Software that makes you buy hardware

Some software is so good is makes you want to buy hardware so you can run it best.  The classic example is Visicalc which is responsible for making the Apple ][ successful.  Over the years a few software apps have been compelling enough that I bought hardware for them:

  • AppleWriter -> 80 column card – The original Apple ][ could only render a 40 character wide, uppercase display.  However,  one of the first WYSIWYG word processors, AppleWriter supported an 80 column card.  This was a card you’d plug into a slot in the back of the Apple that will let it render 80 column, mixed-case text.  It was a must for word processing.  
  • Doom -> Gravis Ultrasound – Doom was the breakout 3D FPS shooter.  It also had awesome sound support – spatial audio with a kickass sound track.  The best way to render all that audio was the Gravis Ultrasound. It had really fine sounding midi soundbanks to make the distorted electric guitars sound like it came from a NiN album.  I can still remember with great fondness the soundtrack for Episode 1, Level 1:
  • Quake – > 3DFx Voodoo –  the first gaming 3D accelerator (remember video passthrough cables)- all of a sudden 3D FPS games could render at 25 Frames per second.

It has been a while since I’ve been engaged enough with a piece of software to buy some hardware for it. Sure I’ve upgraded memory and video cards to run a new game, but those were natural upgrade stepping stones aligned with the release of software.  However, now, once again,  I find myself with a piece of software that makes me want to upgrade my hardware in order that I can get the most out of the software.  The software is the Spotify iPhone app.



I installed the Spotify app on my 1st gen iPhone yesterday and have been playing with it all day.  There’s something about having 5 million songs available in my pocket ready to listen to that is just indescribable.    On the drive home, I listened to the WeAreHunted playlist, During dinner time with my 14 year old daughter we listened to the Glee soundtrack.  On my after dinner walk I listened to some tracks that  I hadn’t listen to since High School.   It is quite an interesting feeling to be out in the middle of nowhere, have a song come to mind, and moments later be listening to it.  And so I want more.  My feeble 1st gen iPhone with its edge network doesn’t get the music fast enough for me, so I have to rely on Wifi syncing.  Plus the paltry memory size leaves me with less than 2GB  for the local Spotify audio cache. Perhaps enough for  a thousand songs, but I want more!  And so I shall be upgrading my iPhone soon – the 3G and 32GB footprint will help me take full advantage of  this wonderful app.

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  1. #1 by Brian Utterback on November 14, 2009 - 12:20 pm

    What new hardware? From what I have seen, Spotify makes me want to get a new country! When will it be available in the U.S.? And how come you get it? Pretty sure we are in the same state, let alone the same country.

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