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How long do you expect your electronic gadgets to work for you?  Not necessarily how long will devices last before simply breaking, but for what length of time will they usefully perform the functions that you obtained them for?

With technological advances coming faster and faster nowadays -- and older systems therefore becoming obsolete quicker and quicker - plus a growing number of devices that have to keep pace with other online systems in order to remain useful, the useful lifespan of our gadgets seems to be shrinking.

A glance around my home office provides a snapshot of how long much of my electronic paraphernalia has been in operation

Other than the fact that a calculator I bought for a math class when Ronald Reagan was president of the United States still works, what strikes me most about this list is that the items I have had for the least time I expect I will replace again before the oldest items ever stop functioning.

I got to thinking about the usable life of electronic gear thanks to this week’s Data Center Deconstructed question, which asks how often we at Cisco refresh hardware in our Data Centers.  Click below to learn whether the lifecycle we use for hardware is longer or shorter than how fast I go through shredders.

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  1. Whoa, I’m surprised about the personal computer! But for I guess for the most part, you don’t need a super computer to do regular everyday tasks. Be interested to hear what type of computer it was and what video editing you were doing as I have a model 2 years old that is struggling to edit videos… has me almost ready to buy a new one.


    • Hi, Sam. It’s an old Mac PowerBook with iMovie 5. Rendering is slow compared to my new computer, as you would expect, but otherwise I’m still happy with how it peforms video editing tasks.


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