Relentless pressure on computer users

  Forum Editor 17:59 11 Apr 2010

to upgrade their software could see almost 2.5 billion PCs needlessly junked by 2013, academics have warned.

My son drew my attention to some research carried out by his old University's Business School. It concludes that intense competition in the software market - notably with operating system versions - leads to increased e-waste, as millions of perfectly good computers are dumped needlessly by people eager to have the latest thing.

Apparently PC e-waste is set to soar from 1.2 billion computers at the end of 2008 to 2.4 billion by the end of 2013. That's an enormous pile of computers, and lots of business for companies in the hardware and software industries.

I went to my local council dump a month or so ago, and was astonished to see dozens and dozens of what looked like perfectly sound computers and monitors piled up, ready for disposal.

Perhaps it's time for us all to reflect before splashing out on that shiny new machine with its up to the minute software - maybe the one we have now is OK for a couple more years?

Here's the link to the story: click here

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 18:05 11 Apr 2010

My 5 year old medion running XP does all I want it to.

Then again my 10 year old AMD 1.4 would do the same thing just a bit slower :0)

  canarieslover 18:19 11 Apr 2010

I think a lot of the pressure on computer users comes from the users themselves. I was recently forced to put back into use a seven year old P4 XP machine when my Medion quad core went back for repair. Yes it was little slower in the majority of usage, and noticeably slower on a few more processor intensive programs, but never that bad that I actually had to upgrade. Human nature being what it is I had the money and could afford to buy into later technology so I did. I've also replaced my car, TV and phone because I could, rather than because I needed to.

  Diemmess 18:22 11 Apr 2010

But where lies the remedy?

Twiddles and upgrades of installed software often disappoint me when I realise that for the sake of one small improvement I've made the whole installation more difficult to understand and in some cases less stable.

  Noldi 18:23 11 Apr 2010

Got a few in the loft but not thrown anything away that worked. Then ones that did go wrong I strippen Memory power supplies etc out and found new homes, if you look around there are groups that can use this old equipment. Off topic a bit, we replaced our kitchen recently and found a new home for the old one.


  Noldi 18:27 11 Apr 2010
  karmgord 18:36 11 Apr 2010

What about the switch to dab radio,at least an old computer can still be used as a word processor or to surf the web,once FM is stopped all those perfectly good radio s become junk.

  sunnystaines 18:38 11 Apr 2010

i freecycle all unwanted computer parts, they are always taken quick.

i even picked up an unwanted copy of office 2007 once as the owner preferred a prev office version on freecycle

  Pineman100 18:40 11 Apr 2010

I agree with canarieslover - a great deal of the upgrade pressure is self-inflicted. And if people want to have "the latest thing", I don't see too much harm in that.

BUT - it's the unthinking dumping of old computers that I don't understand. As Noldi has indicated, there are many charities crying out for functioning computers for third-world countries. So I can't see any excuse for just throwing out a serviceable (if elderly) computer.

  TopCat® 18:56 11 Apr 2010

I'm on my second desktop since I first took up 'proper' computing and it's now over five years old. It works perfectly but is getting a little laboured for the latest games, so sometime this year I will be upgrading to a new one.

To update this machine would not by my reckoning be cost effective, as all its major components would need changing. When I eventually get my new one this machine will be used by my grandchildren at my home. Once they tire of it, which I'll wager won't be long, then I will donate it to a charity.

Doing this does at least give employment to those refurbishing redundant machines and I like to think that some poorer individual(s) will benefit some day soon. TC.

  Forum Editor 22:17 11 Apr 2010

that as keen computer users we've become fixated with two things - more speed, and more storage.

We want our computers to do everything in one second instead of two, and we want enough space to store hundreds of Gigabytes of.....what?

Music and images and films and games seems to be the answer. What we're doing is moving inexorably toward the time when everything, every bit of information about us, and all our interests and pastimes will be stored electronically inside the laptop or desktop around which our daily lives revolve to an increasing extent.

Manufacturers and designers are only too keen to provide us with ever more accommodating (and complex) hardware and software to make life easier, but at what cost to our environment in terms of waste? Is it really necessary for us to have that laptop or net-book as well as the faithful desktop?

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