In the age of new ways, I'm old school

by Peter Marus

The past couple days has had me realizing how old I am.  Not just in age, but in my way of thinking.  It started with the story I read about Zipcar being acquired by Avis car rental company.  I saw the amount of money ZIpcar was bought for, which was in the hundreds of millions of dollars, it's apparent they are a real successful program and business model.

The business model Is the "I'll pay monthly for access to something, but I will not own it" model.  Many younger people are into it, and I can see some places where I would like it, say with Netflix and to a point Zipcar, but I am not comfortable with it in most cases.  Services like Spotify and cloud services serve you what you want-music, TV, Storage, etc.-for a subscription fee.  If/When you stop the subscription or the company disappears, you don't have access to that service.  To me, I don't trust that idea.  I do use cloud services like Carbonite to backup my data on my hard drive and a ton of the Google services, but I also make sure I have local copies of my stuff.  When you use a service like Spotify or Netflix, you don't own anything, you are paying for access to it.  Technically you do that when you buy software (where you don't "own" it but have a license to use it), but when you have a copy of that software locally, you aren't dependent on an internet connection or the company being around.  The modern operating systems are moving to this model of little local storage and internet connectivity-Google even sells a laptop completely dependent on it.  I hope there is still in the future room for those like me who like to have local access to their data they created and own, rather than be dependent on a company who may or may not have my data safe or secure.  Don't get me wrong, cloud services can be useful and work well, but please don't forget that having local copies and backups of your stuff is even more important.  

Speaking of computers, I am doing this on an iMac, the computer that started the all-in-one desktop computer market.  As convenient as it is and saves space, I will not buy another computer like this.  I don't like the lack of access to components if one breaks or needs maintenance   This computer I am using blew it's hard drive last year.  Had this been a traditional computer, I could have popped in a new hard drive, restore my computer, and it would have cost me relatively little money and time.  Since this computer is all-in-one, I had to have Apple fix it and it cost me more money and a week of it not being here.  I probably could have done it myself, but I didn't feel confident in doing so, and Apple is known to have booby traps in their computers to make things like that difficult.  Even traditional computers are getting a little harder to work on.  Some manufacturers want to sell motherboards with the processer or other components usually sold and installed separately already installed and soldered in.  I don't like that.  I want to be able to build my own PC for my needs and tailor it to what I want it to do, not buy an appliance computer that doesn't do what I want right away and it would cost more to have it custom built to do so (like most Macs now).  I also want to be able to clean and maintain the computer myself, and not have to bring it into the store and have someone else do it at price and lose my computer for several days.  

Maybe I'm rambling on about nothing, or maybe I'm just a dinosaur, but I do know what II want and I feel that what we have been doing is working, and were shouldn't jump into new ideas so fast just because a company or an industry wants us all to because it's the new hot thing.