back to article Is it broken yet? Is it? Is it? Ooh that means I can buy a sparkly, new but otherwise hard-to-justify replacement!

Something is wrong with my eyes. Hang on, no, it's my display that's gone smeary. This is great news. As no one is looking, I permit myself a hint of a smile. It's not out of relief that my male gaze can continue to ogle for a few more years yet. No, I am quietly thrilled to learn that my old LCD display needs replacing. And …

  1. Lord of Fries

    I also like shinny new kit

    Couldn't agree more with Mr Dabs, the acquisition shinny new kit for the home office is one off the great experiences of the the new millennium IMHO.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: I also like shinny new kit


      Lisping horse?

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: I also like shinny new kit

      I love it, when my wife comes over and says, that I've bought her so much lately, that I should go and indulge myself and buy something that I want...

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Bliss !

        You lucky dog you.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: I also like shinny new kit

      I hate it, because new equipment means hours spent fixing all the damn settings. I don't trust any contemporary end-user OS without going through every single setting I can find. Windows is the worst, of course, because it requires removing unwanted applications and features, then going through all the control panels and the like, then security policies and group policies, then Task Manager, then ... But Android is also horrible, as are things like set-top boxes.

      With smartphones, it also means learning new, worse input mechanisms, as physical buttons gave way to fixed touchscreen buttons and then to fucking gestures that are interpreted randomly by the OS.

      There was a time, in my innocent youth, when I enjoyed getting a new bit of equipment. Now if it's much more complex than a nice pair of pliers I know it'll be maddening.

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Don't recycle that display yet

    Perhaps it can do 15kHz which for some reason most modern displays can't even though it's probably just a simple matter of a firmware change.

    If it can a whole new world of retro computers and consoles awaits, in its proper aspect ratio. I'm pretty sure Mme D would be thrilled on hearing the news.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't recycle that display yet

      That's my go to excuse for keeping old kit - Perhaps.

      Perhaps I could turn that old monitor into a second display. Perhaps I could turn that old laptop into a personal VPN. Perhaps that old NAS could mine crypto. Perhaps.

      It's why I still have a 3.5" FDD that I pulled out of an old PC a decade (or two?) ago.

      1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

        Re: Don't recycle that display yet

        You only have one????

        1. The Dark Side Of The Mind (TDSOTM)

          Re: Don't recycle that display yet

          "You only have one????"

          I have only one now because I was giving the other ones away as gifts to some techie friends... But that was around 10-12 years ago.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't recycle that display yet

          It is to keeping company with the 5,25" one.

  3. Dr_N

    Covid Consumerism

    Spending too much time at home leads to one wanting to replace all your kit, Mr Dabbs? Watch out, it'll be clothes, shoes/boots and luggage next.

    1. PerlyKing

      Re: Covid Consumerism

      I was with you until "luggage". What's that for, then?

      1. Dr_N

        Re: Covid Consumerism

        Fantasy role play.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Covid Consumerism

        Bodyguard. So long as it's made from sapient pearwood.

        "Its function is to act as both a luggage carrier and bodyguard for its owner, against whom no threatening motion should be made."

    2. newspuppy

      Re: Covid Consumerism

      if you feel the need to replace everything.. go for it... just as long as it is not Mrs. Dabs.......

      that part gets tricky... and can get unpleasant...

      No recycle bin shall take her, and Mrs. Dabs shall not sit passively on the floor whilst you do a comparison with her replacement...

      1. Down not across

        Re: Covid Consumerism

        and Mrs. Dabs shall not sit passively on the floor whilst you do a comparison with her replacement...


        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Covid Consumerism

          …for the mental image.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Covid Consumerism


        er, you seem to have had a couple of temporary mental aberrations.You have spelt Mrs Dabbs name wrong… twice.

        You obviously need a couple of these...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Right to repair?

    I've been listening to some BBC podcasts on the right to repair issue. They're clearly supporting the campaign but are giving voice to issues around why it's not quite as straightforward as many seem to think. The case of washing m/c drums and their (now) internal bearings rather than the ones from years back where it was a common call-out to replace just the bearing. Two points: a) It was a common call-out, more common than nowadays, and b) Modern m/cs have bigger drums that spin at much higher speeds and need better alignment (something that is easier to manage in production than squeezed into the space usually made available when repairing in the kitchen. More work needed on the design to sort that.

    I also recall that mobile phone batteries rarely lasted a long as they do in modern smartphones, even with the far more intense use nowadays. Replacement was necessary it a phone was to be usable for more than a couple of years; replacements weren't cheap and, in fact, the recent replacement for an old Nokia I resurrected as an emergency phone cost more that it did to get an old iPhone 5S battery replaced in a local repair shop. I could have done it myself but the battery was going to cost me as much as the shop did for supply and install. Our 10yo freezer failed last year and was going to cost more to repair than replace. However, rather than going to the skip it was repurposed as a mouse-proof seed store in a shed - via Freecycle.

    But, after all t waffling, how many of us want (and I mean *really* want, not feeling guilty if we don't) to keep old kit hanging on when we're actually waiting for it to permanently die so we can get the latest all-singing and dancing kit? I know I'm waiting for my 10 yo iMac to kick its electronic bucket so I can justify to SWMBO on spending out the latest - but it just keeps working and does all I ask efficiently.

    1. Cuddles

      Re: Right to repair?

      "But, after all t waffling, how many of us want (and I mean *really* want, not feeling guilty if we don't) to keep old kit hanging on when we're actually waiting for it to permanently die so we can get the latest all-singing and dancing kit?"

      Most of us. There are a few things where getting something new and shiny can be nice, but even for something like a PC or phone we're well past the point where you'll actually be particularly excited by new features or better performance on a new one. For most goods, getting replacements is just a faff that most people would be happy to avoid. Who gives a crap about having a new fridge or washing machine? Unless you're doing it as part of some major renovations and want something to match, most people will just get a drop-in replacement that looks and behaves exactly the same. It's a big white rectangle that's cold on the inside. Unless you're one of the small minority of idiots who desperately need a TV on the front of their fridge so they can see how many hackers are currently vying for control of its cloud service, people are perfectly happy with just having the thing they already have continue working.

      1. Down not across

        Re: Right to repair?

        Not to mention that lot of the new kit is dumbed down or has pointless bling added while removing useful features/indicators/controls.

        I'm with you. In many cases I'd rather repair than replace.

        1. A. Coatsworth Silver badge

          Re: Right to repair?

          Funniest part is that they are dumbed down, while at the same time they are labeled as "smart"

          I know there is social commentary somewhere in there...

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Right to repair?

            And not forgetting of course that "smart" TVs and fridges tend to get dumber with age as services change, updates stop coming, but the original basic function could go on for years more. Was the extra expense of the "smarts" worth it? I'd imagine quite a lot of people would consider those items "broken" and replace them just because a couple of the bells stopped ringing and whistles stopped peeping.

            My 42" main TV is about 8 years old and still has full functionality because it's a TV, not an "infotainment system". The equally old DVD player on the other hand, while still playing DVDs as it always has, feels a bit "broken" because it has some "smart" features that no longer work. I can't really complain though because I got second hand at Cash Converters and didn't even know it had "smart" features until I plugged it in at home :-)

        2. ClockworkOwl
          IT Angle

          Re: Right to repair?

          Er, are we still talking about white goods, or have you wandered into OS territory..?

          1. Gene Cash Silver badge

            Re: Right to repair?

            Or browser territory? Fuckin' Mozilla "developers"

            "That feature was too hard to understand, so we removed it"

      2. mdubash

        Re: Right to repair?

        I can't wait for my 10-yo NEC 30-inch monitor to die so I can buy an utra-wide. Trouble is, the NEC cost so much (1k) that it needs to work for a minimum of 10 years to make me feel I've got enough value out of it....

        Can I replace it now?

        1. Disk0

          Re: Right to repair?

          Just throw a magnet at it and label it unfit for duty.

      3. DiViDeD

        Re: Right to repair?

        ... even for something like a PC or phone we're well past the point where you'll actually be particularly excited by new features or better performance on a new one

        Which is why I always go for the new PC with the best looking LED lit fans, garish LED graphics card highlights and illuminated water cooling system - so it always feels new and exciting, even if it's only incrementally better than the one it replaces.

        And yes, the new fridge/freezer is piano black, with multiple pull out drawers for the freezer and crisper sections, an automatic ice maker and an ice/water dispenser in the fridge door.

        But no TV, sadly. Perhaps it's time for an upgrade.

    2. Stork Silver badge

      Re: Right to repair?

      I actually like fixing things. After a ssd gave up, I got one working MacBook retina 2014 out of two, with addition of a new battery. My wife got a current Air, and I don’t see that much practical difference

    3. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Right to repair?

      Our 10yo freezer failed last year and was going to cost more to repair than replace

      Our fridge is about the same age, and one of the pins on which the door swings failed. Perfectly usable otherwise, and quite probably someone with a lathe and access to a small amount of appropriate metal could knock something up which would work, not I though. I made a temporary repair to the old pin by drilling a small hole in each half (not easy) and inserting a snapped-off drill bit and some superglue.

      A replacement pin was found, original part no less, slightly re-designed to avoid the "neck" where the original failed, very easy to fit, but twenty three quid!.

      The door handle has a crack in the plastic. Fortunately it's a cosmetic problem as the handle has a metal core, but should that item fail, according to the guy who found me the door pin, not only is the handle no longer available, but when it was available it was about fifty quid.

      As it happens we've recently "changed kitchens" and the space available for the fridge is slightly larger than previously, so we could benefit from an upgrade, but somehow it seems wasteful.

      Mother-in-law has finally swapped out her 55 year-old Canon cooker for a new one. Had to happen; the gas taps were failing, the thing stank, and it had needed lighting with a match (or a lighter) since conversion to Natural Gas back in the 1970s, when they took out the pilot lights. I have deliberately avoided suggesting that the old cooker might also have been insulated with asbestos.

      She's happy to have a clean, shiny, fully working new cooker, but it's "not as good as the old one", particularly the feeble grill!


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Right to repair?

        > I made a temporary repair to the old pin by drilling a small hole in each half (not easy) and inserting a snapped-off drill bit and some superglue.

        Sounds like it would have been less effort to just use an old drill the same diameter as the pin and cut the end off. No fiddly drilling. :-)

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: Right to repair?

          Unfortunately there was a small keying slot. Not quite sure why, but it probably won't shut properly or would rattle a bit without :-)


      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Right to repair?

        "A replacement pin was found, original part no less, slightly re-designed to avoid the "neck" where the original failed, very easy to fit, but twenty three quid!."

        Thumbs up for the repair, but parts for 10 year old kit that's no longer made tends to sit on warehouse shelves taking up space while becoming rarer and more desirable to those who need them. So the price rises to stupid levels.

        What's that? Interchangeable parts across the newer and future ranges of basic mechanical parts that really don't need to be changed and/or improved? What is this magic you speak of?

      3. tonique

        Re: Right to repair?

        Where I grew up still has its original fridge from 1974. It's normally unused, though, we've got a new one but when there are many people it's turned on. The small freezer compartment isn't really working but otherwise it's fine for occasional use.

  5. Potemkine! Silver badge

    It was cool to listen to Queens of the Stone Age once again. Their 'Rated R' album is soooooo good.

    15 years for a display, not that bad. You could pretend you changed it to 'save the planet', because new ones consume much less electricity than the old displays. It's very trendy to say you buy new stuff to save the planet.

    1. Steven Raith

      Songs For The Deaf is also excellent, but not one to drive to.

      To be honest, QOTSA haven't had a 'bad' mainline album, ever IMHO - they're all highly enjoyable.

      Vaguely related to the article, my monitor (second display for a laptop) has developed a habit of putting vertical lines on the panel. Ooh, thinks me, possibly get a high refresh rate higher res display....

      ...nah, laptop isn't capable of that.

      Ho hum, 1080p 60hz panel it is.

      Steven R

    2. Down not across

      You could pretend you changed it to 'save the planet', because new ones consume much less electricity than the old displays. It's very trendy to say you buy new stuff to save the planet.

      Hmm...I wonder how long the new display would need for the energy efficiency to "pay" for the environmental cost of manufacturing and shipping the new display.

      1. Potemkine! Silver badge

        It won't probably ever, but that's not what the ads are selling you.

        In France most of the ads everywhere are now repeating ad nauseum 'buy this and you will be eco-BS-friendly'. Yeah, right.

      2. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        And that's why I drive around in a 20 year old car ..... to offset the fact that it has a 3.2 litre V6 engine!!!!

        1. ICL1900-G3
          1. Steven Raith

            Twenty year old three litre straight six petrol lump here, but same argument can be made.

  6. NightFox

    You're hanging on to your stuff too long between replacements by waiting for kit to fail or become obsolete. You can drastically shorten the cycle with the "I can sell the old one on eBay while it's still current and worth a bit so the new one will only actually cost me £xxx" self-justification - then with the purchase made, put the old one in the roof/cellar until 5 years later when you do actually finally get round to listing it on eBay to find it's now worth about 7p.

    1. Disk0

      My basement would like a word

    2. DavidRa

      I'm feeling personally attacked

      How dare you sir? What gives you the right to denigrate me in this fashion? I'm shocked and appalled.

    3. DiViDeD

      Re: Sell it on eBay

      Good point. My upgrades from GTX 1080Ti to RTX2080 to RTX3090 have cost me, in total, a little under AU$1,500 - which is not bad considering Australia's "think of a number and double it" approach to hardware pricing.

  7. Dabooka

    AH, Falco

    Thanks for bringing that particular earworm into my working day. I genuinely thank you for it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: AH, Falco

      Still I would freak out bumping into him too since he's been dead for a while.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: AH, Falco

      Jeanny -

      Der Kommissar -

      I think I've been living in Germany too long, I don't notice, when he switches from German to English and back again.

      1. skeptical i

        Re: AH, Falco

        Rock Me, Amadeus --

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah, "I will know it's new".

    Since it's Friday, I will admit, for your amusement and entertainment, that putting new batteries in the remote made the TV sound louder. (And no, it wasn't by holding the button while fiddling with the battery compartment.)

    Psychology is weird.

    1. Flightmode

      Re: Ah, "I will know it's new".

      What's up with not replacing batteries in everyday items? I've been muttering about the batteries in my TV-and-BluRay remote for almost two years now. Buttons are half-unresponsive and sluggish, but I can't get off my well-rounded posterior, walk over to the fridge and replace them? Same with the kitchen timer for about, oh, six months now.

      You know what? I'm doing it. I'm posting this, them I'm replacing them both.

      1. Flightmode

        Re: Ah, "I will know it's new".


        When installing a new battery in the kitchen timer, it was still as slow to respond. When I reinserted the old battery it died completely. Good thing I have a backup.

        1. ShadowSystems

          At Flightmode, re: battery changing.

          In an odd form of synchronicity I had to change the battery in a smoke alarm today. Old battery out, new battery in, but smoke alarm won't even voice the test chirp to acknowledge there's power. New battery out, old back in, nothing. Old out, new in, push the button... and the Magic Smoke escapes as the damned thing catches fire.

          I swear Murphy is a relative & She hates all her male kin. =-Jp

          1. Stoneshop

            Re: At Flightmode, re: battery changing.

            Did its companions acknowledge this sad state of affairs?

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Ah, "I will know it's new".

          "When installing a new battery in the kitchen timer, it was still as slow to respond. When I reinserted the old battery it died completely. Good thing I have a backup."

          What do you use for the backup? Tape or disk? I'd imagine a floppy disk should be big enough to backup a kitchen timers data, unless it has a lot of extra, useless and unused features. Personally, I'd just go with the factory reset and say bugger to the user data!

      2. Spacedinvader

        Re: Ah, "I will know it's new".

        Well, is the TV louder?

        1. Anonymous Custard

          Re: Ah, "I will know it's new".

          OK I'll ask.

          Why do you keep the replacement batteries in the fridge?

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Ah, "I will know it's new".

            If you store batteries for a long time, storing them at colder temperatures may extend their shelf life. How much it does so depends on the chemistry of the cells. I've seen people with more space than they need put batteries in the fridge for that reason.

            A warning that if you're going to do this, do not put them in the freezer. Everything will fail if you make it cold enough, and the freezer is usually too cold for batteries. They could become mechanically damaged. If in doubt, check if the cells have a temperature rating and adhere to that. If they don't and you're still in doubt, room temperature is going to be fine enough.

            1. Jeffrey Nonken

              Re: Ah, "I will know it's new".

              "If you store batteries for a long time, storing them at colder temperatures may extend their shelf life." For alkaline batteries we're talking about five to ten years, mind you. Still, some of that time is taken by warehouse storage and shipping and so on. Batteries made today aren't going to be in your hands tomorrow afternoon.

              " not put them in the freezer." Our CFO used to do this. Cheap bastard, but not as smart as he thinks he is. Aside from taking up valuable frozen dinner real estate, we kept yelling at him that a) if he was buying enough batteries to last a decade*, he might want to re-think his inventory practices and b) freezing them was having the opposite effect from what he wanted. Every web search said so, the manufacturer said so, the fact that we had failures in the field said so.

              Fortunately he's no longer in charge of... well, a lot of things... and the batteries are now sitting on a shelf in the shop that is only refrigerated enough to keep the employees reasonably comfortable. They're also handier for the people who most often need to access them.

              * Not necessarily a critcism aimed at individual storage practices. Businesses tend to operate at a different scale.

              1. AndrewB57

                Re: Ah, "I will know it's new".



                The fridge. Space is finite and we must prioritise, Shirley.

                Beer, wine, vodka.

                In that order. YMMV but batteries are nowhere NEAR the top

                1. dajames

                  Re: Ah, "I will know it's new".

                  The fridge. Space is finite and we must prioritise, Shirley.

                  Beer, wine, vodka.

                  If your beer tastes better when chilled to fridge temperatures then what you are drinking isn't really beer.

      3. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Ah, "I will know it's new".

        You know what? I'm doing it. I'm posting this, them I'm replacing them both.

        Please report back when you have done so (but I won't hold my breath).

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: Ah, "I will know it's new".

          Shame it only came out of the moderation queue after he reported back :(

          1. ThatOne Silver badge

            Re: Ah, "I will know it's new".

            They had to replace the batteries on the moderator too.

  9. chivo243 Silver badge

    So you bought

    An Apple product? With all that packaging it must be....

    1. Tim99 Silver badge

      Re: So you bought

      You haven’t bought one for a while then? These days, with Apple packaging, it’s all recyclable paper products with the wiring cunningly wrapped around it…

  10. RachelG

    16GB should be enough for anybody...

    Let's be honest, a lot of us have been in this for long enough that the old reflex of always trying to get the maximum spec at the time of purchase is still hard to shake off.

    But actually... I had a 2013 Haswell system with 16GB that's now DEAD. Its replacement also has just 16GB and is under no strain. I had a 2015 Macbook Pro with 16GB that's long since been packed off to someone through Ebay, and the XPS13 that replaced it has 16GB too and is... also not exactly bursting. And I can still do anything I need to do in 16GB except maybe run a couple of generously specced virtual machines in my iMac which... I hardly ever need to do, and your options that way in M1-land are limited anyway.

    I think we may have really hit the moment where ... dare I say it... unless you have specialist needs 16GB actually is enough and has been for years and years.

    (Ability to add multiple monitors though, *that's* holding me back from M1ness...)

    I'm not even going to make the point about x amount of memory in an M1 behaving like more in other architectures. Maybe, because of the reduced need to copy it around the place, but frankly 16GB has been enough in MacOS, WIndows and Linux on Intel/AMD systems for years now. If you really do need more, you probably have specialised needs.

    ... or you could maybe stand to close/bookmark a few chrome tabs...

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: 16GB should be enough for anybody...

      It depends what you’re doing. My choice of a 4K display should be a hint what I’m using it for.

      1. RachelG

        Re: 16GB should be enough for anybody...

        nah it doesn't. I'm using a 5K screen, and slum it with a 4K second screen next to it only because I can't *get* a second 5K screen... For coding.

        I have a colleague who works slouched over a laptop screen using vi. He seems to like it that way. It's perverted is what it is...

        (el reg doesn't let us add emojis. Imagine them. I can't be arsed to turn off the auto-replace that puts them in when I type them old-skool)

      2. Dr_N

        Re: 16GB should be enough for anybody...

        Mr Dabbs> My choice of a 4K display should be a hint what I’m using it for.

        Porn/Hentai/Ecchi Visual Novels ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 16GB should be enough for anybody...

      Yes. Yes it should. And yet my colleagues and I have just been issued with new laptops with 8 GB. And 128 GB SSDs... So now we are all struggling to stop the "out of storage space" messages every time we use them. I've dodged this bullet so far only by an almost fanatical devotion to storage management. And it's fun to see the front LED indicator spell out the BIOS code for "Help! I have a dodgy motherboard/dodgy internal display connection" every so often. Such fun!

      1. RachelG

        Re: 16GB should be enough for anybody...

        I never said 8GB was enough. I have an 8GB MBA. It's not enough. 16 makes all the difference. And yeah, 128GB hasn't been enough storage for years. (That's also what I have in the aforementioned MBA. It's not enough.)

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: 16GB should be enough for anybody...

          "I have an 8GB MBA."

          Shirley 640KB is enough for an MBA. They only need to regurgitate a small number of buzzwords on a daily basis and be kept away from sharp objects.

      2. Stoneshop

        Re: 16GB should be enough for anybody...

        And yet my colleagues and I have just been issued with new laptops with 8 GB. And 128 GB SSDs... So now we are all struggling to stop the "out of storage space" messages every time we use them.

        My work laptop has 8GB RAM, and 128GB storage. And W10. It's one of the oldest in our pool, but an undeniable plus is that it can still sit on a port replicator, which the newer ones don't. Which also only have 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, a slight increase on the processor front and a noticeable increase in connectivity problems, so I'm keeping this one as long as I can. That port replicator would be replaced with some USB-C hub, and if I don't want to lug that one to work and back I have to buy a second one myself or be content to run one 1920x1080 screen via DP and the other via VGA, either at home or at work.

        We're warned that storage on the laptops will be toast in case a reinstall is needed; there's a D: partition of about 40GB that won't be touched, but there's no way to point your user area there as it's all been solidly nailed down. c:\users\name\Documents gets synced to some OneDrive thingie, though, and there's little need for keeping documents on one's laptop.

    3. PerlyKing

      Re: 16GB should be enough for anybody...

      Will 16GB be enough for the next ten years? A lot of the thin 'n' light laptops have it soldered to the motherboard so you're not going to be able to upgrade it later.

    4. Disk0

      Re: 16GB should be enough for anybody...

      I sm willing to bet an expired itunes coupon that Mr. Dabbsy’s thoughts qualify as “priceless” and therefore, are worth every kilobyte.

    5. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: 16GB should be enough for anybody...

      Except the top spec M1 Macs don't have 16GB of RAM, because it's shared with the GPU.

      So in fact they've got 4GB less than the Intel/AMD ones.

      Far better than the Intelgrated of course, but that's rather like saying a sausage is better than a punch to the face.

    6. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: 16GB should be enough for anybody...

      I only have 32GB because the Altavista server had 32GB back in the day, and I said "some day..."

      Seriously though, I run 2 VMs so I can run Windows and connect to work, and they love the extra memory. Otherwise, it's mostly wasted.

      Same with the 8-thread CPU. The only time it uses more than maybe 2 cores is when it's compiling the newest nVidia kernel module.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 16GB should be enough for anybody...

      I've tended to shy away from max spec, and found one step down to be more economical for lots of things. Also, for RAM, at least with Dell I preferred to buy a system with minimal RAM and then upgrade from Crucial.

      This was for personal use, not work machines, so tinkering with adding more memory wasn't a big deal.

    8. Robert Sneddon

      Re: 16GB should be enough for anybody...

      I upgraded my desktop from 8GB to 16GB to appease Firefox which was using 6GB, two GB of which was virtual RAM on the SSD. Firefox responded to this extra real estate by using 11GB, four GB of which was virtual RAM on the HD since for some reason it had taken a dislike to the SSD.

      I built a new PC and outfitted it with 32GB to start with. Firefox is currently, as I type this, using 6GB in 12 threads and no virtual RAM so the mouse pointer doesn't freeze every few seconds when I switch tabs any more.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That 16GB for the M1

    To be honest, I have yet to drive this M1 machine into swapping with its 16GB of RAM.

    My previous machine with an i9 CPU had 32GB, and that turned out to be a waste as that never really got above 16GB either. I'm keeping that because an Intel chip makes virtualising easier, so maybe I do finally get to use all that RAM..

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: That 16GB for the M1

      The problem with buying an Intel Mac now is that you'll soon end up virtualising everything, including macOS itself.

  12. PM from Hell

    bigger screens

    I've relocated from my office in the attic to the spare bedroom during the heatwave. All the kit upstairs is nicely wired into cable management so I just grabbed the spare 32" tv to use as a monitor, Now I want 2 32" monitors in my office. Its a good job the heatwave had broken as I was just about to order another dynadock for the 'temporary' office so I can hook up all the additional bits and pieces I normally have access to (second monitor, separate webcam & hi fi sound for video calls) etc.

    I've found recycling old hi fi units for use as pc speakers works very well and as my laptop is normally closed (its an ultralight with a tiny display) the microphone in the separate webcam is far better than the laptop mic. In fact this afternoon I think I'll hook up the Teac unit we've replaced in the dining room to the temporary office.Oops now I do need the docking station if I'm going to stick to a single wire connection from the laptop, so I may as well buy that second hand monitor at the same time to go dual monitor here as well.

  13. Kubla Cant


    Take it to the dump, er, recycling centre?

    Chance would be a fine thing. Cambridgeshire CC has instituted an appointments system at the recycling centre tip. Because Covid.

    The tip is open-air, and it's not exactly a venue for intense socialisation - you get out of the car, dump your stuff, get back in the car and drive away. From 19 July people are allowed into all kinds of indoor social situations. We've been shopping together in supermarkets for the past few months.

    But the tip booking system remains in force and only allows one car every 15 minutes.

    1. Down not across

      Re: Dump

      Same thing with re3 in Berks. I was hoping "Freedom day" would scrap those rules but no. And to make it worse re3 says not to book more than one appointment in a week. Whether that is enforced, I have yet to test. They also have ever changing ways to check if you're resident or not.

      Its almost like they want people to fly tip... I wouldn't do that, but I could see how some people might when "doing the right thing" is made so difficult.

    2. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

      Re: Dump

      They've done this in my area too, and I love it... No more endless queues where you sit in a line of cars waiting to squeeze through tiny gaps from arseholes who don't know how to park properly, fighting to get stuff out of your car when some other arsehole parks waaaaay to close to you and people who crowd around trying to get to one of the bins 50yrds down.

      I love the appt system... book it, turn up, drive in with at most another 2 or 3 cars present, empty your stuff with ease and drive off.

      It takes 5 mins to book and 10-15 mins to offload... vs sitting in a car wasting fuel, spewing more pollution in the sweltering heat for up to an hr just so you can curse under your breath at all the arseholes being arseholey and inconsiderate... and you always... ALWAYS get some extra special arseholes trying to jump the queue.

      May the booking system remain for ever more.

  14. trevorde Silver badge


    I have one of the original Amazon Kindle Fire HD tablets from 2012. There are no apps for it, a lot of websites don't load properly due to the browser not supporting javascript and FireOS has not been updated in many years. The screen is still crisp, email still works and the battery still holds a charge. I **hate** it because it refuses to die. It's keeping going to spite me from getting a new Android tablet.

    1. Dr_N

      Re: Immortal

      You need to introduce it to the garbage disposal. And a 14lbs lump hammer.

    2. jwatkins

      Re: Immortal

      Sounds like a perfect excuse to replace FireOS with one of the Android clones?

    3. Piro Silver badge

      Re: Immortal

      I have an HP touchpad that is still in use (lives on the wireless charging stand). I've had Android running on it for years, but it's just painfully slow. It still works, but I've just ordered a new tablet to replace it.

    4. DiViDeD

      Re: Immortal

      I still use my old Galaxy Tab A as my ebook reader, using Moon+ Reader. has support for all the major formats, text to speech direct from the book and, for the more masochistic, support for PDF.

      Nice, large paperback size, and I've never yet found a book I can't get for it.

      And no subscriptions or crippleware. What's not to like?

  15. John Sturdy

    My lizard was pleased with this article

    When I replaced my old monitor with a larger one, I put the old one to the side of the desk as a second display... and moved my soft toy Komodo Dragon to onto the plinth for the new monitor.

    Because the Komodo is the largest Monitor lizard.

  16. Calum Morrison

    Such innacuracy!

    Time to award yourself a shiny new factchecker Mr Dabbs as I fear the old one is rusty. I'm pretty sure Josh Homme wasn't touring with EoDM when they were caught up in the Bataclan tragedy; they're one of those bands (many actually featuring Josh Homme) that has something of a revolving lineup. QoTSA are indeed another (I've been lucky enough to see them with Lanegan singing live - awesome) but I seem to recall reading an interview with Homme where he was discussing the trauma-induced breakdowns his friend and bandmate Jesse Hughes had suffered since that night. Truly horrible for everyone concerned.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just old MacBook Pros...

    "My old MacBook Pro from 2012 is struggling in the summer heat" - My work 2019 MacBook Pro (supplied new last October) has been struggling too, so your upgrade path might not fix the issue.

    Earlier in the week it decided at 5pm it had enough and blocked 80% of the CPU out due to the temperature, I blame MS Teams as that then decided to crash. Doesn't seem to like driving 2x32" screens, the laptop display and running teams with Video when my home office is over 30c!

    Perhaps I can convince IT I need a M1 based one?

    1. ConsumedByFire

      Re: Not just old MacBook Pros...

      Or just invest in aircon . . . .?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not just old MacBook Pros...

        I did that in the 2019 heatwave. Not regretted it for a proverbial minute.

        Maybe regretted it for a proverbial few seconds, though. For a proper air conditioner - and unless you're going to have a large box fitted on the outside of the house, which is very expensive anyway - an inside (cheaper) one needs a pipe nearly large enough to double as a crazy slide at a water park ducted outside to eject the moisture and heat it removes.

        A useful investment, though.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What OS are you running on the Macbook Pro 2012? I have a Macbook Air from the same year and am frightened to upgrade past Sierra. High Sierra was a buggy joke and I'm not sure if the latest and greatest will cause it to die a death completely.

    It might be worth trying linux on it, but I've heard the great touchpad is diminished a lot. It's still got the best keyboard I've ever had the pleasure to use. The airs are around £99 on ebay, if you're interested!

    1. Stork Silver badge

      If it helps, I am running Mojave on a late 2013 MBP retina and that is reasonably painless. 8GB ram

  19. Disk0

    Always a pleasure

    After a busy week. Reading on my iPhone 7 with taped up broken glass - but it is paid off so essentially free and therefore i shall squeeze every last byte out of it before I replace it with the newest cheapest last year’s marvel that I won’t even use to 10% capacity. Again.

  20. Irony Deficient

    Perhaps it’s just me who finds it disturbing …

    … when one person resembles another person from decades earlier.

    Perhaps. I’m not at all disturbed by the resemblance of, say, Alan Hale Jr. (who played the Skipper on Gilligan’s Island ) to Alan Hale Sr. (who co-starred in many films with Errol Flynn).

    I'll have to get [the 2012 MacBook Pro’s] battery replaced.

    If you’re so inclined (and have the right set of screwdrivers), you could replace its battery yourself, and set the old battery next to your old monitor for as long as you need to adjust.

  21. Jeffrey Nonken

    Hah. My computer died recently and rather than diagnose the problem and try to repair it, I decided it was time for a complete upgrade.

    Be fair, it's a 9-year-old 3570k with 20GB and a GTX 970 graphics card. I'd been musing the possibility of an upgrade for some time, but hesitated to take the plunge. Granted it's mostly been keeping up with my gaming, but it's starting to show its age.

    So it finally died and I replaced it with a standard system from work (duly approved and purchased; this did not sneak out in my pocket after hours), and I'm now the proud owner of a 9900K system with 32GB and an RTX 3070. While I was throwing money around I picked up a relatively inexpensive 144Hz monitor. With this kit I can now switch my graphics settings from "cautiously optimistic" to "go for it!" and gameplay is smooth as butter.

    (Postmortem examination revealed the problem with the old system was the graphics card. I slapped some old thing in that I had lying around, added a case and power supply and the old monitor and an SSD and so on; it's now running dual 7 Days to Die servers, and quite nicely. Old though it is, it is a gaming rig, after all, and the graphics don't matter when you're not rendering.)

    Then there was replacing my car last February; upgraded from an aging budget compact to a much newer luxury crossover. My excuse? Occasional family visits required driving over mountains, which meant meticulous driving in truck lanes lest I damage the geriatric hamster under the hood.

    ...And then right after I upgraded, the pandemic hit and visits were out of the question. *sigh*

    Early this month I finally got a chance to put my new(-er) purchase through its paces, and I'm happy to say it muscled right over those mountains. The roof rack and extra cargo space have also been handy; it's a quieter ride and more comfortable, there's a button for everything, and the paint isn't peeling off.

    Speaking of which, most people would call the color "gold" but the official name is "Satin Cashmere Metallic." Even the PAINT is pretentious.

    Anyway, yeah, I'm with you on this. Can't wait for stuff to break so I have an excuse to replace it with something new and shiny! Which I admit only works if you have a budget that can tolerate the purchase. One silver lining to being divorced, however, is that I only have to justify it to myself.

  22. Stoneshop

    They still work and are up to the job.

    "It's a 15-year-old LCD clunker supporting DVI and VGA only – even HDMI was too cutting-edge when I bought it. That's old LCD by the way: it gets so hot you could use it as a bar heater. Even the resolution – a screamingly high (when I bought it) 1600 x 1200 pixels – matches no self-respectingly modern aspect ratio."

    Those 1600x1200 clunkers, same vintage, suit me fine, and have only marginally less screen pixels that the 1920x1080 screens at work offer (which we're allowed to use at home, but that leaves your work desk bare); getting a much better pair would have to come out of my own pocket. Their DVI input also matches the 4-way dual screen KVM, and the four dual-DVI PCs normally attached to that. One PC is now replaced by the work laptop for WFH via DP-to-DVI converter cables. Replacing the screens would also require replacing the notallthatcheap KVM and a couple of video cards.

    And one of the nicest aspects of those 4:3 clunkers is that people are dumping them for next to nothing. Some were even rescued from the disposal bin at work, and found to be working quite OK, though one of the 21" is a bit dim and two 17" (1280x1024) had their panel replaced because of a single-column always-on red stripe*. Under warranty. Total stock: 9x 21", 4x 17". All Eizo.

    * didn't make it go faster though, probably because the stripe was vertical.

  23. Man inna barrel

    The joys of instruction sheets

    I recently purchased some cheap kit made in China from Amazon -- a little test meter. There was something missing, though -- the instructions. You should understand that instructions are not meant to be read before you use the product. You get on with playing with your new toy. The instructions are just like album liner notes that you peruse at your leisure. But all I got was one measly English word: MULTITESTER. The rest was in Chinese. I was thus deprived of the significant pleasure of seeing how far English can be mangled and still remain intelligible. So when Amazon asked me to rate the product, it lost at least a star for that reason alone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The joys of instruction sheets

      I get that kind of stuff mainly from AliExpress unless I'm after a specific non-Chinese brand. It's a lot, lot cheaper.

      A perfect example was the Ausdom webcam I'm using right now. Back in the early part of the pandemic it was around £80 on Amazon and Ebay, and there was that global shortage because of all the Zoom meetings kicking off. But on AliExpress it was $30.

      Shortly after, I was contacted by Papalook via AliExpress, who offered me a free conferencing/livestream camera if I would review it for them (good, bad, or indifferent). It's a great camera.

      I've offered to help some of the suppliers translate instructions to decent English. One of them has bookmarked me, but I don't think they realise they have an issue with the English translations (even if they provide them, as you mentioned).

  24. tip pc Silver badge

    My Plasma’s still working

    I got a 37” 720p plasma in 2007, I got a 50” 1080p model in 2012 and had been hankering for a 4k oled but vowed to wait till a plasma died, I bit the bullet in 2020 and got that oled but the other 2 plasmas are refusing to die.

    The 37” is in the bedroom (fnar)

    The 50” in the dining room

    The 55” oled in the lounge

    I have a Samsung r series 720p lcd from 2006 that’s also still going strong.

    The funny thing is that the 2012 plasma came with a pen that swmbo showed our 3 year old how to use, she was mighty miffed when I explained the pen wouldn’t work on the oled, luckily she never tried.

  25. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

    I too, am feeling desperate for IT gear to fail

    As I sat here reading this, I was nodding in agreement... as I too am hopeful that some pieces of my IT gear will need replacement soon... I'll be moving in a few months and would much prefer a nice new shiny ultrawide monitor to replace the 3x 27" mismatched ones I currently have... 2 are the same but only 75hz and the one I use for gaming is 144hz but alas is a curved one with thinner bezels... so everything looks out of place.

    So I want some new shiny... a nice 35" ish 3440x1440p will suffice as my GPU is only a Sapphire 5700XT and with DLSS and FSR... 4k resolution isn't a driving factor these days.

    But HDR is... and it's gotta be HDR, high refresh rate... 144hz minimum... maybe an oled or qled panel...


    oooohhhhh..... if I go for a 4k panel... that means a new GPU... more shiny... and now that I think of it, some of the indicator LED lights on my mouse have dimmed so much you can't really see them unless it's dark. But GPU prices are still waaaaay to high and I do love a bargain, so won't be paying those prices.

    Let's be clear... none of this stuff is actually broken, but it will find new homes and won't be tossed away. My mum usually gets an upgrade, so if/when I replace the monitor, the nice 144hz one will go to here and the others will either be sold locally or donated to charity if no more friends/family are in need of something

    But this last 18 months of lockdowns and self isolation... has had a very positive impact on my savings... and whilst I am currently spanking 5k on finishing off the house, ready to put it on the market later this year... I've still got a healthy amount and could spank another 1000-1500 without really noticing it... Hell, in the time it takes to finish the house and put it on the market I could add that much back to my savings

    Then... perhaps a nice new gaming wheel, I do like racing games, and using an old Xbox controller just isn't the same... a new desk setup for the new house... a mini server room for my mediaserver and other IT gear... some new cameras and a POE switch... oh and if I get a new GPU like a 6800XT or a 3080... that'll mean a new PSU too as my current 650w isn't going to be enough for one of those cards...








    Cue Queen music (I want it all)

    ooops.... I think I just made a mess. :)

    Also... I think I could write articles as well as (if not better than) Alistair. :)

  26. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    I’ve got an lg tv that occasionally refuses to connect to other hdmi devices. The annoying thing is it rarely does it when an engineer is watching. Pretty much everything has been replaced. I have a TiVo, xbox and Apple TV connected. The TiVo and xbox got upgraded. The Apple TV was replaced because I thought at first that that had failed. The old Apple TV is working fine on another tv.

    The cables have also been replaced, and the one engineer that did witness the problems did replace pretty much all of the circuitry of the tv.

    It still doesn’t work properly, Although it glitches a lot less now.

    Tempted to buy a new tv, but can’t afford the thousands required for a decent one..

  27. Sam Therapy


    For unboxing, nothing - absolutely nothing - beats the look and the glorious smell of a brand new Gibson Les Paul.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meh

      The smell of pretty much anything brand new is one of the drivers for buying it.

      I envy you for the Gibson. I made do with my Sheridan, which is pretty decent for my standard.

      I think this Dilbert cartoon sums it up what happens to us.

  28. jpreis

    I'm sitting here watching the tele which is a 50" 1080i Panasonic MONITOR using COMPONENT inputs from <drum roll> 2005. It simply will. not. fail. It looks marvelous. Brightness and color are absolutely fine. ZERO burn-in artifacts. It gets worse. I have pre-approval from the missus to get whatever my heart desires when the Panny goes titsup. What's the opposite of Father Damien Karras???

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