Friday, February 18, 2005

Ah, The Wonders of Modern Technology

Ah, how often we hear that a new computer is already dated by the time you take it out of the box. It seems that every few months on FEN Radio (U.S. military radio in Japan) the studious-sounding female commentator on the home computing segment doubles the "minimum recommended performance levels for effective home use". Go to the homepage of your year-old computer's tech support homepage, and you find the most recent driver updates dated six months before and buried in the "obsolete components" section. Go to any computer-related website, and you're told you really suck if your machine is more than a month old.

It can be pretty frustrating.

But then you hear beauts like this story from Germany, the land with perhaps the highest percentage of OS/2, LINUX, UNIX, and Amiga diehards in the world. What happened? A train station in Dortmund lost its schedule display system because its 20-year-old(!) computer control system broke down, and no one could be found to fix it. First they said that the errant machine was a C64 (yes, as in Commodore). Then a correction reported that it was, in fact, an Intel 310 with an 80286 processor.

Even better: they say that replacing the old display system with a modern one would cost over 3 million Euros. I'd call that a bit of a jump over what that Intel 310 probably cost when it was new even at 80s computer prices!

They'd been using an 80286 constantly for twenty years? Way to go, Intel! If only the state-of-the-art NEC machines my school leases with regular upgrades worked a tenth as well! (Hardware failures within the first month??!?)

I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. A very large percentage of the world's ATM machines as well as most of Japan's telephone systems are still controlled by OS/2.


Don Snabulus said...

Ah, the old stalwart OS/ maintained as a product called eComStation. Hey, it runs FireFox and OpenOffice, so in its own way, it is as good as Linux still. Alas, I have no installs of it anymore.

ElTigris said...

yes its amazing sometimes how they also expect old equipment to perform on todays new standards... as well ...what do you mean I cant run windows XP on a 386? come? then the overboard stuff like the massive upgrades...mixing technology with political gain.

ElTigris said...

most of what is out there... the common person doesnt need. The P4 systems have so much more power than anyone really uses..of course you have systems like windows that brings it to its knees with the bloating inefficiency, but laziness notwithstanding

The Moody Minstrel said...

And then there's that Mac G5 that I've been playing around with in the music office at work. Parallel processors and a version of Mac (OS X) that can trade files with my Windows box without any problem (and also doesn't tend to crash)!'s nice to be using a non-MS platform without anyone in our MS-based network being able to laugh at me. "Yes, I can link into your LAN and use all your document files, so shut the f*** up!!!!"