Am I turning into a Luddite?

This YouTube video reminds me that my newest personal computer, a Lenovo ThinkPad T440s, is already 10 years old. My other personal computer, a Lenovo ThinkCentre desktop, is 12 years old.

There was a time when users had to keep upgrading their computers in order to run the latest operating system or software. For example, if a new version of Windows was released, it was guaranteed that one’s current computer would not be powerful enough to run it properly. One had to upgrade either the RAM or the CPU – or both – if not buy a new machine altogether.

Between 1991 and 2001, I owned three different computers: a Sanyo MBC-16LX 8088 PC, a no-brand 486DX33 PC, and a custom-built Pentium II PC. On the first one, Windows 3.0 barely ran, and when I asked about the possibility to upgrade it, I was told that I would be “fitting a combustion engine onto a wooden cart”. Shortly after, I was given the 486DX33 PC, which was used for playing an unhealthy amount of Aces of the Pacific and Indiana Jones games. When I started working, I built my own Pentium II-based computer and ran Windows 2000 on it. I foolishly thought that Windows 2000 was the endgame and I wouldn’t need to upgrade again.

After 2001, I mostly used a second-hand Compaq workstation that I won on eBay. In 2003, I bought an iBook G4 (or maybe G3) as I went through an Apple phase. I also built a PC with an AMD Athlon around that time. In 2006, I replaced the iBook with the first MacBook Pro that had an Intel CPU inside. The problems with that computer (and the previous iBook G4) ended my fascination with Apple. In 2009, when the AMD Athlon PC stopped working, I bought a Sony Vaio laptop.

Sometime in 2014, I saw a deal for a Lenovo desktop, which I could not pass on. I bought one, despite the model being two years old already, and sold the Sony Vaio. I succumbed to the hype of the time and bought a Samsung netbook too. However, the user experience was so bad that I sold it and bought the Lenovo ThinkPad T440s in 2015.


Between 1991 and 2001, I owned three PCs; between 2001 and 2014, six; and from 2014 to now, only two. The interesting thing about this progression is the usefulness of each computer kept increasing. My first computers were almost obsolete by the time I got them, and the 2001-2009 computers needed replacing to keep up with the requirements for the software that was being released. But since 2014, the baseline for computer performance has remained relatively high, making any gains from upgrades only marginal.

My personal computers are now noticeably slower than my work laptop issued in 2023. However, the difference in speed is not convincing enough to replace them. I believe they will remain useful for at least another five years, especially since they both run Linux, which does not have the demands of Windows (or Mac OS on Apple hardware).

I was recently asked by a colleague whether it was by choice that I was still using my 2017 Samsung S8+ phone, and last Christmas, my nephew and his friends made jokes about this same phone.

So, maybe not a Luddite yet, but definitely behind the times.


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