I found myself in the junk aisle of another recycle shop the other day, this time turning over an ancient Fujitsu laptop in my hands … 266Mhz Celeron, 64Mb with a 6Gb hard drive, CDROM, floppy drive … and wondering if I’m not going in the wrong direction.
Right now I have two screenless laptops — I like to call them “blind” — that I could be using, if I would only break down and buy an external monitor. Neither of them is technically old enough to satisfy my need for a low-, low-end machine, but while they sit on the sidelines, unused, I could be putting them to use as torrent slaves or media centers, just by plugging in a decent flat-panel screen.
And flat-panel screens at the recycle shop run as low as US$30, for a rather ugly and small one, all the way up to US$200-plus, for something modern with built-in speakers and a widescreen aspect.
Picking up a monitor alone is somehow disturbing to my conscience though — I can get a monitor bundled with a leftover machine for the price of the monitor by itself, and it’s in the right bracket, speedwise.
But if it’s just the monitor I’m really after, why pay money for one when co-workers and friends are practically begging me to take away their boat-anchor Pentium II desktops — machines I repeatedly turn down just because I don’t want to deal with the bulk.
And that’s the ultimate complication: Do I really want to start messing with desktop machines again? I could, conceivably, justify owning one as an excuse that it came with the monitor, but space is an issue, and dragging desktop machines home like lost puppies is opening another can of worms altogether.
So there I am, standing in the junk aisle of another recycling center again, wondering if I should place a US$50-bet on a leftover laptop, or take home a US$35 desktop system of equal caliber, with the added bonus of having a monitor to connect the other machines to.
It’s the toughest decision I have to make these days, and I guess that’s a good thing. In the end, I put the laptop down, and left empty-handed. I lost nothing by procrastinating, I guess.