Forced obsolescence

This Pearls Before Swine cartoon struck home for me because, like Rat, I have an iPhone 5. I am not one that needs to have the latest version of anything. If the old one works, I stick with it. In fact, I have never bought a cell phone in my life. The ones I have used have all been hand-me-downs from my spouse or children when they upgrade to new phones.

I am perfectly happy with my old iPhone 5 and would be quite content to continue to use it forever because it seems to be working fine as far as its basic functions of calls and texts and its data storage features. But I am feeling pressure to upgrade. The problem is not the phone itself but that one by one, various apps are upgrading to versions that are no longer supported by the phone. The iOS operating system I have is 10.3.4 which is the latest one that my hardware can support but the updates of various apps require newer versions of iOS and that would require me to get a newer phone just to use those apps.

I am holding out for now even though some things (like depositing checks in my bank account) can no longer be done by phone and I have to do it the old-fashioned way.



  1. johnson catman says

    Speaking of deposits into a bank account: My wife was recently not allowed to deposit cash into my checking account. We have separate checking accounts, and I pay the bills from mine, though she shares the expenses with me. She has normally withdrawn cash from her bank at the first of the month and gone down the street to my bank to deposit it into my account. Last month, she was told that she could not do that because of some new regulations that went into effect at the first of the month. Let me reiterate that: she was not allowed to deposit US currency into my account. I had to go to the bank and make the deposit myself. Thankfully, I was allowed to deposit the cash into my own account. What has it come to when US currency is not accepted at a US bank? Supposedly, the regulations were put into place for “security reasons”, and since she was not authorized as a signatory on my account, she could not make a deposit. MADNESS! (I did not use the Caps-Lock for that.)

  2. Ridana says

    I don’t have a cell phone. I still use AOL. I don’t see any need to upgrade to a fancier email with more bells and whistles since 99.9% of my incoming mail is spam anyway.

    I hate upgrading. Once, back in the Before Times, new versions were improvements that enhanced functionality and saved me time. I can barely remember what that was like (though the transcendent miracle of MultiFinder will never fade from my heart). Any time I am forced to upgrade something now, it’s weeks of swearing and crying and throwing things until the learned helplessness sets in again and I yield to the new regime and the loss of my metaphorical legs to limp along as best I can without all the features I’d taken for granted in the previous version.

    The 36 songs I’ve had on my iPod for over a year because I can no longer sync it with the current version of my computer OSX are fine. It’s fine. Everything’s fine.

  3. mastmaker says

    It is dangerous to keep using the cell phone (for anything other than calls and texts -- and even this use may be risky) once you stop getting timely updates. The security risks are too high. Too many zero day issues are reported and fixed routinely. If you have an unfixed serious bug, your device is susceptible to attacks even without you having to open an email or text message or website.
    My advice -- and practice -- (purely from cost point of view, not environmental): buy a cheap phone from a known manufacturer (Samsung, LG, Motorola, Apple….) use it until they stop with security updates, then buy another one.

  4. Rob Grigjanis says

    I’ve got a Nokia C1 which I reluctantly got for work purposes about 10 (?) years ago. It’s handy for short texts, and I don’t use it for emails or internet. “get milk and bread” or “home by 6” just about covers it. Don’t need anything more, and I get quite annoyed at people who come over and immediately start playing with their bloody flashy gizmos. Maybe I’m just bad company…

  5. starskeptic says

    johnson catman@1
    So, what you’re saying is that it had nothing to do with the nature of the deposit and everything to do with who’s doing the depositing?

  6. Rob Grigjanis says

    Ridana @2: I vaguely remember being fairly happy with Windows 3.1. Things have gone steadily downhill since then.

  7. Mano Singham says

    mastmaker @#3,

    Thanks for the warning. I rarely use the phone for anything other than calls and texts or GPS. All other uses are those that can be done without internet access, such as stored photos and music or information about contacts.

    I have long felt that determined hackers can get into almost any personal device. I am probably a slightly softer target than those who have more up-to-date devices.

  8. johnson catman says

    starskeptic @5: My bank told my wife that because she was not the owner or a signatory on my bank account, she could not deposit cash to that account. If she had used a check, she would have been allowed to do so. But cash had become a no-no. She brought the cash home, and then I had to make a trip to the bank to deposit it. Neither of us regularly carries a checkbook anymore since online bill-pay is available.

  9. Mark Dowd says

    @Johnson catman

    Given what you describe it sounds like your wife regularly deposits a significant amount. Hundreds at least. Sounds like an anti-money laundering policy then. Checks are traceable, cash isnt.

  10. says

    Last January, Taiwan shut off 2G and 3G networks for general calls. They’re still active for emergency calls, but if you want to call friends, you’re SOL, not AOL. People were forced to buy 4G phones they didn’t need. There are some cheap 4G phones on the market, but that’s not the problem. Millions of still functioning 2G and 3G phones went in the garbage for no good reason other than forcing people to spend money.

    My annoyance is the lack of a good 4G feature / T9 / dumb phone. I’m tired of “smartphones”, but no one sells what I want. Most 4G feature phones have terrible cameras and *don’t* have a memory card slot. There are some sold in other countries but they aren’t sold here (e.g. Nokia 3310 4G).

  11. johnson catman says

    Mark Dowd @9: Could be. But she had her ID showing the same address as on the account and she had one of my deposit slips. It was mainly that it seemed out of the blue. She had done it regularly for years. And if it was only about money-laundering, why would they then accept the very same cash from me?

  12. mnb0 says

    “I have to do it the old-fashioned way.”
    Huh? I’ve never managed any of my financial stuff on a smartphone. Why would I, if I think a computer or laptop so much more comfortable?

  13. says

    I have long felt that determined hackers can get into almost any personal device.

    Most hackers are opportunistic—they aren’t determined to get into your phone specifically at all costs, instead they go for whoever is the easiest target.

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