In the past I’d be wary of setting up a new computer knowing that every time I’d need at least a couple of hours to get everything into a workable state. These days I actually look forward to setting up a new computer. Nearly every file I care about is hosted online and a large chunk of my productivity apps are online as well. The only tools I need to run locally are the various IDEs as well as a variety of open source tools and libraries that my code depends on. Even then I’d bet it takes less than an hour to get things to an 80% state at which point I’ll only discover what’s missing by just going through my day.
And this is as a developer who needs to build various applications from source and deal with potential library conflicts. For someone who doesn’t have to deal with these issues it must be incredibly quick to get a workable setup these days.
At the same time it seems as if we need to upgrade our computers less frequently since for most tasks computers from a few years ago are good enough. In fact I’m still on an early 2011 MacBook Pro with some upgraded RAM and a new SSD drive. I don’t even notice any performance difference between it and a newer MacBook Pro at the office. And for most tasks why even bother upgrading a computer when you can get nearly everything done on a tablet? Just attach a keyboard and you’re good to go. I can’t imagine us ever going back to the pre cloud days of computers and I can only imagine what kind of digital productivity tools we come up - especially with the rise of VR and the constant improvement in the performance and battery life of our existing digital devices.