Saturday, August 8, 2009

Farewell, Dell!

My old Dell computer is facing it's final voyage. She's been a good old girl, and has served loyally for the past couple of years. However, the fact that she had a compact platform, with no case fan, and only the power supply for ventilation, has done her in. Alas, she's making that last walk through the "Silicone Valley of Death".
I guess that's the reason for this rant. Back in the day, computers pretty much followed a standard principle. If you ain't IBM, then copy them, and call yourself an "IBM Clone". It worked for a number of years, with nearly all computers performing to the same standard.

Commodore, on the other hand, was the "People's Car" of the computer age.
We had numerous Commodore PC's, and they all used the same software, and produced the same results. There were no upgrades to the processors, and no real OS. In those days, you had to learn at least Basic programming language to make the computer do what you wanted it to do. For those of us with these computers, it was an experience that few people today understand. To have the ability to program your own computer was considered just short of witchcraft by some. Mind you, this was Basic language, but the what you could do with it made you cooler than most. Better yet, they boasted a whopping 64K of ram!!

Fast forward 10 years, and the "PC Clones" were now real players. The Commodores were left in the dust; the new machines running a new OS called Windows 3.1. We bought a Packard Bell computer back then with an unheard of 20 Megabyte hard drive! The salesman told us that "there's no way you'll ever fill this thing up!" Of course, it was quickly outdated, and we had to get faster, and faster units to keep up with the software available. Windows as well, kept producing newer and newer versions of it's operating system, forcing us to keep up.

I guess that time marches on, but why not just write software for the masses again? Why do we have to buy a new computer every time something new comes out, as our old one won't run it?

Old Dell ran Windows XP, and I checked to see if she'd run Vista, but it was a no-go. She was too old and slow to keep up in the new environment. I did as many upgrades as I could, but, alas, she didn't want to play anymore. I replaced her with a Systemax "White Box" system, from 19?? It's faster than the old girl, but the video card is "stone age". Once again, I'm in upgrade mode!

And so, I have to ask, when will the computer industry slow down, and let us catch up? Old Dell is tired, and she's a hell of a lot younger than I am!

A final postscript...the Systemax has also died, replaced by another white box computer!

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