It's been a bad couple of weeks for our aging network of public-access Internet workstations in Adult Services. Old CRT monitors are dying. Other machines boot to black or blue screens, or have chronic browser crashes, or fail to work properly with our EnvisionWare PC Reservation program. They have problems with popular apps like Lime Wire, and we sometimes have to send users downstairs to the workstations in Tech/Media, where the newer, small form factor Dell PC's can handle them. Currently, four out of twenty-three Internet PC's in Adult Services are down. Two others have recently received replacement LCD monitors.
Remember Y2K, the false alarm that scared everyone into upgrading their hardware? That is when these machines were purchased, or shortly thereafter. Many of them still have Windows 2000 installed, though some now have XP. They have floppy drives, and cannot burn to CD, though they have been retrofitted with front USB and sound ports. They have something like 256mb of RAM, which, if you recall, used to be huge, but is now inadequate. They have MS Office 2003, which is no longer supported, and which will not open Word 2007 .docx files without downloading an add-on.
It is nobody's fault. Our MIS techs are diligent, and they respond quickly where they can. We are getting new keyboards to replace the ones that are so worn that you can't read the keys. We are just going to have to make do, until the fat years return. Wireless laptops are becoming increasingly affordable, so that most people need not rely on public-access machines unless they need to print.