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Predictions are usually wrong Technologies Predicted To Redeem Or Destroy Society & What They Teach Us About The Web Technologies Predicted To Redeem Or Destroy Society & What They Teach Us About The Web The Internet makes censorship impossible and will bring down corrupt regimes around the world. It will lead to an era of absolute transparency, which will inevitably lead to more equality and more justice. Disagree? Try... Read More , so I hate to make them. But here’s one I’m sure of.

A company you like will release an improved version of a product you own. You will want this improved version, and will dwell on that desire – spurred on by advertising and glittery reviews. You may ultimately purchase it, and upon doing so will think that you’re finally happy with your technology.

In a few weeks, however, your new device will be more or less serving the same role as your old device – and you’ll have less money.

Of course, this is only a prediction. You don’t have to fulfill it. But you probably will. We all probably will.

Downsides Of The Latest

We all hear, constantly, about the many benefits of buying the latest and greatest thing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a console, a phone, a laptop or a video game: advertising and buzz makes you want what’s new. We all hear, constantly, that new is better.

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What’s discussed less often are the downsides to the latest, so here are a few:

  • You’ll lack information. When you buy the latest thing, you’re assuming it’s going to be better in every way. This might be true, but it also might not be – there may be issues, or limitations you didn’t expect. The earlier you buy a gadget, the less information you’ll have about what to expect. Reviews and tutorials take some time to pop up online; the earlier you buy something new, the longer you’ll be on your own.
  • There will be bugs. Test as they may, every major device seems to have a few quirks at launch. Users find them quickly, and eventually they’re fixed. This is fine, but the earlier you buy a gadget the more likely you are to run into these problems.
  • It’s going to cost more. Every gadget costs the most the day it is released. Having the latest is nice, but is it really worth the premium?

simcity-disappointed

Robert Wiesehan outlines how a little restraint can save you from disappointing games A Little Restraint Can Save You From Disappointing Games A Little Restraint Can Save You From Disappointing Games Preordering a game can be exciting, but it comes with some drawbacks. Holding off for a little can save you a great deal of money, time, and frustration. Read More . I’d say the same is true for any laptop, smartphone or tablet you’re thinking of buying. Getting it now can be nice, but getting it later means you’ll be better informed, deal with fewer bugs and pay less.

Waste Not, Want Not

There’s a mind-blowing amount of waste in the rich world. You could join in, rushing to the latest and greatest thing, throwing away the previous latest and greatest thing while you’re at it. Or you can take advantage of this excess, save a ton of money and contribute just a little less to the waste stream Thou Shalt Consume: The Story of Consumer Electronics [Feature] Thou Shalt Consume: The Story of Consumer Electronics [Feature] Every year, exhibitions around the world present new high tech devices; expensive toys that come with many promises. They aim to make our lives easier, more fun, super connected, and of course they are status... Read More .

The Digital Dump Infographic via GOOD

Anyone who shops at thrift stores knows what I’m talking about. You can find great shirts for $3, compared to the $50 and up people pay at the mall. You could, if you wanted to, think of tech the same way. You don’t necessarily need to buy used, but you could skip what’s newest.

You’ll enjoy every brand new piece of technology just as much years from now as you will today – and you’ll pay a lot less for it.

Think about game consoles. If you’re a generation behind, every game you could possibly want to play is dirt cheap on the used market. Can you play the latest thing? No. But do you really need the latest thing? Don’t you still have a bunch of games sitting around your house you haven’t played yet? Aren’t there still games from the last gen you never got around to playing?

I’m not saying everyone who buys the latest thing is dumb, or a bad person. But they’re certainly spending more money, and I don’t think they’re enjoying life any more because of it.

It’s Not The Tech That Counts…

It’s what you do with it.

My college roommate was really into the idea of working out. He was convinced he was going to do it, but there was always one more thing he needed to buy first. A heart rate monitor, a GPS, a better pair of headphones – it didn’t matter. Something was always keeping him from committing to a regular workout schedule.

All he ultimately needed to do was start working out, of course, and no item he bought was going to make him do that. Discipline was the only thing he really needed, but that’s internal – and changing yourself internally is hard.

running-do-it

Advertising constantly tells us that internal change isn’t necessary, that there is always something external you can purchase that will prompt the proper change in you.

You might think you’ll be more productive if you get a new laptop. Maybe you’re right. But take the time to think about it.

Don’t Buy; Remake

I don’t need to tell you “geek culture”, whatever that means, has been hijacked – the existence of The Big Bang Theory proves that well enough. At some point, it was decided that being a geek meant buying a crap ton of gadgets. This happens anytime advertisers decide to make something “cool” in order to sell things, and it’s happening now.

But you don’t have to buy into it. Being a geek isn’t about buying technology – it’s about making technology work for you.

To me, installing a custom ROM on your old Android phone How to Find and Install a Custom ROM for Your Android Device How to Find and Install a Custom ROM for Your Android Device Android is super customizable, but to fully take advantage of that, you need to flash a custom ROM. Here's how to do that. Read More is way geekier than upgrading. Learning how to speed up your PC is geekier than simply replacing it. Bringing an old computer to life with Ubuntu is geekier than buying a new one. Setting up XBMC as your media center on an unused machine is geekier than buying an Apple TV.

You get the idea. You can do amazing things with technology otherwise seen as obsolete. You’ll not only feel like you have a new gadget to play with – you’ll also feel like you accomplished something.

So wait to upgrade. You’re not missing out. There’ll be time to upgrade later.

Disagree? Let me know in the comments below, or share your tips for re-using old hardware. I’m looking forward to both kinds of comments.

Image Credits: SALES GIMMICK Via Shutterstock

  1. Kelsey T
    February 26, 2014 at 3:50 am

    This directly reaches me because of my profession...auto parts. I sell everything automotive, including hot rod stuff. It has always and always will impress me far more when the guy with little cash builds a fast car using his ingenuity, as compared to the rich guy who buys the $80,000 supercharged Chevelle turn key and ready to roll.
    For me ingenuity and honest creativity will always trump an attempt to purchase "cool".
    I recently made the commitment to never buy a vehicle from dealers again because of this practical attitude...only individuals...because I'm trying to eliminate the influence of the "cachet" factor from my life. That vain kind of purchasing has never done one good thing for me. I bought a certain vehicle a while back from an individual for a third of what a local dealer wanted for the same thing. Paid for a professional detail job after the purchase and I literally laughed all the way to the bank.
    I love revitalizing old tech. Heck, there are still games I love playing that won't run on anything newer than Win 95...that's a creative challenge to me when I think about the many retired pc's out in my storage shed. I like to think of it as if I were back in 1995, but able to put the absolute best tech available for that time in this machine...for virtually nothing now because people are literally throwing it away lol. What I had no hope of affording then is free now. Sweet!

    • Justin P
      February 26, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      I just want to say this is perhaps my favorite comment here for all time.

      Money can't buy awesome.

    • dragonmouth
      February 27, 2014 at 12:40 am

      "Money can’t buy awesome."

      Depends on your definition of "awesome", Justin. :-)
      To those that like to work with their hands, it is rebuilding something from the ground up. To those who disdain any kind of manual work, it is buying the bleeding edge.

  2. dragonmouth
    February 25, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    "it’s about making technology work for you."
    Making technology work for you as you describe is like peeing in a pair of dark pants - makes you feel warm all over but nobody notices.

    Making technology work for you may be "geekier" but it does not provide you with a latest "cool" gizmo. A 3 year old quad core PC running Gentoo does not have the same "cool factor" as the latest 12 core PC with two top of the line video cards and 128 gig of RAM. Making technology work for you does not get the girl. /GRIN/

    Don't get me wrong, I keep everything until it bursts into flames. Then I clean it up and make key fobs, coasters or clip boards out of the remains, and sell it at a flea market.

    • Justin P
      February 25, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      My wife seems pretty happy about my ability to save us money by geeking out, but okay.

  3. Bob Myers
    February 25, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Is "Right On!" still appropriate? If not, I'm "refurbing" It right now.

    Bob Myers

  4. eric
    February 25, 2014 at 4:22 am

    but the iSheep need iGrass or they will starve : (

  5. Kevin
    February 25, 2014 at 3:34 am

    I'm a "last-gen" techy for life! My main pc is still a 2006 socket 939 AMD with pclinuxos, and it does everything I need. I have a 'doze 7 pc for gaming on steam I rarely use. No use for xbone or ps4.

  6. Tom W
    February 25, 2014 at 1:53 am

    I think there's two things to consider here: how much spare money someone has, and who their geek influences are. Someone with a lot of spare cash who is influenced by Steve Jobs will likely buy all the latest tech.

    I, on the other hand, was influenced more by the maker / hacker side of geek culture. I'm always looking for better ways to do things, or whether I can make something from base components rather than buying it. This means that I don't tend to see something advertised and think about buying it, instead I'll wait until I need something and see what product fits my need.

    At the risk of being cliche, I'll say that advertising doesn't really affect me that much. Except fast food advertising, which works surprisingly well.

    • Justin P
      February 25, 2014 at 1:59 am

      Fast food advertising only works on me immediately after a long hike.

    • Tom W
      February 25, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      I know that I only crave fast food because my caveman ancestors needed to store a lot of fat to sustain them over the winter months, and I also know that I don't need to do that, especially in the quantities offered in fast food. But that doesn't stop it tasting any less good. Luckily, I'm also too lasy to actually go and get fast food most of the time, so it kind of balances out.

  7. William
    February 25, 2014 at 12:56 am

    Man, I don't know. I hear ya, but marketing makes it so damn hard! I'm in tech support, so I like making an old thing do new tricks, but I also drool over new technologies - especially when it's a "deal".

    Example: A new MS Store recently opened up in another city close to me. I travelled pretty early there to get a 128GB Surface Pro for $399! That's an excellent deal and it's a cool device, but I'm thinking whether I really "need" it. (I gotta declare: My 1-year old laptop just came back from being repaired and since it's out of warranty I'm worried it may fail again.)

    But I hear you loud and clear! Heed his good advise people; he IS right!

  8. Guy M
    February 24, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    I recall watching a video on L0pht about 15 years ago. The interviewer was surprised at how much old computer equipment they used daily. He asked, "When does this old stuff become useless to you?". The L0pht guy gave the deadpan reply, "When it bursts into flames."

    That's what geeks do.

  9. Sakshar T
    February 24, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    "Sold"...Nice song..

  10. Adrian
    February 24, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    I've still got my old Motorola V186 chugging along. I've used smartphones and I like them, but I don't those fragile things survive a few drops onto hard concrete as well as the old gal has.

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