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back to article Upgrade-hungry office drones ponder PC prangs

Want a new work computer? Wait until the boss isn't looking then take a hammer to the one you have now. That's what rather a lot of UK wage slaves feel they have to do to get an upgrade. Others consider flogging it second-hand and using the money made to buy a new machine. So claims online back-up company Mozy - you can see …

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Who ISN'T tempted?

I'm just hoping the mass of papers on my desk will slide backwards and block the PSU vents...

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Flame

Reminds me of this story

http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/What-Should-I-Do-and-More-Support-Stories.aspx

Scroll to the last one: Broken/Deliberately Destroyed

I'm not a violent man, but story's like that make want to slap people.

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Hard to see why upgrades are needed

In an office environment most workers don't need much to do their jobs (note: need, not want or would like) just basic office tools, some security stuff to slow it down a bit and a nice screensaver. That's pretty much it. They don't need to play 3D/HD video, games or have a private universe in their office.

It's really only in the home, where media and games playing is big that the need for speed arises. So it's not too surprising that people's home kit is more recent than their work computer. The work machine is good enough as it stands. You could even argue that a low-spec, low-power PC at work is more environmentally responsible than having the latest multi-cored monster with a gigahertz video card: either in power consumption terms, or by lowering materials use by not buying unnecessary replacements,.

Of course if you do feel the need to be spiteful towards your employer, there are much more subtle ways of getting a replacement PC than taking a hammer to it ...

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I tkae it you're not a programmer then

Ever tried to run VS 2010 on a 5 year old machine? It's like having your teeth pulled. Very slowly.

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VS..

Development is always going to be an exception, as is anyone who deals with large files.

Most people arent in those categories though.

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It all depends

The person opposite me needed to have her version of Excel updated and that made her computer slow to a crawl. For me, I needed a computer that would run GIMP and a load of other stuff and it was hell to get my computer upgraded to anything useable.

As programs like Word and Excel get more and more resource hungry, people will need more and more powerful PCs

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Unhappy

Re It all depends

When I retired six years ago, we were happily using Word and Excel 97, with no obvious need to upgrade. Only three or four of us had any real Excel ability.

One of the others wrote one with minus amounts in red. "Wow!", I thought. "Conditional formatting!" No such luck. She'd gone through the sheet and manually formatted the minus amounts.

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Coat

Computers in Work Environments

The computers of 5 years ago weren't even fast enough to do the menial office tasks of yesteryear. People merely suffered along because it was as fast or faster than most of the kit out there. Now that home computers have exceeded office kit, people feel like they step into the dark ages when they use their work computer. It IS slower. They can't have 3 memory-intensive applications open at once (Windows, Excel, and Internet Explorer.... :P) like they do at home. Granted, the CPU has been more than powerful enough since the Core2 line came out. RAM has been insufferable on "business class" machines even now. I'm hard pressed to find a vPro-enabled "business class" machine on HP with more than 2GB of RAM without going to the $800 mark. Most businesses likely buy the kit stock or request an extra stick of RAM (if they're smart). This will definitely help things a little bit. What's the other problem? The biggest bottleneck in modern computers: the hard drive. Business machines get a bog standard cheap hard drive. A Western Digital Black would be a decent slot-in for an extra $20 over the de facto. However, many business machines don't store files locally. They host their OS and a hand full of assorted programs. The best idea would be to slap an SSD of a ~60GB variety (or less even) en lieu of a spindle drive. This will place the performance bottleneck back where it should: the CPU. I've seen my old Pentium D machines out-perform newer quad-core Core2-based machines with just an SSD swap-in. (Disclaimer: "out-perform" is entirely user-perception and is not based on CPU benchmarks nor the like, but simply windows boot time and application load time). Granted, code monkeys or other compute-intensive users need better hardware, but the receptionist computer would be a new beast just with a bit of RAM and an SSD.

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Why do I need a title to reply to a post?

Sorry, don't agree. The original poster said 'most workers', and he's right. Most workers don't use the Gimp, work with Excel pivot tables nor use Visual Studio. Most workers mainly use Outlook/Excel and Word in a fairly simple way. My organisation has a lot of kit around 7 to 10 years old, and it works just fine, thank you, even with Office 2007. We have more pressing things to spend our money on. If someone needs a more powerful machine, they get it, but the emphasis is on 'needs'.

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Drones

The drones at my place do it all the time, not that I blame them!

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Unhappy

Thanks a bunch

I've now had three users forward me this article, along with varied inventive suggestions as to how their PC / monitor might "accidentally" break.

I haven't got the budget - so I'll pass the bill on to Vulture Central, shall I??

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Boffin

I believe the BOFH recommends:

- Rubber mallets applied to hard drives (preferably whilst spinning). This doesn't mark the case, allowing for a RTM replacement / refund of the drive.

I would imagine that a paperclip 'accidentally' dropped through a ventialtion grille into a PSU, or onto the motherboard would also do a good job of disabling a machine, as would the 'accidental' spillage of coffee, etc.

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Coat

But if you are the one paying

as I am, I just look at what they really need, Firefox, Skype, and Open Office running on Ubuntu needs nothing more than some old Athlon XP2000/1800s with 1gb of RAM.

I changed one chap to a dual core (ran out of old Athlons) and he did not even notice the difference.

They all run 20" LCDs with a good keyboard, but who cares about the box these days for basic Office operation. (And my laptop is an old T42 so I do not have one rule for them and one for me)

But they do all get HTC Desire phones.

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Anonymous Coward

Once had a muppet smash his machine in front of me

Some rather saucy, legal, but saucy pics were on the machine and the internet history indicated RSI may be possible.

Asked for the machine and said we need to clean the pics and stuff off.

Muppet grabs machine, runs to the stairwell and throws it down the stairs....

Screen and case smashed, P45 inbound, and then I got to explain we had a backup of his home directory anyway, all we wanted to do was reloadset the machine, it was up to HR what action to take.

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FAIL

Little of both

"Germany is the most thriving economy in Europe, if not the world, but whether that's the result of its office workers having more up-to-date kit, or the reason why they all have relatively new machines, is impossible to say."

Having worked there a few years ago with an SGI workstation on my desk, I'd say German workers are generally better equipped (and educated) to be more productive.

Too many accountants and not enough engineers in the UK.

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It can backfire

If you work for a near-state-own bank, you might find your next machine is actually a downgrade, or a "re-purposed" antique.

You may also find your local tech support guy isn't so local anymore, and struggles with english, so good luck if that one 'breaks' too.

Hasn't stopped the managers all getting IPads though...

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Grenade

I did this once.

Many years ago I was assigned an IBM (something) but as I recall it had a Pentium 166. I tried everything. Blocking up ventilation. Removing RAM, and CPU while it was running. Removing the heatsink and running it all day. Combing my hair with the pins on the CPU. Shorting pins on various chips. You name it, I tried it, but it just wouldn't die.

Finally I talked to my friend at head office. We made up a BS story about intermittent faults, and I got a lovely 600MHz machine as a replacement.

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Anonymous Coward

Just to nudge the average down

One building in our organization, UK branch of a German company:

A dozen PCs, 2002/2003 builds, mostly <1GHz and 256Mb RAM running XP and Lotus Notes. 55 background processes running at any one time; CPU occupancy often exceeds 70% while the user is idle. The cooling fans howl. Boot to full functionality can be in excess of 15 minutes. The reboot-when-Notes-inevitably-crashes routine is not an option if anyone wants to actually do some work.

I'm lucky - mine fried itself last year so I have a nice new one, but some of the staff will probably be outlived by their machines if current upgrade progress is anything to go by. A visitation by The Midnight Sledgehammer and The Extra Sugary Coffee Of Doom can't come soon enough...

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Gates Halo

Depends what you do with it

As a dev (Business Intelligence), I use a snappy machine. There's nothing worse than running demanding applications on a machine that can't cope. At any time I might have SQL Server, SSIS, a dozen spreadsheets and word docs plus a couple of remote desktop connections and goodness knows how many peripheral apps running. My brain may feel like it's going to implode, but as long as my machine can cope then that's one less thing to worry about.

The directors on the other hand have nice light acer netbooks because they write reports, emails and use spreadsheets. So it comes down to what you use it for, but I won't need an upgrade any time soon.

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