At work, I generally get a new desktop machine every two years. We lease computers from Dell, so it doesn’t really cost anything to return my machine at the end of each two-year lease and trade it in for a new one. My lease is up at the end of this month, so I just got a new machine in. Usually, when I get a new machine, there are a few big differences from the last one. This time, not so much. I’ve got more hard drive space, but that’s really the only major difference. The processor is about the same speed. I’ve got twice the RAM (from 2GB to 4GB), but I don’t think the difference there will be especially noticeable. And I’m sticking with Windows XP, so there’s no OS update to worry about and/or enjoy. When I configured this machine at Dell’s site, Windows XP was still the default OS choice in the drop-down. The machine does ship with Vista Business on a DVD in the box, but it’s got XP installed. I’m not sticking with XP purely out of laziness or anything like that. We’re using a number of applications that aren’t supported under Vista. And I just can’t see any real advantage to moving over to Vista yet.
On another front, I tried installing Lotus Notes 8 on the new machine. It worked, but it was pretty slow. It’s got a few interesting new features, and I’d really love to be able to move everyone from Notes 7 to 8, but if I can’t get it running well on a machine with 4 GB of RAM, it’s going to be intolerable on some of our lower-end machines. I uninstalled it and went back to Notes 7.
The point of this story is basically that I’m somewhat disappointed with the progress we’ve made in the computer industry over the last couple of years. Major new software releases, such as Vista, Notes 8, Office 2007, and so on, are interesting but not compelling. And they’re usually bloated and slow on even high-end hardware. And the hardware itself doesn’t seem to have progressed much, expect in a few areas. Processor technology in particular doesn’t seem to have changed much over the last two years.
Well, that’s my two cents. I’m still glad I’m getting a new machine!