The perils of work-from-home

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 21 May 2020

Fighting obsolescence: Customers staying up to date at a computer shop in Komtar, Georgetown. — MUSTAFA AHMAD/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Working from home has made many people realise just how outdated their personal notebooks and PCs are.

Their home computers hang, lag or freeze, keeping in-house and external computer technicians busy troubleshooting their machines throughout the movement control order (MCO) period.

As millions of Malaysians attempted to remotely access the office Intranet, using video-conferencing apps or open new-fangled and memory-hungry software, many found their machines were unable to cope and embrace the new digital world.

“Some of their hardware and software were so out-of-date that they can’t open files or use programmes to work from home. We have been getting many calls to help customers troubleshoot this, ” said computer sales engineer K.G. Lua.

Lua said all the webcams and headphones with microphones in his shop in Komtar were all snapped up quickly when he reopened for business on May 7.

They need these items to conduct video conferencing, he said.

Lua said all the webcams in the market had been completely sold out and it would take a while for the Chinese manufacturers to replenish the stocks.

A supervisor of another computer shop in Komtar, Daryll Wong, said many parents rushed to his store when it reopened for business on May 9 to buy laptops for their school-going children, so that they can attend online classes.

“We were given a warning by the City Council enforcement unit as the shop was too crowded. We had to carry out crowd control.”

He said aside from laptops, parents were also looking for printers.

Wong also said they have to use remote access to gain entry into their customers’ computers’ during the MCO to troubleshoot their machines.

“We found many of them were using outdated software, ” he said.

An IT manager of a public-listed company, Eric Khoo, said before the MCO, staff members required to work from home brought their personal notebooks and tablets for his team to configure.

“Many faced compatibility issues after their software was updated due to outdated machines.”

He said many people also have problems accessing their workplace due to the limitation of their bandwidth.

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