Ask Abby

First Time Visitors


early adopter

For the last 20 years I’ve taught digital immigrants to conquer their fear of technology. I’ve also answered their questions, as best I could, about what device might be right for them and how to use the bugger. What I haven’t done is chase down the latest and greatest gadgets out there. You’d think I’d be an early adopter, but I’m not. I read the reviews about what’s new with technology so I can be current, but I’m slow to make a purchase. Why am I not an early adopter?

  1. If it ain’t broke. I don’t believe in a “Kleenex society” – use it once and toss it aside. Quite literally when I find an old tissue in a coat pocket I’m more than happy to re-use it over and over again. It takes a lot for me to replace something that’s still functioning fine and meeting my needs. Sure, sometimes I have to endure shocked expressions or ribbing that I’m still carrying an iPhone that is now 3 generations older than the one available in stores, but I can take it. Pressure from someone who thinks they know what I need or wants me to have what they have is no reason to give up what I like or am used to. I don’t base my footwear purchases on what other people are wearing or would like me to wear. Why is technology any different? What I walk in or talk on or type with has to meet my needs – not anyone else’s. I suspect that is true of you too.
  2. No guinea pig me. If unpaid internships pose an ethical dilemma, why doesn’t selling technology before it performs properly have us equally indignant? The analogy is weak because an intern doesn’t pay to work, but we do pay when we buy a phone or tablet or computer that has been rushed to market before the bugs have been fixed or exterminated. Since when did paying customers become unpaid usability experts? Yes, fixes come down the pipeline AFTER early adopters make a fuss. Why not offer a discount to early buyers for our expertise and feedback on the new products?
  3. I’m sticky. Sticky. Loyal. Content. Maybe a little bit of each. I’ve never been a fan of change for change’s sake. Statistically that’s true of most baby boomers (born before 1964) and beyond. It’s not that we sticky ones can’t learn something new or be flexible, but for heaven’s sake have it be because there’s some kind of improvement with the technology not just a need for it to look different so some users won’t get bored.

There are incredible technologies out there and all kinds of amazing things are in the pipeline. Your choice to purchase a new tech device or make an upgrade should be about it’s benefit to YOU. What can it do that your old device can’t? What need does it fill? Does it sound like something you’ll enjoy? Don’t let anxiety about learning something new prevent you from embracing change, but also be sure that you’re not succumbing to pressure to adopt something new before you’re ready or want to.

I’ll keep you up-to-date with what’s new through my newsletter and on Facebook. Be sure to visit my Store on where I’ve hand-picked tech products for you. And, as soon as I take the plunge and buy a new gadget, I’ll add a helpful guide and a how-to video. If you add some great new gadget to your collection, please share your impressions with me.


  1. Jamie L Hamilton says:

    Thank you for this article. I tried windows 10 (for free, my price range, anyway) but I found I didn’t like it as well as Windows 7. I am just as happy with what I have and I went back to Windows 7. I am not one who is big on change but I tried is (since it was free) And when they said I could go back for free if I did so within a month after trying Windows 10 that is just what I did. I went back to Windows 7 and I am happier this way. I also want you to know that I still get a lot out of your book “Is This Thing On?” I love it and it still is very helpful Thank you for putting out this book. It is appreciated by someone who didn’t understand computers very much. Thanks again, Jamie L. Hamilton

    1. Abby Stokes says:

      Dear Jamie,
      Good for you for trying and then good for you for doing what’s best for you.
      Thank you so much your kind words about “Is This Thing On?”. Do you have the newly revised version that came out this spring?
      Keep in touch,

  2. Henry Botzbach says:

    I traded W-8.1 for W10 thinking I better get the latest; It took me a while to get onto W8.1 and I am now struggling with W10 but hopefully I will before W 12 comes out

    1. Abby Stokes says:

      Dear Henry,
      Keep being patient. You’ll get comfortable with Windows 10 over time.
      Yes…let’s hope there are no more changes for awhile!
      Let me know how it’s going,

  3. Jill Wells says:

    I loved your book on Windows7, but by the time I went to buy, all they had was Windows 8.It has taken 2 years to learn to use it and no way am I going to #10. I’ve bought and recommend to friends your IS THIS THING ON? I use it as a reference book and use it often. Since I’m legally blind, I wish I could make the cursor bigger Honestly I don’t use half the things the computer has. Ironically after I bought #8, the salesman said Yeah, the odd number ones are better than the even numbered versions” Maybe that’s why they skipped #9?

    1. Abby Stokes says:

      Dear Jill,
      Nice to hear from you!
      Have you gone into the Control Panel on your computer and enlarged everything as much as you can? If not, email me ( and I’ll give you step-by-step instructions.
      So glad you find “Is This Thing On?” to be helpful. Do you have the most recent version? A fully updated and revised “Is This Thing On?” was released this spring. It has my photo on the cover and the subtitle is now “A Friendly Guide to Everything Digital for Newbies, Technophobes, and the Kicking & Screaming.”
      I also have some low vision items in my Store on (top right) and am adding new ones every day. Let me know if you have any suggestions for great products to add.

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