My old Thinkpad R32 laptop, purchased in 2002, finally bit the dust. It had a long and winding life. Dropped repeatedly, a five-foot drop onto a hard surface at a coffee place spelled the beginning of the end. That was in 2006. It was a long end. Some pixels started blinkering out. The TSA mishandled it (despite my specifically telling them that it was fragile) and a bunch more did. Nonetheless, 70% of the screen was still visible. It was no longer a primary laptop by that point, but it still served its uses in various capacities when it served a couple years as the TV computer and then its final years manning the printer(s).
I don’t have the heart to throw it away. A part of me really wants to buy another used R32 and be able to take the upgrade parts and put them to use. It would cost less than $100, but, for the life of me, I cannot think of what I would do with another decade-old laptop. Upon its death, I already had a newer machine (T43, made in 2005) I could immediately put on printer duty. I have a newer-machine still (made in 2008) that is primarily on backup-emergency duty. Another 2008 that is packed and ready to go when I want to take a laptop somewhere without packing my primary one. Two other laptops, a 2008 and a 2009, that share TV duty (one waiting in the wings so that if I need to do something with one, I have another manning the television).
Not long ago, I threw out a motherboard that I bought in 2007. The motherboard was never right from the moment I got it. I celebrated a little when it died and made absolutely no effort to figure out what was wrong with it. I feared that if I discovered what was wrong with it, I would try to fix it and be stuck with the motherboard that never worked right to begin with. I still haven’t thrown it out, though. I look at it and think to myself, “You don’t work, and I never proved otherwise”… not that I tried. I have a couple older machines that I have kept in good working order, but have not turned on in more than twice since 2008.
The progress of technology is an absolutely amazing thing. As a computer geek, I love it. I have loved each smartphone more than the previous (though I am stuck on a 2009 model, they don’t make the kind I want anymore). The cell phone I adored when I got it now sits there completely unused, despite technically doing just about everything my current phone does. I could go on eBay and sell it, but nobody wants it. It’s several times faster than my first Windows PC with the same screen resolution and a lot more memory, but it’s probably never going to be used again.
The triumph of technology never ceases to amaze me, yet the obsolescence never stops saddening me.