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Life after cyber-death

W

Wolfeymole

#1
How to outfit a recycled computer

GOT a new computer over the holiday? So, what are you going to do with the old one? Hand it down to a younger sibling or offspring? Odds are they already have a fairly recent one, and won’t be too thrilled by your wimpy old model that runs like molasses when trying to play today’s video games.

One way your correspondent has dealt with 30-pound doorstops in the past has been to drive a stake through their hard-drive heart, and pay a small fee to have them professionally interred. Staples, the office equipment chain, will take a computer and monitor off your hands for $20 and dispose of it responsibly.

But that seems an awful waste. After a year helping out as a volunteer teacher in a local public school, your correspondent is now convinced there’s a better way.

The schools may not want your clapped-out computer—it costs them $400 or more to bring an old Windows machine up to snuff, and even more for a Macintosh. But quite a few students have a crying need for a computer at home.

A quarter of the children in your correspondent’s class had nothing at home to research their projects on—not even a parent’s or older sibling’s computer. And it showed in the classroom. Henceforth, all cast-off computers at Mayhem Manor are to be recycled for needy school kids rather than for landfill.

But how? It would be nice to add more memory, a bigger hard-drive and a later version of the operating system. Unfortunately, that’s not practical. But thanks to improvements in desktop versions of Linux, we can now do something better.

Apart from being able to run easily on clunky old machines, the great thing about Linux is the way thousands of the world’s most professional programmers have volunteered their spare time to improving the breed—with nothing to gain save personal satisfaction and the respect of their peers. Thanks to their efforts, there’s recently been a flood of slick desktop versions of the rugged open-source operating system.

As the choice has become bewildering, your correspondent and his ten-year-old tester spent the holidays comparing a handful of the latest offerings. The findings have made him re-evaluate his own computing needs.

Full article from the Economist
 

RandyL

Administrator
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Messages
4,878
Location
USA, Nebraska
PC Experience
Very Experienced
#2
There are places here that will take my computer and monitor (and rejects I inherit) for $20. Too costly for me. I'm cheap. So I looked into donating them to charity.

Schools and other entities wanted 1 gig processors, 512mb memory, XP and only flat screen monitors. I can't give anything else away. I guess charities can afford to be picky.

On the other hand the working class people I deal with will use their computers until it's cheaper to buy a new one rather then fix it. By then you have to combine 2 or 3 to get one working one. Of course it's usually Windows 98 or ME by then.

I was going to install Linux on one that I was sure the owner didn't want back because it was so weak. I just wanted to experiment with Linux. But alas. I knew it could handle Linux but the owner wanted to limp along with a really weak 98 system.

I can't convince them to try it, not that I have. If it's not Windows to heck with it.
Nothing they have software wise will run on it.

And half the time it's the games they want. In the name of all that's holy, IF YOU WANT TO PLAY HIGH END GAMES GET AN XBOX OR SOMETHING.

OK you can comment on my post now. Bonnie please go easy on me. I'm sensitive. lol

RandyL
 

JEBWrench

FPCH Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
309
Location
Aperture Science
PC Experience
Operating System
Windows XP - Media Center Edition
#3
I think the idea of offering old PCs to young students and their families is a great idea - while it's true that many schools themselves want to have more up-to-date systems, being able to utilize relatively modern technology can only benefit children of families who can't afford otherwise to own a PC.

Also, I've known of food & fellowship missions that accept older PCs as donation so that the underpriveleged children that they provide food and edutainment for can have access to research materials, can learn to use a PC, and in general adapt themselves to modern technologies when their homelives, for whatever reason, doesn't allow them to do so. Though, by the same token, I know of a few executives of those missions who use the PCs themselves to surf the internet and generally muck about.

As far as Randy's final comment goes, if it's games they want, they can always be advised to try the older stuff that's not as flashy, but oftentimes more intuitive, captivating, and in general a better experience. ;)
 

help4me

FPCH Long Term Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Messages
395
Location
USA
PC Experience
Some Experience
Operating System
Windows Vista - Home Basic
#4
RandyL said:
There are places here that will take my computer and monitor (and rejects I inherit) for $20. Too costly for me. I'm cheap. So I looked into donating them to charity.

Schools and other entities wanted 1 gig processors, 512mb memory, XP and only flat screen monitors. I can't give anything else away. I guess charities can afford to be picky.

On the other hand the working class people I deal with will use their computers until it's cheaper to buy a new one rather then fix it. By then you have to combine 2 or 3 to get one working one. Of course it's usually Windows 98 or ME by then.

I was going to install Linux on one that I was sure the owner didn't want back because it was so weak. I just wanted to experiment with Linux. But alas. I knew it could handle Linux but the owner wanted to limp along with a really weak 98 system.

I can't convince them to try it, not that I have. If it's not Windows to heck with it.
Nothing they have software wise will run on it.

And half the time it's the games they want. In the name of all that's holy, IF YOU WANT TO PLAY HIGH END GAMES GET AN XBOX OR SOMETHING.

OK you can comment on my post now. Bonnie please go easy on me. I'm sensitive. lol

RandyL
Actually I agree with you Randy (and you crack me up ^^^:) ). Seems like there isn't much that anyone can do with an old computer and forget trying to teach anyone anything new. The average computer user wants the easy thing (which windows is one of those "any idiot can do it" type of things discussed in another thread. And make note... I am a windows user... so no one need take offense to my idiot statement ;) )

One possible option... what about a trade school? I know some mechanic classes will take old cars and such for their students to practice on, and/or rebuild. Then the school/class can sell the car to help fund the mechanic program. Perhaps a tech class or such might take them for their students to work on.