When is it time to retire a computer? We get this question so often, and there's no good answer. Today we had a customer that actually had me rethinking my standard reply. In the past, the answer would be "when your computer no longer does what you need it to do in the time you need it to do it." Now, there's more to it.
This customer had an aging computer, but it was by no means obsolete. A 5 year old Macbook that he absolutely loved. It needed some work, including some hardware replacements and upgrades. These upgrades were expensive - a significant portion of the cost of a new, "better" computer.
He didn't blink, though. As we discussed the plan for what would be done, he told me about how the computer had served him faithfully for so long. It still met his needs, and while he realized that the cost of the upgrades exceeded the retail value of the computer, he wasn't going to hesitate having the work done.
It reminds me of my first car. It cost me a fair amount in repairs over the time I had it, but it always got me from point A to B. It was reliable, even if it did break down often, as it never left me stranded. Even a bad alternator and a blown transmission didn't keep me from getting home. My Mom used to say that the car had manners. I think that's what this customer would say about their computer.
It may sound silly to give such human characteristics to a computer, but so many people do. Every computer is unique, even when compared to other, supposedly identical models. They develop personalities and some of them make great digital companions. For good or for bad, these gadgets are a significant part of our lives. When you look at it that way, it makes sense that we'd want to invest in our old friends.