July 26, 2023
One of the things I miss most about full-time work is the presence of knowledgeable, in-house technical support for my computer. It has been a year of one failing appliance after another here at the world headquarters, and the loss of my faithful personal computers has been far more devastating than the dead dishwasher and leaking water heater. Sadly, the poor things were long past their replacement dates, according to the helpful repair guys, and I was kidding myself to think a laptop would last more than five years. After 3 years they fail from motherboard problems, screen failures, or just mechanical wear on the joints, keys, and switches. This is apparently widely known in the tech community, but it was a revelation to me. While this may have been true a couple of years ago, nowadays there are budget laptops that can suit the basic needs. Fortunately I have been a regular user of thumbnail drives to back up data and will eventually get used to the new laptop. Anyone have a good way to run DOS programs in a 64 bit Windows system? I have a few legacy programs I just cannot bear to lose access to. This situation is similar to having to buy a new machine tool just because the computer control is broken or outdated. Having been involved in building new machines on old castings, it is pleasing to read the ads in Gear Technology for venerable hobbing and shaping platforms that have been modernized with new control systems. Much like the growing popularity of “resto-mod” collector cars, these machines offer classic strength and appearance with modern performance. Ten years ago it was a financial disaster to modernize a 1960s muscle car. And people who attempted to drive them on a regular basis found the experience frightening. The brakes, tires, and suspension were just not up to modern highway use. At auction properly upgraded cars can get higher prices than accurately restored ones. Have any of you upgraded your machine tools? Would you do it again?