Help! Caught in the upgrade treadmill...

Subject: Help! Caught in the upgrade treadmill...
From: Alexander Von_obert <avobert -at- TWH -dot- MSN -dot- SUB -dot- ORG>
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 1995 19:34:00 LCL

Hello Geoff,

* Antwort auf eine Nachricht von geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca an All am 21.07.95

gg> When do we stop upgrading our hardware and software and say
gg> "this is good
gg> enough... I don't really need more"? Can we do this?

There are people who think they want/must have the ultimate high-tech toy.
That's not you and not me. I should add, that I'm one of those "power users"
that play Lego with their computer parts. Just to explain my view...

When I buy a computer, I do not try to have "room to grow" in it. It should
fit now and will be old in two years anyhow. But there are only two facts,
could make me buy a computer:

- I need LOTS of software. At least here in Germany you get software
really cheap when you buy a computer.

- There is a BIG technology gap to bridge. This might happen next year,
when I step up (in one single step) to Win95, PCI, Plug&Play and

But I have not bought a computer for four years. What I did was to replace
parts of the computer I earn my money with and hand down the replaced parts to
my other PCs: Mailbox, "play" computer (where I can check something or run the
program I write the documentation for). When I buy my Win 95 machine described
above, my present workstation (486/40, 16 MB, 500 MB) will be merged with my
present file server (386/40, 1 GB, 16 MB, Netware 3.11).

On the software side, I am completely customer driven. When I write articles
for newspapers or journals, I prefer Word for DOS 4.0 :-) - have used it for
many years.

But I could not avoid Win 3.1. I upgraded it to 3.11, but not to Windows for
Workgroups. I bought Winword 2 to write Winhelp. A customer forced me to
upgrade to Winword 6, because he used it. BTW: If you only want to look at
Winword 6 files or want to convert them to Winword 2, there is freeware at for that.

On the DTP side, I have PageMaker 4.0 and might update to PageMaker 6, when I
should change to Win 95. The "open file" dialog and the clipboard are simply
outdated right now.

gg> Here's the problem: my current computer works just fine
gg> for what I'm
gg> doing, and will always meet my needs so long as I don't
gg> upgrade and so
gg> long as it keeps running.

A friend of mine, who has a small deli (if you come here, you MUST taste his
cheese!), does his accounting on a 286/12 MHz. I "updated" his PC with parts
that fell from the desk behind the smallest of my computers - it's no problem
to outdo a Seagate ST225 20 MB/80 ms hard disk and he could even use some RAM
in DIL packages :-)

He is quite happy with his PC, it is fast enough for him. But I might have
made a mistake to give him a modem for Fax - there are hardly any DOS fax
programs anymore. At these points, you definitely see the limits where a new
computer is just behind the corner. Not even his case will do anymore, as it
only has three drive bays. In those days, you only had to 5 1/4" disks and
yould not imagine to have more than two hard disks.

gg> But if I don't upgrade, at some point in the
gg> future the hardware will die (or the files I produce with
gg> the software
gg> won't be accepted anymore at the publishing service
gg> bureaus),

Keep some backups! But converting data files across several generations of a
single software package can be a pain. E.g., you need a special program to
convert PageMaker 3 files for PageMaker 5.

gg> and I'll be hit with the whole upgrade price at once

Where's the problem? You will hardly pay more when updating in one big step
than in all those little steps. Simply remember every month to put some money
away for this big step.

Greetings from Germany,

|Fidonet: Alexander Von_obert 2:2490/1719
|Internet: avobert -at- twh -dot- msn -dot- sub -dot- org

| Standard disclaimer: The views of this user are strictly his own.
| From TechWriter's Home, Nuernberg Germany 49+911+591530.

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