Upgrade Path

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When we were kids, our parents were the early adopters. They invested time, money and emotion into this untested bit of kit with lots of shine on the surface, but very little functionality and the promise of buggy software with little to no developer support. As bugs cropped up, they applied patches. As hardware became obsolete, they upgraded. Eventually the hardware and software reach a stability point, leave beta and enter the 1.0 phase. The tech runs smoothly for a good many years, and is beloved by its users for its reliability and consistency. Every so often, there’s a service pack released and the tried and true hardware gains new abilities, and with that, a bit more usefulness and an extended lifespan.

The sad thing about technology is eventually it reaches End Of Life. The world begins moving faster and in an entirely different direction than anything the original developers expected, and supporting the first generation product starts to get expensive and frustrating. The goal of the user stops being about upgrades and new functionality, and instead focuses on just maintaining basic functionality for as long as possible, with as few unexpected system crashes or hardware failures as possible. But the hardware does start to fail, and the OS does get corrupt and, though it still boots up and performs its basic functions, those functions aren’t really compatible with the current landscape or, even worse, they aren’t even necessary.

At this point, the user is faced with the choice of continuing to use the generation 1 tech, or upgrade to generation 2. I mean, it just came out and the developers said they’ve corrected almost everything that was wrong with the first generation. Plus, you can’t even get parts or patches for the old one any more. AND there’re are some great deals to be had, if you just shop around a bit. It’s an inevitability. The new generation product is going to accomplish everything the gen 1 never could and make the users life, hell, THE WORLD so much more amazing. It’s faster, it’s more adaptable, and it already has the architecture for compatibility with hardware and software that are still only in the development phase. Upgrading is the only sensible solution. The gen 2 even looks like the old one. Just… somehow better. Cooler.

However, you shouldn’t throw out the old one just yet. Toss it in a drawer in case you ever need to transfer any files or settings to the new one. Remember, not everything comes preinstalled.

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  1. I love the poignancy of this particular comic. I'm at that convergence point in my life where I've noticed I should probably quit delaying gen 2. Scarier right now is realizing that the startup that brought about gen 1 is getting pretty close to not even running on the current OS.

    • Glad you dug the comic. The thing you want to focus on is spreading fear of the new OS through disinformation. Convince people that everything ran more stable, cooler back in your day. Upgrading is risky and no one wants to be an early adopter.

  2. I don't agree, in my experience gen 2 has taught the devs a lot about how the system works, and they've kept patching gen 1 to make it better than it was before!

    • Good point. Sometimes gen 2 can revitalize interest in gen 1 and give it an extended lifespan through increasing awareness of the overall product line.

    • TRUE TRUE TRUE story: In 2000 or so (Whenever ME came out), I was running Win2K. The cool kids ran Win2K as opposed to XP because some other cool kid told them there was a reason to do it and they believed them. I honestly can't even remember. It might have been the NTFS file system that we were after. I suppose networking was supposed to be easier on 2K. Anyway, ME came out and I got a preview of it through my friend's college and everything we'd read was that it was great and it looked great and it was more user friendly. I had been using the same computer for probably 2 years and zero files backed up to any other location. I installed ME and at NO POINT during the install process did it say "ME Uses the FAT files system and your current Windows install uses NTFS, so we can't run this as a straight up upgrade and instead we're going to TOTALLY WIPE YOUR HARD DRIVE before the install." I suppose this was not a common problem since Win2K was not a common OS for the home users, but I was preeeeeetty pissed about the whole thing.

    • I got a lot of that as a kid. Honestly, the only explanations I EVER got for "why?" were "because I said so," "because Jesus said so," or "[insert completely made up bullshit excuse]." Basically parenting through frustration, laziness or lies. I try to give real honest explanations to my kid as much as I can (even when the honest answer is "I don't know."), but sometimes I find myself wanting to say "because I said so." In these cases, I try to modify that to "please just do what I asked you to." I find this removes the ambiguity of "I have no idea why I'm doing this" for the child and shifts it to, "I am doing this because someone I respect asked me to."

  3. I think the best part of this is the hover text, because I don't even know *which* dude who screams at Minecraft for a living you're talking about.

  4. I already have my 2.0 out in the world and I know what you mean. I see him developing his own quirks and adaptations in a world where the hardware and the software will mold to him. It makes me jealous in some ways, that he'll see a time where the issues we grew used to will not be around. It will be seen as a strange part of history that wasn't too bright, like drinking barium, or new coke.

    • The most eye opening revelation I've ever had as a parent, or should I say the biggest REVERSAL of a long held opinion was when I finally understood how "old people" get left in the dust. I used to think it was a failure to adapt to the change around you (and it certainly is in a lot of cases). I firmly believed I was totally immune to this issue; perhaps my entire generation was, because we lived in a rapidly evolving world. We are accustomed to change, so we won't be left out when things REALLY change. Then, around 2007, we all started carrying the internet around in our pockets. I started getting frustrated with my mom because she would still look up movie times in the paper, or call me to ask what the traffic was like. I would say, "Just look it up." YEARS went by, and she just never flipped the switch that allowed her to accustomed to the fact that the sum of all human knowledge was in her pocket all the time, just ready to be accessed. That's when I figured out the "left in the dust" tipping point. It's when the world doesn't just drastically change, but changes in a way that you could have never seen coming when you were in your prime. Cars get better, but she can adapt because she grew up with cars. TV's get better and she can (mostly) adapt, because she grew up with a kind of TV. VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, whatever, they are all examples of evolution in a straight line. A world with mobile high speed internet –> a world WITH mobile high speed internet is not a straight line at all. It might as well be a parallel universe. The thing about my kid's future that's going to leave me in the dust is likely the thing that we haven't even imagined yet.

  5. Course, you've got to remember that version 1.0 is actually a bit more durable than version 2.0, too. Version 1.0 routinely played on playgrounds without sand and turf, even on asphalt. Version 1.0 climbed trees and walked home from school alone and a host of other things.

    • The 1.0 hardware might have been made of studier stuff, but that's partly because the manufacturers didn't have access to high tech, light weight composite materials. Everything was leather and steel and iron. Now it's brushed aluminum and carbon fiber. You gotta put a case on that stuff.

  6. Reading all these tech terms applied to human beings put a smile on this cyberpunk fan/computer engineer's face. Especially since it's been a month since the end of my contract at Apple. Working there, I've seen many parts in their database marked EOL and Obsolete.

  7. This comic, while pretty funny at a first read through, made me a bit sad when reflected upon. It made me realize that version 1.0 has become filled with bloatware, plagued by viruses and out of date registry files, and has slowed significantly in recent years.The hardware has also become somewhat obsolete and has been soldered and patched together so many times that it is almost at a point of no longer being functional. At this point it appears that no amount of antivirus software or reg cleaning will ever get it back to functioning the way it used to. Also to the fact that the first gen models were made of sturdier stuff, they still can only take so much throwing against a wall to show people how tough they are before they inevitably break. Sadly the developers have decided as well that there will be no 2nd gen of this particular model.

    But all that being said I'm not ready to give up on the 1st gen quite yet, as something may still come along to revitalize the old technology.

    • "Adults," indeed.

      I limit my daughter's screen time (screens include: laptop games, TV shows/movies, iPad, XBox) because she does not limit it herself. Left to her own devices she might play flash games on her laptop for 3 hours at a time a few times a week. I'd rather her play for 30 minutes, then go draw a picture or a write a story or play with some toys, ride her bike, run around in he back yard or any other non-sedentary activity. Every kid is different, and mine needs guidance in this area. I do not limit the time she spends on her iPad or Laptop creating things. When she's writing stories or making cartoons, I don't interfere.

  8. It's funny. My new pet project is to build a PC gaming rig into the case of my old 1999 powermac G4 450 (Mac would give anybody a loan if they were a student back then)… Solid tech though, it still works fine. Albeit with a 17 gig hard drive and a gig of ram it still survives on OS 9.2.. I need to use netscape navigator 7 to try to access the interwebs. I have fondness for it's outdated self. I'd also like to turn my old C64 into a wireless keyboard, but I might not be able to break it down… Thats my childhood!!!

  9. I've already been left behind as obsolete. My youngest is in love with StampyCat. I hear that laugh in my nightmares….

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