Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Catching Up with Today's Technology

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Catching Up with Today's Technology

Article excerpt

If you don't keep up with the latest in PC hardware, will you get left behind? Or should you follow the maxim, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"?

How to best decide when it's time to replace your PC, or those in your office or company, is always tricky. Spending on computers can make you more productive, but it's money you otherwise can't spend, invest or save, and faster systems always await you in the future.

What is clear is that the computer industry really wants you to buy, and the computer publishing industry does too. In ads as well as articles, the emphasis is always on the latest and greatest. Healthy spending has fueled the PC revolution, but it may not necessarily be healthy for your bottom line.

Not everybody buys into the dictum that yesterday's technology is a liability. Being on the cutting edge, in fact, can make you bleed. New technology is, and will always be, buggier than the tried and true.

Yet there ale good reasons for spending on new computer hardware. It will let you run the latest software, which typically has more features and is easier to use than older programs, though this reason is less compelling than it used to be.

Most of today's software is "mature," with newer versions being only incrementally different from their predecessors, unlike in the past when software improved markedly with each new release. Brand new software, like new hardware, can also be buggy.

Sometimes it seems that the software and hardware industry are in cahoots with each other, conspiring against you and your budget. Software companies such as Microsoft typically limit or even stop their support for older software. If you want the latest protection against hackers, you're forced to upgrade to the latest operating system, which in turn forces you to upgrade to the latest hardware.

Most people today hang on to personal computers longer than they have in the past, often for four years or longer. One tactic the PC industry uses is to try to convince buyers that desktop and laptop computers older than three years should be replaced because their components such as hard drives at that point will begin to fail with greater frequency. This makes sense if you're not diligent about backing up your data, says Rob Enderle, principal analyst for the Enderle Group of San Jose, Calif. …

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