Wednesday, February 27, 2013

PC or PoC: In Depth

PC or PoC has evolved a bit. Originally, is was a bit of a fun poke at older computers and the great lengths I would take to make that PC serve some useful purpose again. Hence: Personal Computer or Piece of Crap.

Since starting this blog, however, it has transformed into something a bit more. No longer just computers and a bit more serious than it used to be, PC or PoC has evolved to show that older technology still is useful with the right upgrades and software.

Now, many of the computers that we have talked about can be easily upgraded. A quick core  change would completely change the system itself, however, that would not in keeping with the spirit of PC or PoC. The point of PC or PoC is to get by with older technology for as long as possible through extending performance, usability  and usefulness by working within the limitations of the hardware.

Why would anyone want to do this? There are several reasons.
  • If you are short of cash, extending the usefulness of older tech may be necessary. I find myself in this situation from time to time.
  • If your new tech fails and you have to go back to older technology to get by. My Samsung Stratosphere leaped off my belt and hit the floor just right and shattered its screen. I am now going back to my Blackberry 8330 (which never seems to die) until my screen is replaced.
  • Its green. If a piece of tech can be re-purposed rather than thrown away it is better for the planet. Gigastrand practices this with fanaticism.
  • Just to see how useful it can be. With a software change and some minor hardware updates, how much can this old tech do? It is the geek version of climbing a mountain.
There are several myths I want to try and dispel by publishing these blogs.
  1. Old tech is not useful. I have been upgrading PCs professionally for more than 15 years. Depending on the capabilities required, it is sometimes a little more memory or what I have called a total system upgrade. In either case, it is much less than a whole new computer system.
  2. There is no point in trying to fix old junk. A system is only outdated when it no longer does what you need or want it to do. This has been my mantra for a very long time. In most cases the difference between "old junk" and "useful system" is a software change and a little memory.
  3. My computer slowed down or I can't upgrade to the latest OS. It must be the hardware. This is the biggest myth for Windows users - but Mac users are forced to believe this myth as well. Many times an OS upgrade is unnecessary because the support the user needs is not from the OS developer but from the hardware and software vendors - who will often support an OS far longer than the OS developer itself. 
  4. New Tech is SO much FASTER and MORE CAPABLE than my old computer. That 3-year old PC is probably not that much slower than a brand new model - and for a number of reasons.
  5. Technology reaches End of Life (EOL) once the next new thing comes out. Complete nonsense. Many businesses believe their desktop PC's EOL is 3-5 years (which was true over a decade ago). With a few updates, we are seeing EOL on Gigastrand machines between 8-10 years and virtually no EOL on desktop systems with regular hardware updates.
Hopefully, readers will get some good ideas from PC or PoC and I would love to hear about your own PC or PoC moments - successful or not. I may even publish a few. 

Pretty Cool or Piece of Crap will be the new name for these posts and, because of their growing popularity, I plan to make it a regular post every Wednesday.


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