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Re: Q: How's Your Computer?

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>I'm wondering: Am I the exception, or the rule? Is it common among us,
>especially those who pay for our own iron, to hang on to these boxes long
>after the computer industry tells us they're obsolete?
It's common with me. I'm running 10 year old software on a 3 year old 250 
Mhz Mac clone. The reason I run an old machine is that I tend to run the 
same old software, and I run the same old software because newer 
revisions are less reliable and way too bloated. For example I still use 
MS Word 5.1 because I know everything about it, even the obscure stuff 
like the math typesetting. It's always great to have the latest and 
greatest machine, but the associated time saving is vastly over-rated.

I figure being 100% up the learning curve of an older program is better 
than being 25% up the curve for a newer version where feature bloat jacks 
up the number of serious bugs. i can do this with a Mac because the newer 
operating systems are backwards compatible. I run maybe 6 or 8 different 
programs in a day most of which run on OS 7, OS 8 and OS 9. In a couple 
of extreme cases (Macdraw for sketching and HyperCard for client 
contacts) I'm still using the same versions I ran with OS 4 on a Mac 

I've also found that I computer speed doesn't truly pace my work. Thirty 
seconds watching for a screen refresh or a FEA solution run seems like a 
long time, but it's nothing compared to the time I spend on the actual 
engineering or writing reports or Excel macros. A typical FEA problem 
might take 20 minutes to run and a couple of days to write up for the 
client by the time I've summarized results, done the graphics and 
wordsmithed and proofed it all. The same problem might take another day 
to lay out so I can get the answers my client needs, in addition to 
modeling time. If the damn thing ran instantly, the hour I'd save on a 
couple of check runs or model tweaks disappears in the noise. And 
graphics refreshes are an opportunity to get up and change the CD. 

Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant from
chrisw(--nospam--at)        | this distance"   (last words of Gen.
___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)

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