[nSLUG] Selling Used Computers

Richard Bonner ak621 at chebucto.ns.ca
Tue Mar 30 09:20:46 ADT 2010

On Mon, 29 Mar 2010, George N. White III wrote:

> On 3/29/10, Richard Bonner <ak621 at chebucto.ns.ca> wrote:
>> On Thu, 25 Mar 2010, George N. White III wrote:

>>> I have friends who tried installing linux on older computers for 
>>> their kids, but the kids "would just die" without iTunes, so linux 
>>> was abandoned and they ended up buying new computers.
>> ***   Are the "iTunes" people or any independents considering
>> developing or porting the program for non Windows machines?
> The key issue is digital rights management.   I can't see Apple porting
> iTunes to linux,

***   So only Apple users can access iTunes?

>>> In the past I know there have been efforts to make older computers
>>> available, sometimes connected to a trade school where students
>>> "refurbish" older computers.  One problem is that old hard disks are
>>> too failure prone and should be one of the first components to be
>>> replaced with new, so you need some real cash for new disk drives.
>> ***   There are plenty of newer, but used, hard drives around from
>> those upscaling for bloatware or excessive media storage.
> I've had too many drives fail within warranty, and many drives that
> failed shortly after the warranty expired, but I generally buy drives
> with 5-year warranties.   My guess that drives are build to last 3 or
> 5 years but with a pretty high rate of premature failures, so you can
> sell them at a discount if you offer 1-year warranty, so a 2-year old
> drive could be expected to last a year (more if it is lightly used) if
> it passes the vendor's diagnostics.

***     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.

> My main concern over disks is that a disk failure can be very 
> disruptive for someone who relies on a single computer, has no real 
> backup capability, and lacks the technical background to distinguish 
> between disk problems and other issues, and has very limited access 
> to technical support, and will have to wait months to get a 
> replacement if they can't afford to buy a new disk, and will have 
> trouble finding someone to reinstall and configure linux.

***   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.

> There are two categories of people who would benefit from low or no 
> cost computers: those who have temporary needs (e.g., home or 
> workplace destoyed by natural disaster or fire with inadequate 
> insurance) and those with chronic needs (disabilities, inadequate 
> pension).  For the latter the program that provides a computer 
> should do life-cycle management so the majority of systems are 
> refurbished or replaced before hardware fails.

***   It would be nice, but the funding is just not there and many 
with disabilities cannot afford to buy new, especially if there are 
issues with running their disability software on newer systems.

    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.

    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.

> While there is no substitute for having your own computer, there is 
> certainly a role for CAP.  From the recent news reports, I gather 
> that CAP sites could benefit from life-cycle managed computers.

***   I agree.


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