The cutting edge of technology is particularly awesome these days. Cars are doing more on their own, phones are surpassing some current computers in their performance, and VR is coming into its own finally. I listen to a lot of tech podcasts, and love messing around with technology, but due to my status as a recent college graduate, I am definitely not maintaining a collection of cutting-edge devices. And that’s okay.
First, let’s talk about cars. I recently purchased a post-lease 2015 Honda Civic, LX trim (in other words, the only model more basic comes with a manual instead of a CVT.) The disparity between that car and other higher-end cars from the same year is rather shocking. Sitting in it, I feel super cool. It’s a big upgrade from the 1998 EX-L Honda Accord I had been driving. There’s a “cockpit” feeling to it, good Bluetooth connectivity, and a back-up camera. It’s relatively zippy for a cheap car, and the gas mileage gained by the CVT cannot be beat.
Then, I read a Golf R Review by Casey Liss. He is one of three car enthusiasts on the Accidental Tech Podcast. Not surprisingly, the only one I can identify with is John Siracusa, who to my knowledge has mostly driven manual Civics and Accords for his entire life. Casey though, he complained about the lack of assisted driving and automatic parking. The car needs to be fast, it needs a sunroof, and of course Carplay! This was absolutely baffling to me. I just cannot get my head wrapped around why some of these things are important. These three men have attempted to address it on their podcast, but it still does not click with me. Cars can be purchased only so often to be at all reasonable, and so one cannot even stay on the cutting edge.
The other issue is that he recently began working from home exclusively, yet sounded very hesitant to become a one-car family. Oh well, to each their own.
Now, obviously cars are a very special case of not staying on the cutting edge. I’ve only owned my own car for a few months, and it’ll be a number of years before I can even begin to think about getting another. But phones: now that’s another matter.
I’ve had my Galaxy S7 for two years now. Previously, I had a Galaxy S4 for two years, and then some random LG (I think) phone for 4 years throughout high school. In my mind, until I can afford the “every year” phone upgrade, two years is a reasonable time in these days of mostly non-replaceable phone batteries. So, with my S7 really slowing down and the battery life starting to tank, it was time to figure out what to do. Was the newest Galaxy S9 worth the incredible price tag? Did I want to save some money and get a Pixel XL or a new LG phone, each containing last year’s processors, despite them being the newest in the lineup?
I ended up choosing a Galaxy S8+. Due to the release of the S9, I got a very good deal on it, and the processing difference (and battery life) between the S7 and S8+ is much larger than the S8+ to a comparable newest generation phone. Once again, I opted to stay on the duller edge of technology. And I am happy with that decision. I tried the S9 in stores, and it truly did not impress me anymore than the S8 does. The S8 was the revolutionary phone (just like the iPhone X, and whatever comes out next will not be quite as lauded).
This is what is interesting about technology. So many people are excited to get the newest and best thing. The hype is always there, but the price-to-performance normally isn’t. I spent all of last year in school working on a 4-year old Ideapad and a 5-year old refurbished Thinkpad. They performed admirably for me, because like most people, I’m not doing much heavy-lifting.
Being on the dull edge, and looking out at what is available and what others have, can be fun. I don’t think there is anything wrong with living life on some sort of delay with technology. Perhaps as I grow older and make a bit more money, that will change. But for now, I am happy with scouring the internet for good deals, and getting what I actually need for the best price.