My laptop is six years old. Its speakers don’t work, its battery holds a charge for about two hours if you turn the brightness all the way down, and it’s as fast as about half of the netbooks out there but twice the weight. I still like it, though – it’s a Dell 700M with a 12-inch screen, which in 2005 was unthinkably small for a primary laptop. People would come up to me in college and ask me what it was. That would inevitably be followed by “can you deal with using something that small?” Fast forward the better part of a decade and like half of the PC laptops people buy are even smaller. The thing is positively voluptuous now.
Computers age very quickly, but they don’t actually age. Aging suggests some sort of deterioration in appearance in functionality. People age and part of that is getting wrinkly skin and not being as good at complex motor functions. Computers don’t do this, they run the same speed for their entire life. Cosmetically they can stay unchanged for their entire useful life with some occasional cleaning and proper handling. They never get any worse than they are when you first unpack them. They’re never any less computerry. The only thing that changes is the way we look at them. Continue reading