Part of being the Williamsburg Nerd is having a love of computers and related hardware. So I've been cleaning up my studio and making my IT plans for the year to come. Like most people in my field (design and new media) 2002 was a real bad year - known as the great "dot.bomb", and at that point many folks in the industry lost their jobs due to the combo of:
1. The crash of dot.com companies in the stock market
2. The financial fallout of 9/11
3. Many jobs being sent offshore to places like India
So for me 2002 was a real marker of sorts, and it was a time NOT to buy new toys. So as I've replaced my software and hardware I'm always glad to see a bit of the past go. So I've realized that I'm now down to my last three surviving bits of pre-dot.bomb hardware. Some interesting insights on the survivors that are still humming along four years later:
3. My IBM Thinkpad laptop which I used for sales calls still works like a charm. The only reason I need to replace this is because it's running Windows 98, and it wouldn't be worth it to upgrade to Windows XP. But other than that it runs great! Well that and it looks sad if I pull out an ancient computer for a sales call. The machine is in prime condition - in fact you can sort of blame Microsoft for bloatware rather than IBM. I wonder if Lenovo will keep up the quality of the brand?
The replacement for my Thinkpad will be a 17" MacBook Pro. Even though all my favorite Mac software isn't ready for Intel I know a year from now it will be. I also know that I'll be able to give demos in Windows which makes it a real winner.
2. My Epson Photo 1280 printer. I'm going to replace this pretty soon, I think it's lasted this long due to light use and the fact that I baby it. I think my main problem with it is the lack of good CMYK proofing and speed. So my guess is that I'll be replacing this by Summer. I'll either replace it with another Epson, but I am thinking of looking at the HP line - which brings me to my all time winner:
1. My HP LaserJet 4000TN laser printer! I'm amazed because this printer dates from before the year 2000 - in fact it's been so long I forgot when exactly we got it. It still works like a charm and has survived three office moves to boot. What's amazing is that I've already replaced this printer, but since I never unplugged it and changed my printing defaults I'm still using it all the time. I may retire it at some point, but I have to admit I'd feel guilty if I didn't hand it off to someone else - it's much too worthy to be sitting in a landfill or to be recycled into parts.
Lessons I've learned:
1. Software drives the hardware market. These devices still work like a charm, but it's the fact that upgrading them to support the latest software doesn't pay.
2. Because Apple software is glued to the hardware, you'll always be buying new Apple hardware to support the cool new features in software.
3. If the hardware survives the first year without a real glitch, and if you take care of the hardware chances are good that it will last.
4. Brand names do count for something (sometimes).
5. If you want the hardware to last a long time, purchase at the top of the line.
6. Printers will always outlast computers.