Nothing like recovering from a computer failure to show how much change is going on

(cross-posted from my other blog, Outrun Change.)

One of the main computers I use in my business failed Sunday night. For various reasons, I’ve held off on making several major upgrades, like jumping to Windows 7 and Office 2010.

So I shopped for new computer, have it in place, and as of yesterday have almost all the software running. Still have a couple of things to bring online, but they can wait for the moment.

Making the jump to a host of new technology tools all at once highlights the volume of change surrounding us.

I’m rapidly learning how to be efficient with Internet Explorer 9.0, Outlook 2010, HP software design (last several machines have been Dell platforms), Windows 7 (still need to figure out how to run the XP emulator). Haven’t taken on Word 2010 and Excel 2010 since the vast majority of people I work with are still on the ’03 or ’07 platform.

Several thoughts on the transition.

There has been a huge amount of change in the last several years. Catching up with all of it in a couple of days is rather painful. Over many years I have picked up the ability to handle new technology. It’s still tough to do all at once. It would be quite painful for people who are not as adept as most CPAs.

Making that volume of change in an entire organization would be extremely costly in terms of lost time, IT support, frustration, and hard dollars.

Haven’t had to look at a user’s manual yet. That’s a good thing since neither the PC, nor Windows 7, nor IE 9, nor Outlook 2010 came with a manual or any sort of printed instructions.  I guess the assumption is that people are to the point that they don’t need help plugging things in or getting software up and running.

I can already see advantages from the new machine.  It is visibly faster.

On the other hand, all the new software will not likely have a huge impact on my productivity.  All that time invested is merely the cost to stay current.  The alternative is getting frozen in time.  That is not a winning strategy if you want to be functioning for several more decades.

One final thought on prices and performance of new computers.  Since I started my own business, every successive computer I’ve purchased has dramatically better numbers (more RAM, higher speed, more cores, larger hard drive storage) and significantly lower cost. This time the numbers went up tremendously.  I have no clue what I’m ever going to do with 1.5 terrabytes on a hard drive.

The surprising thing is this time the cost did not decline. Even adjusting for several variables, I paid more for this machine than my last desktop.  I have no idea what that means in terms of overarching trends.  It’s just something I noticed this time around.

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