Pic of the day: "Yesss! I bought something new! Go me!" Know that feeling?
New? So what?
"New" is old. Find something new!
I originally thought to write just about computer games in this entry. You see, back when I had my first PC, I used to buy several games a month. When I saw a new game, I bought it (except the indecent ones). But after a while I stopped. I mean, I stopped buying everything. I still buy a couple games each year, or at least did the last few years, and a couple expansion packs. But it takes more and more to make me buy. Because I already have the best.
But it actually was the same way with CDs. For the first year or so after I bought my CD player, I kept buying more and more records. But eventually I had the records I wanted. I had the styles and the moods I wanted; or you could say I had music for any occasion.
It is slightly different with computers. Each year the new computers are usually quite a bit faster and have quite a bit more capacity than the old. This comes in handy sometimes: My three year old computer had a hard time running Dragon NaturallySpeaking 8, and was often running quite a bit behind if I talked continuously for a few sentences. The computer from this spring, however, is running Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9 at roughly the same speed that I am talking, and that is after I have adjusted the slider a little up toward higher accuracy. But mostly when I buy a new computer it is because of games. If you don't play games, or only Tetris and such, you could probably use a five year old computer or buy a new one dirt cheap.
I bought the latest monster computer for Oblivion, which ironically I haven't played in a couple months now. I think the previous one was for City of Heroes, and the one before that for Shrouded Isles and Dark Age of Camelot. Before that was The Sims, and before that we are back to Daggerfall. So for me, it has been the games that have pushed me to ever newer computers. And of course, eventually the old ones start to fail, but that is rarely the reason why I buy a new one.
Like computers, cars are also gradually improving over time, but much more slowly. Even so, a car today is safer, more comfortable and uses less fuel than a comparable new car did 10 years ago, not to mention 20 years ago. The improvements are generally evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but at least it serves as a comfort when your old car breathes its last. Not much more I can say about that, or the new flat- screen TVs either, since I don't actually have a car or a TV.
But chairs, couches, tables? If there has been any improvement in those over my lifetime, I have not noticed. Actually for office chairs there are some new models that are said to be much better for your back, which is sorely needed since back pains causes a lot of sick leave and disability. But for the home? Here the evolution of furniture seems to move at the same pace as that of the gekko. There are certainly new trends from time to time, but I have not heard that these are measurably better in any way. The chair is still used for sitting and it will still not massage your back and shoulders, which should be the least we could expect in the third millennium.
It is the same with clothes. I have lots and lots of them, and I have realized now for a while that this was a mistake. Actually I can explain the trousers, because my weight has varied by about 15 kg (30 pounds) over the last two decades so obviously one size doesn't fit all of me. But a shirt in the 2006 fall colors is no better than the shirt that was modern in 1986. Well, the quality is improved relative to the price, if you know what suppliers to look for. But overall, it is still the same shirt.
I guess our species is instinctively drawn to novelty. It is one of the childlike traits that lasts for much or all of our lives, and overall this is surely a good thing. If we were not curious, there would be little if any progress. We would still be using the same rough flint tools that the proto-humanoids used a million years or two ago. So, I guess it can't be avoided. But hopefully it can be channeled in a better direction than the consumer society right now.
(That said, if Sims 3 ever comes out...)
Visit the archive page for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.