[OT] Tatty, old computers.

Richmond Mathewson richmondmathewson at gmail.com
Tue Apr 21 12:32:45 EDT 2009

Following recent remarks about my computers I feel a need to explain why
I use "tatty, old computers" most of the time:

4 years ago I 'sat on my bottom' for about a year, having reached a 
stage in my
life where I really didn't feel an urge to work for any state institutions.

At that time I decided to start a one-man EFL operation; from scratch.

I then spent considerable time working out what I needed and how much that
would cost.

I was amazed that when I looked at things it came out that, at least in 
it would be ultimately cheaper to buy second-hand PCs and monitors rather
than new ones. Here's the maths:

1. 3 Pentium III, 600-700 MHz, 256 MB RAM PCs:  $150
2. 3 Monitors capable of 1024 x 768 Screen Resolution: $90

after 4 years I have replaced one monitor!

c.f. 1. 3 new, cheapo PCs: $800
      2. 3 Flat-screen monitors: $1200  I was informed that the average 
life-expectancy of a flat-screen
          monitor is about 4 years.

I, subsequently invested in some very good, new, teaching keyboards 
(because I needed them).

The Pentium IIIs chunter along on Ubuntu 5.10; they do exactly what I 
require in the school, i.e:

Run my content delivery and reinforcement programs written with Runtime 

I am bemused by all the commercial hype to endlessly upgrade; most PCs 
currently on the market
can do a lot more than the average consumer will ever require.

I run a G4 Mac (Mirror Door 2003, Dual Proc.), a PPC Mac Mini, a G3 
iMac, and a "Bits-and-Bobs-flung-together-from-
the-discard-pile" Pentium 4: between them they satisfy all my computing 

My ability to get old computers working is strictly restricted to 
bunging an install disk into the CD drive!

If the computing world would sit back and think a bit, instead of 
continually spending money on ever more
spiffy computers, and filling up landfills like nobody's business; they 
might see the virtues of hanging on to
older hardware and "milking it" as long as possible: this is, ultimately 
far more 'green' than buying
Steve Jobs' "latest thang", which, supposedly, is so 'eco' that it gives 
free massages to members of greenpeace :)

sincerely, Richmond Mathewson.

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