Cutting the Waste of Waiting with PC Bootup
Honestly — how many of us just sat and stared at our PC when it booted up this morning? According to the NY Times, many of us do.
It is the black hole of the digital age â€” the three minutes it can take for your computer to boot up, when there is nothing to do but wait, and wait, and wait some more before you can log on and begin multitasking at hyper-speed.
Some people stare at their screen and fidget. Others pace or grab a cup of coffee. “Half the time, I go brush my teeth,” said Monica Loos, 40, who is starting a business selling stationery online from her home in San Francisco.
It's such an obvious situation, you'd wonder why it's “news.” Imagine that…. do something else instead of staring at the screen?
There's a direct parallel to Lean concepts in a manufacturing environment. Lean people preach that workers shouldn't stand and stare at their machine (CNC or otherwise) while it's running… that's waste. The same should be true with office workers, right? It also reminds of Bruce Hamilton in the the “Toast Kaizen” video when he stands and stares at his toaster while it's toasting. It's such obvious waste, but it's a waste that's often ignored in different workplaces.
It's true in hospital labs — when you have a piece of testing automation, the highly skilled Medical Technologist doesn't have to stand and wastch the expensive piece of automation doing its work. Those of you familiar with “cellular” layouts in manufacturing (where an employee, yes, often a single person walks a loop around the inside of a U-shaped cell) would recognize the concept being applied in many hospital laboratories. Instead of “one person, one machine” (which many “non-Lean” factories and some hospital labs have), you can have one person running multiple machines.
That said, it *is* horribly annoying that computers take so long to boot up. I haven't timed them, but I'm pretty certain that my MacBook and my converted Linux laptop each boot up faster than Windows 2000 or Windows XP (yes, I'm a geekazoid).
Some computer makers are working on faster-booting machines:
“It's ridiculous to ask people to wait a couple of minutes,” said Sergei Krupenin, executive director of marketing of DeviceVM, a company that makes a quick-boot program for PC makers. “People want instant-on.”
Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Lenovo are rolling out machines that give people access to basic functions like e-mail and a Web browser in 30 seconds or less. Asus, a Taiwanese company that is the world's largest maker of the circuit boards at the center of every PC, has begun building faster-booting software into its entire product line.
What about Microsoft?
Even Microsoft, whose bloated Windows software is often blamed for sluggish start times, has pledged to do its part in the next version of the operating system, saying on a company blog that “a very good system is one that boots in under 15 seconds.” Today only 35 percent of machines running the latest version of Windows, called Vista, boot in 30 seconds or less, the blog notes. (Apple Macintoshes tend to boot more quickly than comparable Windows machines but still feel glacially slow to most users.)
My MacBook isn't glacially slow, as long as you don't stare at it. In fact, I rarely have to reboot my Mac — the sleep mode wakes up and works much more reliably than any Windows machine I've ever used…