CNET is all about the newest gadgets around, but looking around my home office, one beloved dinosaur stands out among the new devices. I still use the first laser printer I ever bought, a Hewlett-Packard LaserJet 5MP. I remember studying reviews in the spring of 1996 and sweating the extra $100 I kicked in to buy the HP printer rather than the slightly less fancy Apple model I was considering. That was an investment that was well-worth the marginal cost.
It's been almost 12 years and that HP LaserJet has produced all the drafts needed for one Ph. D. thesis, two books, one screenplay, and countless thousands of other small projects. It still works great. The only problem is that I haven't dared try to hook it up to my current iMac, so I have kept around an old PowerBook circa 2002 to serve as the printer's liaison. Why not try to hook it up? I hadn't even thought of it much before today. I suppose I could give it a shot (it has USB and may be compatible with Mac OSX) but my old setup has the air of superstition, "it just works, so don't mess with it."
Now I know that planned obsolescence is part of the process with devices (whether or not that is a truly wise idea) but I want HP to know that their great performance with this old LaserJet has led me to buy other HP printers to serve as an inkjet all-in-one. I am thankful that the laser toner cartridges still work in my ancient model. I don't have any expectation of receiving support for repair when things finally do go wrong, but I'll keep using it until it konks out. Ironically, the thing that may give out first is one of the lowest-tech parts: the plastic paper tray, which is developing strange grooves and doesn't like to slide in any more.
Is it just me, or do any of you have critical devices on your desktop that you aren't ready to give up, even if they are awkwardly kluged together to keep them going?