How old is too old when it comes to a computer?

How old is too old when it comes to a computer?

Having spent the last week working and being bored out of my tree (Don’t worry, being bored stiff is a good thing in this case) working the IT setup and LiveScore administration for the SKYCITY New Zealand Badminton Open, it gave me a few challenges.

These challenges revolve around computer hardware and their component lifespan. The computers used to drive the scoreboard are more than ample enough to do the job. All they essentially need to do, is display a few images on screen between games, and the rest of the time it’s 100% text (and a couple of tiny flag graphics). We have been using some old (and I mean older than the now dead Windows XP old) Netvista’s, and until this week they had all been flawless. Two of them this year decided right at the last moment to chuck their toys out of the cot and blow their hard drives.

Bugger!

This normally wouldn’t be a problem you’d think but they are old machines with no Serial ATA and all use older standard IDE drives. It’s next to near impossible to find a replacement IDE drive these days. Add to that the fact that these machines have no capability for an add-on graphics card, the only video output we have available is VGA on these things, and it’s not until your rental company for the big screens has to scramble to find matching screens with a VGA input (The ones they had planned to lend us only had HDMI), you suddenly realise just how old these machines are, and that the Grim Reaper’s scythe is hanging right above the others in the kit as well.

It’s had me thinking this morning as I wait in my hotel room for my pickup to the airport to fly home again. How do you define what is too old when it comes to mission critical hardware? My answer is obvious. When your rental company has to beg-borrow-and-steal to provide what you need, and components of your kit which are from the same hardware generation begin to let go with no ability to replace failed components, then it’s time.

Time to take the old gurts out the back and put them out of their digital misery.