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jawtheshark's Journal: The end of an era 6

Journal by jawtheshark

You all know I love dumpster diving. The excitement of getting new machines to play with, new hardware to give a life... I think I'm going to stop, or at least stop actively seeking. If I can get some older hardware given by friends or family, I'll probably still take it. The dumpsters themselves, I'll probably leave alone.

There are several reasons. First of all, I lack the time... I wish I had as much time as I used to in the good old days I only had to care about myself.

Second, it really is not economically viable. The typical machines found these days tend to be 2.0GHz++ AMD XP or Pentium IV. Those are capable machines, but think about it. An Atom based machine can be had for 199€, new and with warranty with more memory and dual-core to boot and that in a sleek small case while being energy efficient. Obviously you're going to say... "But, but, a Pentium IV is better than an Atom D525". To which I'll reply: Oh really? I don't think so.. Yes, I do realize those are artificial benchmarks and the the P-IV does that with one core where the Atom needs two cores to achieve the same score. Still, it's more than enough for the daily worker.

Not to mention that dumpster diving is forbidden and I have been caught a few times. It's getting harder and harder because they know me and keep an eye on me. Well, that, or I'm starting to cultivate a paranoia ;-)

I also lack the space... My parents have been nice enough to allow me to have my old wardrobe full of old computer stuff. I've been hoarding, and in essence, never really giving anything away. Sometimes I managed and I made sure it would be good machines, but eventually people buy something new and (as I usually ask), I get the old gear back.

This brings me to the main problem. I have fine machines, but there is nobody to take them. Given the price of todays machines, why would they?

Months ago, I dumped one of my old "giveaway-but-came-back-after-about-two-years" machines on my parking spot in the basement. I had no time, no space and let it sit there. One day, I noticed a note on it, which basically asked me "Hey, this computer is probably defect, I'd take it away so I can use the spare parts". I couldn't go ok with it, as the computer had belonged to a teenage girl and I wanted to be absolutely sure that there was no data left on the disk. I also knew it still worked, and somehow I couldn't just say "Sure, it's defective, you can take it". It wasn't, so I wrote a note: "No, you can't take it, it still works".

However, this gave me an idea. Someone wanted this AMD XP 2800+ machine (even though this person didn't know what the machine was...) and I couldn't justify keeping it. So why not prepare it for that person and give it away to them.... Better, I have more stuff he might like. So, I also gathered materials to build two other machines (A P-IV 2.8GHz and a P-IV 2.4GHz). When I was done refurbishing, I put them on my parking spot behind my car with a sign on each of them with big red letters "Take me! I still work!". I also was pretty nice, as on the printed signs, I added the exact specifications of the machine. Heck, I even included a power cable for each of them!

This was about a week ago. Nothing happened. I already feared the mystery computer affectionado wasn't a common visitor of my underground parking. Today, I came home and only one was left. Oddly enough the 2.8GHz P-IV. I guess the person who picked them up didn't have enough space in his car to take them all.

I hope they found a good home... Worst case, some idiot disassembles them and he only keeps the optical drives. (You see, the remaining one only had a CD-Rom... The other two were equipped with CD-RW and DVD-Rom...)

So, unless I really find something absolutely extraordinary, don't count on much dumpster diving adventures. Perhaps I should also change my slashdot signature now....

Update, 2011-09-13@00h40CEST
Had to fetch my laptop from my car because of a larger alert on our systems. Machine number three is gone too.

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The end of an era

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  • Do they present a reason for such a thing? Or is this just some bureaucrat marking his territory?

    • Yes, I have talked to them.

      There are several reasons:

      • Safety. They don't want Joe Public rummaging in the dumpster because he could hurt himself. Fair enough. We don't live in sue-friendly-US, but I wouldn't be all that surprised that they have to prohibit it because of their insurance forcing them.
      • Apparently, there are really insane people. I talked to one of the guys working there and he said that sometimes people take stuff out of the bin, then come back if it doesn't work and .... complain to them.
  • ... get rid of everything now, and in a year or two, when you feel the urge coming back, you'll be finding dual-core machines. You could even post both a "wanted - looking to fix up old machines to give away" and "to give away" notices.

    This could help stop stuff going into the dumpster right away (since people would rather avoid the recycling fees).

    • Yes, Freecycle.

      A few years ago I already looked into them, because I was amassing too much stuff and didn't find good homes for those machines. I looked to find charities or indeed stuff like Freecycle and others (I got links back then). Thing is, there are none close by. If I recall correctly, the response to that was "start one yourself". Now, back then I perhaps should have. Given the time I have now, I simply can't do it. (I must be mixing up Freecycle with something else as this seems to be mo

    • Ah, forgot... What recycle fees? Even CRTs can be given of for free now. Before that I had to pay 17€ for a 15" CRT. At that point, you just keep them somewhere or "creatively" dispose them somewhere. (I mean, somewhere in the storage room of your employer... They'll never notice... *grin*) There are per kilo fees for bulky waste [wikipedia.org] (had to look it up, hence the link), but there isn't all that much in the computer sector that is considered "bulky waste". Perhaps a Blade Centre Chassis and who has th

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