Friday, August 22, 2008

What Price Computer Illiteracy?

When traveling, I frequently run into sub-optimally working computer systems that
  1. waste people's time, day in and day out
  2. are awfully under-utilized
A typical example is a computer with a powerful Intel Pentium 4 CPU, yet absolutely inadequate internal memory (such as 512 MB), or harddrive space (such as 20 GB). Another example: in a family of many computers, with a DSL conection, both wired and wreless Internet access and a very high-end HP network color printer, the printer was connected to a desktop computer using a USB port, instead of directly connected to the network and used as a network printer. Why? Because the owner or the installer did not know any better.

When I upgraded the Pentium 4 system to two Gigabytes of memory costing less than $45, the speed improvement was immediate. In the second scenario, when the printer was properly installed as a network printer and all household computers were set up once to use the printer, all compuers started to print conveniently to the network printer. The owners are left wondering how they had suffered for years from snail-like slow speed and from the great inconveniences with printing.

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