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Late Adopters Prefer the Tried and True 383

Posted by Zonk
from the little-flexibility-never-hurt-too dept.
smooth wombat writes "There is a fairly significant portion of the population which does not go out and grab the newest OS, gadget, web browser or any other technology related product. Why? It's not because they're luddites but rather, they are comfortable with what they know. Take the case of John Uribe, a 56-year old real estate agent who still uses AOL dial-up and only recently switched to Firefox after being prodded for weeks by an AOL message telling him that on March 1st, AOL would no longer support Netscape. Why did it take him so long to stop using Netscape and make the switch? From the article: 'It worked for me, so I stuck with it. Until there is really some reason to totally abandon it, I won't.'"
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Late Adopters Prefer the Tried and True

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 13, 2008 @07:42AM (#22737806)
    This might be the most obvious headline I've seen on Slashdot. In other new and interesting news, early adopters prefer new technology.

    </sarcasm>
  • by beavis88 (25983) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @07:43AM (#22737824)
    I'm sure his viewpoint will be thoroughly panned in these comments, but honestly, the computer and tech industries as a whole could do with more of this. Too often we're sold progress just for the sake of progress, without enough benefits to outweigh the cost of transition to a new [platform|framework|device|etc].
  • Burned (Score:4, Insightful)

    by darjen (879890) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @07:46AM (#22737842)
    As someone who has been burned by new technology multiple times, I can certainly appreciate this approach. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Live by the sword, die by the sword.
  • by Corporate Troll (537873) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @07:51AM (#22737888) Homepage Journal

    So much for sticking with it, eh?

    You take his statement out of context: "It worked for me, so I stuck with it." From this statement one could deduce that neither of his wifes "worked for him". Which is usually why a divorce is done, in the first place.

    You can have a sloppy, niphomanic, epensive wife and still it could "work for you". Doesn't mean there aren't better possible wives out there....

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @07:55AM (#22737922) Journal
    Interesting. So, what is your take on the recent developments in moment and portal frames in engineered wood construction? I find many people woefully ignorant of even the most simple principles of home construction, and yet practically everyone owns a home. Flashing? EIFS? That's not even getting into energy recovery ventilators and the latest developments in composite lumber products. Nearly every computer tech I know still lives in a house with a common furnace or heat pump, and *gasp* an unreinforced concrete masonry foundation, even though there are far more modern and superior systems which do so much more.

    What was that? You just use your house to live in and it works just fine? Oh...
  • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @07:55AM (#22737924)
    It still leaves one wondering how the steaming pile of garbage that is Netscape worked for him. I mean, it was OK in the 90s but it's terrible compared to other modern browsers. This is just a stupid mindset; if there are better options then the old one's not "working for you" as it should. Unless he really doesn't care, in which case I don't sympathize with him at all.. you should be aware of the state of technology and what your options are, even if you're not "good with computers" (a phrase I'm sure we've all scowled at).
  • by MrMacman2u (831102) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @07:58AM (#22737940) Journal
    ...but because they fear it or because they are too lazy to learn how to use it.

    These people do not bother me... It's the ones that are too incompetent to learn how to use one and try anyway.

    Part of the reason Spam and malware still exists is because of these kinds of people.
  • by sm62704 (957197) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:01AM (#22737974) Journal
    Obvious, perhaps, but inaccurate. Some of us adopt some tech early and some tech late, depending on the tech. If there's a tool that's shown to be better in some way (smoother, faster, more comfortable) we'll adopt it. Some tech goes backwards [kuro5hin.org]. For instance, why would anyone trade a car stereo with a big fat volume knob for one with teeny buttons? Thankfully the volume knob has made a comeback, as has the flat shoelace.

    Some tech is just too damned expensive new. I'd like an iPhone but they're just too damned pricey. Some tech comes from companies I'd rather spit dead rats than buy from - Sony and ATT come to mind.

    Some tech is obviously not ready for use yet - any Mixrosoft x.0 release, for instance. I'll bet there aren't many early Windows adopters here, because everyone knows you don't buy a new Windows until at LEAST the SP1 service pack comes out fixing its most glaring errors.

    Finally, there's a reason they call it "bleeding edge technology".

    -mcgrew

    PS Now get off my lawn you damned kids and no, you can't have your burlout back.
  • by Speare (84249) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:04AM (#22737996) Homepage Journal

    But the office there where I support them. It's a nightmare. W95 machines still in use! Old 14" monitors that are dark and almost yellow now running on Pentium 133 processors. They refuse to spend the money to upgrade because "these work, why replace it?"
    Sounds legitimate to me, except perhaps the ergonomics of a dim yellowed screen. What is there, in the Real Estate business, that needs the latest Intel Duo Quad Duo Core Duo Octaplex II Duo processor? They look at MLS websites, they type a few fields with new data, and then they hop in the car to be away from the office for a couple hours. Everything they need to archive is on paper. Lots of folks hated XP when it was forced on them, simply because it's different and it takes time to learn the differences. Just because YOU are a fan of the latest, doesn't mean it makes sense for them.
  • by Carik (205890) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:12AM (#22738058)
    Certainly this is sometimes true. My father, for instance, spent three or four years complaining that Win98 didn't work before I finally convinced him to upgrade to XP.

    On the other hand, a lot of people really don't have a need to upgrade. "But the new version of [whatever software] has so many more features!" I hear you cry. (Well, someone's yelling it, anyway.) But they don't need the new features. And in order to run the new version, they'd need a new computer, a new operating system, and time to learn to use both. I know a few people who are still running Photoshop 5. Why? Well, because it suits their needs, and they already know how to use it. Why spend time and money on a new product when the old one does what they want? Sure, the new one has some neat new gadgets, and some things might get easier, but for them, the time spent learning it is more valuable than those new features.

    Change for the sake of change isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's also not necessarily a good thing. And not seeing a need to upgrade doesn't always mean they're simply being stubborn; sometimes it just means that they're happy with what they have.
  • by BenEnglishAtHome (449670) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:12AM (#22738064)
    Firearms are an area where this dynamic is often seen. There are lots of gee-whiz techno toys in that arena - caseless ammo, (that fucking stupid overhyped) MetalStorm (shit), etc. But when you really need reliability, like when you're relying on a piece of hardware to save your life, you tend to want the tried and true.

    The best example I can think of? The Colt model of 1911 is still considered by lots of people to be the finest fighting sidearm ever. It certainly was in its day. That day lasted until the mid-1980s when the Glock came along. It's taken 20 years, but if you attend a *serious* personal defense class (not one of those "get your carry license in a day" things) where the students select and bring their own sidearm, you'll generally find something close to an even split between 1911s and Glocks. It's taken more than 20 years for a superior design to achieve acceptance by the cognescenti.

    Old and obsolete often means tried and true. When I'm betting my life, I like the idea of tried and true. That attitude is often displayed by thoughtful folks in all areas of their life; we like what works and will change only when something demonstrably better is available and the inconvenience of using the old tech becomes sufficiently painful.

    In other news, I'm considering switching to a digital camera any day now. :-)
  • by xZgf6xHx2uhoAj9D (1160707) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:12AM (#22738072)

    The way I see it, there are three cases:

    1. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. This is what the article is talking about.
    2. Change for the sake of change. I can't see too many people going along with this unless they're morons and/or fanboys.
    3. Change when the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. I assume most people fit into this category. What I never thought about before reading comment is that there's a further distinction in this case. I'll speak for myself, though I assume a lot of people are like me, will switch to something better even if it takes a long time to learn the new thing. I.e., when I'm weighing the benefits vs. drawbacks of switching to something new, I don't consider the cost of retraining myself. Maybe it's because I'm a geek (aka Slashdot reader) and retraining myself is fun.

    Anyway I think I'll stick to my (ironically) old ways of switching to new things. After all, isn't the joy of life to be constantly learning new things?

  • Aversion to risk? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IBBoard (1128019) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:14AM (#22738092) Homepage
    So in summary the article is "humans found to be averse to risk and change"? Hasn't that been known by psychologists for ages? Humans (as a species) are happy with what they know and don't like the unknown. New technology is, to many, an unknown, ergo they don't like it and avoid it for as long as possible.

    Besides, who needs half of this flashy trash anyway? iPhone? Pah, I'd still have a Nokia 3310 if it wasn't about as cheap to buy a 3510 as it was to get a replacement battery for the 3310, and I'm 23.
  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:16AM (#22738108) Homepage Journal
    Many people are just so stubborn, so set in their ways, that they are blind to innovation and practical change.


    Yes, there are many, many stubborn people out there. Like the ones who still drive ten year old cars rather than the newest, shinier ones with all the bells and whistles they will never use like GPS, an iPod plug, tv screens and so on. Or maybe the ones who still use a vcr to record their tv shows because they don't have to leave it on whatever channel they want to record without having to pay extra for a service to pull down their shows.

    These are horrible people who are devastating the American economy because they refuse to go along with the marketing mindset that if it's new, it must be better, and so you must go and spend, spend, spend.

    The older generations, 40+ have no concept of technology and most of them don't want to.

    Hey dipwad, I just turned 41 and I can tell you, I have more of a grasp of technology than the vast majority of 20 somethings wandering around my building acting as consultants for an ERP project. The fact that I choose not to have a cell phone, iPod, Blackberry and other electronic gizmos does not mean I have no concept of technology. It means I don't care about that stuff. Having any of those items will not enrich my life in any way, except maybe the iPod.

    For the record, while there are people older than I who do not care about computers, I can tell you I have encountered quite a few, including my mother, who want to learn. In fact, the reason my mother uses a computer, other than keeping in touch with people, is, in her words, to keep her skills sharp. She retired ten years ago and still wants to learn. How about that?

    If it requires any sort of effort to learn, people try to pretend its not there and stick with what they have until it is no longer a viable option.

    You mean like driving a manual transmission, right? Because it's so difficult to learn how to push in a pedal and move a lever.

    This saddens me greatly.

    What saddens me is people like you on their high horse who think that everyone must always be on the cutting edge. That the latest and greatest is the only way to go. If you don't own what the marketing droids tell you to own, you're not worth the time or effort.

    I work with people like you and let me tell, in the time it takes them to find the piece of information they want, or perform whatever task they want to accomplish, I generally have time to go get a drink or take a shit before they're finished, it takes them that long. These are generally the same people who constantly complain they have no time for a life, relationship or anything else because their Blackberry is constantly buzzing or they have to answer an IM.

    If that's the kind of life you want to lead, be my guest. Most people don't give a shit about gadgets and do-dads but instead, want something to work well and last a long time.

  • by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:17AM (#22738126) Journal
    There are several very good reasons that this idea is news. First because tech companies continuously fail to recognize that there are ALWAYS people that don't want the latest and greatest crap, no matter how bleeding edge it is. Second, those that bought iWhatevers and then the price dropped never even got a reach-around, so to speak. Third, there is now a special cellular service that specializes in doing all the tech stuff for you and the phone has BIG number buttons on it. Fourth there are a LOT of cheap talk-only phones and plans out there for a reason yet all we hear about is the new stuff with all the bells and whistles on it.

    The basis of the story is that we are being sold a lot of hype. Any particular age group or group of people is only being used to say that it's not just one person, or one town. It's happening all over the place. Technology is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.

    Eventually the MS vs. GNU/Linux vs. Mac story will sort itself out, and fanbois will stop telling the other side's fanbois that they are wrong. What works for some doesn't work for all. That would be why there are so many types of personal vehicles on the road, to bring the car analogy into it.

    This idea will be news until tech manufacturers get it. some day you'll walk into a technology store and the phones will be separated into groups where one is the simple function group, next is a nice mix, and then some high end stuff... each with ranges of pricing. Sure, they kind of do that now but you need assistance to figure out what is easy to operate, or what has features in the plan that you don't want. Eventually tech sales will be comoditized. Today we are still treated as though we are buying a custom made suit, or a piece of art.

    Vendor lock-in is to blame. There really is no lock-in deal with low end, low functionality equipment, so they always try to sell you the latest, greatest, steaming pile of tech. Cash is supposed to be king, but no one really cares unless they can get you locked in to a 3 year contract and $15/month insurance. It's all about money still as they really don't care what you want to buy so long as you buy something with a three year contract and insurance premiums.
  • by plague3106 (71849) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:18AM (#22738138)
    Well, how did he know it was still "working for him" if he never even tried a newer browser? Maybe if he tried a newer one, he'd find that it offers more benefits than his current one. Growing all my own food would "work for me" too, but not as well as going to the grocery store.

    It's interesting to note that every single example in the article is over the age of 50. So why don't want just say what it is; old people are scared of change.
  • by tomandlu (977230) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:30AM (#22738266)

    God, I loved WP for DOS (was it 5.1? Ah, distant memories...)

    Last f***ing word processor that actually did what I wanted it to, when I wanted it to.

  • by hoppo (254995) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:41AM (#22738354)
    I don't understand why you can't accept that someone is satisfied with what he has. The choice of one web browser over another is hardly comparable to the choice of growing food for personal consumption versus purchasing it. Mentioned in this article is a gentleman whose simple web browsing needs are fully met, as hard as it is to believe, with the Netscape browser. This creates cognitive dissonance on our part because we place such a high value on internet usage (perhaps too much).
  • by _14k4 (5085) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {t.navillus}> on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:44AM (#22738372)
    I agree, but I have to ask... since I am a (relatively) new home owner.

    How does one learn the "tricks of the trade" without asking? I can read a million books on sill repair, but I can get a lot more information from the friends I have, and people I work with who have gone through this in the past... to realize that yeah, using the lollie columns in my basement may jack the house up and I only really need to move it up 3/8ths of an inch and repair the rotted section... but still, talking to someone who's -done- it is worth a lot, too.

    I think that "thought process" or attitude is where the same technology questions come from.

    Just my two cents.

    (Oh and do you know how I can stop the sill rot without having to replace it? The house is 130+ years old, etc...) :P
  • by mh1997 (1065630) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:03AM (#22738604)

    Now imagine if all day every day people who "just own homes and live in them" came to ask you stupid questions about construction instead of going off and learning on their own. Then, when you politely suggest they learn something about it, they act as if they don't need to or just blatantly don't want to.
    I'll just use my to most recent examples on what I would do in this situation:

    I needed a new roof, so I hired a roofer. We'll call him "roof support." If he would have told me to learn more about roofing and that my questions were stupid, I would have fired him.

    Next, I needed my AC serviced, we'll call him "HVAC Support." If he would have told me that my questions on general maintenance were stupdid, or he would have said "RTFM" I would have fired him.

    I pay people for support for jobs that I can't or don't want to do myself, if they suggest that I learn more about their jobs to make their lives easier, I fire them and get someone that meets my needs.

  • by T-Bone-T (1048702) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:05AM (#22738622)
    "when the setup (eg 10 year old browser on dialup) is so outdated, it becomes functionally identical to broken."

    Saying that because something is so old it is broken doesn't make any sense. If you use a 10 year old browser and dialup just to check the weather, as long as it can still check the weather, it isn't broken.
  • ROI (Score:3, Insightful)

    by plopez (54068) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:06AM (#22738636) Journal
    how is a business supposed to get ROI if they have to constantly have to upgrade and pay for retraining, testing, and upgrade blackmail (errr..... ummmm... I mean 'licenses).

    There is a reason why there is still a lot of cobol out there, ROI. Why switch when it works? Switching is risky and costly, as anybody who was sucked into an ERP project has learned.
  • by twistedsymphony (956982) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:09AM (#22738674) Homepage
    I'm sure there are cooks who turn their noses up at the cheap and inferior cookware and methods to which us nerds use to make our food, fashion experts who cringe at our outdated and worn-out wardrobe, and lots of other people who place a high value on a certain activity and it's associated tools that we simply neglect because we don't place a high value on it.

    If John Uribe is a fisherman I'm sure he has all the latest and greatest fishing gear because it's something he places a high value on, if he checks his AOL email once a week to see if he got a message from his grand kids then Netscape is probably all he really needs. Switching to a new bowser wont add any benefit to his internet tasks, but it will involve him spending time to research which browser to use, figuring out how to install it and set it up, and learning a new interface. Where's the benefit in that?
  • by lilomar (1072448) <lilomar2525@gmail.com> on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:16AM (#22738750) Homepage

    I either do a modern page with modern javascript, and post a nasty message to anyone who doesn't have a modern browser that they need to upgrade...
    Ah, so that is you doing that then.
    Thanks. I don't visit your sites anymore because I see no reason to turn NoScript off on my modern browser.
    Have a nice day.
  • by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:24AM (#22738828)

    Some tech goes backwards
    I don't agree with your article.

    I mean, what kind of car do you have where you need "$100,000" worth of equipment to work on it? About the most advanced thing you might need for certain problems is the little diagnostic reader, and you can still spend more on a nice floor jack. A socket set and some basic tools get you most of the way there. Read the back part of Popular Mechanics sometime - most common repairs are still basically the same. And cars on balance are much more reliable and free of maintenance. I've had some of the most unreliable cars on the market (thank you, GM), and they were STILL more reliable than what my parents had growing up.

    To use your example of refrigerators from the 1920s (!!!), yeah, maybe they would last 40 years. Too bad it would cost roughly the equivalent of $5000 in 2007 dollars. At that price, you could buy a lifetime of so-called crappy modern refrigerators - and each one would pay for itself in the efficiency improvement over the previous one. I don't even want to know how much it would cost to run a refrigerator from the 20s... you really should take into account total cost of ownership.

    I don't know where you get your shoes, either, but I've never had a pair with round vinyl laces. This actually has me curious. In any event, you can buy replacement laces for about a buck. Nice, flat, cotton laces. I also won't get into your (hopefully unintentionally) racist comments about Chinese t-shirts. Who still says "Chinamen"??? But if you really likes American-made t-shirts, can't you just buy American Apparel stuff? It's not exactly expensive - and you express a willingness to pay $50 for a well-made t-shirt... you're in luck, a 3-pack is like $40.

    Two-handled shower faucets? Go to Home Depot? You can buy one-handled, two-handled, just about anything you can imagine... even temperature controlled. I happen to prefer the hotel-style single valve design... turn it one way for more heat, the other way for more cold.

    Old-fashioned furnaces? You like them because they work when the electricity goes out. So do kerosene heaters. With the hundreds you save each month in heating bills, go out and get yourself a kerosene heater.
  • by FredFredrickson (1177871) * on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:27AM (#22738874) Homepage Journal
    I'd say I'm tech savvy, but I have the same limitations: -I'd love a new phone, but I just don't have enough money to get one, and I can't justify spending on a new phone when my current one (LG 8100) works just fine *sigh* -I won a free copy of Windows Vista Ultimate, but have no plans on installing it on any of my computers. It's that bad - and yes, I'm one of the few who was optimistic about it. Only after repeated attempts to get anything to work at all I've given up. Media Center- buggy as hell. File Copy- slow??? Games? Forget it. Nvidia drivers? Why won't it detect my TV anymore? It worked in XP! The problem here is of the second example - I managed to avoid the monetary cost of the switch to vista, so it's similar to the free upgrade to firefox. The problem is, despite it being free, I paid dearly with my time and my sanity. After spending hours trying to figure out why the "Force TV Detection" checkbox was disabled in my VISTA Nvidia control panel, I found out via a few web forums that the feature is kinda broken, and to wait for a new driver... What I really did was go back to trusty XP. I mean, why did I switch? What I was using was working just fine anyway! My feeling is this- He's just upset that he doesn't know what to do with that new HD-DVD Player he bought. Firefox? Oh he knows better than that. Fool him once...
  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:33AM (#22738956)
    Well, how did he know it was still "working for him" if he never even tried a newer browser? Maybe if he tried a newer one, he'd find that it offers more benefits than his current one.

    I think you missed the point entirely. Until it NO LONGER WORKS, he has not motivation to go try a newer one. If he logged onto the net one day and it said "Netscape no longer works with the Internet. It done gone and broke.", then he can still use that browser and it works for him.

    Yes, the people are often older, but a lot of people work like that.

    Heck my grandfather only passed in 2004 (not too far back - my grandmother passed 2 years afterwards) and up until that point he and my grandmother DID grow (or raised in the case of livestock) almost all of their own food, still watched a black and white television set, drove an old 1983 Ford, and did most of their cooking (and home heating) on a wood-burning stove. They canned their own vegetables in mason jars for the winter; they used to have a whole shed full of canned/jarred food. My granddad would hunt game or slaughter his pigs or chickens for meat. I think it was into the 1970's before they even got indoor plumbing.

    Were there better ways to do things? Yep. But their way undeniably worked for them. They both lived into their mid-80's, were never hungry, and didn't live in debt. For some people that's perfectly fine and they don't need to go searching for something "better".
  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:36AM (#22738982) Journal
    I bill $130 an hour. How many hours would it take to be as proficient in Open Office as I am in Word, or better yet Excel, I wonder? I would suggest that to be as proficient in either would likely take between 60 and 100 hours. Just a couple of weeks of training, which is far less than a single college course, but even if the training were free, it has an opportunity cost of around $10,000. For a "free" upgrade.

    Besides, not all construction is replacement. If you add a deck or a sunroom, or remodel the basement, you're looking at new things. Of course, like all analogies - mine is nowhere near 1:1. The point is that new things take time and effort (and often money), and we all can't be abreast of the latest (or even recent) developments in all fields. There aren't enough hours in the day. To think everyone will find interest in _your_ field or hobby is a bit vain.
  • by Carpathius (215767) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:43AM (#22739066)
    Well, I'm not *quite* 50, but in four days I'll be 49.

    I have an iPhone, I'm running an Alienware laptop that is less than a year old. It started with XP Pro, which I was happy with, but then my son's Alienware laptop came with Vista, so I changed to Vista to be better able to support his system. I don't generally go for the newest things, not because they are new, but because I want a reasonable price on things I buy -- and the newest generally comes with a premium price, and because I want to understand why it's worth it to me to upgrade.

    On the other hand, I'm running a linux server that's around seven or eight years old. Why? _Because_it_works_. It does exactly what it needs to do, is absolutely rock solid in stability, and I see no reason so go through the process of upgrading it. Oh, I'm beginning to think it might be nice to move to a different set of hardware -- the cpu fan went out a couple of years ago, so I've got an eight inch fan blowing in the case to keep the thing cool -- it's got less than 8 gb of space total, on three or four disks, and the things it does -- MySQL and web serving wouldn't be too hard to move to a new machine -- but it just works, so I rarely worry about it.

    I'm not scared of change, but change for change's sake is silly.

    Sean.
  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:48AM (#22739144)

    It still leaves one wondering how the steaming pile of garbage that is Netscape worked for him. I mean, it was OK in the 90s but it's terrible compared to other modern browsers. This is just a stupid mindset; if there are better options then the old one's not "working for you" as it should.

    How to explain. He does certain things every day with his web browser. It does all of those things well. Therefore it "works for him".

    Firefox adds whole new capabilities. But it still does those things he does about as well as Netscape does. Therefore, to him, there is no advantage to Firefox.

    Yes, Firefox does a host of things he has never considered. So? Microsoft Office does a host of things most of us never use too. Do you automatically upgrade your MS Office suite because the new Office has added yet another function that a professional typesetter might use once a year, but you'll never use at all?

    The truly lovely thing about being a late-adopter is that you don't have to put up with the headaches of bleeding edge tech. Buggy programs, neat new designs that don't work in the Real World (tm), that sort of thing.

    When I realize how much of my time I've spent dealing with bugs just to use the Latest And Greatest, I wish I'd decided to be a late-adopter.

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Thursday March 13, 2008 @10:21AM (#22739504) Journal
    While I agree with everything you just said here, I find that too often, people say "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," and then refuse to see anything "broke" about it. The same can be said for preferring the "Tried and true," except without the "true" part.

    It becomes less about pragmatism and more about fear of change. And in some cases, the longer you wait to make that change, the more difficult it's going to be.

    Using AOL dialup, when there is any other option, is a bad idea.

    I would say I'm neither an early adopter nor a late adopter, and I think that's a smart place to be. Early adopters get burned with stuff that's not ready for production yet, late adopters miss out on any genuine improvements.
  • by grassy_knoll (412409) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @10:45AM (#22739782) Homepage
    When 100% of people on the planet believe this:

    there is no need for such throwbacks to cowboy era justice


    You may have a point. Until then, sometimes reasonable people will need tools to deal with the criminal actions of unreasonable people. Look at police response time to 911 calls, and what can happen before police show up. Or even notice that societies still need police.

    After all, it takes every member of a group to decide to get along, but only one person to decide they want conflict.
  • by Riktov (632) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @10:58AM (#22739916) Journal
    Let's see, I'm typing this on my main PC, which I literally found in someone else's trash four years ago (and its two 40GB hard disk were used freebies from the office). Though I never use it, there's a VFAT partition on one of the disks with Windows 98SE on it. I finally got a DVD drive for it last year.

    My laptop, with a 133Mhz Pentium, 48MB RAM, and an 800 x 600 screen, was bought used 10 years ago from a friend who was in grad school (and thus on a tight budget herself). I've been using it quite a bit recently, to learn Lisp programming on (X + IceWM + Emacs).

    The internet connection is 100MBps optical fiber, but I just plug my PC in directly for PPPoE -- no wireless router or anything like that.

    Got an iPod last year - a 512MB Shuffle which was a hand-me-down from my girlfriend. Until then, my portable music player was a Sony MiniDisc-Walkman, which I still use for live recordings.

    My cell phone is seven years old, and it cost nothing when I got it.

    Stereo is a 15-year-old Nakamichi receiver, still in good condition -- better than the flaky Sony DVD player I bought four years ago.

    OK, maybe I'm just a cheapskate. But really, I can't think of anything that I'd really want to go out and buy - that sort of thing happens only about once a year. (And I could well afford any such thing if I wanted it.) Basically, everything still works, and until it stops working, I feel it's a waste to replace it.
  • by Noexit (107629) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @11:01AM (#22739938) Homepage
    The dude probably doesn't see the need to change. I've got ~300 users just like him. The check their email, they log on to their banks website once a month and occasionally they look at the weather or news. That's all they do with the internet. They don't care about YouTube, they don't Facebook and they don't download music. Netscape on Win98 over dialup works for them and they see no need to change at all. They're not afraid to, they just don't need or particularly care enough to want to. Not nearly all of them are over 50.
  • by BenEnglishAtHome (449670) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @02:52PM (#22742862)

    Your heart is in the right place. I really believe that. My experience leads me to believe differently but I still respect your viewpoint as forward-thinking, a goal for the future. Still, I think you overstate your case when you say

    ...i see in those running to and embracing and worshipping guns in their lives the same genesis of fascist thinking and criminal thinking: "i must make my point via force of arms, rather than via my force of thought." people with such a fetish therefore undermine civil society, not protect it

    Some years ago a man who wanted nothing more than my death unloaded a shotgun in my direction. I was not in danger. He was a drunken fool, unable to aim and too far away to be effective. I had the option to conceal myself and chose it.

    At no time, however, did I think to myself "I should go over there and use the force of my thought to dissuade him from shooting at me." Oddly, perhaps, that thought never crossed my mind. "I wish I had an option other than running and hiding" did occur to me, along with "If the .44 revolver in the trunk of my car was, instead, in my hand, I'd be in a better position."

    Some years before that my mother was gang-raped in the washateria of her apartment complex. Of all the thoughts and feelings she had at the time and since and has been willing to discuss with me, the notion that she should have used the force of her thoughts to stop them has never been mentioned. She has, however, from time to time expressed regret that she neglected to take her .45 with her that day when she did the wash.

    to depend upon deadly force, rather than the force of your mind and your word, is the sign of an evil man, a dumb man, and an insecure man

    I reject the notion that either of us is evil, dumb, or insecure because we place value on the concept of possessing the means to meet violence with superior violence. I submit that we are quite secure that our view of the world is reasonable when it leads us to the conclusion the owning a gun is a good thing for good people.

    I grant that you are correct that owning a gun is a bad thing for bad people. Find a way to make them give up theirs first and maybe we can make some real progress.

    a real noble man goes to deadly force with great reserve and sober and grim last resort. they don't put a smile on their face and show it around as their public face to the world. this betrays a lack of character

    Agreed. But that provides no justification for denying the noble man the use of arms. Quite the opposite.

Science and religion are in full accord but science and faith are in complete discord.

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