Should You Be An Early Tech Adopter?

Do you remember the old days when DOS was a marvel and Windows was a miracle? That the Apple Lisa was cutting-edge technology and you would need to sell your possessions just to be able to afford it?

We came across this article and after scanning through the old PC ads, we were somewhat shocked to discover that technology today is so much more affordable.

Picture this:

  • The Apple Lisa cost $10,000 — ten times the price of an entry-level Macbook!
  • A 10-MB Hard Disk cost $3,398; 40 times the price of a 1-TB drive! FYI, a 1-TB drive costs only $85 nowadays at its cheapest.
  • A 16-KB RAM module cost $495 in those days; today, we can buy 4-GB RAM module for only $99.

When you take a look at the stark differences, only one thing can be said: It doesn’t pay to be an early adopter.

In those days, only big businesses needed computers, and the average family didn’t have much use for them. So it took a while before Steve Jobs’ dream of having personal computers in every household became a reality. And these days, a lot of mom and pop businesses run their offices at home on the backs of business credit cards and personal ISP connections.

But what do these atrocious prices mean to today’s consumer? More than the nostalgia, there are lessons that we can take away from what we’re seeing with these technology trends:

1. It really doesn’t pay to be a “tech victim.” While there are “fashion victims” who chase fashion trends at the expense of good taste, there are “tech victims” who chase tech trends at the expense of good sense — and their retirement fund. With the speed at which today’s gadgets develop, your gadget purchase is going to get obsolete just one year later. So make sure that you buy only machines that you know you will still be using many years after you purchase it.

2. You don’t need all the features found in every gadget. Sometimes, the price tag goes up for certain features that we don’t actually need. Do you honestly need a touchscreen on your work computer? Do you really overclock your machine? Why won’t a regular Dell suffice? Would an Alienware machine really be worth the premium you’ll be paying for it?

3. It doesn’t always pay to be brand-conscious. While I love Apple, we have to be honest that a Mac is not for everyone. Let’s do a bit of a feature comparison here:

Acer Apple
While Windows 7 had been a massive improvement over the previous Windows versions, it’s still not Unix-based. Stable OS thanks to the Unix core in all Apple OS distributions.
Card reader Only USB ports in most of its machines
Optional Bluetooth Bluetooth in all its machines
Parallel port, VGA out Firewire only
More software offered for Windows Great Open Source support
If you don’t like Windows, wipe out the OS or buy an OS-less machine and install Linux on it. It works out of the box: just as soon as you rip off the plastic and turn on the machine.

We love our Macs, but we have to admit that there are some things that some people will not be comfortable living without. It’s therefore important to make not just price comparisons, but also careful feature comparisons. Maybe you’re better off with an Acer or a Dell. I, on the other hand, would miss the Exposé very badly.

5. Check for gadget redundancy. Do you really need an iPad, when you already have a workstation, a netbook, and a smartphone? Sometimes, all these new gadgets that Apple comes out with, much as we love them, aren’t really worth the investment. If you find that you barely use your e-readers anyway, how about springing for a convertible netbook instead, like a Lenovo S10-3T? It may be worth your money instead.

Some of us can appreciate Sony discount codes to use for the purchase of a Sony Vaio netbook. But some of us would much prefer the newly-released 11″ Macbook Air. The good news is that there are a lot of discounts online and off and it’s a new world where retail and electronics trends are coming together to provide the best products at the best prices for the average consumer. How easy it is to now buy gadgets on installment with our no annual fee credit cards?

It’s a good thing we’re no longer in the 80s. Despite the speed of machine upgrades (and possible obsolescence), keeping up with tech is now worth it.

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