In our fast changing society, too many people are afraid that if they are not using the latest technology they will be left in the dust – selling apples on street corners instead of making a killing by standing up with the virtual pack.
In a consumer society like ours, this fear is absurd. The truth is, the longer you hold out on acquiring some new technological whiz-bang product, the better off you will be when you finally do buy the next generation of products. Save your time, worry and aggravation, and let new technology pass you by for awhile. Then, when you are ready, the products will be better, cheaper, easier to use – and you will be fresh and excited about them – not jaded and cynical like the others who feel burnt because last year’s hot software isn’t worth a slice of toast anymore.
The problem is, we never get any encouragement to wait and not act impulsively. Everyone tells us to buy now – or life will pass us by. This has been going on in our country ever since the first car was offered to consumers. Earlier, really. For farmers, it was the steam combine; for tailors, the foot-pedal sewing machine.
But the car was the first big piece of technology that truly revolutionized the world. When the first automobiles appeared, slick salesmen told people how life was going to pass them by if they didn’t own one. A lot of people were fooled into believing that their life was better with a car, but it wasn’t. They were buying the sizzle and not the steak. Those early cars were complicated to run, and required special tools and skills. And they were even a lot slower than the existing mode of transportation, the horse. Most importantly, there was no ‘software’ for the first cars – no roads to ride on. Because of this, some of those early car owners weren’t even able to try out this new gadget that was supposed to revolutionize their lives.
Still, there were people who just had to have a car.
And what eventually happened? After everyone who just had to have the first cars had one, the manufacturers started figuring out how to make them cheaper, easier to use, and more useful. The next models were a lot better, as were subsequent generations of cars.
The same is true of computers. I remember in the early 1980s, when personal computers were first introduced. Salesmen told us our lives and businesses would fail if we didn’t run out and buy the latest personal computers – at the time selling for around $5000! They told us that we could balance our cheque book on the computer! Keep recipes! If our children didn’t know computer they’d never get into college!
Well, if you never balanced your cheque book by hand, you would probably never do it by computer. It would take longer. A $5000 piece of machinery to store recipes? Great idea! And the college gambit is as old as the encyclopedia salesman. The only thing a student could do on a computer back then was word processing . And if they had to write a report, a $200 typewriter would still do the job just fine.
The longer you waited to buy a computer, the cheaper they became and the more problems they could solve in less time. Fifteen years have passed, and it’s finally getting easier to balance your cheque book by computer, but only if you write a lot of cheques. You see – it pays to wait.
I see the same thing happening with the Internet. In early 1994 when I first stated playing with the Internet, it was a little expensive for a commercial connection and very difficult to use. The information available there was also questionable as to it’s value. But by late 1995, it became a whole lot easier to use, and the price keeps dropping. There is a lot more information available, but I still question its usefulness in real time. If you’re not on the Internet yet. Don’t fret, and don’t believe those that imply that you’re one of the only ones not online. It won’t hurt hurt to keep waiting and when you do sign on, it will be with a much better services than it was well, yesterday.