2. August 2006, 21:57 | by WD Milner | Full Article |

This is basically a follow up article to my previous editorial “Obsolete Or Just Unfashionable ?

Planned obsolesence. It is nothing new, it has been around for decades - the idea that a company deliberately perceptually renders one of its products less attractive and useful in order to sell a new version. perhaps the most high profile example is the automotive industry but it is pervasive in hi-tech as well.

We can also see it in the computer industry where the average PC has become a commodity, which has to be sold over and over as “new and improved” so that everyone can sell more PC’s

The same is true of software. I am thinking here of the recent discontinuance of support by Microsoft for Windows 98 and Windows Millenium Edition despite the millions of machines that are still happily running these operating systems. These operating systems are not functionally obsolete, they are being forced into retirement to sell something else to the customer. Not that this is unusual, or even always a bad thing. It is however, often unecessary.

I mentioned in my previous article on obsolescence I know people still using 486 class machines. Well, I had one of them give me their old AST 486 becasue they had just been given a new computer - an 800 MHz Pentium III machine. I took the poor old AST and decided it might make a nice little PLC for a home automation project I was playing with. ’Lo and behold it wasn’t even a 486DX but a 25 MHz 486SX (no floating point unit) with a massive 16 megabytes of memory and a nice little 250 megabyte hard drive.

And what was on the hard drive of this venerable box (yes I know the drive should have been eerased before being passed on) ? Windows 95B!

This machine was in daily use for e-mail, web surfing, newgroups, forums, word processing, home accounting. It had none of the innumerable “widgets” that most people burden their systems with and was extremely stable. One can only wonder how long Windows 98, ME, 2000 and eventually XP will survive in regular use by users long after Microsoft wishes they were dust and forgotten.

Obsolete is a state of mind. So long as a machine (of whatever type) is still useful and functional for a task it’s needed to perform, it is never truly obsolete.

To reiterate a favorite saying I can no longer remember the source of . . . “Obsolescence is just a lack of imagination.

- 30 -

Categories: ,
Keywords: obsolete,windows 98,windows 95,windows me,microsoft,486



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