Less one … and a half

I should probably mention, just as a side note, that I’ve managed to reduce the number of junk computers in the house by one and a half.

The one is the Dynabook, which I knew from the start just wasn’t a keeper. Too many physical shortcomings, too many esoteric hardware points, and while the screen was beautiful, I couldn’t get anything to show on it except a low-grade flashing cursor.

So it has gone the way of all flesh, which is to say, the recycling shop. It seemed to run Windows fine and I got Slitaz working once or twice, so perhaps someone with more patience or more expertise than me will find a way to put it to use.

I know I should be a little more appreciative of gifts, and at the same time make my best effort to keep a machine in use for as long as I can, but even from the first moment, it was obviously not going to stay around long.

Discarded hardware is a fact of modern culture, and the predominance of machines I see are in tip-top shape. I feel guilty saying it, but I can afford to discriminate.

So a beaten and battered 700Mhz Celeron, while technically usable if I lower my standards, just doesn’t appeal. There are too many near-perfect ones at hand.

And the half? Well, that one is now a clock, of course. So it doesn’t count as a whole computer, just a half. :twisted:

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4 Responses to “Less one … and a half”


  1. 1 darkduck 2011/03/08 at 8:38 PM

    So, you have minus one and a half computer, but PLUS one clock! Nice exchange rate! 8-)

  2. 2 skralljt 2011/03/09 at 6:45 AM

    Hi, I have been stopping by your blog every now and then for a few years now due to our shared interest in using what to conventional wisdom is throwaway computer hardware and thought of a question for you:
    Where do you buy hard drives for your old laptops? I have plenty of great old laptops but the pata hard drive usually dies and it is now the same cost to buy an old working laptop as it is to just buy the used hard drive. I don’t want to revive an old p3m if it costs $50 for the hard drive. Of course, these problems could all be sidestepped if manufacturers like Dell would stop writing shit bioses that require you to have a hard drive installed before it will boot from cd or usb drive.
    I would actually prefer a laptop that had no spinning disk at all to avoid the power costs for an always-on rtorrent client and ftp/ssh server.
    Anyway, to round it out: what is your strategy for maintaining your old laptop farm’s hard drive supply? Is there some solution like getting an ide to compactflash adapter to avoid the need for a hard drive in the bootup sequence?

    • 3 K.Mandla 2011/03/09 at 7:25 AM

      To be honest, I generally have an overabundance of hard drives lying around. Some of them aren’t very strong performers (like the 2.2Gb 4200rpm clattering machine in the weather clock), but it seems any time I get a computer I can swap out the drive for something at least a little better.

      Part of that though, to be honest, is because I’ve regularly bought CF cards for anything small enough and flexible enough to use them.

      Beyond that though, my local computer recycling shop sells secondhand drives, blanked and reformatted, for reasonable prices. A little high for what they’re really worth, but I suppose if I needed a small, slow, noisy hard drive, I could spend a few dollars for one. … :)

      • 4 skralljt 2011/03/09 at 11:05 AM

        I just saw your post about the cf cards. I will give that a whirl. Here in Seattle, most of the old hardware being sold on craigslist is without spinning disk which I assume is because the drive failed and not because of paranoia about data loss. With an alternative to hard drives one can take their pick of sub $50 hardware. Hope the cf card looks like a hdd to the notebook’s bios or else it won’t boot!


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