mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Why I hate change (in corporate computers, anyway)..

So the college I work for buys Lenovo computers (the former IBM PC division, now owed by a Chinese company). Recently, they made a minor but annoying change - the new machines ship with USB keyboards, and the computers no longer have PS/2 ports (you know, the round ones with all the pins).

This doesn't seem like a big deal, but it can get annoying if you are delivering a new computer to someone - you have to make sure that you bring a new keyboard, and that it's the right kind of keyboard. It's also a problem once people start destroying their keyboards by spilling them, dropping them, or throwing them across the room - you need to hope that you bring the right keyboard with you.

Now, I'm not against technological change. But some changes don't really make much of a difference, but make things more inconvenient for the people who have to support them. I mean, does anyone feel that they weren't getting enough throughput on their PS/2 keyboard and need something faster? Not to mention that it usually takes a little while for windows to recognize the usb keyboards and mice.

Other changes that have annoyed me:

-computer color. Back when I first started working in hardware support in 2001, we got our first shipment of black computers - stylish black-and-blue IBM Netvista Celeron 733's, complete with black CRT monitors and black keyboards and mice. They looked cool, since pretty much all machines up to this point were a dirty white putty color. But it created it's own set of issues - as stuff failed and needed to be swapped out, we ended up with black machines with white monitors, white machines with black monitors, white keyboards, mice, cd-burners on black machines, ect. We're slowly weeding them out, but even today - 6 years after all the pc's went black and never came back - we've still got a ton of white CRT's out there, because they last forever and work - but look ancient.

-PCI-express video cards. Sure, I'm sure PCI-X has some great advantage for gamers. I'm not one, so as long as graphics are good enough for surfing the web, I'm happy. But in a business environment, the only reason we upgrade video cards is so that people can do dual-monitor setups. So it's a pain when you replace a machine that had an AGP dual-head video card, and then realize that the new machine is PCI-X and you need to order a new video card - so you get to spend more money, plus piss off the user because they don't have their dual-monitor setup until the new card comes in.

-ADC monitors. OK, usually I'm a total Apple fanboy and they can do no wrong. But several years ago, Apple decided that they were going to make their own standard of monitor connectors - ADC, for Apple Display Connector. It was a nice idea, in that it was just one cable for power, video, and the built-in USB hub. Except it only was in use for a couple years, and nobody else used it. The older macs - from G4 to early G5 - had them, but new macs don't. The monitors were actually very nice - I have one of the last CRT studio displays at home, and it's the best CRT I've ever seen (plus it looks hella cool, but they were also very pricey ($500 - $1000) and are now pretty much useless. Sure, you can buy the apple ADC to DVI adapter, but they are still expensive, clunky, and only work on certain monitors. There is something to be said about open standards, and Apple is usually pretty good about them. With ADC, they weren't.

-Windows Vista. OK, actually every new version of Windows is usually painful at first, until service packs and third-party apps have caught up. And Vista is pretty, and has some cool features, plus native support for things like serial ATA (SATA) hard drives and the ability to support more than 2 gigs of RAM. But it still seems to have a ton of issues, somewhat overprotective security, and a bad habit of random BSD's on the machine I've been running at my desk at work so I could get used to it (I kept my old XP box, and still use it for certain things that I'm too lazy to hack Vista into playing with, like Novell network drives or our roll-your-own Purchase Order system. But every time I talk to someone, they ask me when we're rolling out Vista, and all I can tell them is "eventually". I'm sure my job is going to be even more fun once we actually start deploying it into production environments.

There probably are some others, but these are the ones that have annoyed me lately.


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