Letter by a Computer Engineer
published: (updated: )
by Harshvardhan J. Pandit
Subject: Please (do not) throw away our PC’s
We are (not) pleased to inform you that the PC’s in our labs are finally ready for a trip to the junkyard. After much struggle against the few remaining operational machines, the last few of them gave in today. Amidst the gloominess, we had a moment of silence in retrospect of all the viruses that died by our hands. As a memory, they have sent their children with us (through our flash drives) that now reside in our homes, reminding us constantly about their brethren in college.
A few of us got emotional as the monitors kept flickering for a few minutes (owing to huge amounts of static) even after being plugged off from the CPU. The heart of one went out towards a particular CRT that refused to erase the desktop even after removing the connecting cable. The keyboards refused to switch the numlock lights off. The mice refused to move the pointers on screen. It took great courage to plug them out for the final time.
It’s not just the physical parts that pain us. The soul (software) itself hurts the most. Right from the dos bootups to the forced shutdowns. Our black animated bootscreens are nostalgic of the white pixel-moving Windows 2000 ones. We miss having an administrator account AND its password. The fun when command window refused to run most of the times. The treasure hunt as we searched for another PC. Life is pale now as the laptop comes with a recovery partition…
The great adventure when Internet Explorer 6 gave downloads speeds of 1MBPS and a thousand error messages about missing characters in webpages. Or when a small query in SQL took all of 33seconds. When a sinister AI in turbo C(3) started to produce glitches randomly. We will remain eternally grateful to that AI for teaching us tireless debugging which stretched to days. It taught us patience as we waited for the desktop to show.
Tears have welled in my eyes as I long to say goodbye to those machines which imparted us knowledge. Many of us have had sleepless nights, remembering those 8086 programs which we could never run our dual core machines. Owing to such a state of gloominess and sadness which now persists in our department, I request you (not to) throw away our PC’s.
PS: I had to type this note through an old typewriter from the storage, the printer is dead.