Windows XP support, which includes security updates, ends on April 8 and, invariably, the viruses will start flowing on April 9. The average Joe citizen will be forced to upgrade to a modern OS, which will likely require purchasing a new personal computing device and will definitely require purchasing new software. Personal computing devices, whether they are a desktops, laptops, tablets, or smart phones, are considerable investments for most people, not to mention the corporations, schools, libraries, churches, and small mom and pop shops, who have more than one computer to replace. Top that off with software licenses and you have a lot of money passing hands after April 8.
I suppose we can’t expect Microsoft or Apple to stop innovating and we can’t expect those developing web technology and applications to stop pushing the limits of the user experience. But the more they innovate, the shorter the life expectancy becomes on personal computing devices. It seems like every few months we are expected to invest in some sort of upgrade to keep up with the technology.
No other personal appliance I own comes with a such a de facto short life expectancy. In 10 years my toaster will toast, my blender will blend, my grinder will grind, even my car will run until the mechanical parts finally wear out - but not my five month old Toshiba laptop running 2013 software. I’m already being prompted to purchase 2014 QuickBooks. Has accounting changed that much in the past year that I require innovative new software to handle the task? When QuickBooks 2015 comes out, I’ll probably be forced to upgrade my RAM to run it.
I’m personally torn between loving the technology and feeling trapped by the technology. We keep up with the technology, we have to, so the death gasps of Windows XP and IE8 will make our lives easier, but I have to wonder what substantive improvement having a modern OS will make in the personal lives of people now forced to upgrade either their hardware, software, or both.