Information Technology Dark Side

Struggles of a Self-Taught Coder

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The IT Desktop – How the Mighty Have Fallen

April 14th, 2008 · 4 Comments

Eleven years ago I sat behind my first post-college desk. On it sat a Sun SPARC 20 workstation, a powerful Unix machine, with a 21″ CRT monitor above it and a 3D input device beside it. I don’t remember what the input device was called – it was a round ball you could push, pull, twist, and shove in any direction. It was hot – far more powerful than anything I could purchase on my own – a veritable CAD monster. It was disappointing to return to my crappy little I-just-got-out-of-college-and-can-barely-afford-the-rent apartment and see my Sony Vaio with it’s 15″ CRT beside it. I would have rather stayed at work than use that thing.

This was typical back then, in the good ole days. Work hardware was almost always better than what you could afford at home.

Things have certainly changed since 1997. Check out the system that graces my home office. Sure, I use it for blogging, writing, and the occasional freelance testing gig, but aside from the second monitor it’s not very different from what an average citizen of the IT world has at home.

Now compare it to what you have on your desk at work. Do the words “fully depreciated” come to mind? And where’s your dual monitor? Never mind the decades of research that have proven how much dual monitors increase productivity.

No wonder kids don’t want to study computer science in school anymore. What is IT going to do to attract people who like tech toys if IT doesn’t have tech toys anymore?

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Tags: Agile · Uncategorized

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Justice~! // Apr 14, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    Um, where are the decades of research on dual monitors and productivity? I’m only actually familiar with one study…

  • 2 David Christiansen // Apr 15, 2008 at 8:00 am

    Maybe “decades” was stretching it a bit. Okay a lot. I’m sleep deprived right now.

    However, if you google “dual monitor productivity research” you’ll find quite a few studies referenced.

    But that doesn’t change the main point – for most IT workers, the computer they have at home is much better than the computer they have at work, which is a major shift from the IT workplace of the ’90s.

  • 3 freak3dot // Apr 15, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    I actually have dual monitors at work. It was a recent development of 4th quarter last year. We made the point that developers had dual monitors and testers should too.

    The dual monitor is one thing that I don’t have at home that I miss. I couldn’t get WAF on that.

    I do have a sophisticated network with more computers than there is people in the house. I even have an enterprise class 24 port switch for a house where there are about six major areas. So, I have lots of ports that I’m not using.

    But all that sophistication is really just the backbone for the home automation I plan to have one day. Still trying to get WAF for most of that too.

    Lots of idle computer cycles at home,

  • 4 David Christiansen // Apr 15, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    That’s the trend these days, I think. When I got into this business I got my techie fix at work. Now I have to get it at home because consumer technology is rapidly surpassing enterprise technology.

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