TV, or Games....I tried my LCD shuttered glasses on my PC once or twice, but for the most part they stayed in my computer desk buried beneath old video cards and optical drives.

Frankly I'm cool with they adding features through firmware upgrades, if it can't be done then I'll take a  pass at least until my equipment warrantys are expired.

Peace is my profession...

Jim

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jpierce237

Sorry duplicate post

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BlazePC

Loyd,

Nice piece.  I feel your pain man.  Actually we feel everyone's pain, mainly for those that have succumbed to this cycle of greed and replacement; for those that feel nothing but loss if they don't get their "latest" fix.  Anyone that doubts this cycle as an addiction is fooling themselves, on both sides of the equation by the way.

Another way to look at this is to recognize that it's not necessarily a case where all products are too soon, half baked, broken or instable.  I would submit that what you're really witnessing is the spoon feeding of technology, incrementally.  And the problem lies in the fact that the increments are too small with respect to time and the time line.  It's a consumption cycle that got us into the last financial/home mortgage/Great Recession scenario and it's a cycle that we'll soon repeat - because it's human nature - and it also creates jobs (and bubbles).  Another thing that drives this cycle is the interdependency of the technology base.  e.g. Newer games drive updated graphics requirements, and GPU cards demand better processors and motherboards...and on and on and on - all out of phase and feeding the cycle.  Do you realize that if the X58 base of motherboards that came out during the 1st half of 2009 had included SuperUSB and SATA 3.0, just how many people would be set for at least five or six years on the high-end PC front?  Had those two technologies been released in phase with the release of the X58 (and derivatives...) chipset and the i7 (and siblings) processor set, the consumer would be in a much better position.

Flat panel TV's are becoming damn near disposible due to this same phenomenon, and the whole 3D thing really pisses me off to be honest.  I don't believe 3D is a vital feature set and yet these companies are banking on low NRE investment vs. some kind of WOW the consumer factor - mark my words - this is going to turn into another 'WebTV' type event.  What gets me is that they are packaging this craptastic feature set into next refresh - compelling some to feel they need to upgrade once again to keep up with the Jone's and building in premiums (added cost) for the others who could give a flying **** about 3D.  3D was the biggest joke of CES 2010 if you ask me.

The HD camcorder landscape is equally messy but I won't go there now...

The best advice I've ever received was from an old friend who told me, "Watch the technology, see where you're at today, decided what you want to be able to do, jump in when the feature set is providing a value proposition that makes sense for you - and hold off upgrading again until you're seriously in need of another upgrade and the value proposition is again right & sound."  You'll find that if you live by this philosophy, you'll save an awful lot of money and find your way back to something closer to a 10 year replacement cycle way of life - on balance.  It isn't always easy to do, but it's worth the effort on the monetary front and it gives consumers more of a say - by voting with their dollars - and if you think that there's no impact from people voting with their dollars (translated: not spending), then you've had a bag over your head the past few years...

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fx2006

im happy with constant upgrading. I would be even happier if they were coming up with significantly better high end hardware every 6 months.. its been too long since i7 975 or GTX 295 release..

  32nm process CPU?good but i would like to see 22nm on the market by the end of 2010. and 16nm year later.

for me its ok to spend xxx money for much better technology than i have now.

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Biceps

What the author was saying is that you are not necessarily getting better technology... in fact, a large portion of what is being produced is coming out incomplete or broken off the line (you can see my post from yesterday about MSI as a prime example).

I agree that paying more for new and better technology is a rational and even desirable thing.  However, the current trend of producing half-finished products that are full of bugs and then rushing to the next generation without even addressing what you got wrong on the first round is somehow becoming seen as an acceptable business practice.

You may also want to note that the author was referring specifically to Consumer electronics, and was excluding PCs and PC parts (like i7 and GTX295) from his argument.

 

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ceator3571

You remind of something I have in my thoughts often. What games do people play on their PC that they need to keep upgrading their PC's (CPU. GPU, etc) so often? Don't get me wrong I enjoy technology and people buying the latests tech does help this area grow. I just wounder what games people play (or do) on their PC's to justify the need?

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Biceps

The PC I built over 2 years ago to play Crysis is still essentially the same rig with no major upgrades since then.  It still plays they newest games at solid resolutions.

Dual Core 2.66, 4 MB RAM, 1.75 TB, 2x 8800GT in SLI.  Might upgrade to Core2Quad soon, since I have one sitting around, but will need a new MB.

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1337-n00b

...Ok, lets also apply this to Operating Systems.

Why do you *think* that Vista was so crappy?

The ironic thing is that I have Vista, and, thanks to Service Pack 2, it's like XP on steroids, rather than XP on ice.  And I'm glad that Win7 is <del>free</del> $20 S&H for us new Vista buyers.

But then, Ubuntu is free for <strong> EVERYONE </strong>, and the apps that it has on it aren't just trials...

 

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

it's pronounced ELEET NEWBEE.

and it means talks like a n00b, knows like a 1337.

As opposed to a 1amma, who thinks like n00b, talks like 1337; better a 1337-n00b than a 1amma.

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1337-n00b

Sorry, accidental repeat post...

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nekollx

 Costomers are just a endless stream of income, their happyness or lack there of is irrelevent.

FYI i'm selling the new HD23fsdvfswrfsdfsdgfsfgsfg from Asus which is 0.10% better then the H4Dwqejh wdD4

only $299 used

------------------------------
Coming soon to Lulu.com --Tokusatsu Heroes--
Five teenagers, one alien ghost, a robot, and the fate of the world.

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Biceps

Excellent article.

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joecooler

i couldn't agree more with this gripe.  pc type upgrade cycles have come to consumer electronics, and it stinks!  shortly before the big digital push hit i purchased a high quality 32" analog tv.  it was expensive.  back then you shelled out big bucks for a great tv and expected it to last 10+ years.  now, although the tv is great and works fine, i am expected to toss it in the heap in favor of a flat panel wide screen hd box.  if i don't i'm missing out on all the new hd content, and have to watch movies on roughly 1/2 of my screen (the rest is a black letter box).  i continue to resist the upgrade urge but it gets harder every year as the wife and kids see just how awesome the friends/neighbors home theaters look compared to ours.

my big gripe is the bewildering array of options.  used to be, you bought ... a TV!  you went to the store, ignored the sales pitch, did the side-by-side compare, and bought the one you liked best.  now there are 3 different types (or more?) of flat panels, multiple dimension ratios, multiple input types, etc.  what a hassle.  i don't want to go to night class to figure out how to buy a tv.  some standardization is needed here folks.

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devereauxx

WHat Loyd hardly touched on but really is an isue for some is the standardization the industry is lacking.  I buy xyz bluray player and it does what it does well.  Then a year later when i have money i buy def player to put in another room in my house.  Def player works great but doesnt do a couple things xyz player does.  Now one experience i have in one room cant be replicated in another room in my house all because not all players offer the same basic functionality.  ie I want to watch netflix in the living room and can.  As it gets later into the night I want to finish what Im watching in the bedroom or office and cant cause I couldnt afford another ABC Player or the new ABC player is too different from DEF player.  And music had its own problems too along with everyone and their mother selling their own legal downloadable movie types and not being compatable with each other.  ie apple itunes and amazon unbox.

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nekollx

 it would alos be nice if these thing had names. Everyone seems to be following Asus' lead now a days. You dont buy a compaq Presario any more it's a Dell Quadcvghfghfg G4

------------------------------
Coming soon to Lulu.com --Tokusatsu Heroes--
Five teenagers, one alien ghost, a robot, and the fate of the world.

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