Many of us in the technical world seem to get caught up in the devices we use rather than what we use them for and how often.  for example it doesn’t really matter which ebook reader you use what matters is what books you read.  Repeat that for the films you watch with your home cinema setup, and the quality of the photographs you took on your last holiday…

Simon and I took a day off work to setup some old laptops for a charity.  Yes they were pretty ancient e.g Dell Latitude D400, and D600 but they all ran Windows 7 just fine after a bit of digging for the odd driver. More importantly for the users we got Office Professional Plus 2010 on there plus Live Essentials and Microsoft Security Essentials to protect them. However they weren’t well received because the PCs themselves weren’t new, so we bought them home again, which is why I am wondering which is more important, the device or the content?

I would go for the content, based on my wife’s horrendous office laptop, it’s a lovely little HP and should be rocket fast, but it’s running Office XP and Office 2003. Actually they aren’t the real problem, the issue is the encryption, VPN and anti-virus that are part of the standard build where she works to make XP as secure as Windows 7. To add insult to the injury of having an unreliable and slow machine she really has to put in the hours to get her work done using this older generation of software.

As for our work on those laptops, we’ve found a community centre that can make really good use of them to raise digital literacy levels in a very deprived area, so it all turned out alright in the end. Not only that but Windows 7 has given these and many other machines a second life, which is also a good sustainability story.