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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Endless PC

Endless PC
PC World has the story: The $79 Endless Mini is a Linux desktop that assumes you don't have an Internet connection -- so it tries to store as much of it as it can on the box itself. (Warning: autostart video)

How did I get here? Through my usual circuitous route. Got a pile of dead computers waiting to go to the recycling shop. Last thing that needs doing is to sort out the four dead printers that are sitting on the shelf. When we looked at them we found that one, the Brother HL-1440 Laser Printer, could be saved. The other three proved to be hopeless.
  • Canon Pixma MP150. Came free with a laptop ten years ago. Worked fine until a couple of years ago and then it got moved and that evidently disturbed its little mind cause it never worked right again. Osmany partially disassembled it and got the paper transport mechanism to operate, but no ink showing up on the paper. Refilled the cartridges with ink from other cartridges, mixed with alcohol and / or water, but no luck. Finally broke down and ordered some cheap cartridges from Amazon. Still no help. Fine, it's kaput, send it to the scrap heap. That's when I found a package of brand new, Canon brand ink cartridges sitting in the bookcase in my office. Bah and double bah.
  • Epson XP-310. Bought this printer for a pittance a couple of years ago. It worked great for a couple of months and then it started leaving blank spaces. New ink cartridges didn't cure it. Poking and prodding got us nowhere. Scrap.
  • Dell J-740. This thing is at least ten years old, maybe 20. It quit working a few years ago and I put it on the shelf waiting for the day when I might be inclined to investigate. We investigated and found that, yes, it's broke.
I think the deal with ink jet printers is you need to print a page at least once a week. If you don't, the ink dries up and clogs the jets and then you have problems. We have one other ink jet, an HP Photosmart C4385, that is still working. I don't want to say anything good about this printer because I am afraid of jinxing it.

Anyway, we separated the quick and the dead and carted the dead off to the computer recycler. The place is mind boggling. Millions of dollars of fancy electronic equipment that has lost all value. There was a ten-ton truck unloading pallets of what looked like radio equipment while we were there. Some really cool looking stuff. Some of might find its way onto the used equipment market, but most of it is headed for the grinder. Very sad.

But, I think, there are probably a great number of people in the 2nd world who would really like to get their hands on this stuff. Would it be worthwhile to pack up a container and ship it to Peru? Well, maybe. If you are competing against $500 PC's, then yes it would. That's when I came across the Endless Mini. It would be hard to compete against that.

There's a bunch of seat of the pants estimating here, and it doesn't include the most important part, which is how do you get paid? Would you send ten grand to a couple gringos on the promise that they will send you a container load of repairable computers? And who decides what's repairable?

Update April 2016 replaced missing picture.

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