I remember when I was excited by the prospect of getting a new computer. They were the coolest toy imaginable. I even built one once. At some point, that changed. I think it was when I got my first laptop. It was an old Hitachi, already approaching obsolescence when it came to me. It was still more powerful than my desktop computer, though, and desktops didn't really fit my lifestyle anymore. From a power user, I'd become a word processing and e-mail guy.
I now use my computer for a lot of communications stuff - word processing, e-mail, some spreadsheets, the 'net, but I only have one demanding application I ever use, Vectorworks. Shortly after I bought Vectorworks on a student license, they released version 12, the current version, model year notwithstanding. I was annoyed because it was just after the period within which I could upgrade for free. Of course I didn't, and all was good for a while. I usually drew things from scratch, and nobody else had 12 either so when I needed to share it wasn't a problem.
A couple of days ago, I got a drawing done in Vectorworks 12 format. While 12 can save in 11 format, I don't really want to have to tell everyone I work with to send me files in the old format and I anticipate problems with object libraries in the future. It's time to upgrade. My copy of MS Office has also crossed the five-year mark and Microsoft will no longer release updates except for security issues, and my operating system has been superseded too. My computer has a 20 gig hard drive, with 17 usable, and 768 megs of ram. Some of this stuff is upgradeable - I can probably acquire a compatible 40 gig hard drive and adding a little more ram isn't too big a deal, but computers are shipping now with 2-4 gigs of memory and hard drives with over 100 gigs of capacity. With the new CPU architecture in Intel's current generations, a computer I bought today would be more powerful by almost an order of magnitude than what I'm using now.
The other side is that some drivers still aren't out for Vista, although presumably a new laptop running it would have the right stuff, and as a Microsoft product it shipped broken, although the new Service Pack is out, so it ought to be more-or-less working, and I'd turn off all the fancy stuff anyway. More importantly, if I buy a new computer, I can't buy AT bindings for my skis this season. That's not necessarily such a bad thing - a lighter version of the binding I want comes out next season and Marker will have a chance to fix the most common mode of failure for their binding, although they may not get to it in time for a winter '09 release. Still, I was thinking of taking an AT course before the Mt. Washington spring season ends, and if I get the new computer I won't be able to afford that either. A PS3 would have to wait until the end of May or some time in June, which again wouldn't be such a bad thing due to Sony doing some funky stuff with their SKUs. Essentially it comes down to being time for a new computer. I'm just not excited about it. At all.
At least I'll be able to play Half-life and Doom 3.