The Commoditization of Computers

Refrigerators, televisions, and computers all cost about the same amount. You can get a good one for $2,000; a decent one for $1,200; or a cheap one for $300.

Computers stopped being cool once they started selling them at Walmart and at furniture stores.

People see computers now as just another appliance. They aren’t something to be experienced, just something to get the job done. Nobody cares how a refrigerator works, they just want their food cold.

I remember when computers had mystique. When it was something special to know how one works and to have the ability to build, fix, and modify a computer. When people used to have computer hobbyist clubs. Now, computers are built in boring factories in east Asia using slave labor, and they’re serviced by clueless drones at Best Buy.

These days, it seems like nobody cares. I have almost no emotional attachment to my home computer. I can’t even remember the processor speed, what kind of video card it has, or how much RAM is in it. The fact is, it doesn’t matter anymore. When it starts to get slow, you just go out and buy a new one. Ho hum.

There seems to still be some magic left in software, at least.

Little House on the Freeway

Last night, my wife and I finally signed the papers to sell our first home.

We bought the place in October 2005, and moved in during General Conference. We were a young married couple expecting our first child, and we wanted a place of our own to raise him in. After a couple of months searching for a place we could afford, we found this one and fell in love with it. We negotiated the price and the terms with the previous owners over the kitchen table.

Compared to the other places we had looked at, it seemed wonderful. In our price range, we had been stuck looking at old houses in bad condition in questionable neighborhoods in Layton, Utah. So when my mother-in-law told us about this for-sale-by-owner house in Kaysville that she discovered, we were pleasantly surprised. It was newer (only 8 years old) and less expensive than the ones we had been looking at, and it was closer to Bountiful, which is were we both grew up and were living at the time.

There were only two problems. First, that it was small (1,213 square feet), although it was rather bigger than the one-bedroom basement apartment we had been living in. Second, it abutted Interstate 15, which was very noisy. I-15 is the major thoroughfare for Davis County residents going to and from Salt Lake County, so it gets a lot of use.

Easy Freeway Access

We decided to go through with it anyway, and were happy with it. I planted strawberries and had my own lawn to mow. I felt like I had more roots in the community because I was a landowner. The local ward had lots of young families like us, and we made very good friends with a couple of those families, even sharing Family Home Evening with them. After a couple of days, I didn’t even hear the freeway noise, but it bothered my wife the whole time we lived there.

Eventually, I changed jobs from a software company in North Salt Lake to one in South Jordan, which changed my commute time from 20 minutes to 60. The long drive came to wear on me and so we decided to move closer to work. We fixed up and decorated the house, put it on the market, and spent a few months keeping it spotless. It all finally came to a close yesterday.

So, this is adieu to my first bit of soil. I’m happy for the memories and hope to make many new ones in our next place.