Understanding the tools of your trade is vital to understanding what are your capabilities and also your limitations, because just like there’s a door for every key, there’s also a tool for every task. A painter needs a certain brush for drawing a landscape, a brush that would prove inadequate for the intricate details of a portrait.
In the 21st century business, the computer is both the brush and the canvas.
A computer has two very distinct parts, the hardware and the software, two sides of the same coins, both with their own purpose and performing their own function. The hardware is the foundation, while the software acts as the floors and walls. With a strong enough foundation, we can continue to build and add floors upon floors. Continue reading →
An office computer has stopped working. It’s not necessarily a daily occurrence, but it happens every now and then. As someone from the IT department comes over, he finds a tall, rather skinny man, standing up next to his cubicle, his faced flushed. He’s nervously cracking his knuckles, starting at the floor and looks like he really wants to confess to something. As the IT engineer opens the computer case, he doesn’t see the system he was expecting.
It’s not a standard hardware configuration for office computers that runs throughout the company. What he sees is a jumble of wires, leading from the power supply to all kind of components that should not be installed on that desktop machine. He looks back up to the man with the flushed face and shakes his head in disapproval.
A functional computer, where every component is still in working order, can still prove to be a broken cog in an otherwise efficient company. Going by the postulate that “they don’t make them like they used to,” a company can easily find itself with an operational hardware network where the average device age can be as high as 10 years. Enduring and stubborn, some computers insist to persist well beyond their retirement age. And in spite of what it may seem like a great thing, this is a ticking bomb that sprays bills instead of shrapnel.
An outdated, but working computer can generate a heap of troubles.
The license for your OS is about to expire, and you decide that it was about time you stepped into the new decade anyway. Nothing works on Windows 98 and more and more software developers are starting to discontinue support for Windows XP. More even, software engineers are starting to develop for Windows 8. You make the purchase and license your entire computer network only to throw a wrench in the well-oiled machine that was not long ago your business. A lot of your computers can’t handle a modern OS, or if they do, they are greatly burdened and strained by it.
A computer’s operating system is not the only obstacle an old computer can confront. Any software that is meant to exist over a company’s entire network can become its enemy. And compatibility tends only to propagate. Newly developed applications require for the latest update of its support software to be installed as well, which require a more and more powerful hardware to run on. Maybe just one updated application is not enough to slow an old computer down to a crawl, but the spun web of updates and software upgrades required to support it can, and will do it bring it to its knees.
That’s why it’s very important to have a very clear picture of your hardware assets before you commit to any software changes. After all, a computer’s hardware can’t learn new tricks.