My laptop computer is nearly seven years old. I use it mainly for writing my books and short stories. It’s been a good friend, but its days are numbered.
I’m reminded of the age of my writing companion every morning when I power it up. It seems to take longer and longer to ready itself for the day ahead, not unlike its AARP-age owner. It’s hard to imagine how a computer with a 2.1Ghz processor, 4Gb of RAM and 500Gb of storage could become tired and sluggish. But then, not long ago I was running five miles each morning.
Seven years is an eternity for a computer given the rapid advancement of technology. Today’s laptops have twice the computing power of my aging partner, enabling users to activate multiple concurrent applications, each with streaming audio and video. My computer, on the other hand, resents pop-up ads and grinds to a halt if too many of them appear.
I guess I’m fortunate to have stretched the life of my laptop seven years. Smartphones don’t last nearly that long. It seems these devices become obsolete within a year, or so their manufacturers would have you believe. I try to get at least three years use out of mine before I succumb to the down-the-nose stares of millennials as they watch me painstakingly type with my index finger on the undersized screen.
As a child, our only family phone was permanently attached to the kitchen wall. It stayed on that wall for more than 20 years with no upgrades or new apps, unless you consider adding a 20 foot coiled cord an upgrade. The cord was intended to provide freedom of movement and next-room privacy, but it was forever entangled in a massive knot, defeating its purpose.
Young people today could never imagine their phone lasting 20 years or having it affixed to a wall. Cellphones have become their life support systems with voice calls being the devices’ least used capability. They use them to text, Skype, tweet, play games, navigate, watch movies, and search the web via voice commands. You often see couples sitting across a table from their dates at restaurants, each staring down at their cellphones. Face-to-face verbal communication is becoming obsolete…but I digress.
I wish my laptop could hang around a few more years. It’s like a familiar home. I know where everything is. One option to extend its life is to use it only for composing and editing my books. It does fine with these tasks. It’s when the internet is enabled and video, pictures and useless information come barging into its memory that it gets confused and begins to strain. My computer and I are alike in that way. The world sometimes moves too fast for us.
Replacing my laptop is admitting nothing lasts forever--not cellphones, not computers, and not me. I’m not ready to step aside, but alas, it’s time to say goodbye to my tired computing friend. Thanks for the memories, old partner.