PC Donations and Other News

by Bob Seidel

What a great 4th - Thank You Southport!

- I paid a service call on a very nice lady the other day that wanted to be mentioned in my column. Well, here it is! Thank you for your business and I hope you enjoy the new golf cart!

By the way, I am writing part of this column on my new iPAQ PocketPC handheld PC, using its built-in handwriting recognition. Well, it ain't perfect yet! In the paragraph above, the term "golf cart" came out as "gilt fart" - I am glad that I am a good proofreader!

- A phone call I received recently was from a person who had purchased a used notebook computer and didn't get the right components in it, specifically a CD-RW drive. Internal parts for notebooks are not interchangeable and probably only available from the manufacturer, at high cost. The moral of the story is that you should make sure when you buy used that you get what you need, as you may no longer be able to get parts for an older unit, or the cost may make that good deal not so good after all.

- A very worthwhile function is going to occur on Saturday July 26th at the Recreation Center on Oak Island. Local resident Bob Zeid has organized a Computer Donation Drive at which you can donate working old computer equipment, peripherals, printers, and etc. to the World Computer Exchange. The WCE collects these PCs and distributes them to schools and libraries throughout the world. Partners for Peace - a local humanitarian relief organization - is sponsoring this drive in conjunction with the WCE.

There are two reasons to donate. The most obvious of course is the good that your donation will bring to students and others in developing countries. But also very important is that disposal of old computer equipment is becoming a national problem. The life of a PC these days is about three years. Most people then purchase a new PC, but have no way to dispose of the old one.

And therein lies the problem - landfills are brimming with equipment chock full of lead, cadmium, mercury switches, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), brominated flame-retardants, phosphates, beryllium, and a host of other hazardous materials. It's estimated that about 40% of the heavy metals, including lead, mercury and cadmium, in landfills come from electronic equipment discards. In fact, the problem is so pervasive that electronic waste (e-waste) is one of the fastest growing components of landfills with an estimated billion pounds of e-waste making its way into US landfills last year.

So, here is a chance to do something for the environment, for a kid, and for you. Bob indicates that the donations are tax-deductible. For detailed donation instructions, see http://peace.oakisland.us and click on the Projects tab. For further information, refer to Bob's ad here in the State Port Pilot or contact Bob Zeid at (910) 278-9176 or via e-mail at Robert_zeid@msn.com. If you need help understanding the issue of how to clean your hard drive of personal information, you can e-mail me at the address below.

The Drive will be on Saturday July 26th between 10AM and 2PM. Your humble columnist will be there to answer questions and check out the gear. Any item you donate must be working, and be sure to include any cables, product manuals, diskettes or CDs that came with it. PCs must have a Pentium processor at a minimum.

(Bob Seidel is a local computer consultant in the Southport / Oak Island area. You can visit his website at www.bobseidel.com or e-mail him at bsc@bobseidel.com).