Everybody has one. At least one. Collecting dust in a closet somewhere; waiting to be thrown away. It’s not a time capsule per-se, but if you looked at it now it would probably show you a snapshot of a life you lived not that long ago. It was once a source of pride, entertainment, accomplishment or perhaps comfort. Maybe it was a status symbol. Now you would call it useless, worthless, junk.
We’re not talking about the photo album from your dormroom party days, although it might still contain a copy. We’re talking about your old PC, laptop, netbook, or computer. That thing you spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on to sit in front of for hours doing whatever it is that you do. Maybe it helped you get a degree, or maybe it was your primary source of income. Doesn’t matter now anyway. Your smart-toaster does more MIPS and FLOPS with half the power! There’s no value in an old computer, right?
Wrong! If the commoditization of computing hardware and the steady marching of Moore’s law has done anything to old computers it has been to breathe new life into them. How, you ask?
Putting old hardware to new uses is one way of recycling – I tend to give away my “old” smartphones as I buy new ones way too often. Often, a friend’s phone stopped working or a family member needs a new one – so I just give them mine.