How Proficient Are You In Using Popular Technological Devices?

Smart phones, dumb phones, and land lines. Shiver me timbers.  How proficient are you in the newer technologies?   Are you good with power point, do you own a notebook or ipad or smart phone (or equivalent)?

Not al all would mean you have a land line, and are not even online with the internet.

Not very much would mean you own a basic cell phone and are cozy or somewhat cozy surfing the internet, email, etc.

So-so means you are comfortable with the immediate above and maybe a little more (like a kindle or a smart phone).

Pretty good means the above and even more -- like an ipad or kindle fire, for example.

Up to Date means that you are cozy with all the popular technlogy.

Very proficient means you are fluent in high-tech areas that exceed some of the most popular technologies.

Other means other, a concession to those of you persnickety types who cannot round off or approximate an answer. You are a bother, but we love you!  :)

 

 

 

 

Not at all
0% (0 votes)
Not very
26% (6 votes)
So-so
13% (3 votes)
Pretty good
17% (4 votes)
Up to date with most or all popular technology
22% (5 votes)
Very proficient
22% (5 votes)
Other
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 23
Forum Tags: 
9518 reads

There are 41 Comments

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I have some very techy homeschool friends and their kids who are passionate about all the latest gizmos, which pushes me to stay up-to-date. They've got everything from 3D printers to Raspberry Pi. 

Mark_Smith's picture

I'll be honest, I'd be more up to date if I had more money...I just got a month by month cell phone about 6 months ago, my first cell phone. Why? Between low pay with no raise in 5 years, school loans, mortgage, and 4 kids, gadgets and gizmos are low on the totem pole.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Alot of it has to do with one's vocation. If your job is in the tech world, then tech is going to be part of your life and important for your career advancement. When my dh worked for Verizon, he had to know how to use all of the latest tech, so we often were first adopters by default.

As a homeschooler, part of our school budget is for the kids to learn to use technology and various gadgets like laptops, smartphones, tablets, and e-readers, and software like Adobe Creative Cloud and Microsoft Office Suite.

We do this on a 'lower middle class' income, because education is one of our main priorities, so we do without other things in order to be able to provide the kind of education we believe is important for our kids' futures. 

Jim's picture

Phone #'s:

  • We have a landline (Comcast)
  • Our security system has its own cellular #
  • Our car has its own cellular #
  • I have a fax #
  • My wife has an office phone
  • My wife has a company cell phone
  • I have an office phone
  • I have a company cell phone
  • We have a Google voice phone #
  • My wife has a personal cell phone (IPhone)
  • I have a personal cell phone (IPhone)

I think that is 11 phone #'s: I know my wife's office #, my office #, and our landline # by memory ... others not! Yikes!!

Working from home today: Kathee is connected via VPN to work ... me too ..... I have two laptops on my lap right now plus an IPad on my side table. Sometimes when the kids are here we may have 6 or more laptops connected to our WIFI

Mark_Smith's picture

Just for the record, I don't "have the other things" either. Our house is modest, very modest. But a $500 cell phone is way too much. If I bought a Kindle Fire my wife would slap me... My first child had to be born via c-section due to an emergency. All the kids were thus born by c-section. 2 years ago we had twins. The cost just for co-pays and deductible was $6000. That was just hospital. Forget trading the newer paid of car for an older one big enough for 6. We have never bounced back from that hit.

 

What I am saying is that given the situation I am in, while I would love to have the devices and would use them, I choose NOT to buy them so that my kids have diapers, food, A/C and heat, clothes etc. Not to mention giving to the gospel, etc.

FWIW we haven't left town on a vacation in 8 years either.

Jim's picture

Web technologies: I've been working on web-based technology for 18 years. Started when my manager wanted to have an internal web site for our department. I was clueless but leaned a bit of HTML and was off and running. 

Since then: HTML, CSS, Cold-Fusion, SQL Server, et cetera. 

Unfortunately (for me and I think that it is unfortunate that this happens in general), I'm more or less a project manager. I talk on the phone all day, host meetings, keep track of other peoples' to do lists, harangue, cajole, remind, and report. 

Two technologies were step ups for my career: 

  • Mainframe COBOL, PL1, JCL, Assembler, and REXX ... 
  • Then management 
  • Then web-technologies
  • Now project management
Jim's picture

We try to do a simple cost / benefit analysis before all purchases. Do we need it? How will we use it? How much will we use it? Et cetera. 

I was an IPhone skeptic until a year ago. We find it an amazingly helpful device, 

Printers? Don't have any printers! Hate 'em. Everything that was formerly printed goes to PDF and is saved. If I need a document on the go, I access it via the IPAD

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Mark_Smith wrote:
Just for the record, I don't "have the other things" either. Our house is modest, very modest. But a $500 cell phone is way too much. If I bought a Kindle Fire my wife would slap me... My first child had to be born via c-section due to an emergency. All the kids were thus born by c-section. 2 years ago we had twins. The cost just for co-pays and deductible was $6000. That was just hospital. Forget trading the newer paid of car for an older one big enough for 6. We have never bounced back from that hit.

What I am saying is that given the situation I am in, while I would love to have the devices and would use them, I choose NOT to buy them so that my kids have diapers, food, A/C and heat, clothes etc. Not to mention giving to the gospel, etc.

FWIW we haven't left town on a vacation in 8 years either.

Mark - Our family has experienced emergencies and health issues and the loss of a job, etc... and I completely understand that it takes time to bounce back. Sometimes years. 

We've never taken a vacation in 26 years of marriage, and that includes a honeymoon. We haven't had a car payment for 15 years. We never purchased new furniture, and we shop for clothes at thrift stores. I cook from scratch. I broke a molar two months ago and I can't afford to have it fixed until next month (it's not bothering me yet, so I don't care to wait). We've made these choices because, among other things, we have certain income limitations, and we believe we need to provide our kids with a topnotch education which includes preparing them life and a career in the digital/information age.

So I'm just saying that when people have gadgets and new tech, it doesn't mean that they have extra cash lying around. It sometimes means they have found ways to do/have the things that are important to them.

And not all tech costs a bomb. I have a Chromebook I purchased for under $200 that does everything I need it to do - I pretty much live in the cloud. It is also my e-reader, mp3 player, homeschool organizer, address book and calendar, menu/grocery list planner, etc... it's one of the most important tools I have to keep my home running in an organized manner.

josh p's picture

I would say I am somewhere between up to date and pretty good. I have an IPAD that my wife calls by "other wife" that I use mostly for school. I have a massive library on it between PDFExpert, Logos, Kindle, IBooks, Audible, Bible apps, Olive Tree, Librivox etc. I can do most things on a PC that I want to do although I would like to improve in several areas. Still looking for a way to convert Kindle books to audio. Does anyone know how?

Mark_Smith's picture

I am probably talking past Susan. In the academic world, "tech savvy" means you have an iphone 6 AND an iphone 6plus, a macbook pro, and a kindle fire. If you don't throw away your 6 month old piece of junk when "the new thing" comes out, you aren't "tech savvy".

Jim's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

 In the academic world, "tech savvy" means you have an iphone 6 AND an iphone 6plus, a macbook pro, and a kindle fire. If you don't throw away your 6 month old piece of junk when "the new thing" comes out, you aren't "tech savvy".

That's "tech - stupid"! Solid technology lasts .... I have a Mac OS "Bible" from 7 years ago .... all there (basically) still applicable with latest. Tech-wise people buy technology that makes sense, is cost-justifiable, and lasts. 

As an aside ... a great solution for the home is an older PC ... and put Linux on it. No need to buy expensive Microsoft Office ... instead the free open office. 

Another tech-smart solution is (for those who work), if the company needs it ... let the company buy it! 

On the latest and greatest: My company only buys P/Cs from three vendors (there are some Macs too but basically for desktop publishing people): Lenovo, Dell, and H/P. Employees do not choose the vendor or the model. And they buy the  models with enterprise level components (eg the "T" models of Lenovo). And they expect them to last 42 months (we have a 42 month replacement policy). 

Mark_Smith's picture

You are trying to pinch pennies, these people aren't. What matters is the latest and greatest. I know dozens of people like that.

 

To be clear, I am not talking about what institutions buy, but private people. Our university has a 6 year replacement policy.

Jim's picture

Chasing technology (the latest and greatest) is really expensive. Doesn't bother me if other people do it on their dime. 

2 examples:

  • The IPhone 6 vs the IPhone 5 (s or c). You basically can get a 5 for free (locked with a contract). Some of the 6 features like Apple Pay ... how many (few) merchants support Apple Pay? Around here the only place I've seen is McD's (but looks like our grocery store will soon be ready)
  • My old MacBook story. I used it for 4 years ... gave it to my son. He used it for final 2 years of mechanical engineering degree at the U (of Minn). He then took it to Afghanistan with him. Still working (although battery is weak ... must be plugged in) after 7 years. 
Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

This thread is based on the OP/Poll. "Tech-savvy" is not defined as someone chasing the latest and most expensive gadgets. And a Raspberry Pi is only about $35-40 and it's a great way for kids to learn about computing.

Being comfortable with the latest tech can also mean being proficient at coding and programming languages like Python, SQL, Java, C/C++/C#, PHP, Ruby. . . which can be learned for free or very cheaply. One can also become tech-savvy with open courseware/MOOCs and not spend a dime.

Mark_Smith's picture

Ed's categories:

1-Not very much = owning a computer and surfing the net, email. That is your "owning a chromebook".

2- So-so  = having a Kindle or smartphone IN ADDITION to what is above. Note Ed is being cumulative.

3- Pretty good = (I will quote Ed here...) "means the above and even more -- like an ipad or kindle fire, for example."

****Note, Ed was talking about owning more stuff!

4- Up to Date = being up to date with all of the popular technology. That would be ipads, iphones, kindle fire. I personally had never heard of "raspberry pi" until you mentioned it, so I reasonably think it is small fry compared to the above. But once again NOTE ED is talking about OWNING THESE ITEMS. That equals money.

5- Very proficient = owning all of the above plus being able to program the devices, for example.

So, can we agree to disagree and move on Susan. If you think owning a chromebook makes you tech savvy, Fine with me.

Smile

 

 

Shaynus's picture

Susan R wrote:

Alot of it has to do with one's vocation. If your job is in the tech world, then tech is going to be part of your life and important for your career advancement. When my dh worked for Verizon, he had to know how to use all of the latest tech, so we often were first adopters by default.

As a homeschooler, part of our school budget is for the kids to learn to use technology and various gadgets like laptops, smartphones, tablets, and e-readers, and software like Adobe Creative Cloud and Microsoft Office Suite.

We do this on a 'lower middle class' income, because education is one of our main priorities, so we do without other things in order to be able to provide the kind of education we believe is important for our kids' futures. 

Susan,

What you're doing with your kids is incredibly wise. Depending on their age and aptitude, I'd also recommend this http://www.codecademy.com/. It's an easy and free way to learn how to code. Coding is the math of the future. It's algebra and math in practice. 

Here are some ramblings from a professional. 

I'm a professional IT guy. I've focused on supporting Apple products for the past decade for a wide variety of companies including political shops, Defense contractors, law firms, architects, advertising agencies, iPhone app developers, and now in a video production company. When you're wondering what tech you should buy it does come down to budget, your vocation, and your technical aptitude.

People with lots money can be foolishly cheapskate on their tech spending. I once met with a potential customer who was personally worth $1.4 billion. She wanted me to guarantee her computer work all the time (lots of money makes people dumb sometimes). I told her it would be best to have at least two laptops ready to go, and we could have them back up to each other every night. She accused me of trying to get her to spend money. I wasn't. I just didn't want to be liable when her computer eventually did break. We decided not to take her on as a client. You shouldn't work for crazy people. 

Rules of thumb: 

Macs: I recommend new or used Macs for most people, even if they're more expensive. The value of these computers that will last you years amortized out over the years it will last makes more sense than spending the time and money on a Windows machine (or the technical prowess of using Linux). I've never see a virus on a mac. I have seen malware installed, but the user really had to try. I still have a mac that works from 2006. I mostly use my much faster work MacBook Pro, but the thing still works if I need it to. Windows is dying as an operating system. Microsoft is turning into a server/cloud/gaming company and I think they're rapidly declining in terms of user interface. Windows 8 is so confusing! 

BACK UP YOUR STUFF: I would invest in a Cloud backup service like CrashPlan, but if that's too expensive at least get a hard drive to back up to. There is free software that can back you up to an external drive (including CrashPlan). You can get a 128 GB USB stick for 50 bucks these days. 

 

pvawter's picture

Well, I guess it depends on how you understand the choices in the poll, but I answered "very proficient." I am a self-taught techie who is too cheap to purchase most of the popular new devices. Primarily for this reason, I avoid Apple products and prefer linux to extend the life cycle of my pc's. While linux earned a reputation for requiring a great deal of technical prowess in its early years, the recent iterations, especially of the debian/ubuntu/linuxmint varieties, are simple to use and work almost completely out of the box on any standard pc or laptop, even on legacy devices which have been left in the dust by the Mac and Windows communities. When Ubuntu Phone is released, it will also be a great option to extend the life of an older or less powerful android device. Especially for ministries which operate on a very limited budget, linux can be a great stewardship decision, imo.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Just throwing in my .02 since I voted in the poll....    I don't have time to master a wide variety of devices. So, with smart phones, tablets, watches, phablets, etc. in the mix, had to say "not very." I use two devices, a PC and a netbook. The latter is--how's this for amazing technology--a tablet with an actual keyboard...that runs everything a PC will run... has amazing battery life (a good 8 hrs last time I timed it)... has a screensize that is large enough to use apps in their ordinary PC variety (99% of the time)... and cost less than $300.

Can't make phone calls with it but... call me a dinosaur--I have a phone to make phone calls with.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Mark- we definitely disagree on what tech-savvy means, especially when being able to use tech doesn't mean one owns every piece of new tech available. Being able to use stuff is not the same as owning stuff. My husband and sons know how to use large equipment like forklifts, skylifts, and MT-50s. We don't own any of those machines. Ditto my friends who work at WPAFB and use things like electron microscopes and remote vehicles and 3D printers. 

If you want to declare Raspberry Pi "small fry" without knowing what it is, feel free. But just in case you feel like learning something today, here's a description - 

The Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit-card sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV, and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. It is a capable little device that enables people of all ages to explore computing, and to learn how to program in languages like Scratch and Python. It’s capable of doing everything you’d expect a desktop computer to do, from browsing the internet and playing high-definition video, to making spreadsheets, word-processing, and playing games.

What’s more, the Raspberry Pi  has the ability to interact with the outside world, and has been  used in a wide array of digital maker projects, from music machines and parent detectors to weather stations and tweeting birdhouses with infra-red cameras. We want to see the Raspberry Pi being used by kids all over the world to learn to program and understand how computers work. http://www.raspberrypi.org/help/what-is-a-raspberry-pi/

Shaynus - thanks for the tips. We have used Code Academy. We discovered Alice last year and had some fun with that. Our local library also has some great free resources for learning computer languages and using various kinds of tech. 

We aren't going to be a Mac family any time soon - almost everything we have is PC and Droid based, except our Chromebooks. But I do understand the preference for Mac/Apple products. My daughter saved up for an iPhone and she loves it.

Mark_Smith's picture

FYI, being "tech savvy" I googled "rasberry pi" yesterday and read about it. I had never heard about it before though.

I am glad to hear that home-schooling is going well for you and your kids.

Ron Bean's picture

I've got a flip phone!

My son just bought me my first lap top last Christmas.

My wife has an I Pad.

I'm trying to learn Excel.

I am a constant source of amusement to my friends.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Crystal's picture

I voted as "pretty good" but could have gone the next level up and voted "up to date".

My sons were given 2 ipads for Christmas a couple years ago.  We were given money and told what it was to be used for.  (one bit the dust at the camp my husband was speaking at last summer unfortunately)  We replaced the destroyed ipad with 3 ipods instead since we are traveling a LOT.  I am very comfortable on all of those devices and would love to have one "of my own" at some point.  We usually purchase devices that are a couple years "old" and thus not as high a price.  ALL of these devices were purchased on sale-even the ones that were gifts to the boys- through a website called Cowboom.  We have been really pleased with our purchases there.  

I love technology.  New techy stuff makes me get excited. :) I personally have a Macbook Air.  We just replaced my Macbook with it.  The Macbook was a 2002 model that we bought used to see if we liked Mac-which I do.  The old Macbook still runs but is getting slow and the plastic case is starting to disintegrate.  Because we are on Deputation we felt that we really should make sure we had a good and reliable computer.  We bought the new Macbook Air when we saw a really good sale right around Christmas.  We did not purchase the higher memory model because to us it seemed silly to pay that much more when we can get an external hard drive that was bigger for less money.  My husband wants me to use the old Macbook to teach him how to navigate a Mac.  I also own an older model Nookbook.  (also bought when the newer ones came out and this one dropped SUPER low in price) I have a very dumb "smart" phone. haha.  I would LOVE an Iphone and am very comfortable with their use but we have Net10 phones for cost reasons.  I see MANY benefits to the Iphone though and hopefully some day we can manage to get an unlocked one that I can use with our current phone plans. 

My husband has his PC office desktop and a very small Asus laptop.  They are both Windows.  He is harder on his equipment and is not very tech savvy really so he tends to get stuff that is really inexpensive if it is portable. I have to program his contacts into his flip phone-though just recently he started messing around with texting.  I get some really humorous texts from him now and then. I love that man. Smile  He also has his own paperwhite Kindle that gets a bit of use now and then.  His laptop and Kindle were both purchased when on mega sale.  He always wants the cheapest and simplest flip phone we can find.  

We also homeschool our children.  Once they are a touch older I have plans to include technology in the school budget.  I agree that the world they grow up in will be very different than the one I grew up in-and they need to have a good handle on how to navigate technology.  I didn't really know how to type well until I graduated High School and was in South America on a year long missions trip/internship and had to write papers for the professors that would come down and do modules.  Talk about a rude awakening.  I was still looking at my fingers a good part of the time.                 

Jay's picture

I'm very proficient, and happily so.  Part of my skill set has been from this site actually - I usually work directly with the HTML on my posts if I'm having an issue instead of using the comment box and toolbar (although that is increasingly rarer).  I'm also learning a little about XML because of exposure to it via the web and now reports generated by software.  

Like Shaynus, I am also in more or less full time IT work, and it looks like I'm going to be taking over running the IT stuff for my church very soon (we have a budget meeting tonight and I'll be there to justify my budget request).  I've worked in several small offices where someone was needed to fix computer stuff and have developed a lot of skill in that area as a result, including monitoring and updating the servers and like.

I agree with Jim's earlier comment when he said: "That's "tech - stupid"! Solid technology lasts .... I have a Mac OS "Bible" from 7 years ago .... all there (basically) still applicable with latest. Tech-wise people buy technology that makes sense, is cost-justifiable, and lasts. "

Case in point.  I have an older laptop that I bought, refurbished, from www.Newegg.com for $600 in 2012.  It has a Pentium Core i5 processor with 8 GB RAM and a 160 GB solid state hard drive.  Yes, $600 is a lot of money, and a significant portion of that money was given to me as a gift from my MIL so that I could have something that runs Windows Server so that I can study for the Server classes I'm taking.  That laptop should last me a good seven to eight years, and I take it everywhere I go, although I have to admit that there are days I wish I had something lighter.  It's being penny foolish, but pound wise - I *could* have gotten something cheaper, but I'd be looking to either upgrade or replace it now if I'd bought the bargain basement laptop because it would not age well.  My home PC is a broken computer that the office got rid of.  I replaced the broken component and we got a Pentium Core2 with 2GB RAM and Windows Vista Business for free.  My total investment in it so far?  About $60 total for the broken component and, later on, a video card.  A friend who upgraded his computer last year gave me his unneeded RAM and now we have 4GB.  I have no plans or desire to replace that computer in the near future.  It would be nice to have Microsoft Office 2010, but 2007 works just fine for what we need.

I've been working on computers since 1994.  My biggest headache, in terms of end users, are generally:

  • people like Shaynus's potential client who are just difficult and unrealistic with expectations and budget OR
  • people who always want to have the latest and greatest.

When people talk to me about buying a computer, I always ask them what they want to do first.  Then, I generally tell them that just about anything on the market will be sufficient for what they need, encourage the purchase of desktops, which are generally cheaper and more reliable, and steer them to computers with better CPUs, since RAM and hard drives are cheap and easy to swap out.  When people want a bible study program, I point them to www.e-sword.net instead of Logos or BibleWorks (unless they need those tools).

I'm in the market for a tablet right now because I want to be able to leave the laptop at home on occasion to save my shoulders from wear, read my ebooks (only - I keep getting sidetracked with movies and games if I carry the laptop), and edit my Sunday School class notes and slides.  But I know enough to know that a $120 Windows 8 tablet like this is a better deal for me and what I need in the long run than dropping $50 on this off brand Android tablet or the $180 Barnes and Noble Tab 4 reader that most people will probably get when they think that they 'need' a tablet. Cheaper is not always better and sometimes expensive just means more headache and hassle.  

I 'get' people who prefer Mac devices, but I discourage their purchase because the up front cost is generally so much higher, it's harder to upgrade and support their devices (although the iMac has come a long way), and buying their hardware locks you into their ecosystem, app store and the subsequent price gouging (We recently paid $80 for a keyboard at work because it was the 'Apple Keyboard' - which makes me want to tear my hair out).  I will recommend Linux, in a pinch, but that's generally way down on my list because I know little about that, although I've fooled with it on occasion.  If someone has a Windows XP machine that they can't afford to replace and all they want to do is check their email, the news, and pay bills online, then I'd recommend Linux because all of that can be done from the GUI and it doesn't require a lot of messing around with the more esoteric stuff.  It's better to be on an OS that is updated and relatively secure than XP, which is very common but is no longer being updated and has at least two significant holes that have not been patched.

I'm also a HUGE fan of setting up things like OpenDNS on your home networks, just to serve as a guardrail and prevention against getting trapped into the giant timesuck of the internet and keeping yourself free from hindrances and sinful entrapments.  OpenDNS allows you to block webpages by content category, and it's saved me more than once from clicking into something that I was glad I didn't read or see a little later.  Obviously, any Christian ought to have safeguards on their computers against porn.  Especially if they think they don't need it (1 Cor. 10:9-13).

Places like CodeAcademy and Alice are fantastic for people who want to get started.  iTunes has a ton of free content on just about anything you want to learn about - I have videos and curricula for an NT Greek class.  Finally, there is also Microsoft's Virtual Academy, which I have been wanting to really check out as well, but that's more for IT Manager and sysadmins that people who are just getting started with learning stuff. 

Finally, let me encourage everyone to be very careful about trusting 'the cloud'.  Assume that anything you put in the cloud could be hacked and keep any personal information out of it, as we heard about last year with Jennifer Lawrence (and other celebrities') pictures.  I'll post Sunday School notes and audio to a public OneDrive folder for the people in the church and I will keep some files there simply because I don't have a ton of space on my old desktop PC, but probably 90% of my critical stuff resides on an old external USB drive that is connected to my PC, where it's nice and local.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jay's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

If you don't throw away your 6 month old piece of junk when "the new thing" comes out, you aren't "tech savvy".

That's a foolish and wasteful attitude to have, and Apple, in particular, is really bad at promoting that their end users must have the newest and greatest.  That's part of why I have an animosity towards them and believe that what they cultivate is actually spiritually dangerous because they cultivate an attitude of greed or covetousness for the sake of their bottom line.  It's good for them as a company but deadly for those that are trapped in the ecosystem.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

pvawter's picture

I second Jay's recommendation of OpenDNS for everyone. We end up having a lot of different people over to the house using all sorts of devices to access the web via our wifi, and I love the fact that I can set up my router to use OpenDNS so that everyone gets filtered, regardless of their OS and without having to install software on anyone's computer. Like all filters, it can be circumvented, but it is a good (and free) option.

I used to dual-boot my laptop with Windows and Ubuntu Linux, but I gave up on Windows completely because I just never used it. Everything I do can be done in an open source environment, and I really don't want to get onto the upgrade timetable for Microsoft or Apple. My office desktop is a 7-year-old Dell that I constructed from leftover parts from other projects. With an Intel Dual-Core processor, 6GB ram and a 1TB hdd it runs Linux Mint 17 like a boss and I can't see needing to upgrade it for another 7-10 years. By that time, I may be running Ubuntu 25 without putting a penny into it. Other than Fedora, I haven't yet met a linux distrobution that I dislike.

Jim's picture

On Apple products being overpriced (and I don't have an emotional attachment to Apple because I use Windows, Linux, and Apple). 

My own take is that when one considers the "total cost of ownership",  Apple is fairly priced. Thinking of these things:

  • Robust hardware that some view lasts longer than machines that run Windows (This is my own view). If you get another year or two of extended life, that brings down the cost of ownership
  • The amount of software included or software easily available: Pages and Numbers cost less than Work and Excel. Open Office runs nicely on Mac (of course it runs on Linux and Windows too). I have Word and Excel on my MacBook, but probably not necessary for what I do
  • I know that everyone should run anti-virus. I personally do on Windows ... but don't on the Macs or Linux. If not needed (and I don' think they are), that reduces the TCO of the Mac
Shaynus's picture

Running anti-virus on Macs often creates more problems than it solves, and it usually only catches viruses meant for Windows, which is good if you're in a mixed environment where Macs could be the carriers of viruses. 

Shaynus's picture

Jay wrote:

 

Mark_Smith wrote:

 

If you don't throw away your 6 month old piece of junk when "the new thing" comes out, you aren't "tech savvy".

 

 

That's a foolish and wasteful attitude to have, and Apple, in particular, is really bad at promoting that their end users must have the newest and greatest.  That's part of why I have an animosity towards them and believe that what they cultivate is actually spiritually dangerous because they cultivate an attitude of greed or covetousness for the sake of their bottom line.  It's good for them as a company but deadly for those that are trapped in the ecosystem.

Come on Jay, this is ridiculous. The newest OS runs on machines dating back to 2007. That's pretty generous in terms of hardware. What is that? 7 or 8 years? Plus the latest OS is free. The danger in not running the latest OS is that security threats develop quickly to the point where if you're on old software (like 10.7 Lion) they can't spend the money and time making the old OS secure. 

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Shaynus wrote:

The newest OS runs on machines dating back to 2007. That's pretty generous in terms of hardware. What is that? 7 or 8 years? Plus the latest OS is free. The danger in not running the latest OS is that security threats develop quickly to the point where if you're on old software (like 10.7 Lion) they can't spend the money and time making the old OS secure. 

Shaynus, I've been a Mac/Apple user since 1985, so I have had a number of their products, and I still do.  Your observation is true in some cases, but it is absolutely true that many older Macs cannot run the latest software.  It's interesting that you mention both 2007 and Lion.  Coincidentally, my 2007 Macbook can't run anything newer than Lion.  On the other hand, my 2009 iMac can indeed run the latest.  With iOS it's worse -- a 2010 iPad can't run anything past iOS 6 (in some ways that's actually a good thing, as iOS 6 is much more usable in some ways than 7 or 8 -- I'm kind of bummed that unless you did a lot of jailbreak work and preparation, you can't downgrade devices).  What bugs me more about Apple is that the applications they make for Windows run on significantly older OS releases than they do on Macs., though I guess that's just a concession to the reality of the Windows world.

I really get that most of the development work for things like security fixes is better spent on more recent software.  I develop wireless drivers for a living, and like every other developer, I hate having to make fixes to a lot of old driver versions.  However, I also really hate when it's obvious that companies are depending upon planned obsolescence, and it's clear to me and many others in the industry that Apple is indeed one of the big offenders in this area.  Combine that with their philosophy of withholding some features to spread them out over more time to create more incentive to *have* to have their latest device or software version, and it does make me consider how much longer I might stay with Apple.  I have stayed with them for years, even when everyone else told me that Apple is essentially dead, and that I should join the "real world," but unlike their 1984 commercial, they are now big brother, and they know it.  I don't think that Windows (or Linux for that matter) is necessarily a better option for many (or Android/Windows vs. iOS).  However, unlike in the past, I no longer recommend Apple without some reservations.

In my case, I get around many of the limitations of Apple by running multiple VMs for Linux, Windows, or older Mac OS versions, and by jailbreaking my iOS devices, but I know that's not the solution for the average user.

Dave Barnhart

Mark_Smith's picture

if you are trying to figure out ways to get your 8 year old + computer to still be relevant, the answer to the poll "How Proficient Are You In Using Popular Technological Devices?" is NOT AT ALL. You may be a wizz bang programmer and network admin, but if you don't use any new device, you aren't "into" "popular technological devices".

 

Smile

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Mark_Smith wrote:

if you are trying to figure out ways to get your 8 year old + computer to still be relevant, the answer to the poll "How Proficient Are You In Using Popular Technological Devices?" is NOT AT ALL. You may be a wizz bang programmer and network admin, but if you don't use any new device, you aren't "into" "popular technological devices".

 

Smile

Mark, most of my "new device" purchases (excepting phones, where it's my wife and I who use an iPhone6+ and 6, and the kids get the previous generation) have gone to my kids for their college needs.  They have 2013 and 2014 era devices, both laptops and for one of them, an iPad.  Seeing as my budget for devices is limited, especially with 2 kids in college, I'm quite happy to use older computers while I have other large expenses.  My most recent large technology purchase for myself (unless you count phones) was an 8-bay NAS in 2012.  So from that point of view, I'm hardly into the latest computers and devices, though with everything I have to do to keep my kids up-to-date, as well as keeping up with what we use at work, I also disagree that I'm not tech-savvy, but you'd be right in noting I don't keep up with many popular technological devices. Smile

Honestly, though, even if I had the funds, I doubt I'd want to spend them on the latest of everything.  In many or even most cases, I can find a way to do everything I need with the older devices, and I'm not usually missing out on any serious advances in the newer ones.  Maybe that's an advantage of actually working in the field.

Dave Barnhart

Jay's picture

Shaynus wrote:

Come on Jay, this is ridiculous. The newest OS runs on machines dating back to 2007. That's pretty generous in terms of hardware. What is that? 7 or 8 years? Plus the latest OS is free. The danger in not running the latest OS is that security threats develop quickly to the point where if you're on old software (like 10.7 Lion) they can't spend the money and time making the old OS secure. 

As opposed to the 12 year old, forcibly retired Windows XP that I'm still convincing others to jettison? You want to place bets on how many extensions for support Windows 7 will get? :D

I get what they are doing and why, and I think that if Microsoft could, they would adapt the same model, and yes, it is a good lifespan for an OS. But that's not really the norm for Apple..there are plenty of reasons for making those OS upgrades free, and it has everything to do with shackling people closer to their ecosystem and nothing to do with "we're really nice people that just want you to be current". At some point, Apple will bring down the costs of their hardware and software because they'll be making so much money on other revenue streams like iTunes and ApplePay (they get, I think, 2.5% of anything processed via that mechanism).

They are notorious for announcing the 'death' of a new technology long before others.  The old Motorola processors were killed off almost literally overnight via press release, and yes, tech saavy people like you and I knew it was coming, but that didn't help the guy who had just bought a PowerPC based computer three months before who suddenly found out his entire architecture was obsolete.  

Someone else mentioned the 1st generation iPad, which was released on April 3, 2010 and discontinued on March 2, 2011...not even one full year later (Wikipedia). Most recent iOS iteration for that?  iOS 5.2.2, released May 7, 2012.  So that's just barely two full years for their "amazing, magical" new technology that literally took the world by storm. Compare that with second iPad (released March 11, 2011, discontinued on March 18, 2014, and still receiving iOS updates (8.1.2 as of this Wikipedia page).

Is it unfair to criticize them for that?  Maybe, but there is a dark side to Apple's products that a lot of people don't see once they get to the 'Oooh, new! Shiny! Magical! 'Cool!' phase of marketing.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

GregH's picture

I have mixed feelings about Apple and I have 2 of their high end computers, the 15" MacBook Pro and and a 27" iMac, both almost new. That is close to $5,000 worth of hardware but in general, I think it is a good investment for what I do for these reasons:

* The hardware is way high but the software is way less. I use Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro which cost a whopping $300 each. On a Windows machine, equivalent software would cost thousands of dollars. And when you buy a license for them, you can use them on up to five machines. So, I only buy once for both my computers.

* The experience (hardware/software) is really high quality. The keyboard and trackpad on an Apple for example are just way way better than anything I have seen on even the expensive Lenovos, etc. Everything is just so solid. And the consistency is way better than Windows though Apple is far from perfect in that area.

* The customer service. I am sort of a big fan of Apple right now because a few months ago, they shipped me a brand new $2500 Macbook Pro. I had had a few problems with my previous one which was two years out of warranty. I did not even complain much. They just decided to replace it. I would not hold my breath expecting Dell or Lenovo to replace a $2500 laptop two years out of warranty.

But I don't like anything. The main thing I don't like is the Apple zealots who shrill for Apple. They are beyond annoying. And Apple does do some dumb things and there are some dumb bugs. And I hate how they just decide to ditch some technology, forcing you to spend money to work around. For example, ditching Firewire made one of my expensive external hard drives obsolete overnight.

I don't think everyone should pay the hefty premium for Apple hardware. But if you do things like video and audio, it is probably the best option.

 

Shaynus's picture

Jay wrote:

 

Shaynus wrote:

 

Come on Jay, this is ridiculous. The newest OS runs on machines dating back to 2007. That's pretty generous in terms of hardware. What is that? 7 or 8 years? Plus the latest OS is free. The danger in not running the latest OS is that security threats develop quickly to the point where if you're on old software (like 10.7 Lion) they can't spend the money and time making the old OS secure. 

 

 

As opposed to the 12 year old, forcibly retired Windows XP that I'm still convincing others to jettison? You want to place bets on how many extensions for support Windows 7 will get? :D

I get what they are doing and why, and I think that if Microsoft could, they would adapt the same model, and yes, it is a good lifespan for an OS. But that's not really the norm for Apple..there are plenty of reasons for making those OS upgrades free, and it has everything to do with shackling people closer to their ecosystem and nothing to do with "we're really nice people that just want you to be current". At some point, Apple will bring down the costs of their hardware and software because they'll be making so much money on other revenue streams like iTunes and ApplePay (they get, I think, 2.5% of anything processed via that mechanism).

They are notorious for announcing the 'death' of a new technology long before others.  The old Motorola processors were killed off almost literally overnight via press release, and yes, tech saavy people like you and I knew it was coming, but that didn't help the guy who had just bought a PowerPC based computer three months before who suddenly found out his entire architecture was obsolete.  

Someone else mentioned the 1st generation iPad, which was released on April 3, 2010 and discontinued on March 2, 2011...not even one full year later (Wikipedia). Most recent iOS iteration for that?  iOS 5.2.2, released May 7, 2012.  So that's just barely two full years for their "amazing, magical" new technology that literally took the world by storm. Compare that with second iPad (released March 11, 2011, discontinued on March 18, 2014, and still receiving iOS updates (8.1.2 as of this Wikipedia page).

Is it unfair to criticize them for that?  Maybe, but there is a dark side to Apple's products that a lot of people don't see once they get to the 'Oooh, new! Shiny! Magical! 'Cool!' phase of marketing.

You're ignoring the dramatic speed differences between generations of iPads. The iPad 2 was a dramatically better device. Just to give you an idea, the iPhone 6 is 10-15 times the speed of an iPhone 4S. Yes, the 4S is only a few years old, but Apple shouldn't have to design an OS around such a dramatically slower phone. 

Shaynus's picture

GregH wrote:

I have mixed feelings about Apple and I have 2 of their high end computers, the 15" MacBook Pro and and a 27" iMac, both almost new. That is close to $5,000 worth of hardware but in general, I think it is a good investment for what I do for these reasons:

* The hardware is way high but the software is way less. I use Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro which cost a whopping $300 each. On a Windows machine, equivalent software would cost thousands of dollars. And when you buy a license for them, you can use them on up to five machines. So, I only buy once for both my computers.

* The experience (hardware/software) is really high quality. The keyboard and trackpad on an Apple for example are just way way better than anything I have seen on even the expensive Lenovos, etc. Everything is just so solid. And the consistency is way better than Windows though Apple is far from perfect in that area.

* The customer service. I am sort of a big fan of Apple right now because a few months ago, they shipped me a brand new $2500 Macbook Pro. I had had a few problems with my previous one which was two years out of warranty. I did not even complain much. They just decided to replace it. I would not hold my breath expecting Dell or Lenovo to replace a $2500 laptop two years out of warranty.

But I don't like anything. The main thing I don't like is the Apple zealots who shrill for Apple. They are beyond annoying. And Apple does do some dumb things and there are some dumb bugs. And I hate how they just decide to ditch some technology, forcing you to spend money to work around. For example, ditching Firewire made one of my expensive external hard drives obsolete overnight.

I don't think everyone should pay the hefty premium for Apple hardware. But if you do things like video and audio, it is probably the best option.

 

 

Totally agree Greg. BTW if you do freelance video you should check out my company. We employ thousands of freelancers in a video marketplace where you can bid on projects http://www.studionow.com

Adobe Creative Cloud is also great in the sense that you can install the software on up to three computers. Software companies seem to be getting away from the one license per machine model. 
 

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Shaynus wrote:
Adobe Creative Cloud is also great in the sense that you can install the software on up to three computers. Software companies seem to be getting away from the one license per machine model. 

Being able to download programs to multiple computers is a godsend. We qualify for educator/student discounts as homeschoolers, which is nice for subscribing to Adobe Creative Cloud and Office 365. With free online courses, tutorials on the creator site, and user videos on YouTube, the kids can take an in-depth course on each program, and the cost per user in our home is less than $8/month.

We don't put anything in the cloud that's sensitive. It's all homework, notes for household projects, menus/grocery lists, etc. There are a few things in Evernote that might cause problems if they were ever accessed. 

Ditto on OpenDNS. We've used filtering programs like SafeEyes before, but as the kids got older they became a huge headache because I kept having to allow sites so the kids could do their homework. OpenDNS and having the kid's passwords has been enough filtering/security for us.

Jay's picture

Shaynus wrote:

You're ignoring the dramatic speed differences between generations of iPads. The iPad 2 was a dramatically better device. Just to give you an idea, the iPhone 6 is 10-15 times the speed of an iPhone 4S. Yes, the 4S is only a few years old, but Apple shouldn't have to design an OS around such a dramatically slower phone. 

I'll not dispute that the second generation iPad was much, much superior device to the first generation; that is usually the case.  That doesn't change the fact that iPad 1 was on sale for just about a year and dropped almost as fast. I would normally expect any company to provide more than two years' support for a computer of any kind, especially a premium product like the iPad.  Even Linux has support for two or three years (longer with the LTS releases like Ubuntu Server, which is five years).

In any case, it's a moot point. Apple is a company that makes amazing products, and you do (generally) get the most 'bang for your buck' with their devices; they are somewhat 'future proof' and do hold their value well.  But for me and most of the people out there, 'premium' isn't necessary and is generally wasteful because that money that is spent on their products can be better used elsewhere, like paying down debt, paying other bills, or saving for a rainy day.  If you're doing heavy video and audio editing, then yes, get an Apple device.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jay's picture

Susan R wrote:
Being able to download programs to multiple computers is a godsend. We qualify for educator/student discounts as homeschoolers, which is nice for subscribing to Adobe Creative Cloud and Office 365. With free online courses, tutorials on the creator site, and user videos on YouTube, the kids can take an in-depth course on each program, and the cost per user in our home is less than $8/month.

Just as an FYI - feel free to check the licensing terms (EULA) on software that you buy.  I was under the impression that I had to buy a new copy of Office 2007 when I bought my laptop, and Microsoft told me that I was OK to install it on my laptop as well as the desktop.  

BTW, I REALLY like the Office365 offering from Microsoft, and I wish I had the money to pay for the $8/m edition that includes Office 2013 for up to five devices.  $5/m is all I can swing now.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

The reasons I have been with Apple for almost 30 years are pretty much laid out in Greg's post.  Additionally, since I develop software for a living and have to work with computers all day, the last thing I want to do when I come home is a lot of IT work to keep all the computers running at home.  Using Apple computers, software, and other devices has lightened that load to the point where it's worth the premium to me to buy their (admitted overpriced) hardware.  Personally, I still do some things with linux and Windows, but none of the family uses need those.

Apple is a very confusing and frustrating company to work with.  Their support has generally been exceptional, and I've had things replaced at no cost to me.  However, the early obsoleting of some things has been quite inconvenient, and with one of my iMacs, as soon as it reached the 5 year date, they wouldn't repair it even at my expense.  At that point, it was off their radar.  However, I seriously doubt I would have gotten better support for a PC from the major manufacturers.  Happily, there is a local repair shop that takes care of me and does repairs that are beyond my skills when Apple no longer will.

I guess there is no one-size-fits-all computing solution, but Apple has filled most of that for me.

Dave Barnhart

Jim's picture

On backward compatibility / Apple vs Microsoft: My own take is that:

  • Microsoft trumps Apple on backward compatibility - perhaps driven by their widespread corporate customer base.
  • Apple less concerned about backward compatibility (Jay mentioned the IPhone 4 and some else mentioned the PowerPC-based Macs and yet another the Firewire support)
  • About the IPhone. I have a 1 year old 5s. Wish I had bought the 32 gig version instead of 16 gig.  
Jay's picture

If you're one of millions of people still running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean or earlier, you won't get any security fixes for WebView unless someone outside of Google develops them.

That's potentially bad news for for more than half of the world's Android users, who run versions of the OS released before Android 4.4 KitKat. According to Google's latest Android distribution figures, 46 percent of Android devices run Jelly Bean, followed by KitKat at 39.1 percent. The remaining Android users are on Gingerbread (versions 2.3.3-2.3.7, used by 7.8 percent of handsets), Ice Cream Sandwich (versions 4.0.3 to 4.0.4, used by 6.7 percent), and old Froyo (version 2.2, 0.4 percent).

According to Tod Beardsley, a security researcher at Rapid7 who oversees the Metasploit project, Google recently made a "bizarre" decision to stop developing patches for pre-KitKat WebView bugs in Android. Historically, security researchers have found plenty of flaws in the component, which is concerning given the component's reach: it's thought to be used by around 930 million Android devices...

...It's important to consider that there is no published end-of-life or end-of-support policy from Google with regard to any version of Android. Google may decide to drop support for KitKat tomorrow, though doing so would be suicidal. Of course, I would expect that dropping support for 60% of your install base would also be suicidal, yet here we are," he said.

Apple also lacks an end-of-life document, while Microsoft and BlackBerry have clear statements on how they handle the sun-setting of products.

Beardsley said Google dropped support for Jelly Bean and earlier versions because it will "no longer certify third party devices that include the Android Browser" and "the best way to ensure that Android devices are secure is to update them to the latest version of Android".

Of course, on the latter point, there are dozens of devices that can't be updated to KitKat or the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop.

"Google stops providing patches for Pre-KitKat releases" from ZDNet, article dated 01-12-2015.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells