Your old gadgets are likely good enough


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But if we don’t keep buying the whole system grinds to a halt and explodes…


The television that I watch is NTSC 525 lines. Yes it’s the content not the resolution.


I disagree, My kingdom for a little fucking bezel. I’ve got a beloved Samsung Note5, which fits the thesis of this article well. However, I’m constantly accidentally pressing controls with my palm meat. The most annoying being when I track forward on my podcatcher putting my phone in my pocket. I would appreciate a good old fashioned margin.


Your old gadgets that are not connected to the internet or that are still getting security patches are likely good enough.


I’ll keep using my 1997 Buick, flip phone, and tube TVs until the wheels fall off.

And my i7-6700K computer. The Core Duo’s wheels fell off last year.


I’m in IT and people are always surprised I’m still using my iPhone 5 (my first and, so far, only iPhone). My wife will probably upgrade hers for a second time before I replace mine. I just keep looking at my phone and thinking, “it makes calls and plays podcasts and music and runs email, I think I’m good.” Instead of spending $1000 on an iPhoneX (that will do all the same things), I can pay for 30% of a pool for the entire family to play in this summer.



Also, for laptops especially I only buy refurbished. Unfortunately they still only last 2-3 years before hinges break and whatnot.


My desire for a bigger and/or better TV is particularly ridiculous when one considers that 80% of the programs I “watch”, I really just listen to while multitasking on my laptop, and only very occasionally glance up at.


I’ve had very good results with refurbished ThinkPad T and X-series machines. Sure, they aren’t sexy, but in my experience they end up being hyper-obsolete before I give up on them (like my old T22 and T30).

Of course with Meltdown/Spectre all bets are off.


Your old gadgets are likely good enough

Unless they have software.


I think your idea of ‘old gadgets’ is rather different from mine.


It will explode eventually anyway. Better blow it up now before it gets much bigger.


Ooooo, shiny!

This also holds true for appliances. 200 bucks to repair 15 yo refrige is hella cheaper than new one.


This strategy can work for phones if you’re a DIYer techie, but for those who keep the stock firmware the game is up when the security patches stop coming. My current phone came out about 5 years ago. I bought it 3 years ago, unlocked it, rooted it, and slapped custom firmware on it which is still patched for security regularly.

It does more on an everyday basis than the latest-and-greatest phones my friends and colleagues carry and, despite the bezel (hidden under a battered case, anyhow), isn’t immediately identifiable as an antique – just another “black mirror”. For those techies who do look closer, it elicits a mix of mockery at how “old” it is and admiration at how much it does.

I have friends who still use an NTSC TV in their den, mainly because it fits in a wooden cabinet they really like. I tease them about it when I visit, but very quickly when we’re watching something on it I come to the same conclusion you do: most of it is about the content. That’s changing a bit (e.g. HD allows you to spot background signage or see a close-up of a document) but not enough to matter yet.

I did find them a cheap little HDMI-RCA converter box so they could pipe in content from a Roku box, but otherwise their old Sony keeps chugging along.

With a handful of exceptions, that’s one of the primary reasons for buying an old gadget.


I’m still using an iPhone 5, and I’m afraid for when it dies because everything newer on either side of smartphones is too big and too ridiculous for me.

Only gave up my 2006 Civic a couple years ago because I got a sweet deal on a used 2012 CRV and the Civic was just starting to hit some troubles.

Held on to a small desktop printer for over a decade because who the hell prints anymore anyway? Finally ditched it when it stopped loading the B/W cartridge properly. Replaced it with a reasonably priced all in one deal because it was cheaper to get something with a scanner attached than it was to buy a actual just a printer – those are all high end now and too big for my desk.

I’m def. not anti-gadget like my parents, but I am not on the treadmill either.


I typically run into the “Next year’s model for X thing will be better than what i’m currently desiring so maybe i’ll wait longer”, and then when that next year’s model comes out i end up not buying it because “maybe the following year’s model will be better”. Do this ad nauseum and i end up never upgrading until i force myself to just get something.

I don’t have the income to be upgrading stuff every other year and i’m usually pretty happy with the things i buy since i like to spend a bit more money for things of better quality. My one splurge the past few years was the Galaxy S8+ and upgrading my PC desktop with a high end GFX card. I’d like to get a really nice gaming monitor, i will keep my current one and just run dual monitors… but it’ll be a year before i can afford such a thing.


Wow, that picture brings back memories.



Tech in our house tends to go in waves, and the last wave was aout 10-12 years ago (TV, media PC, laptop all from that era). I find if we upgrade “off-cycle”, we get into compatibility problems (e.g., old peripherals that need 32-bit drivers don’t run on 64-bit machines). Currently trawling CL looking for a used inkjet printer that’ll work with our home systems.

But… the one exception is cars. Try as I might, I just can’t seem to get a car to last more than 6-7 years. We live in the northeast and the salt is a killer, but some of this stuff is just silly. Our subaru lost a control arm (rusted out, front wheel literally fell off while driving), as well as burning through 5 batteries, a broken heater core, and a radiator all in 40k miles. Diesel volkswagen got bought back at 45k miles (gladly so - the famous VW electrical gremlins had set in). Honda went through 2 radiators, an AC compressor, 4 sets of tires and about 800 sets of wiper blades (it eats them!) in 45k miles. Mazda RX8 shit the bed at 60k miles (rotary apex seals). All of these cars were purchased new, and all of them started crapping out right afer the warranty expired. If someone can come up with a bulletproof car that lasts more than 10 years, I’ll gladly pay the premium.


I’d be happy if developers who ask me for feedback wouldn’t turn around and tell me “We’re not really interested in your opinion, we only asked because it’s standard procedure” when I offer it.