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Ten Dying Technologies Still Supported by the Help Desk

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ten Dying Technologies Still Supported by the Help Desk

Even though the PC was declared dead last year, I still spend most of my day breathing life into this aforementioned, flat-lined tech. In a manner of speaking, tech really has a way of hanging around long past its prime. Businesses, often seeking to gain utility beyond a tech device’s complete depreciation, fail to realize it can sometimes be more expensive to support existing tech than to simply buy something new. At the same time, is there really much to gain from replacing something just because it is old?

In many cases the answer is no. Plus, even with the new year upon us, many companies are still finding ways to keep costs low. So, even though it is 2012, a time to embrace the future, all you need to do to see the past is take a trip to your local help desk.There, like a forced trip down memory lane, you can still see archaic practices like the ghosting of XP machines, or the instruction of users on how to set favorites in IE 7.

Given the relevance of old tech, we thought we would use our first official post of the year to take a look back. Listed below are ten items we commonly see show up on a list of current assets (or services). Have you managed to get rid of any of these and given them a proper burial, or are you like most help desks, and handing out back braces to your team so they can lift those fifty-pound, twenty-inch CRTs used by the design department?

1. Desktop PCs

Laptops have almost replaced these completely, and the tablet BYOD revolution may seal the deal. However, a few of these still remain, making desk changes a bit more cumbersome than they should be.

2. CRT Monitors

Local public schools likely have more of these than they know what to do with. Even with most organizations choosing to donate old CRTs, I have yet to find an office that doesn’t have at least one.

3. Printers

Just look to Dunder-Mifflin to see how a decrease in printers can affect a paper company. Once these were a staple machine in any office. Today, getting assigned to a request that involves a printer means you drew the short straw.

4. Land-Based Phone Lines

The sound of modems handshaking, and the coolness that comes with telling people about the benefits of “copper-pair” just can’t compete with the modern convenience and scalability of IP Phones. Of course, there was also no chance to mistakenly dial 911 from UK. Getting a call about a land-line means someone is getting a new phone.

5. Trackball Mice

While most help desks just keep these around to initiate the new guy, there was a simple sort of satisfaction that comes from cleaning a mouse and seeing pointer response improve.

6. Software Installations

The Cloud is here to stay. Though, a quick trip down to your help desk will show you that software installation is alive and well.

7. Hard Disk Drives

This one is a bit of technicality since solid-state drives (SSD) should see an increase in implementation. With entire databases now being written to memory, HDD are being supported on borrowed time.

8. Removable Media

“Five and a Quarters” and “Three Point Fives” may be things no help desk utters today. However, DVDs and CD ROMs haven’t been put out to pasture yet. The Cloud should help with this though. Until then, the warm glow of multi-burning DVD and CD devices will be a sight of nostalgia.

9. Non-Smart Phones

Every help desk that has customers in the field knows non-smart phones are the technology that can’t be killed. Often when they come in “for repair” everyone gathers to view the relic in all its glory.

10. Tape Backups

The Cloud seems to help with this one too – remote backups and all. However, many companies still depend heavily on the daily delivery and pickup of “today’s” data. Hard to believe any business could survive on hours-old data – maybe they couldn’t.

Image: Flickr | Andrew Maiman