Maybe the British Navy has the right idea about buying into the latest computer technology. On their vertical takeoff Harrier jets, when they need to program the onboard computers with something, they still use cassette tape -- you know, like they used to about 25 years ago. NASA still uses ancient Pentium powered computers on some of its satellites. And these are people with a real use for technology. So when Apple goes and tries to dazzle you with how its latest line of laptops is faster, bigger, brighter and sharper, should you really buy into all of that?
Technology marketers offer you the latest computer technology all the time to get you to give them even more money than you already have. Does your two-year-old digital camera seem sharp enough? Of course it doesn't not now that they can offer you a model that has twice as many megapixels as the embarrassment of a camera that sits in your pocket. Does your Internet service seem to take a bit of time streaming your movie? For a mere $15 more, you could bump up the download speed and make everything more instant. And NASA has to wait a week to finish downloading its satellite pictures because they have a slow link and the onboard computer on the satellite was apparently made right about the time the Big Bang occurred.
Manufacturers of whizbang electronics want you to replace every electronic doodad in your house every three years. That's the cycle they are looking for that will help keep them in business. And people certainly are responding. The average smartphone that a person has in his pocket these days is only a year and half old. People used to carry their phones around for far longer.
Of course, for a country full of jobless people and little hope for the future, this addiction to technology isn't a good thing. Shouldn't a family that is more or less established today take care of the future and reject the notion of buying an iPad? An iPad actually costs about $100 more than an entry-level laptop while promising to do far less for you. If you aren't sure about whether to invest in the latest computer technology, here's a little primer.
Let's start with computers an area that sucks up with a lot more money out of our budgets than it should. Certainly, if you like to look at the Internet with 50 browser tabs open at the same time, buying a $1200 desktop or laptop would make a lot of sense. But do you really want that luxury when you could apply that money somewhere where it would make a lot more sense -- like an investment? Basically, even the most basic entry level computer today comes with 2GB RAM, a 250GB hard disk and a dual core processor. Even if you have thousands of MP3s, thousands of digital photos and e-books, you'd find it hard to use more than a handful of gigabytes of hard disk space. You don't want to buy a computer unless you find that you're frequently peaking your computer's processor and running out of RAM. On Windows, you can check all of this on Task Manager.
The TV manufacturers really want you to buy Full HD. The problem is, Full HD content is only available on expensive Blu-Ray discs and Hi-def television programming. If you are someone who takes advantage of all of this, then buying a Full HD television wouldn't be a bad idea. But you don't want to buy it just because the salesman seems excited about it.