The Disposable Computer

The Disposable Computer

I was looking at a virus riddled computer for a friend the the other day and we pondered what direction to take with the machine. My first suggestion was to have him take it to one of the computer services, like the Nerd Herd or something. When he priced them out, he found they charge $65 for initial diagnosis and if they need to reload the OS, it’s usually about $250.

The machine is a couple years old, and there really isn’t much on it that can’t be replicated. My next suggestion was that he simply go with a new machine.

There it is, computers have become a disposable commodity. There’s little benefit in fixing something that can be replaced so easily. Certainly some machines are worth fixing, especially when loaded with lots of pricey software, but the majority of the computers out there don’t have much going on. They’re simply dumb internet browsers, or more likely Pr0n access devices.

You see, you can get a basic computer for about $399.00 from any variety of sources. On point, something like the Lenovo J series desktop is available with a 1.6 gig processor, and most of the stuff you’d need for basic computing, plus free shipping. The only thing I’d add is to bump the memory up from the base 512 which would barely boot Windows Vista, to at least 1gig and more likely 2 gig. Purchasing extra memory would run around $100.

For those of us who haven’t been around long enough to have seen this before, this is the general progression of technology, a product, such as the calculator comes out, is expensive and only bought by those with big bucks or business. Then gradually over time as efficiency in manufacturing and scale of business kicks in, the prices drop off to the point that the item becomes cheaper than the cost that would be incurred to repair it. So the device becomes disposable. Like our computers have become…

2 thoughts on “The Disposable Computer

  1. You’re right but it’s kind of appalling. First, because $400 is very cheap for a new computer but it’s still a significant sum, especially for home users. Second, because we do a generally poor job of recycling the physical materials and I imagine virus-infested PCs winding up being lugged around a toxic pit near some Chinese village. There really should be a better way…

  2. Hmmm…I wonder where those computers I send to the town’s computer recycling program really end up.

    The other side of this (and one which I will post on tomorrow) is that low prices have crept into other areas of computing, particularly web site hosting. I had a very interesting discussion about the affects of this on hosting service last week and it’s something that as marketers we should be very, very concerned about. Basically, when you’re paying as low as $2.99 for hosting (and I often am), how much service can you expect? Probably not much…

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