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Workers Will Smash Their PCs To Get an Upgrade

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the bruce-banner-need-upgrade dept.

United Kingdom 533

An anonymous reader writes "One in four office workers reckon that the best way to get a new work computer is to smash up the one they have — either that or to take it down to the junk shop themselves. Some 40 per cent of office workers complain that their aging workplace PC hurts their productivity and many are tempted to resort to extreme measures to get an upgrade, including taking a hammer to the aging beast on the desktop. Some ten per cent of UK workers said they'd even resort to buying new parts for their work devices themselves to perform their own upgrade; particularly those who work in smaller organizations."

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Maybe I should try this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35793114)

Running Windows 2000 at the moment. Anyone got me beat?

Re:Maybe I should try this (4, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793330)

Yeah, we have some poor Vista users.

Re:Maybe I should try this (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35793618)

We have 80,000 Vista SP2 users. Guess what? There isn't anything wrong with it. It works great. In fact, we are getting resistance on rolling out Windows 7 to them because what they have is "just fine" and they don't want to go through the small amount of downtime required to install a new OS, absorb any (small) training costs, etc. Thankfully we finally got rid of the last Windows XP (at least that we support - there are a few vendors with vertical apps that still "only support XP" but all supported XP installs are gone). Now, if you meant your Vista users don't have any money then maybe you should pay them more.

Re:Maybe I should try this (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793352)

Not me, I'm stuck on Win2K at work as well. Have to run Opera, because Firefox is too slow on this machine.

Re:Maybe I should try this (1)

thsths (31372) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793444)

I guess I should count myself lucky then - XP got rolled out long ago, and the transition to Windows 7 is about to happen, with XP support ending some time next year.

But on the other hand we are struck with McAfee, and the enterprise version with a paranoid configuration can bog down the faster supercomputer to a leisurely pace.

Re:Maybe I should try this (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793426)

I'd be happy if I were you, Windows 2000 is the best version of Windows ever released by Microsoft.

Re:Maybe I should try this (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793482)

I have Windows ME installed at home, not using that crap at work, though.

Re:Maybe I should try this (1)

isopropanol (1936936) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793566)

A certain video store whose US parent company (where IT decisions were made) is bankrupt is still using VAXes in some stores (but mostly Alphas).

Win2k is fairly common at banks.

At another company someone asked if they could break their printer to get a new one and I told them truthfully that no, they'd just get one that someone else had broken and had subsequently been repaired just enough to pass the tests.

1000 years from now (0)

Krau Ming (1620473) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793126)

there will be towers of old crappy laptops like the garbage in Wall-e.

Never underestimate the power of liquids (4, Interesting)

grapeape (137008) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793128)

I worked in a office where about once a year one of the employees would "spill" coffee on her laptop..usually a week or so after she noticed a deployment of new laptops in some other department. It worked until she moved to a floor with security camera's and was caught...after that her replacement was the one that recieved a shiny new one. The sad part was the machines she had were never out of date they simply became bogged down because of her browsing and installing habits, but rather than ask to have it cleaned up or god forbit learn to do it herself she would just have an "accident".

Re:smash (2)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793188)

Is no one going to mention destruction of company property = firing?

Re:smash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35793246)

I'm going to assume she was unsackably married to someone.

Re:smash (2)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793380)

"...after that her replacement was the one that received a shiny new one", ie she was fired and whoever got taken on to replace her got the new machine.

Re:smash (1)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793296)

I assumed that "after that her replacement was the one that recieved a shiny new one" implied that she was fired and somebody else was hired in her stead. Maybe I read too much into it.

Re:smash (4, Funny)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793302)

You apparently failed to notice the the phrase 'her replacement'.

Re:smash (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793390)

The parent you responded to did.

It worked until she moved to a floor with security camera's and was caught...after that her replacement was the one that recieved a shiny new one.

Re:smash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35793644)

Is no one going to mention destruction of company property = firing?

Someone did (implicitly):

...her replacement...

Something to be learned from the spiller (2)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793224)

There might be something to be learned from the spiller. Rather than wasting anyone's time to "clean up" a "bogged down" desktop, it sounds like at least one of your users would have been perfectly happy with an annual drive wipe. There might be more like her.

Re:Something to be learned from the spiller (1)

softWare3ngineer (2007302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793342)

I would argue that a hard drive wipe would not satisfy many of these people. They see 'new' in the next cube over and want one. these employee still get the same 'old' hardware after a wipe, even if it is just as fast as the 'new' stuff. We have been conditioned to love new things.

Re:Something to be learned from the spiller (5, Funny)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793518)

The only way is to issue destructive/"accident prone" people used or reconditioned machines. I always say, "take care of this solid, but old machine for 18 months and we'll see about letting you have a new one.". It works pretty well. That coffee spiller would have been quite deflated if she'd had to deal with me, heh -- "I'm so sorry you had an accident with your Pentium M laptop; here's a nice, reconditioned PIII for a replacement -- awwww and you were only 6 months from getting one of the new ones... Well, maybe(the last quarter of 2012!".

Re:Something to be learned from the spiller (1)

Sparrow1492 (1962256) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793638)

It's even worse. Back when I was working on my Masters part of my thesis was an experiment on PC usage. Basically, it turned out that if you put an old PC and a new PC side by side, and told people as part of the test they would be using the newer one, they had the most user satisfaction regardless of which machine they actually used. You could theoretically buy them a new looking case with the same guts and they would be fine.

Re:Something to be learned from the spiller (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793658)

Do you have children? You never, EVER reward bad behavior - any point she may have had was erased by her wanton destruction of company assets for her own ego gratification...

Where I work we instruct users to never keep anything on their laptop/desktop hard drive - everything on the server, then, when they have a problem, we can re-image/replace the desktop inside of 20 minutes.

Re:Never underestimate the power of liquids (2)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793286)

installing habits

You give your users admin rights? No wonder things are screwed up. We used to do that with our investigator laptops (I work for a government agency which deals with enforcement).

When we did our equipment replacement, we removed their admin rights. Amazingly we have had zero problems since that time. Correlation = causation in this case.

Re:Never underestimate the power of liquids (1, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793436)

that's the real trick, if Windows had and enforced proper user/system separation then companies could lock down the systems that would limit that crap.

Windows and it's applications assume you have full admin rights all the time. UAC while bad was a good step MSFT should have just pressed harder program developers to code properly, and forced all XP programs into a hard lock down mode.

breaking easy backward compatiblity in the name of security isn't a bad thing.

Novell Netware (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793602)

I'm still amazed AD can't match the features Netware had 20 years ago.

Re:Never underestimate the power of liquids (4, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793466)

Try working in most actual business environments.

The argument always goes back and forth like this:

IT Side - we have the following reasons that normal users shouldn't be installing programs themselves.
- Security risk of adware/malware/bundleware
- Number of incidents where machines have been compromised.
- Number of incidents where complaints of "my machine is slow" turn out to be the result of user filling drive up with crap

User side -
- "But it takes more than 5 minutes for them to come down and install (program X that's actually work related) for me." Nevermind that these installs happen maybe once per year and if they would bother SCHEDULING with us...
- "But I want to try out (program y) to see if we can use it in the business..."
- User happens to be the PHB's son or is fucking the PHB on the side.

Brain-dead PHB side-
- "My employees are complaining that you IT guys are getting in the way of their work! Fix it so they can install things!"
- One month later: "Megan's machine got infected again. Why the hell aren't you IT guys stopping this from happening? Do whatever it takes to stop this from happening again!"
- One more month later: "Megan's complaining you took away her install rights! I need her to be working as best as possible, give them back to her! She can't possibly cause problems with that!"

Now add in that you might be working in an EDUCATION environment - where every tenured faculty member is also a brain-dead PHB.

Re:Never underestimate the power of liquids (2)

FooGoddess (235597) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793384)

I worked in a office where about once a year one of the employees would "spill" coffee on her laptop..usually a week or so after she noticed a deployment of new laptops in some other department. [...]

This ruse doesn't work on ThinkPads. Co-worker spilled an entire litre of water directly onto the keyboard of a company owned running laptop. Hell to pay if laptop ruined. Unplug, pull out battery, pull disk drive, dry face-down on cookie rack for 24 hours. Reassemble, reboot. Laptop worked for another 18 months. IT department never knew.

Re:Never underestimate the power of liquids (1)

isama (1537121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793616)

i did that with a large mug of coffee at my internship. on a macbook pro. damn, I've never ripped out a laptop battery that fast!

Re:Never underestimate the power of liquids (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793392)

My dad "accidentally" dropped his phone into a cup of coffee, because it kept disconnecting calls and turning itself off without reason. IT looked at it a few times for him, but they couldn't replace it because "it was still working"

After this he got a shiny new one, with worked perfectly.

blame the cheap PHB that run stuff into the ground (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793134)

blame the cheap PHB that run stuff into the ground this is the same attitude that led to the I-35 bridge collapse.

Spend money to save money... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35793154)

Employers are so penny-wise and pound-foolish. An 80 quid ssd would add up to hours every week of not waiting around while builds happen. A second monitor would make endless alt-tabs whenever I'm debugging a thing of the past. The productivity gains would pay for themselves within a couple of weeks. Instead, let's drop a six-figure sum on a new logo, brand, or mission statement... or pay consultants an obscene amount to streamline our processes...

Re:Spend money to save money... (4, Interesting)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793290)

That's about right. I think my company dropped $50M on a "new brand image" (that looked a lot like the old brand image), another $42M on a new "one size fits all" database that actually doesn't work for almost anything, tens of millions in golden parachutes.

"Can I get a monitor with a display resolution larger than 1400x900?" "No." "But...but...I can't even see a page of schematics at a time, and the code I'm maintaining is a hundred thousand lines split in to dozens of files!" "The budget is tight, can't do it."

Re:Spend money to save money... (4, Insightful)

khr (708262) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793406)

"Can I get a monitor with a display resolution larger than 1400x900?" "No." "But...but...I can't even see a page of schematics at a time, and the code I'm maintaining is a hundred thousand lines split in to dozens of files!" "The budget is tight, can't do it."

You're asking for the wrong reasons... With a bigger monitor you can show the new brand image more clearly, you can use the extra space to display the image of the new mission statement... You'll always be on track that way, you'll know the schematic you can't see clearly on the screen is driving customer satisfaction and global leadership and all that...

Re:Spend money to save money... (2)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793408)

All of the developers in my area have dual 30" Dell 2560x1600 monitors, overclocked i7 985's, top-of-the-line geForce/radeon/quadro/fireGL cards, and SAS or SSD raids. It definitely shows in our productivity. However, we are a research and development software group and do computer graphics and UI development so maybe we are a bit out of the norm. But it definitely shows how increasing hardware definitely increases productivity.

Re:Spend money to save money... (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793620)

Why would you do endless alt+tabs when endless Ctrl+Alt+cursor can get you the window you want much faster? Possibly saving you tens of milliseconds every week. Give everyone a bunch of xterms, vi, and OLVWM, you can't go wrong with that :-)

You mean monitors? (4, Insightful)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793162)

It's funny how many people point to their monitor and call it their computer. I can imagine a lot of people smash up their monitor expecting that it will result in their getting a new computer.

What I'd really like to know is how many people do that; get a replacement monitor; and say, "Wow, this new computer is so much faster!"

Re:You mean monitors? (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793446)

It's funny how many people point to their monitor and call it their computer.

I use an iMac at work and some people are confused when I do this :-(

Re:You mean monitors? (1)

Rizimar (1986164) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793452)

"Look! I can even adjust the speed and make it really fast!" *Turns up the brightness*

not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35793166)

When the Blackberry Storm was announced, almost all of our sales people's older Blackberrys broke.

Re:not new (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793534)

Those were breaking anyways. The little ball-wheels were complete shit.

We had a series of users with them and even before the Curve came out we were receiving the ball-roller ones back in droves. Same problem in every case: it ceased to register when you tried to scroll the ball upwards. Those old roller-ball BB's were just fucking defective.

Not Surprising (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793180)

In a big bureaucracy, people who genuinely need a machine are prioritized. People who have a horribly slow machine aren't considered part of the group. This is the logical way to jump the queue. I've thought about it myself, but not seriously.

Re:Not Surprising (1)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793404)

In a big bureaucracy, people who are prioritized within the bureaucracy are prioritized.

ftfy

Re:Not Surprising (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793432)

But it isn't your place to decide when your employer should spend money on your equipment. If you think your employer doesn't notice the issue, bring it to their attention. If they refuse the upgrade, you've learned about the company's priorities, and where you are in them - sounds like it's time to make a career decision...

Re:Not Surprising (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793676)

I know it isn't my place. That's why I didn't destroy something I don't have ownership over.

It's Not The Hardware... (5, Insightful)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793206)

The reason most office workers are unproductive has nothing to do with their hardware.

Re:It's Not The Hardware... (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793468)

Grandpa always said: "A good carpenter never blames his tools"

Re:It's Not The Hardware... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35793684)

A good carpenter, particularly in your grandpa's day, is an independent contractor: he buys, owns, and maintains his own tools. There's no shame in blaming your tools if somebody else is forcing you to use shoddy equipment.

Re:It's Not The Hardware... (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793546)

Go on...

SSDs to the rescue? (4, Interesting)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793208)

Obviously the 5 year old computers in TFA could use an upgrade, but I've found that for my aging workstations, a simple storage upgrade to an SSD would probably be more than enough to increase my productivity. Storage is the new bottleneck, not processing power.

Re:SSDs to the rescue? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793304)

Obviously the 5 year old computers in TFA could use an upgrade, but I've found that for my aging workstations, a simple storage upgrade to an SSD would probably be more than enough to increase my productivity. Storage is the new bottleneck, not processing power.

Only if you're continually accessing the disk. I put an SSD in my netbook because we often boot it up, do a bit of web browsing and shut down, and that dramatically reduced boot times but has no effect on anything that isn't disk intensive.

Solution (1)

Metabolife (961249) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793222)

Spending $500 on a cheap dual core with 4GB of ram should be high on the priority of any company with aging office workstations. Huge money saver when your employee doesn't have to wait on that old P4 to open a window anymore.

Re:Solution (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793488)

Spending $500 on a cheap dual core with 4GB of ram should be high on the priority of any company with aging office workstations. Huge money saver when your employee doesn't have to wait on that old P4 to open a window anymore.

I see you that have never worked in a big IT company.

If you did, you would know that supporting cheap randomized $500 PC is very time consuming and will end up with you having a huge stockpile of semi-working PC.

No, in a big IT environment you need standardized PC, which means buying old over-priced PC just to have identical parts.

but don't get me wrong I do understand the user frustration, if it was for me, at least the monitors (dual, triple ...), keyboard and mouse would be top quality. For the PC, I can keep them clean with a white-list of programs allowed to run in the background. I don't do workstation admin anymore due to lack of time with the servers, but I still make a script or two to automatize help desk support.

Re:Solution (1)

jon787 (512497) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793514)

Ugh, I worked at a place that was still running P4s, that should have set off alarm bells in my head.

What a bunch of dummies (5, Funny)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793230)

Slow computers means taking lots of breaks and going out for a snack. I don't want to be more 'productive'. I want to relax, and a slow machine helps me do just that.

"What the hell is taking you so long?"

I just shrug and point to the screen...

Re:What a bunch of dummies (3, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793424)

Most unproductive workers are unproductive because they're lazy and dumb. They blame the computer because it's easier than admitting they're lazy and dumb. If programmers could write complex programs in the 50s and 60s using punched cards and waiting overnight for the output of their runs, a smart and diligent worker could figure out how to queue up work so they could be productive even with a "slow" computer. Their "slow" computer is thousands of times faster and is available to them nearly all day! Only a poor worker blames his tools. Now if the computer just plain didn't work, that would be a different story...

Re:What a bunch of dummies (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793678)

Yeah, I know.. I'm one of those lazy bastards. I spent much less time on the actual work at hand because I'm writing a macro to do it for me. I'm only being clever, making the boss think I'm working so very hard.. I just have to remember to mute the sound.. if you get my drift.

Re:What a bunch of dummies (3, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793680)

Their "slow" computer is thousands of times faster and is available to them nearly all day! Only a poor worker blames his tools. Now if the computer just plain didn't work, that would be a different story...

Says the person who has never used a serious CAD or GIS application on non-cutting edge workstation.

bean counters hate computer upgrades? (2)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793232)

really? who'd have thought? TYCO

I work at a computer retail store (and yes we have a biased opinion on the matter) but we try to show business owners that 10 year old computers really are a problem, even when they still work. It's amazing how hard it is to get some people to replace an old computer with a new one, when the old one still (sort of) works. It's so hard to explain productivity loss due to antiquated tools to the people holding the checkbook.

Numerous times we've had people bring in ancient computers that have died and must now be replaced, and have to treat them to the bad news that their combination of very old hardware and very old software is going to be an extremely unpleasant and expensive experience now, as they have to buy all new computer, all new peripherals (seen a peripheral cost 10k once), all new software (can you say "pagemager", "creative suite" and "quark" for 10 computers?) and all your documents are going to have to go through a painful migration of format. Generally leaves the office in chaos for the next month too. I really feel sorry for those staff.

Re:bean counters hate computer upgrades? (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793336)

we try to show business owners that 10 year old computers really are a problem, even when they still work.

If they still perform the task for which they were intended 10 years ago, why are they a problem?

The real problem isn't old computers, it's new software. New software comes out which doesn't really do anything better than your old software. But people you do business with upgraded, so now you have to upgrade your software to interoperate with them. But the new software runs more slowly, and now you need new hardware to do the same task you were doing just fine 6 months ago.

For a stand-alone application, there's nothing wrong with 10 year old computers. Or 20 year old computers, for that matter. DOS still works as well as it ever did.

Re:bean counters hate computer upgrades? (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793578)

Might be true some places but certainly not everywhere. Computers don't get slower with age. Something changes, the question is should something be chanting? If your employee workstations are just getting slower, then your IT department is doing a PISS POOR job managing those workstations, and something needs to be done about the IT department not the workstations.

There are lots of cases where five plus year old PCs should be just fine. Its not as if keying orders and inventory movements into SAP is going go any quicker on a new PC. Its the back end that matters. That machine can stay on the shop floor until it dies!

Now if you are upgrading software and such, then yes you need to understand the requirements and make sure the hardware is updated to match them. There are lots of cases though where the employees are going to use the same software for five years and longer and might just as well use the same hardware.

When it comes to software we need to ask ourselves if the new tools are really better as well. Excel 2010 certainly does need more horse power to run on than Excel 2000, but is Bob really going to be able to prep that cost analysis report any faster with 2010 on the latest hardware? My guess is for all but a finite number of special case users the answer is no.

Easy cure (5, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793234)

Any smashed PC is replaced by the oldest in stock. new replacements for those which reach the budgeted life intact.

Re:Easy cure (1)

Lunaritian (2018246) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793314)

They would just keep destroying them. Then when a worker finally gets a shiny new computer, he will complain that it's barely faster than the last one. Much better to just buy a new computer immediately.

Or maybe it would be even better to get a new worker instead.

Re:Easy cure (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793382)

Any smashed PC is replaced by the oldest in stock. new replacements for those which reach the budgeted life intact.

More of a symptomatic treatment than a cure, though. Those old machines are gonna "wear out" faster than a new one. Either that, or your people start building Wally-style computer catapults. There's always an engineering solution.

True story. (1)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793242)

Not PCs but SGI machines...

We had an old SGI Challenge machine, size of a refrigerator. It owed us nothing but there was user inertia keeping the thing running and in use.

I moved all the data to another box then actually took apart the old Challenge one weekend. Removed all the boards, 7 or 8 iirc, destroyed the hard disks and moved the machine to the shipping docks.

The various ~40cm x ~40cm boards are around the building in various geeks' offices (I have 4 here). It was a well made machine and would probably still have people on it had I not killed it off.

Work smarter not harder (2)

tsalmark (1265778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793248)

New computers are great but work habits can increase the productivity of a tool also. I keep seeing people complain about the speed of email then go over and see 100 email windows open. Or someone will have movies running in the background and complain that Excel is slow. So do you throw more hardware at the problem, close unneeded programs or learn better work habits?

Re:Work smarter not harder (1)

omglolbah (731566) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793480)

I have a 3 year old laptop on which I have to run a software suite which is woefully inefficient.

Copying 3-4 sheets of function block logic from one controlle to another (control system stuff) generates anywhere from 3 to 10 gigabytes of disk traffic due to the insanity of no caching for ANY sort of query or check in the application.
The vendor wont fix it as they consider the product "too old" to fix, but this product runs the control system on at least 20 oil/gas installations in Norway and over 400 industrial plants in the US.... meh I say.

An SSD would be quite nice to have... It would also be nice to have more than a gig of ram... Especially when the data-sets I work with frequently wont fit in ram...

But alas, the laptop has to reach 4 years of age until I can get a replacement or upgrade...

The past week I have spent at least 5 hours just -waiting- for operations to finish. As the operations hog all the disk io it is near impossible to get anything else done at the same time without going utterly mad.

Oh... and dont get me started on the utter insanity of working with huge spreadsheets on a 14 inch display....

But why? (0)

mmcuh (1088773) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793254)

Some people take their job much too seriously. So you have a slow computer, so you might get less work done. So what? It's not your problem, it's your employer's.

Re:But why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35793470)

So you stay an extra hour or two each week for no extra pay....

Aluminium Foil (1)

lingland (1069748) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793256)

All I'm saying is a little bit of Aluminimium Foil can work wonders for getting a new computer...

Railroad workers did the same thing 100 years ago (4, Interesting)

AnalogDiehard (199128) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793262)

Over 100 years ago, many railroads were tightwads and wouldn't issue new lanterns to conductors and brakemen to replace their aging ones. They finally would ditch their lanterns over a river bridge as they approached the yard limits, then report the lanterns as missing to the yardmaster who would issue them a new lantern.

Cheap netbook faster than company-issue kit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35793268)

Sad but true. Six-month old company-issue laptop poor quality, slow and heavy. $300 netbook I bought outperforms it and is now machine of choice for everything but timecards and billing. Goes into the bag with the airport express for travel.

Could be worse... (1)

benbean (8595) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793272)

I suspect often times a bit of extra memory, or a software cleanup would be the solution, and a bit of proactivity on the part of the employer would help. Still, could be worse, I recall my Dad, a journalist, telling me that when he started work in the 60s his typewriter was supplied by the newspaper up front, but he had to pay it off in weekly instalments from his salary. Of course, it was decades rather than months/years before it was obsolete.

thinq.co.uk? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35793292)

I thought thinking was illegal in the UK.

Done that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35793300)

I've upgraded the CPU from a Celeron to a Dual Core and the RAM from 2GB to 4GB with my own money because I was fed up with having a slow machine. At the end of the day, I get rewarded for productivity, so I just viewed this as a slight reduction in my bonus. Rather spend it on the PC I use > 8 hours a day than the one at home that gets used 4 hours a week.

Why not DIY? (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793306)

Personally, there's nothing I hate more than a slow computer. But, basic upgrades that make the typical dust bunny filled corporate Dell shit-box are pretty easy. The darn thing probably needs more RAM and an SSD. Most of the time, you can swap those out without the IT weenies even noticing. Just clone the hard drive over and swap sticks for the memory. Yeah, you might lose the parts you bought in a year or two when the IT boys come to collect your machine without asking, but a few hundred bucks is worth it when it saves hours of aggravation.

Re:Why not DIY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35793610)

then you have a bad it dept. We would notice here since we have spiceworks running that scans everynight. I would notice the next morning when i check spiceworks and the ram and hdd are different.

Re:Why not DIY? (1)

FreonTrip (694097) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793654)

An SSD is a nicety, but not really necessary for most of these problematic old systems. Slap a cheap stick or two of DDR2 into a system, perform a stealth CPU upgrade with something you'd already decommissioned from your private stash, and a low-end discrete graphics card ("Yes, of course it's so I can use dual-head..."), and if you've done any kind of reasonable software tweaking, it won't even feel like the same computer.

The Best Way (1)

AndersBrownworth (448236) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793310)

The best way to get what you need is to buy it yourself. I'd rather buy monitors than try to explain / convince people why more screen real estate makes me more productive.

Re:The Best Way (5, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793520)

Wow. What a horrible idea. Never, ever, donate money to your employer. And even if you take it with you when you quit, you have donated money to your employer.

As a manager, it is MY job to give you the tools to make you more productive. If I am not making the right trade-offs, then I am not doing my job. And if I am not doing my job, you shouldn't make me look good by donating from your own pocket.

Re:The Best Way (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793600)

Done right, this shows initiative.

Done wrong, you could really cause a shit-storm in an office area ("Why does he have two monitors?", "Why can't I have two monitors?")

Re:The Best Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35793606)

Sadly I've done the same thing (buying a second monitor)... Had to find an agp video card (yes my work computer is that old) with two dvi ports too. The $100 I spent was well worth it in my mind to not have to deal with management, plus I get to add another monitor to my collection when I quit!

The real problem... (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793334)

I've thought about smashing mine in a fit of blinding rage many times, but fortunately I know that the hardware in my laptop is actually pretty good. The reason the machine doesn't work so well is that it is bogged down with a host of security and asset management products that leave the laptop constantly IO-bound. I'm sure I will end up buying my own hard drive online and swapping it out so I can have my own operating system.

Why would I want another laptop setup by the outsourced techno-goons that only care about providing the bare minimum service to satisfy the contract and conspire to lock us in?

-d

Re:The real problem... (1)

Lunaritian (2018246) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793462)

There was an article in a Finnish computer magazine about this. Even though Finland used to be pretty much the best country when it comes to IT, nowadays most workplaces and schools have really bad computers full of security software that slows them down even more. The most popular solution is to bring your own laptop to work, which not only makes all that security useless, but is a huge security risk in itself. But, as someone said, "everything that really works is banned".

Only 25%? (1)

SniperJoe (1984152) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793354)

Frankly, I'm surprised that it's only 25%. I've had colleagues who have taped over the exhaust ports on their laptops to cause overheating issues.

self upgrades (1)

KDN (3283) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793418)

At an old job I did a number of upgrades to office equipment. Some of the office equipment was so old I took parts I retired from my home system and put them into the work ones. I've added memory, replaced hard drives, added a NIC so I could do testing on an isolated segment that I controlled, even added an internal fan to help cool off a system that was always overheating. I rescued systems that were to be tossed because "they are too old to run the operating system" (they thought Linux was an application) for test DNS, NTP and other servers. Sometimes its just easier to bring stuff in from home than trying to fight through the procurement process.

Worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35793440)

In my organization the "receptionist" class of employe have knowingly installed malware on their machines so they can be sent home for the afternoon.

As a Manager (2)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793490)

I am an IT Manager. It is important to me that our users are productive and making sure that they are not fighting their means of prodcution is critical in this.

If someone's PC truly is the problem, it is replaced. When I first started at this company, folks had one monitor, had outdated equipment and there were a lot of legitimate problems that we prioritized and took care of.

Then you get the whiners. "I need a wireless mouse to be productive". "My coworker has 4GB of RAM and I only have 3GB" (Yeah... I see you playing solitaire two hours a day... I doubt the RAM is your productivity bottleneck). Part of my job is to be the asshole and say no to things. Usually, I win... sometimes I lose :)

So if a worker has to smash a PC to get a legitimate upgrade, there is an IT problem (that may stem from an Accounting problem). But in many cases, it is a whiny worker who needs to be dealt with.

Just because they say it, doesn't mean they do it. (3, Insightful)

mr.nobody (113509) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793502)

All IT people have heard the joke, "Well, if I take a hammer to it..." But that doesn't mean they do it. From the article, the headline reads as though users are causing deliberate damage to their computers in order to receive an upgrade. Read the actual text however, and while users are saying that, there isn't anything presented to show there are widespread acts of vandalism happening. The only real takeaway from this article is that some UK offices are using significantly outdated equipment. The headline is just sensationalism. I hate to say it, but I think /. fell for this one.

Standards (1)

U8MyData (1281010) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793506)

In a previous life, we utilized a PC rotation standard. The policy was such that no one would have a PC more than 5 years old. The intent was at the time to keep the harware fresh and to utilize service and support from the vendor. The Servers were treated much the same way. This had great benefit from the end user to the network admins (me++). I would gather it might be harder to implement these days...

BYOC is the way to go (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793510)

I have long been a proponent of bring your own computer plans. I've been using my own machines at work for years now. My employer's cool with it. I get the machine i want. I upgrade it when i want. I get to file a tax deduction because i need it for work. Financially it seems to make sense both for me and my employer. The way i see it, some jobs require a closet full of $2000 + suits, mine just requires that i buy a nice machine every 1.5 - 2 years.

I am aware that some employers even give out a stipend for computers (and clothes).

I understand there are implications for IT. It's easier to support a homogenous locked down network, etc. But, i think people also take better care of the machines when they own them.

I'm a programmer, so i'm what i would consider a competent user. I know what i need. I know how to service my stuff. We do have sales people and project managers who do the same thing though. It's worked well for them.

I think the biggest question is... (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793542)

...do they need it?

If your job is mostly using word processing, do you really need a Windows 7 Quad-core with 4GB of RAM? Or do you just want it because its shiny?

A development company I worked with was moving its PCs to Windows 7, and souping them up with a ton of RAM and that sort of thing. But its because we needed that sort of power. But the way I see most offices working.. if your software still works and you can do your job, what's the complaining about?

What is the problem with the hardware? (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793554)

an aging computer, should perform as it did when bought. Unless it's actually failing and not just aging. Computers generally either work or don't work, and rarely do they half work, or generally slow down.

If software is changing and being run on machines which aren't beefy enough to support it, that's one thing, if workers are just clogging up their machines with bonzai buddy and the like that's a different thing.

Re:What is the problem with the hardware? (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793612)

Software usually gets updated, and the newer versions are often bigger and slower.

Wow companies provide computers?? (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793558)

The last three I worked for told me I had to provide my own desktop system. It was part of there cost savings plan, Everyone brings in there personal laptop or desktop to work on. Saved the companies millions of $ in hardware and upgrade costs.

Indubitably (1)

virgnarus (1949790) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793560)

I remember even back working in fast food the owner of the company did his tour of the restaurants and came to ours. One of our managers casually mentioned the worthless state our 80's cash registers were in and requested new ones several times but to no avail. The owner's response? "Spray it."

Always have to work where corporations take the reactive approach to IT rather than preventive. It only seems like the upper echelons of the IT department harbor any reliability through security and other various upgrade paths. The typical employee notices this and will try to bring a bit of incentive by forcing the company to react based on their upgrade methodology.

I'm glad that I'm working in a position now that allows me to implement a more accommodating method for upgrades to the research division I work for by being able to work directly with the boss to fund improvements I purchase for them. They're happy that they don't have to wait forever for an upgrade, and I'm happy that I don't have to upgrade because I'm in a condition where I am forced to do so.

If hitler was here now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35793630)

He would put IE6 and Blackberry users in the shower.

Feature Creep sucks (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793646)

The Bean counters look at the specs and software you're running, never mind the fact that the last 10 patches have tripled the memory footprint and quadrupled CPU usage.

That really happened on a job I worked (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 3 years ago | (#35793650)

More than 10 years ago I worked for a US office of a multinational, but foreign company. One of the testers in our department was complaining that the PCs he was given for testing were too underpowered and old to be of any use. Our manager agreed but since the PCs were still working, they couldn't be replaced. However, if they, oh I don't know, suddenly developed severe hardware problems that prevented them from booting, then they could be replaced (wink wink, nudge nudge). I still remember seeing the tester working in a back test lab room to short out the motherboards of some PCs so they could be replaced. When the tester reported that his test PCs wouldn't boot, our manager did approve buying replacements. Bureaucracy sometimes requires creative solutions.

Slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35793652)

Apparently the admin smashed the server too in order to get a new one...

  : (

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