One thing I find annoying about technology is the fact that it quickly becomes deprecated. I remember my first “professional” computer I bought myself about five years ago, and this should be a pretty illustrative example of what I mean. Back then, it was one of the top configurations on the market: AMD Athlon XP 1700+ processor, a VIA-based AsRock motherboard with a damn good chipset, a Sony CD-RW optical unit, 256 MB of SDRAM, a GeForce 2 graphics card, 60 GB of storage space on a Maxtor hard-disk, a 17-incg CRT manufactured by DigitalView, as well as some nifty peripherals (Lexmark printer and Mustek scanner). The whole configuration punched me a hole of about $1,300 in my wallet, but believe me, I was riding one of the flagship “supercomputers” in the city.
Two days after I purchased it, a brand-new hard-disk drive appeared on the market, boosting a storage capacity of 80 Gigs. Believe me, that was annoying. In the following months I had all the reasons to smash my head against the keyboard, as more and more state-of-the-art computer parts made their way on the market. Two years later, I was “driving” an antique piece of hardware, that was not worth even $500.
Keeping up with the trend is a dangerous business, and it’s likely to get you broke anytime soon. However, my losing some good money is not the point. What pissed me off most was the fact that some pieces of hardware are merely not to be purchased. It’s OK to secretly admire it and think what if you had an unit rigged into your PC, as well as it’s OK to worship it or wonder about how they managed to put things together.
Think of the following scenario: last month I was reviewing a GeForce 9800 GX2 graphics card, one of the computer parts that take pure genius to manufacture. Now, it can be purchased for a little less than $500, and in the following months I expect to find it on the shelves at ridiculous prices of sub-$300. Heck, I say… What next, a Cray supercomputer bought with change?
What’s the purpose of giving more and more computing power to the masses? Would the average Counter-Strike player become spiritually fulfilled with some extended frame-per-seconds? No, I guess. When I was of a certain age, I would read books, you know, these sheets of paper stacked together and printed across their surface. Now, the school kid would open the book and exclaim “hey, look, it’s printed in Verdana!” then toss it back on the shelf, where it belongs because they have to complete yet another level in a dumb game.
Ok, people, buy technology, be happy, then get part of a psycho botnet and start spreading malware amongst your contacts on the instant messenger. You know, I still wonder if it wouldn’t be right to own a computer after you get a driving license for it…