The main story is about NEC launches environmentally friendly PC, but what is interesting is the sidebar on “what to do with an old PC”. The 3 options: Sell, Donate, Recycle, according to Mike Langberg. On buying an old PC, he writes: “WeirdStuff Warehouse and CRC both sell used systems; typically, a 3-year-old PC and monitor will sell for about $250 — half the cost of the least expensive new system. Older PCs are reliable workhorses for simple tasks such as word processing, electronic mail and Web browsing. But you should avoid used computers if you want to do cutting-edge tasks such as photo or video editing, or play the latest computer games.”
Old PCs need to be made into Thin Clients for use in the world’s emerging markets, and be rented out with the software for no more than USD 15-20 per month. This is the way to take computing to the masses.
On the same point, I got an email from a user “apchem”:
Computers are recycled everywhere, not just in developing countries. On the 12th of August, BBC’s godigital programme broadcast a feature
on recycling computers in Melbourne, Australia. The basic idea is that a slow computer is better than no computer at all. Even a five-year old
computer can be used to send and receive emails, browse the internet and use word processing and spreadsheet programmes.
Whatever we may say about Microsoft/Intel, they have made computing universal. Even a layman can approach any PC anywhere in the world
because he knows he will be able to use Windows and Word or Excel. This is proved by the fact that Linux enthusiasts are also trying to make their programs work just like Windows.
Coming back to used PCs, these are available all over the world at throw-away prices. A 166 MHz CPU in working condition may cost just US$30.00 or so and used monitors are available at US$20.00 each or even less. Large quantities of these are entering countries such as India,
Pakistan and Bangladesh, where people rig them up and use them. These are good enough for most people as very few people want to make edit digital movies or watch streaming video on the internet. Who cares about the source of software? The market has found its own way while learned people are still thinking about it!