In an auto race (Le Mans, Daytona, Indy, take your pick) it’s a matter of timing and strategy on when you take your pit stops.
While you’re in the pit getting fuel and serviced, the rest of the race is passing you by every second. But you need the fuel, and in particular you often need new tires. The new tires will make you much faster when you do get back out onto the track.
So, if you don’t need fuel but your tires are getting worn and slippery and slow, what’s the tradeoff between time lost in the pit and time gained with every lap once you’re back out on the track? That’s some tricky calculus there.
So it is with other aspects of the technology we use to get things done. In this case, computers.
I have two desktop systems, old Dell towers, which were cutting edge in their day. The one from 2006 can’t upgrade to Windows 10. The one from 2009 has upgraded to Windows 10, but crashes without warning every few days.
It was time.
Now the new system is here and it’s FAST! Since I tend to hold onto systems for a long, long time (see above) I also tend to buy them with the biggest, fastest, and best I can without starting to compete with the Pentagon. This system won’t have the same RAM as the workstations being used by NASA and SpaceX – but it has the slots to be upgraded if I find that I need that. It doesn’t have the disk capacity of a mid-sized office server – but it has enough slots in the tower, connections, and a big enough power supply so that I can add enough to make it so.
It’s fast and powerful in comparison to about 95% of the desktop systems sold today, and compared to “state of the art” from 2006? Like that proverbial Indy racer going up against a 1962 Chevy II wagon with four bald tires and rust holes in the fuel tank. (I actually owned that car, but that’s a story for another day.)
Except that it I can’t actually USE it to get my actual work done until I get it set up. I had to activate and install the operating system, then start setting up, activating, and registering all of the programs I use. Some, such as Office, are already on the system and just need activation, which still can take way too long. Others can be downloaded and you don’t realize how many little programs you have installed and use every so often until they’re not there. And some are still on a distribution CD or DVD around here somewhere, which has to be found, then installed, then activated, then customized…
Every time I just about think I’ve got my ducks in a row, I instinctively go to click on some program or find some setting that I haven’t taken care of yet. Then it’s time to stop everything and get that taken care of before I can proceed.
Shit, I haven’t installed a printer yet!
But wait, there’s more! After you get all of that done, you have to transfer your data over from the old computers! Some of it’s on Dropbox, and the new system was FAST in downloading and syncing all of the data there, but then there’s all the rest of it…
Right now I have the old 2006 system, the 2009 system, and the 2016 system all running simultaneously on the desk. (It’s a very crowded desk.) For a couple of days I was still working off of the two old systems while setting up the new one. Yesterday I finally made the big leap and swapped in the new one as the primary, while still running the two old ones. (I may actually have to keep the 2006 system running occasionally for a while, since it will be the only one without Windows 10, Win10 won’t run old versions of Quicken, and Quicken is what I use to track the CAF accounting from home.)
It’s still touch and go, and I feel like the Indy driver sitting there, ready to tear off on his new tires to go faster than ever before – but first I have to sit here in my pit stop. I know that I will be faster and better coming out the other side, but in the meantime, the transition is a bitch.
Patience. (And stubbornness!) All will be well.
In the meantime, it occurs to me that this desk might well have more computing power and disk storage space than the entire US government and military had in about 1965. So I’m trying to keep the griping to a minimum.