View Full Version : (k)ubuntu "centric" Computer Recycling call for ideas ...

April 30th, 2006, 06:28 AM
OK I've been kicking this idea arround for a long time and just never realy looked into it serouisly but now is the time in my life when I think this will work ( in other words I have the time and energy to put into a project like this ) but now I'm looking for a few fresh ideas and sugestions .

The idea of a computer recycling / refurbishing and then donating or selling at minimal operating cost back to the community is by far not new at all, there are many such companys and indviduals that do this all over the conunty , there just seem not to be any in my area ( within 50 miles )

Assume the following :
1) I do have the skills to refurb old and new PC equipment and have the storage space to do so ( thanks to many years of working at various PC repair shops )

2) I DO NOT intend to make any money from this or "get rich" etc etc etc BUT on the other side I'm not wealthy either so I cant pour a TON of my own money into this without it atleaste paying for itself ( and thats all I ask again I'm not trying to "make money" )

With that said has anyone else had any experince running / starting a computer refurbishing project in their area ? For those that still arent clear on what I mean by that it means Basicly take in old computers from the public pentium 1's pentium 2's etc and get them back in working order and loading a copy of ubuntu linux on them and then donating them to schools etc or selling them to the general public at a nominal fee ( $25 - $50 dollars etc just to cover the light bills etc )

I would love to hear everyones ideas about this and if you happen to be in the Kansas City Missouri area and feel like giving a hand etc feel free to contact me ( brandon@imbrandon.com )

April 30th, 2006, 06:45 AM
Have you contacted the Kansas/Missouri Linux Users Association (http://www.kulua.org/)? They may have some good ideas.

My guess is that your first step should be to see how cheaply you can acquire old computers. Pop over to Good Will and see how much their old computers cost.

Next step would be contacting some schools and non-profits and pitching the idea--see if there's any interest. You can let them know how much it'd cost (maybe tack on about $15 to the cost of the Good Will prices).

Arrange an appointment with some non-techy people who might actually need the computers (say, English teachers) to do a demo. I would approach the non-techies because the techies probably wouldn't go for it, afraid that others would see them as pushing some kind of weird geeky agenda that wouldn't work for "regular" users.

If you approach people who would actually use the computers (say... English teachers), and they're convinced, they'll convince the administration to go through with it, and the techies will have to go along with it.

If you have supply (Good Will or other sources) and demand (non-profits or schools), then you're in business.

Would you be able to offer support/training for these computers?

April 30th, 2006, 06:55 AM
No I havent contacted the kclug YET but your right that would be a good place to start ...

And yes I would be able to train users and support these systems thus one reason I'm choosing Ubuntu ( very familiar with it ) but also linux in general I can support.

Also in IRC somone brought up the good idea of contacting the local community colleges that "dump" their old comnputers on a regular basis for a supply of computers .....

just my 0.2 more cents ;)

April 30th, 2006, 07:00 AM
also, since we are talking old computers here, you might want to consider using xubuntu, rather than gnome-based ubuntu, so that your comps dont slow to a crawl. :)

April 30th, 2006, 07:01 AM
If you use kpersonalizer and enable "fewer effects" in the wizard, KDE can operate quite well on 128 MB of RAM. 64 MB would be pushing it.

April 30th, 2006, 07:06 AM
yea xubuntu would be a definate thing for the very old comps but i would try my best to get kde running smoothly on the ones that could handle it since IMHO kde is more "windows" like , easier to adapt to being a former windows user , that and I have successfully converted many windows family and friends to kubuntu ;)

April 30th, 2006, 10:39 PM
Other than the "OS options" to make old computers run fast are there any more ideas , as far as the business side or marketing etc etc etc

May 1st, 2006, 03:01 AM
heh well, for one, you might want to spell your website url correctly, so that people can click on it and it would actually show up (you transposed the b and the r in the actual url). :)

as far as business side, this is probably obvious, but avoid actually /buying/ stuff, and try finding places where they /give/ these things away. schools, colleges, businesses - they all go through upgrade cycles, and end up chucking tons of these machines out. in fact, one of the things you could try is suggest to a school that is about to upgrade all their comps that they should keep them and merely change the OS - and that you will perform the service.

hmm, as far as marketing... the best way is to go through word of mouth. you happen to know any school/business IT people? :)

May 1st, 2006, 12:03 PM
heh , thanks , dident see i had typo'd it ;)

open source signatures lol

May 1st, 2006, 05:17 PM
I tend to find a lot of almost-complete PCs in the local recycling depot. The state government offices in town regularly dump mid-grade Dells and Gateways (sans memory and hard drives, of course) that are still usable, just slower than current ones. I found a 1Ghz P3 and rehabbed it for a friend, but that's kind of rare, really.

Also, the county and city government hold "yard sales" here where they sell off their old PCs for dirt cheap (like $5 for a complete P2).

And you can always put an ad in the local newspaper, asking for giveaway PCs (or Apples). You better make sure you have space for them all!

Anyway, just some ideas. Good luck! :D

May 1st, 2006, 08:56 PM
Try installing Ubuntu Lite on these boxes. The stuff you get for free would likely be less than 300 MHz, and that won't pull Xubuntu.