The Great Computer Raid of 2005

In a stack of papers called Technology.

  • Jun
  • 18
  • 2005

At school because I need to help out with some department goal setting, yesterday I came upon 3 pallets of computers to be thrown away. They awaited the arrival of the district van to take them to a recycling center. Mind you, I spied this after recent email interaction with the technology coordinator for the district and the vice principal in which I related to both of them that technology is being wasted on campus, that myself and two other friends would love to be a tech team next year, and that we require no more extra money for the work, just open access to all “broken” computers and the ability to turn in RPOs for parts needed.

In return for this suggestion, I received assurances that Winchester Technologies (a company we’ve paid tens of thousands of dollars to in order to manage our campus computers) and our technology coordinator had it all under control. That’s right, as a district, the approximate amount of money spent on 2 teachers’ salaries has been spent to manage our computer supply.

In spite of that money, here’s what I found in the “junk” heap:

  1. Enough memory to bump 2 Power Mac G3s and 2 iMacs from 64mb to 128mb, with plenty left over for a few other computers once I have the time;
  2. Enough memory to bump 3 old PCs from 16mb to 80mb, with plenty left over to try configuring memory to 96mb;
  3. As many working floppy drives as you could possibly need;
  4. Ditto on CD-ROM drives;
  5. Again on power supplies;
  6. Several NICs;
  7. Need a K6-2 chip? They are a little rained upon, but they are out there;
  8. 4 hard drives of at least 2GB capacity;
  9. 3 working PCs that were likely junked because of hard drive problems, clearly not an issue due to the hard drives recovered from other machines;
  10. 2 10GB hard drives.

It remains to be seen if the hard drives actually work. Who knows? Maybe they are all broken, but I doubt it. Even if they are, I recovered at least $300 worth of memory chips. I was told all memory and hard drives were taken out of the computers. I just saved my school somewhere around $800 in memory and hard drives. Sure, it’s probably not money they would have spent (they wouldn’t approve an RPO to upgrade my computers from 64mb to 128mb), but it’s money they would have lost in a manner of speaking.

I wonder how many other schools meet stubborn administration who will not admit a chink in their armor. Despite my most ernest and sincere pleas that we have computers on campus that could be working to the benefit of our students, computers locked away in closets because they don’t work, I’ve repeatedly been told that administration is aware of the problem and already working on it. How many other campuses have wasted computers either in the form of paper weights in classrooms that do not use them or in “junk” piles when a little rebuilding will turn 2 crummy computers into 1 fairly decent one? How much does this contribute to any financial problems within districts?

UPDATE: I went back on Saturday and found…

  1. 6 SIMM chips (for use in some old PCs I have);
  2. 4 DIMM chips (for use in some Power Mac G3s and iMacs);
  3. 6 hard drives;
  4. floppy, CD, and hard drives to drop into an old PC that is having hard drive difficulties;
  5. 2 more PCs that I think I can turn into at least 1 working computer.


1. Todd says:

[6/19/2005 - 11:13 am]

Let me know and I can help you rescue the goodies you find. I went back to ‘Creek and found more stuff yesterday (even though I told myself that I’d found everything I could).

2. Tom says:

[6/18/2005 - 3:14 pm]

Hey Todd if you need help upgrading some PCs or Macs let me know.

3. Todd says:

[6/18/2005 - 3:57 pm]

The biggest thing I need to do is figure out how to upgrade the processors in the PCs, though that’s not a terribly huge priority. They are Pentium Is, mostly. I have 3 133GHz processor machines. But they are fast enough to get online, word process, and run slideshows. Once I get Audacity on them, I’ll be able to use them to create podcasts and other audio content. I just bought some 25 cent microphones from RAFT this morning and I’ll get more later. And they will work just fine for kids to hop online and blog, the base-level application of these machines.

I don’t need the latest and greatest to do what I need to do. I’ll let you know what I can use and you do the same. I’ll be going back to get more “junk” later this week, so there may yet be more hard drives and CD-ROMs in storage in my room. I think I grabbed all, and I mean ALL, of the memory already, though.

4. Tricia Bolster says:

[6/18/2005 - 6:22 pm]

All you say is so very sadly true. I teach in another high school in our district, and many things are junked that could be used…old computers used as doorstops (well, we are getting some use out of them). Great idea. When the insanity starts in the fall, I’ll see what I can find to salvage…assuming anyone at my school knows how to get the goodies out of the machines…

5. bionicteacher says:

[6/22/2005 - 1:26 pm]

Odd to see how different schools do things. We don’t seem to throw anything away. I just went through about three closets worth of old computer parts. Everything we don’t want goes to ‘surplus’ and I can’t imagine how much stuff they have there.

The school did decided to see the iBooks from high school for $50 which I find insanely cheap. They are first offered to seniors and then it will be open to the public. You’d have to be crazy not to buy one as you can sell then on eBay for a couple hundred dollars easy. They haven’t set the ground rules for the public sale yet but I’ll be there if humanly possible and I’ll take orders as well :). I’ll let you know.

I can’t understand why they don’t push those laptops down to the elementary level and get rid of the old iMacs and 575s. It is probably because we too will be moving to Dell.