Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

What to Do with That Old Clunker of a PC

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

What to Do with That Old Clunker of a PC

Article excerpt

PERSONAL COMPUTING

Working with other organizatons, the United Way places donated computers with local nonprofits, at community technology centers for people who can't afford home computers, and in the homes of low-income people.

You've gotten good use out of your computer, putting it through its paces. It has cranked out words, crunched numbers and cruised through cyberspace. But now it's getting long in the tooth and slowing you down. Time to upgrade to a new machine. But what should you do with your old warhorse?

This was the dilemma that Steven Cohen of Blue Bell, Pa., faced recently. He had just bought a spanking new Dell Dimension Pentium 4, and he didn't want to just trash his old AST Pentium. So he asked around and learned of a couple of Web sites that described other options - PEP Computer Recycling at and UsedComputer.com at .

He wound up e-mailing the United Way. "I wanted to donate it to a good cause," says Cohen, a recent retiree who used his home computer for work projects, keeping track of personal finances, letter writing and connecting to AOL. "It seemed to me that since this computer helped me, it could also help someone else, maybe a senior citizen or school who couldn't afford a new computer."

Cohen's e-mail message was forwarded to the United Way office closest to him, and the United Way's Steve Rockwell e-mailed him back, asking about the computer's specifications. Then Rockwell gave Cohen an address near him where he could drop off his machine. Individuals have to drop off donated machines themselves, but organizations with 10 or more machines to donate can have them picked up.

Rockwell heads up the local United Way's Teaming for Technology program, which is similar to other computer recycling programs around the country. Working with other organizations, the United Way places donated computers with local nonprofits, at community technology centers for people who can't afford home computers, and in the homes of low-income people.

But first it refurbishes old systems, utilizing at-risk youth and welfare-to-work adults, who pick up job skills in the process. Computer professionals provide training and do quality control. Low-income individuals can obtain free refurbished PCs for their homes, but they first have to go through a training program to ensure they'll be able to best use the machines.

Like similar programs, the United Way's program can't use all PCs. It prefers newer computers, those with Pentium II or faster chips, though it will accept 166-megahertz or faster Pentium I machines. …

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