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Tech Tuesday – Get Out of the Stone Age

Tech Tuesday – Get Out of the Stone Age

by Frank Roche on August 10, 2010

in KnowHR

Do you want to know what the one thing that will make all of your technical people giddy with joy is?  Just one tiny little thing.  You don’t have to give them all raises or take them to Six Flags for a day, or have a company party where they all get drunk and dance on tables.  No.  What you need to do is promise they’ll never see a 20 year old computer in the office again.

80s computers

Where's a power suit when you need it?

I know how tempting it is to cut corners on technology.  But, you say, my employee already has a computer, why do they need a new one?  I will tell you why.  Do you know how awful it is to use web software (i.e. webmail, backpack, bug trackers, and all of the software we develop) on IE 6?  Let alone try to create software that still works for those poor, poor souls?  Please, give us all a break.  If your employees’ hardware came with Windows 2000 or 98 installed, don’t just consider buying new computers.  DO IT.

I once worked in a company where the customer service people had ancient computers.  They waited more than 2 minutes to load a single PDF.  Unfortunately for these employees, they dealt primarily with faxes that had been scanned into PDF format.  They lost HOURS of productivity every day just blankly watching their screen while the CPU chugged away loading that PDF.

80s power suit

Maybe they spent their downtime on the phone.

Another major issue that often gets overlooked is old servers.  It’s easy to assume that if the server hasn’t gone down in years, it probably won’t tomorrow.  In a study Google performed on their thousands of servers, however, they discovered that “the observed range of annualised failure rates varied from 1.7 percent, for drives that were in their first year of operation, to over 8.6 percent, observed in their third year.”  Almost a 10% chance that a 3 year old hard disk will suddenly crash on you. I suspect that if you are not keeping your hardware up to date, you are probably not doing regular backups.  So right now you should consider all of your important data on that server to be expendable.

old server

im in ur closet eatin ur data

Lastly, don’t go the cheap route.  Buy new computers.  Maybe you don’t need the most top-of-the-line laptops for every employee, but used computers are really a case of buyer beware.  Especially with laptops, as they go anywhere and everywhere, often even into the bathroom with users.  Yum.

dirty fan

This is not actually exaggeration, it is a common problem.

So now that you know why you need to get your employees out of the stone age, you are going to be checking out some new computers soon.  Right?  After that, there will still be time for drunken table dancing.

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