Two weeks ago yesterday, Sybille and I made a short journey in our car, to a Prague City Council facility where it is possible to safely and legally dispose of electrical and other household goods that any Prague resident no longer requires. In the boot of my car, were four – yes four 😀 , old computers, together with a screen monitor, all of which had been rapidly gathering dust for many months, sitting on the floor of my office in the Chaplaincy Flat. Prior to that, two of the computers had been stored in the bottom of the wardrobe of our guest bedroom for at least couple of years.
Before disposing of the computers, Sybille spent several hours completely clearing each of them of all the data they once held, so that no confidential information could end up in wrong hands. It was waiting for Sybille to find the time and this programme to do this, that had delayed their disposal. One thing that particularly struck me as we carried out this whole exercise, was how rapidly technology advances and changes these days. How what was once state-of-the-art technology, has so soon becomes obsolete.
The other question you may well be asking is how on earth we came to possess so many computers in the first place! Well there are explanations, including the important fact that all of them were given to us, second or third hand. We never paid a penny/cent/halér for any of them!
Two of them belonged to Sybille and came with us when we moved to the Czech Republic in September 2008. Both had Windows 98 as their operating system and the facility for inserting a floppy disk. I wonder how many of my readers remember them? 🙂 One of the two when bought new, was the office computer for the group of parishes in North Oxfordshire of which I was Rector from January 1993 until August 2008. It was bought to replace its predecessor which used the DOS operating system. How many readers remember that?
When the Benefice Council agreed to buying a new computer that had Windows XP as its operating system, they also agreed that Sybille could have its predecessor. She inherited the second computer from a husband & wife who lived within that group of parishes and who ran their own business from home and were also upgrading their computer systems.
The other two computers had both been the Prague Chaplaincy Computer in times past. One of them was the computer I inherited when we moved to Prague in September 2008. It had Windows 2000/NT as its operating system and was apparently given to my predecessor as Chaplain, by an American member of the congregation who was returning to the USA and did not wish to take it back with her. It was the computer on which the early posts and associated photographs for this blog were compiled. But by Spring 2010, it was rapidly dying.
The second computer replaced the first. It was given to me by a current member of the congregation whose employers had recently upgraded their computers, and were happy for the old ones to go to voluntary organisations who could make good use of them. It was a vast improvement on the Windows 2000/NT model as it had Windows XP as its operating system. But having previously belonged to a Czech company, it had one major downside – it only spoke to me in Czech 🙁
Despite this, it served me well for just under two years. That was until the on-board battery died, which nearly resulted in me losing all of my data and files. Fortunately, my computer savvy wife came to the rescue, but that incident made it imperative that I moved to another computer as soon as possible. Fortunately, a generous donation and a contribution from Sybille and myself, enabled the purchase of the new laptop computer I’m currently using to compile this post, as I explained in an earlier post of late May 2012 entitled ‘All change!‘
I greatly appreciate the freedom that my laptop computer now gives me to remain connected via email and the internet, when I am travelling. Whilst it normally sits on my desk in the office of the Chaplaincy Flat, connected to mains power and to our home wifi network, I have taken it with me to Brno, when staying there overnight after conducting a service, and also when I visited the UK in August last year. To be able to access my email & answer any urgent enquiries when not residing at home, is a great boon.
Yet when I see people out and about with their tablet computers, iPhones, etc., I am left to wonder as to how quickly my laptop computer, which is still less than one year old, will be considered as being obsolete. After all, its operating system is Windows 7, which has already been succeeded by Windows 8. There are times when I think, can we not stop for a moment and actually appreciate all that modern technology has done for us? Instead, technology continues to advance – and that advance seems to become ever more rapid.