The harsh reality about aging computers

In preparing for Software Freedom Day (September 19, more details in this post), my dad and I began evaluating the stash of donated computers he has (he’s waiting on a call from the local Computers for Kids program donee), and installing Ubuntu on them to be demo machines.  As we began installing Ubuntu, we hit a snag:  Ubuntu 9.04 will not install on pre-2000 computers.  Version 8.10 wouldn’t install either.  There were only three, and one of them was only 366 MHz, but I figured I’d give it a try anyway since they each had at least 256 MB of Continue reading The harsh reality about aging computers

Frankenfest followup

We sorted a lot of stuff that day. A lot of people unloaded a lot of electronics.  About a third of it went to recycling (there is a recycling station near us that takes electronics).  We built three awesome systems, and the rest was divvied up among whoever wanted it.  Most of it ended up in my Mom’s garage.  She had been ecstatic as we hauled things out of her garage that morning.  We brought back about 2 to 3 times as much as we took. She only said, “That’s going to be gone when the guests arrive (for Christmas)?”  Continue reading Frankenfest followup


It was Kevin’s idea. At a PBLUG meeting held at Nova Southeastern’s North County campus in Palm Beach Gardens, he suggested it. Frankenfest?  What’s a Frankenfest?  Kevin explained it’s when people bring whatever computers or computer parts they have laying around to an event where you (those attending the event) build whatever you can from what you have. Kevin had a motive.  He had a garage full of computers and parts, and his wife was not happy about it, but he couldn’t bring himself to just pitch them. Of course we were intrigued by the idea.  Especially me.  I kept Continue reading Frankenfest

The perfect absurdity of it all

Patron:  Where is computer number 37? Librarian:  Between numbers 19 and 21, of course! But of course!  It made perfect sense to us because we weren’t thinking of the numbers as being sequential.  They were simply labels.  But the hapless patron had looked around and seen computers numbered in what seemed to be a sequential order, quickly scanned for numbers in the 30’s, and found 34, 35, 36, and no 37.  There was a reason computer number 37 was put where it is, which made sense at the time, and its location has just been accepted matter of factly by Continue reading The perfect absurdity of it all

Digital natives, digital immigrants, and digital refugees

I have been hearing the terms digital native and digital immigrant for quite a while.  Digital native, of course, refers to those who have grown up with digital technology (generally those born after computers and cell phones became mainstream), and digital immigrants would be those who had to learn the technology as an adult. But there are a lot of people that don’t nicely fit into those categories, there are also the “bridges” (somewhere between digital native and digital immigrant) and the refugees (those who have fled the onslaught).  I teach the digital refugees, of course. In an effort to Continue reading Digital natives, digital immigrants, and digital refugees