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The computer graveyard

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Larry MeltonThe computer graveyard
by on Apr 16, 2008 at 6:01:45 pm

OK, if you're anything like me, there's a room or a closet somewhere in your building that houses your old computer equipment, monitors, drives, etc.

I have a lot of this kind of stuff - Avid, Accom Affinity, Mac G3s and G4s. Much of it still works fine, but is limited and slow in light of what's available today.

When is it time to let go? When do you finally just come to the realization that the 9GB Avid drive that cost thousands of dollars in 1995 just doesn't have value anymore? Or does it? Do you just recycle? Donate? eBay? Just wondering how other folks handle this.

Cheers,

Larry Melton


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Mark SuszkoRe: The computer graveyard
by on Apr 16, 2008 at 9:39:34 pm

Ebay first, then Craigslist, then freecycle, then the EPA hazardous waste cleanup day in your area. Some computer stores will accept your discards for free, responsible disposal. If you know a local user group for the hardware/software, also give them a try.

Schools don't want your donated stuff any more. Makes IT work harder trying to patch together a motley assortment.

I'm a HUGE packrat and hate to throw away anything that still works or can be repurposed, I guess I'm overly sentimental about things... (said while looking at a D-Vision mousepad on my wall and an EECO EMME manual on the corner of my desk). My wife says I never throw anything old away. I say I'll feel the same about her when she gets old, so she should chill:-)

Was wandering around the surplus warehouse last year and saw several SGI Indigo and Octane boxes, tossed out for metal reclamation like so much day after Christmas cardboard packaging. I remember when those cost as much as a house and were the fastest, hottest hardware on the planet. But to everything there comes a season. Strip the useful things like cables and connectors or whatever, that can be re-used around the shop, nuke the drives or hammer them, and let them go.


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Ron LindeboomRe: A different spin on school donations...
by on Apr 17, 2008 at 6:31:09 pm

We have found another way to make school donations, because as Mark pointed out, we have learned that the schools do not want to make themselves a support nightmare by having a bunch of disparate systems hodge-podged together.

So what we do is we ask to speak with one of the teachers that we have worked with and we ask them: "Which student needs and deserves a computer that doesn't have one -- either because the parents are too poor or their parents don't have the vision to understand just how important it is to know computers? We don't want to give it to someone who could otherwise buy a computer but we are looking for someone who really wants one but whose prospects are non-existent under the circumstances."

There is always a very deserving candidate and one year when we did this, the family was so appreciative that we would give their child such an expensive gift that they called and asked if they could visit and thank us personally. We said okay. When they showed up, the Mom had baked a bunch of baked goods for us and brought over food. It was a fantastic afternoon and the student ran into us a couple years later at the store and told us just all they had been doing with the machine.

This may not get you the tax write-off of a "legal" donation to a school -- or even the change in your pocket you will get from an eBay sale -- but to think that our aging but still quite powerful machines find new life like this in the lives of others, is far more fun.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom


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Larry MeltonRe: A different spin on school donations...
by on Apr 17, 2008 at 6:49:10 pm

Ron, that's a terrific idea. My kids are still in school so I have good relationships with the faculty, and I'm sure they would be able to identify the kids who could benefit from something like that. Thanks for the suggestion.



Larry Melton
Triangle Productions Inc


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Rick DolishnyRe: The computer graveyard
by on Apr 17, 2008 at 4:52:30 am

hang out in the Discreet Editors forum for a few moments, then take a hammer to your 9G avid drive

---
Rick Dolishny
Discrete Editors COW Leader
http://www.thecreativeprocess.ca


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Mike CohenRe: The computer graveyard
by on Apr 17, 2008 at 11:20:20 am

I find old tube video cameras make great doorstops.
Old rack mount terminal equipment is useful as a monitor stand.
We keep our 1" machine out because it looks cool, like an old tv.
Mike


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Ryan MastRe: The computer graveyard
by on Apr 17, 2008 at 2:05:29 pm

Oh man, guys... before you take stuff to the dump, seriously see if there's some young student that could use some gear to play and learn with. I got started because of pros who would give me their old stuff -- or let me work for stuff -- when they were done with it. Even though it's not fast enough for current software, or doesn't fit in your workflow, I'm sure you can find some ambitious kid in your area that would absolutely love to learn on a real Avid, or Final Cut Pro... even if it is old.



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Nick GriffinRe: The computer graveyard
by on Apr 17, 2008 at 9:58:55 pm

[Ron Lindeboom] "So what we do is we ask to speak with one of the teachers that we have worked with and we ask them: "Which student needs and deserves a computer that doesn't have one -- either because the parents are too poor or their parents don't have the vision to understand just how important it is to know computers"

And THAT boys and girls is why Ron is one of the smartest people any of us know. Brilliant, Ron. And I say this as someone who attempted to donate gear and software to our local school system. A few years back I won a raffle at a computer conference and had just under $20k of stuff that was either redundant to what I had or stuff I would never use. The head of IT for the county's schools looked at me like I had three heads. This, of course after asking me what I was trying to sell him using this ploy. Finally I found a special needs school in an adjoining county that was only to happy to accept the donation.

One thing that we just went through was getting the call from our accountants last month asking if we REALLY wanted to keep so much old equipment on the books, incurring a hefty personal property tax each year. It didn't take too long to see that we were still writing off -- and PAYING TAXES on -- RAIDS, monitors and computers that I'd been letting sit in storage. "Aw jeez... do I really want to just throw away a SCSI RAID I paid $5,000 for?" Uh, duh. At 18 gig it's hazardous landfill material. And that weekend it along with many of its compatriots were.

[Mike Cohen]"We keep our 1" machine out because it looks cool, like an old tv."

You mean I'm not the only one?? A friend of mine who owns a post house offered me an old Sony BVH-2500, the single frame animation powerhouse of the mid-eighties, the one that in those days was probably $75 or $80,000. Okay his exact words were, "If you want it come get it this week, otherwise it's going in the dumpster." Today it helps decorate our office along with 1930's radio cabinets and an RCA 44BX microphone which probably is worth real money, but who could part with such a marvelous prop?

Back to the 1" -- some of our clients see it towering in the corner and think, "Wow, this must be a real video facility if they have something like this." I'd power it up, but the fans make too damn much noise.


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Ron LindeboomRe: The computer graveyard
by on Apr 17, 2008 at 10:53:23 pm

[Nick Griffin] "And THAT boys and girls is why Ron is one of the smartest people any of us know. Brilliant, Ron."

Boy, I am embarrassed and find this actually discomforting as I know that you, Nick, and many of the other far smarter voices than me are the real mental powerhouses around here.

And most importantly, I am honored to know you all and count you among my friends.

I learn from you constantly.

Ron Lindeboom


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grinner hesterRe: The computer graveyard
by on Apr 17, 2008 at 2:09:25 pm

a donation is a write off and could help some people out.
ebay is having to pack it up and becomes as big of a pain as a garage sale on a pretty day.
doin the office space out back with cameras rollin... now thats fun, should provide some excersise and could be a great way to kick off your next demo or pro-bono client suck up vid.
I like option 3. breakin stuff is cool.



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Larry MeltonRe: The computer graveyard
by on Apr 17, 2008 at 2:52:22 pm

Thanks, these kind of responses are pretty much what I expected. Sometimes I just wish that these things actually stopped functioning, instead of being put out to pasture --while they're still working -- as they become outmoded. It would be a hell of a lot easier to dump 'em.

Larry Melton

Larry Melton
Triangle Productions Inc


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Timothy J. AllenRe: The computer graveyard
by on Apr 17, 2008 at 10:49:08 pm

... and that folks, is why Grinner has cool footage when he needs it. ;-)

When I moved a few months ago, I gave lots of old computer equipment to the neighborhood kids. The mom of one of the kids made them bring back the old monitor - since it wasn't a flat panel.

If I had thought about it, I would have found some really tall stairs and recorded the sound of it bouncing down a few flights. Some of the best drum samples I have are things like that.



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Craig SeemanRe: The computer graveyard
by on Apr 17, 2008 at 5:28:49 pm

Depending on how much space you have, the old computers sometimes work as good web browsing stations. Old NLEs might work as offline boxes if still fully functional. Also donating them to some not for profit (usually small ones in your community) can help if they can't afford a modern computer.



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Mark StuartRe: The computer graveyard
by on Apr 19, 2008 at 1:51:47 am

geez, doesn't seem all that long ago 1" machines were state of the art... I am getting old!

The fine television broadcast facility where I work during the day is in the process of disassembling lots of old equipment little by little (kind of like the "I took it one piece at a time" song played backwards!)and recycling. Evidently, copper is pretty valuable at the moment and they have a tub of wire/windings of thin copper... looks cool. Pretty weird to see stuff we took such meticulous care of being taken apart like an autopsy.

Personally, I think it would be wise to keep one of each of the older formats around in your shop as you never know when you'd have an opportunity to make some transfer cash.

http://www.mediaartsolutions.net


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Ben BencivengaRe: The computer graveyard
by on May 20, 2008 at 6:18:27 pm

Larry- by any chance, do you still have an Affinity (or parts) available for sale? Ben



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Larry MeltonRe: The computer graveyard
by on May 20, 2008 at 6:44:10 pm

I still have the system, and I just set it up and it works great. Contact me offline at larry@triangleprod.com.

Thanks

Larry Melton
Triangle Productions Inc


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