How Much Does an Old Computer Cost You?

Today I worked on the system of a client who reported the computer was crashing. After briefly examining the logs, I found that the system had been reporting hard drive failures… for nearly a year.
The system was crashing with the infamous Blue Screen of Death, and running terrifically slow. Given that the computer itself was 6 years old, slow was to be expected, but this was slow. It took many minutes just to get to the logon prompt, longer to get to rendering a desktop, etc.
So, I had to ask myself, “how much is this costing them?” Let’s do a quick calculation:
An employee uses this PC, and sits at the machine for approximately 4 hours a day out of a typical 8 hour workday. For round numbers, let’s say that said employee costs the company $25/hour (after salary, benefits, taxes, etc.). Let’s also be generous and say that the machine was taking 25% longer to perform all tasks, on average. In reality, it was probably taking much longer, but let’s err on the low side.
So 4 hours at the desk, and 25% (1 hour) of that is wasted waiting for the PC. $25 a day * 5 days a week = $125 / week. Multiply this times 50 weeks out of the year and we can easily make the case that this slowness cost our client $6,250 a year in lost employee productivity.
Cost of a new computer, installed, with a new software suite and employee training? Significantly less.
How much money are you and your staff wasting by not upgrading your old computer?

Low Carb Diet – Round 3

In the last week of May, 2012 I started a low carb diet. This is not my first attempt at such a thing, as I successfully lost 45 pounds following a program called Medifast in 2008, and I experimented with the slow carb diet for a couple of months in 2011. While I am not necessarily looking to lose weight this time around, I do want more energy and would like to tone up some. Since moving to Boston, I have increased my regular exercise regime to where I am doing some form of exercise pretty much every day, whether it is yoga, martial arts, or cycling.
However, I was feeling quite exhausted on occasion, most likely as a result of not yet changing my diet.
I have not adopted a formal diet this time, preferring instead to “trust my gut” and see what happens. While I am not counting calories, I am consciously choosing to intake fewer carbohydrates, which is difficult for me, as I miss my popcorn and potatoes. However, I have noticed that after eating a big meal, by skipping the potatoes with dinner, I do not feel “stuffed” to the point of needing a wheelchair to leave the dinner table. Rather, I feel comfortably satisfied.
I am allowing myself to eat all of the protein that I want, whether it is beef, fish, poultry, etc., does not matter. I am also increasing my daily intake of vegetables. So far, the resulting diet has been rather similar to the slow carb diet, minus the weekly “binge day,” and allowing for some occasional, albeit small, doses of carbs, e.g., a slice or two of Ezekiel bread every few days.
For the first week, my energy levels definitely dropped, which is to be expected when you first start something like this. However, now that I am in the second week, they seem to be coming back. I don’t know if my weight has changed yet, as I will have to wait until returning to Vermont, where my scale is, but I do seem to be getting a little more muscle definition already.

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