Lilbits (4-17-2013): Old computers never go out of style

Computer makers may put out new hardware every 6 months, but most users only upgrade every few years… and some folks hang onto older computer for far longer than that.

If an old machine still meets your needs, there’s no reason to upgrade — and there might be some good reasons not to, if you don’t want to deal with the learning curve, converting your old data to a new format, or managing with downtime.

Punch cards

PC World has a roundup of some individuals and institutions using very, very old computers… with no plans to upgrade anytime soon.

Here are some interesting stories from around the web today.

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  • Michael Thompson

    I work for a company that sells, resells and repairs industrial equipment.

    I have personally helped customers find companies to help them recover data from tapes that are breaking apart from age.
    Customers will ride these systems right into the ground.
    Hey, do YOU want to be the guy to propose the umpty-dollar replacement system, or are you going to make your budget work for the next quarter so that little old raise you want comes through?

    I think we all know the answer to that question, don’t we?

    • digi_owl

      Some years back i ran across a site selling floppy drive converters. These where devices that could slide into the same size fixture as a floppy drive, and had the appropriate ribbon connector on the inward facing end, but that offered a SD slot (and on more expensive models what looked like a RJ connector) to the user.

      They were meant for the textile industry, to modernize computerized looms. the device would read patterns off the SD card and feed them to the aging 286-386 (or something similar) computer running the loom as if it was read off a floppy. The more expensive model allowed a single computer to feed patterns to multiple looms, meaning that a single operator could run a entire factory floor of looms from their desk.

  • Renee Auclair

    Small businesses are especially vulnerable to the perils of transitioning to new technology. Small businesses can only afford to make so many mistakes, and
    then they’re out of business.

  • Cathie

    Yeah, you can always just upgrade the parts and the system! Easy enough.