What can you do with it?

I usually am very excited about tech. I spend my days reading and being distracted by tech news. In the past few years my curiosity has increased dramatically, but at the same time, my will to buy a new product has decreased considerably.

For a programmer, the machine I use to do my daily work is sub par at most. It has a core i3 processor and only 4GB of ram. I use this machine to build most stuff on renly using visual studio. I have countless VMs running Ubuntu and more than 20 dev websites under Apache. I use Photoshop to create graphics and process pictures. In other words I am using all of the capacity of this machine. It doesn't slow to a crawl since I am using an SSD. But still, I have reached the limit.

Naturally, I started shopping for a new laptop and I got the top of the line. It has 16GB of RAM (can handle 24GB), it has an i7 quad core and an SSD drive. The response time to any task is incredible.

Today, this powerful machine is under my bed collecting dust. I am still using the old laptop. I am writing this post on it, I am running my VMs, photoshop and Visual Studio at the same time.

Yes it has some short comings since it is basically out of RAM. Mentally, this represent what I can do with a machine, while the new one represents what the machine can do for me.

Most new technologies are sold by convincing you that they can do so much for you. But the more you integrate them into your work, the longer you use them, you find what you can do with it. If you mostly use a laptop for sending emails and watching YouTube, no better machine will improve your experience. You will still do the same thing.

A few years ago, I had upgraded from a dinosaur machine to my i3 because I had started to work with new clients that mostly used Microsoft technologies. There was an obvious gain from the upgrade: Run Microsoft software. But upgrading from the i3 to the i7 didn't have any obvious advantage. Yes I have more ram and a faster processor, but all I get to do now is open more tabs (which I am trying to do less off by the way).

Getting the new laptop was exciting because it has an HD camera, it is touchscreen, it can play 4k. It has an i7 dammit! But it lives under my bed because it is so heavy compared to the old one.

I had kept my Samsung S4 for years for the same reason. Even if I upgraded to a new phone, I would be doing the exact same thing with it anyway.

I haven't upgraded to a 4k OLED TV because, well, I watch TV maybe once a week.

Wanting to get a new device, and the news about it is much more interesting than owning the device.

Some people like to have the latest greatest device, good for them. But for me, when there is a new device in the market, I don't ask myself what the device can do for me instead I ask what can I do with the device?


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