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THE COMPUTER PROJECT

PC Repair

1. The Computer Project (TCP) will need space to sort useable computer parts from antiquated ones. This need not be heated, but should provide tables to quickly observe computers for usability; electrical service would be a plus, so that volunteers could determine working from non-operating monitors, in particular. Monitors present a special challenge because of the large amount of lead and their bulk. Yet, a fair number of donated monitors DO WORK; it seems that people get rid of these to free up space at home. The less they are moved, the better. Beige boxes, the cpu's, can be eye-balled for usability and then checked at Douglas Library for working parts.

2. If a higher quality space presents itself, with lighting, tables, electrical service, etc, then all of this process can be accomplished very efficiently. Totally non-working parts can then be left to send to state recycling center with no additional transportation. Useful parts can be taken to Douglas Library, Canaan.

3. Publicity. TCP will need additional volunteers to keep up with the expected quantity. Emphasizing the public service nature of this project might help attract 2 or 3 volunteers to disassemble "beige boxes" and separate into boxes useable parts.

4. Leadership. Show the business community in particular that it does not pay to keep old computers hanging around until they are useless. Trade publications have shown that as computers increase in speed and capabilities, the average business usefullness of a typical computer is now around 3 years. Keeping computers past this age increases disposal costs dramatically;

Some corporations spend $100-$150 EACH to dispose of old computers (elsewhere in US) to meet local regulations. If donated before this period, non-profit groups and schools can easily find use for them. Donors can then DEDUCT reasonable market value and help community at the same time. We might consider awarding prizes to most thoughtful recycler in the community, both business and individual. Our own recycling process is enlightened and we should publicize it.

5. Long-range goal: make Northwest Corner a model for "Connected Community", know no boundaries, etc. By getting computers to people that need them, NW CT. can begin to boast the highest percentage of connected homes in CT or New England, or even the US. It would not take much, as we have fewer homes to outfit with computers and internet access than elsewhere in CT, and we are, after all, a well-to-do community with many computers to give away. Typical affluent citizens are very unlikely to be caught with a computer older than 3 years, and NEED a place to give their old computers. We might consider running a contest to see which town in our NW community can achieve the highest rate of internet connectivity as percent of total homes in that town!

Could we sponsor this with other institutions and publicize it?

6. The beauty of donation. Donated computer parts make it possible to economically resuscitate donated 3 and 4 year old and older computers. TCP has RAM memory chips, hard drives, etc that computers need to work their best. The inverse nature of computer economics makes current owners pay MORE for replacement parts for old computers than adding NEW parts for new computers. Production efficiencies and volume make new computer parts very affordable but discontinued parts GO UP IN PRICE, even as they go DOWN IN VALUE in terms of what they accomplish.

Acquiring old, 72-pin RAM memory is a case in point. It costs 3 or 4 times as much per megabyte than current 168-pin SDRAM memory, which has plummetted in price to record lows of $.40 per meg and less! Recent prices for 64 mg, 168-pin SDRAM RAM modules: $20!! 16 meg 72-pin EDO RAM: $75!. TCP can salvage parts like the latter from 5 year-old early Pentium 90 and 100 mhz computers for nothing! These parts help beef up other working computers to properly run newer operating systems and deliver internet pages reasonably fast. These can then be given away with the confidence that we will be helping the recipient, not crippling their ability to communicate with the rest of the world.

We can make this community spirit work. It does already at the Douglas Library where we get generous donations of 3 and 4 year old computers needing a little technical work and eager 10 - 16 year-old students and older adults eager to troubleshoot and repair them.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you,

Paul DePaolo











Webmaster: Robert Miller Jr
This page Began: April, 2001
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