Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Goodbye, Noisy Friend

A couple of weeks ago I said goodbye to an old friend and took its heart out. No, this is not a post dealing with euthanasia (at least not yet), but rather my farewell to the desktop that served me for more than seven years as I decommissioned it and took its hard drive for safe storage.
It felt strange: I’m not used to saying an organized goodbye to my computers/gadgets. They’re either neglected, eclipsed by the latest and greatest, or they break down unexpectedly. They don’t get an orderly funeral the way this noisy friend of mine did while I carefully searched through its guts to make sure all important things are backed up (and no, even though I consider myself rather prudent, there were numerous bits of memorabilia I failed to back up).
I would like to use this opportunity for a proper eulogy, if you don’t mind.

My good old desktop ran the course of its life with a single Windows XP installation. Originally it was a Service Pack 1 installation, and originally that desktop was breaking reboot speed records. Now, seven years onwards, that same installation took two to three minutes to boot, and many more minutes to become properly usable. In general, the use of Windows over the past few years had turned into an agonizing affair.
That is exactly why, through the course of this desktop’s life, it has changed course from being a Windows PC into being a dual boot machine that runs Ubuntu most of the time. As with Windows, the desktop had seen one Ubuntu installation but has also seen numerous upgrades in its lifetime. What started with Ubuntu Feisty went through all ten releases till the current Ubuntu Oneiric. The last two Ubuntu releases had the desktop showing its age, but nothing even remotely close to the tediousness of Windows when it came to deteriorating performance.
In its seven years my desktop did not see any upgrades, but it did have its breakdowns. The CD drive it inherited from my previous desktop stopped working within its first year; the motherboard died just a few weeks after its two year warranty elapsed, to be replaced by a similar (yet slightly inferior) Gigabyte board; and the power supply started smelling dodgy and thus found itself replaced after three years. Indeed, I would blame moat of my issues there on mediocre power supplies: at the time I assembled the parts for this PC I was working under the impression the box and the power supply don’t matter. Well, they do, and we suffered with both: the box in particular left a lasting impression through an incredibly noisy fan experience, especially in summer. My next desktop will see a hefty investment in a properly ventilated box as well as reliable and strong power supply.
It looks funny today, but this desktop of mine was fitted with a dialup modem and a floppy hard drive. These were eclipsed from the word go, but the rest of my PC was still potently capable all the way through. It is changes to our lifestyle that saw its days gradually coming to an end till the point it no longer served a worthwhile purpose for the amount of space it took. However, I’m quite sure the MacBook Air that gave this desktop its knockout blow of redundancy will not last me half as long as my noisy friend.

4 comments:

wile.e.coyote said...

Listed to the radio on the way to work remind me your old computer.
I guess it is not the desktop you are referring to, but the one I talk about followed you for a longer period of time.
I assume it was your first PC, the song was the best ABBA song ever

Moshe Reuveni said...

Do I have to say I have no idea what you're on about?

wile.e.coyote said...

Your first PC was made by a company called Winner

Moshe Reuveni said...

It wasn't my first computer (or do you tell "computer" apart from "PC"?) and I don't think I've used it for as long. Never mind.