You can always find a capable helping hand at the end of your own sleeve.
~ Zig Ziglar
Waste is everywhere in computing. Think about the umpteen million obsolete CDs and cases filling landfills. Then add in several decades of obsolete computers with all their noxious components. At least now some people are recycling electronics, which helps a bit, but at some point you have to wonder if we’re all going to be poisoned by technology in the end.
One thing that is not helping is that computer manufacturers seem to have realized that they don’t have to build computer equipment that actually lasts. Since everyone has to upgrade their hardware every few years to keep up with ever their more bloated piggy software upgrades, computers really don’t have to last more than a couple of years.
The concept of planned obsolescence is not new and it’s extremely lucrative. Remember the urban legend about light bulbs? People have been saying for years that the technology to create a light bulb that never burns out has been available for some time, but it never will be produced because then no one would buy light bulbs anymore. No more money for GE and Sylvania.
Here’s a case in point. Even though people don’t necessarily upgrade their monitors with every computer purchase, they often get a new one as part of a package. When I started my business in 1995, I bought a 21″ Viewsonic monitor. I used it daily for 11 or 12 years, and it actually STILL works. After I bought my most recent computer, I finally opted to get a flat panel screen, so I would have room for a dual monitor setup. Given my luck with Viewsonic, I bought a nice flat panel that got good reviews.
A couple of years later, the monitor died. The screen went white and stayed that way. I set it aside for a few months and then decided that it was stupid not to try and fix it. What did I have to lose?
I did a search online and discovered that a lot of flat panel owners have experienced the White Screen of Death. I found a Web site that explained how to open up the case and replace the capacitors on the circuit board. I purchased the capacitors and my husband soldered them on.
So for $12, we fixed my $400 monitor. In the process, it occurred to me that the capacitors on a $400 monitor shouldn’t blow in the first place. But of course, there’s no profit in “built to last.”
When your computer equipment fails, don’t be surprised. There’s no incentive for the computer industry to build something well. So back up everything!