Keeping Up With Technology

Technology moves at an amazing, sometimes bewildering pace - particularly so in the last 25 year. Since computer chips became widely available, they have been introduced into all kinds of perhaps unexpected consumer products, likes cars and fridges, never mind phones and personal computing devices. Even if, as an older user, - boomer or senior - you have jumped into some of this tech (you have a PC or smartphone, for example), it can still be daunting to try to keep up. Products are updated frequently, both the software and the actual hardware - like Apple's yearly "Hey, here's a new iPhone for you!". 

A 15MB hard drive has the same storage as a handful of floppy disks....

Relax. The basic hardware platform for these different devices stays essentially the same from year to year - a laptop still has a hinged cover, with a screen and a keyboard, whether it's from 2006 or 2014. Of course, a newer device may perform better and have more features - but it's up to you to decide if that is worth the money and disruption, particularly if you are not a self-styled "power user".

Personally, I don't care if I have the latest gadgets or products - if it functions, and does what I need it to do, then that usually works for me. If you owned a hammer, you probably would not consider replacing it unless a) it broke, or b) you needed a different kind of hammer for a specific task. While a smartphone is not a hammer, it is a tool, and in my opinion the same sort of rationale applies.

By all means keep your equipment's software and operating system up-to-date; this is often done for you automatically, but make sure. Occasionally, you will run into a software or operating system update that demands newer hardware to support it. An example would be the current versions of Android or Apple's iOS for their mobile devices. At that point, you can decide if your current device does what you need and to just stick with it, or to upgrade. 

Bear in mind that all this that hardware and software will eventually become obsolete and unsupported - to wit, Windows XP - and that's another consideration.

So, enjoy whatever technology you have and don't necessarily fall into the marketing jibber-jabber that flaunts the latest and greatest every 6-12 months. There are breakthroughs from time to time that may be worth looking at (such as high-resolution screens on mobile devices), but these typically occur every few years, and not automatically with each new model released by XYZ company.

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