Calculated Obsolescence

Published: June 1st, 2004

Jim Davila complains
(and rightly so, I hasten to add) about one of the most annoying aspects of today’s software/hardware market: “upgrades” that don’t add anything at all (I feel tempted to call them “downgrades”). The only thing they upgrade is the need to get a newer, faster computer, to add lots of RAM, and to switch to a different OS, Internet
browser, or what-have-you. This is known as the “calculated obsolescence philosophy.” Computer parts and programs aren’t made to last. They are only meant to embark you on an endless search after the “latest fad.” Many of the big, well-known companies do that on a regular basis. We all know it. They know we know, and we know they know we know (are you still with me? ;-)), but useless upgrades are being released all the time… Would that they would take examples such as this one.

Fortunately, Bible software as a whole is not known to adhere to this calculated or planned obsolescence philosophy. Not that there aren’t upgrades. There are, and quite a few of them, but most do
add new features and improvements, so that they are really worth it. It is also true that the majority of upgrades don’t force users to systematically update their hardware. However, some applications are RAM and processor “eaters”, and some serious thought should be given to what system requirements would be considered adequate for the average Bible software user. I think too much is taken for granted in this area. As a rule of thumb, in religious and academic circles one cannot count on having the latest technology. Therefore, applications should
strike a balance between optimizing its performance and keeping the requirements at a reasonable level.

Sometimes upgrades make justice to their name. A good point in case is the latest Accordance release (already mentioned here). Before, the Bible Atlas run noticeably slow on my iBook 600. Now, with version 6.2 runs at least twice as fast! How’s that for a real
upgrade? Quite honestly, that’s the way to go. We don’t need to be constantly upgrading our hardware in order to keep up with “state-of-the-art” technology. What we need (I’m talking as a user) is better programming, more optimization and a “calculated appreciation.”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 1st, 2004 at 11:41 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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