Lisa and I had a meeting with somebody the other day. As we sat in her office, the lady nodded toward an ageing PC and bemoaned the fact that "once you buy a new computer these days, it's almost immediately out of date".
It wasn't the time or place to argue, but of course I feel differently.
Sure, if you're locked into a Microsoft based system, you're going to find yourself in a viscious upgrade cycle. You'll constantly be watching for the latest version of Microsoft Office or anxiously wondering what their forthcoming Operating System will mean for you and your business.
Now, my main machine in the house is easily 4 years old. It was a highly specced Dell Dimension XPS system back then. Probably not as wonderful by today's standards, but still a fine system. Its only upgrade has been an additional 2Gb of RAM, and it's still a star performer. So, in my opinion, the hardware platform has stabilised.
The Windows World
In the world of software, things are much different. On Windows XP, I'm mostly committed to Free or Open Source applications: Aptana for web development instead of Dreamweaver, Notepad++ for quick text editing, OpenOffice forword processing and spreadsheet style stuff. Comodo for firewalling and antivirus.
I'm still using a fairly old version of Adobe Photoshop, but it does the job for my needs, even if it is missing some of the features of the newest version. GIMP's an acceptable replacement...I suppose. The only thing that's really tying me to Windows right now is the amazing Windows Live Writer.