My livelihood depends on my laptop. Because of this, I’m very cautious about my computer. Whenever I buy a new one — something I do every three years or so, when the extended warranty runs out — I don’t get rid of the one it’s replacing. Instead, I keep the old one around in case I find myself without my main machine.
Last week this policy paid off, as I had to send my laptop back to Apple for repairs. As a result, over the previous few days, I’ve been working on a six-year-old computer. I’d assumed the experience would be painful. But except for one particularly heavy app (which is very slow when working with large files) it’s been fine.
More than fine. It turns out there are some things about the older computer that I prefer. Namely, its keyboard — which in this model hadn’t yet succumbed to Apple’s obsessive pursuit of thinness — has a much better feel than the one in the newer model. And with its full complement of ports, the old computer is also blissfully dongle-free.
In 2013, when I bought it, this computer was better than the one it replaced in every way. It raised the bar for what I considered a good computing experience and made using the previous model — which up to then had served me well — feel barbaric. At least I assumed so. In reality, there were tradeoffs. Perhaps I sold myself on the idea that the new one was indisputably better?
I’m typing these words on my old computer. They’re among the last I’ll write on it; this machine is undoubtedly too slow for my current needs. But the thought has crossed my mind: Do I need to be on this continuous upgrade cycle? For 80% of my needs, this old thing would do.