I've just been configuring a router (actually a NetGear switch with layer 3 routing capabilities). Clearly, to test that a router is routing, it's handy to have a machine on each of the subnets so you can try pinging each from the other.

To achieve this, I dug out my old laptop (a 266MHz Pentium II with 128MB RAM) from the cupboard. I never use this for proper work cos it's years old and the "K" key is broken.

My god, I'd forgotten how fast computers used to be. This thing absolutely flies! It's got a fraction of the RAM of my day-to-day machine (1GB), the processor is 80% slower, and because it's running Windows 98 you lose the luxuries of modern day OSs - proper memory protection, the ability to change the IP settings without rebooting, and so on.

The world and his dog are bleating on that Windows Vista is yet another order of magnitude slower than XP. I've just realised just how significant this really is - until a couple of hours ago I'd almost forgotten that the performance of a computer is not just down to the technology of the hardware but to the mass of (probably unnecessary) guff you run on it.