[nSLUG] Selling Used Computers

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Thu Apr 1 09:24:54 ADT 2010


On 4/1/10, Richard Bonner <ak621 at chebucto.ns.ca> wrote:
>
> On Tue, 30 Mar 2010, George N. White III wrote:
>
>> On 3/30/10, Richard Bonner <ak621 at chebucto.ns.ca> wrote:
>>>
>>> On Mon, 29 Mar 2010, George N. White III wrote:
>>>
>>>> On 3/29/10, Richard Bonner <ak621 at chebucto.ns.ca> wrote:
>>> ***   So only Apple users can access iTunes?
>>
>> The vast majority of iTunes users run WIndows.   You can use Apple iPods
>> on linux, but you can't purchase from Apple's iTunes.
>
> ***   So Apple and Windows users both can? If so, why not open it up
> to others? Business is business.
>
>
>>> *** I have heard of more newer drives failing lately. Are they not
>>> as well built as before? I have 10-year-old drives that function
>>> fine. The last hard drive I had fail was around 12 or more years
>>> old.
>>
>> New drives pack a lot more data into a smaller package, and with the
>> low prices people are moving into data-intensive tasks (editing
>> multimedia) and loading up systems with lots of disks.  At work we
>> have some Mac Pro systems with 4x 1TB disk, one for the system
>> and 3 drives in a stripped configuration to store on-line remote sensing
>> images.  We have problems keeping the systems cool, which likely
>> contributed to the two drive failures we have had in 1 year of use.
>s
> ***   Perhaps people should stick with multiple, smaller hard drives,
> then.

Why did Lindberg use a single engine plane?   If 1 drive has a 90% chance
of surviving the next year, chance of 2 drives both surviving is 81%, so if
your data is too much for 1 small drive, don't add drives, get a bigger one.

Multiple drives make sense when you need redundancy so you don't loose time
restoring backups after a failure, or in stripped configuration for performance.

>>> ***   I can't believe that so many don't seem to bother with backups.
>>> With the low cost of floppies and flashdrives - even used zip drives,
>>> there is no excuse except for laziness, as I see it.

If I had more time, I'd use it to catch up on lost sleep.  Many people
are working
flat out just to keep afloat -- backups are low on the priority list.
With a decent
OS, however, backups should be automated.  This is easy if your systems run
7/24, but may require some discipline (always leave system running Wed and
Sat PM for backups).


>> Well, this thread is about getting computers to people with very little
>> computer experience or money.
>
> ***   Even so, those persons will be suing older systems of which
> there is a glut of free, or nearly free, components. I have an
> inventory of floppy and hard drives, and CRT monitors available
> for when mine current ones fail.
>
>
>>>     I was at a friend's place earlier this month. He has severe
>>> respiratory problems. His system is MS-DOS 7 with a Win 98 overlay and
>>> I went there to check out an issue. We determined that it appears to
>>> be his hard drive, but he has decided to replace it all with another P
>>> II or P III.
>>
>> Someone who does not expect multi-media has lots of options, from
>> 10-year old P-III ($50, but may need PS, fan, or disk at any moment)
>> to new atom-based box with free-dos or command-line linux.
>
> ***    Even older systems can do multimedia provided the users don't
> want top resolutions.

And if they can find software that runs on their CPU.  My P4 became
"obsolete" when some key apps started assuming instructions that are
found only on newer CPU's.

>>>     On a related subject, at A1 Laptop, the owner mentioned to me that
>>> he has a customer looking for a large quantity of P iIs. So the demand
>>> is there for these older systems, or at least newer ones that will
>>> accept older software and operating systems.
>>
>> Yes.  Many of these older systems have specialized hardware interfaces
>> on 8-bit or 16-bit ATI cards, or even 5v PCI that can't be used in current
>> mainstream systems.   A few years ago there were "industrial" system
>> boards that still had ATI slots, and also an external chassis with a PCI
>> interface that could be connected to a newer PC.
>
> ***   I saw a demo of one about 5 years ago. It had every slot and
> port from the previous decade or more on it.
>
>
>> The problem is that much of the older software used polling loops,
>> etc. that only work on a specific CPU, so even if you can find new
>> hardware that accepts your cards you have to completely rewrite the
>> software if you change CPU, and many of those older systems didn't
>> come with source code (and the sources may be long lost due to
>> bankruptcy, reorganization, etc of the original company).
>
> ***   Good points.

Maybe a VM running under a modern CPU can be tweaked to emulate an
older CPU down to timing details.  An extension chassis with legacy slots
and a VM that gave a precise emulation of P-II and P-III CPU's would let
people keep using those legacy widgets with ATI interfaces, but at some
point it becomes cheaper and easier to just buy a modern widget that uses
USB.   In many cases the newer widget has better specs.


>   Richard
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-- 
George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia



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