When is enough enough? When am I throwing good money after bad? Technology moves so rapidly today that we’re forced to evaluate repair or replacement options with a careful eye to obsolescence. I cannot give you hard and fast rules about all techie repairs but I’ll relate some scenarios that clients have recently confronted and hopefully help save you some money and or grief in the long run.
One client had a five year old printer in good working order and the color cartridge was depleted. It was a tri-color cartridge and replacement cost was $40. I recommended recycling the printer after the black ink ran out. You can buy a new printer for $70 to $100 that will have more features and probably print faster with better quality and you can’t be sure how many miles a 5 year old printer has left in it. If you are looking to go wireless or to AirPrint, this could be the excuse you need.
Another client had a seven year old Windows XP computer showing signs of hard drive failure. Replacement drives for that age PC would only be $50 to $70, far less than one of today’s monster hard drives. Sounds doable at first, but remember you have to restore the Operating System and drivers and if you are paying someone to do that, you could easily spend more than the PC is worth. Even if you go ahead with the project and do it yourself, other failures could soon follow on a PC of that age. Besides, it’s time to retire Win XP and get a new Win 7 machine that will carry you another 5 years. Yes I know Win 8 will be out soon, but Win 7 is a solid OS and it’ll be around for a while.
Another client wanted a new desktop and considered re-using her old 17 inch flat screen monitor. I recommended keeping the old monitor to use as a secondary in a dual monitor setup (a great way to increase productivity when editing, especially pictures). Go ahead and spring for the new monitor; they’re clearer and brighter and they have a different aspect ratio. Notice that newer monitors are longer and skinnier as opposed to the old short, fat (almost square) shape. Modern Websites cater to the newer shape and some don’t display properly on the old monitors.
Keep your old keyboards; they are often bigger and sturdier than the free ones you get with a new PC purchase. Just wipe them clean with a damp cloth and blow out the crumbs and dog hair with compressed air and they are good to go. I would pick a new optical mouse over an older ball mouse
One final reminder for all your obsolete tech toys, batteries and peripherals: do recycle them. In the Albany area, take them to 2106 Habersham Road between 9 and 5 during the week. Call “Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful”” at 229-430-5257 first. There is a small charge for old TV sets, but all else is free.
Till next week, send your questions to:firstname.lastname@example.org