Death of the Shared Conference Room PC

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to mourn the loss of the shared conference room PC, a device which leaves in its wake an imposing and far-reaching legacy. Although this legacy is mostly built on a foundation of headaches, frustration, despair, we must remember that the device did work on occasion. And when it worked, it worked well. Or at least semi-well.

To say that the shared conference room PC left us too soon would be wildly inaccurate. Nor can any of us say with a straight face that it will be missed. But to openly gloat over its demise at its own funeral service (as many of us here are no doubt tempted to do) would be tremendously undignified. It is therefore with the utmost solemnity that we extend our condolences to its surviving relatives—the conference room chair, the conference room table, and the dry erase board.

From the moment it was first introduced into the conference room, the shared PC demonstrated a faint glimmer of potential. In fact, for end users who finished their PowerPoint projects a day prior to their presentations, it was almost the ideal solution. All the end user had to do was e-mail the PowerPoint file to the IT department, who would then load it onto the shared PC, and—provided that there were no compatibility issues—the presentation would be ready to go.

Sure, it didn’t always work seamlessly. Login procedures were complicated, boot up times were slow, and software updates were constant. But it got the job done most of the time. Who here among us could have predicted that it would flame out in so spectacular a fashion?

Then came the BYOD era and, along with it, the beginning of the shared PC’s sad decline.

When your laptop screen can be shared wirelessly with just one click of the button, why bother sending your PowerPoint to the IT department 24 hours in advance? What if inspiration strikes you on the morning of your presentation and you want to make a revision? Then you have to send IT a new version and cross your fingers that the old version doesn’t play by mistake. Sorry, but no one wants to go through all of that.

From IT’s perspective, the benefits of ditching the shared PC were even more obvious. Why go to all the effort of making sure the shared PC always has the latest version of PowerPoint (not to mention all of the other presentation programs that are quickly gaining popularity) prior to every meeting? Why waste time downloading 12 different presentations and making sure that they all play when your connectivity issues can be solved in one second?

I can’t think of a good reason either.

And so on that note, we bid adieu to the shared conference room PC, an inadequate device which we all grudgingly tolerated because we had no other choice. And now that a choice exists, we can safely send it off to be reunited with the overhead projector in the big conference room in the sky.

This concludes today’s service. Coffee and snacks will be served in the lobby.

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