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(Lifehacker)   10 awesome things to do with retired tech   (lifehacker.com) divider line 57
    More: Cool, computer data storage, desktop computers, VoIP, web servers, flat panel displays, Google Voice, South Florida metropolitan area, second monitor  
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12891 clicks; posted to Geek » on 14 Apr 2012 at 8:31 PM (3 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-04-14 06:00:58 PM  
The wi-fi radio thing is cool.
 
2012-04-14 07:19:32 PM  
Is "boat anchor" on the list?
 
2012-04-14 08:14:58 PM  
My roomate has an old work pc that I plan on turning into an emulator box. It's from '03 or '04 so I figure it'll handle pretty much everything.
 
2012-04-14 08:32:37 PM  
10 awesome things to do with retired tech

Flyfishing, golf, travel...

Oh, wait, I thought it was things to do with a retired tech.
 
2012-04-14 08:34:50 PM  
Awesome! All you need is $10,000 worth of tools and workshop space and a passing knowledge of electronics and you too can save $30 by making your headphones a little louder or making your NES case suitable to hold DVDs. Great advice lifehacker.
 
2012-04-14 08:41:05 PM  

downstairs: The wi-fi radio thing is cool.


10 awesome things to do with retired tech

3. Turn Your Router into a Wireless Radio

Step 1. Go out and buy an Asus WL-520gu

i.imgur.com
 
2012-04-14 08:48:53 PM  
11) Drop it in the trash.
 
2012-04-14 08:50:47 PM  
TFA: 3. Turn Your Router into a Wireless Radio

A wireless radio? Goddamn! What will those boffins think of next? Truly, we live in an age of miracles!
 
2012-04-14 08:51:42 PM  
Wow, this should have been written in 2003.
 
2012-04-14 09:02:43 PM  
The wireless radio had me in stitches! Now that is some retro technology!!

Get the New Radio! Now even more wireless than before.
 
2012-04-14 09:07:06 PM  
i.imgur.com
Not impressed.
 
2012-04-14 09:07:21 PM  
When I sell a new computer/laptop to customer, they frequently don't want the old one. I strip desktops for parts, and re-purpose laptops if they're not completely dead.

1. laptop with dead HDD - boot XBMCbuntu from a USB stick, use it to control the Asus media center that my sister didn't want. It's got a 1TB drive, plays video, music, pictures, etc

2. Laptop with faulty touchpad (right mouse button has a short that causes the machine to freeze). Connected to speakers in the kitchen, plays internet radio while I cook.

3. Laptop with faulty screen - right-hand side is too dark to use. Minecraft server for the kids.

4. This laptop - faulty left mouse button. General purpose - internet access, word processing, etc
 
2012-04-14 09:19:19 PM  
Meanwhile I'm still using the second computer I built. 7 or so years later. Had a power surge in the building (also burned out my friend's computer 10 floors up) built it for $300 after salviging the processor and one stick of ram.

Did replace a hard drive, just burned out the video card but found an AGP slot video card on newegg for about $35.

Damn, really time to build a new one.
 
2012-04-14 09:37:30 PM  
cuecats.com

/turned one of mine into a cool flashlight.
 
2012-04-14 09:52:25 PM  
The laptop screen as a monitor this is a huge tease.

The end result is it's just a laptop in a different box running some lame video server application. I want my 3 minutes back.
 
2012-04-14 09:52:32 PM  
More like, "Here is a blog post listing 10 things that contain embedded hyperlinks to more of our posts, so we get more ad revenue!"

F*ck Gawker Media right in its blog-spamming ass.
 
2012-04-14 10:01:29 PM  

hamiltonjdavid: The laptop screen as a monitor this is a huge tease.

The end result is it's just a laptop in a different box running some lame video server application. I want my 3 minutes back.


Truth. I was hoping I'd have a use for this laptop with a fried video chip and a perfectly good monitor...
 
2012-04-14 10:12:13 PM  
10. Repurpose Your Old Computer in Many, Many Ways

A girl I knew in school converted one of those 80's era apples with the built-in display into a goldfish bowl.
 
2012-04-14 10:13:37 PM  
I've been looking for a way to utilize my old laptop screen as a 3rd monitor and from what I've found so far, the best way seems to buy an LCD controller board. The LCD screen hooks to the board and you plug a VGA/DVI cord from the board to your video card. Now I'm on the lookout for a reliable board.

Closest thing I found on youtube, is quite helpful actually.
 
2012-04-14 10:24:53 PM  
A friend's backyard:

techquarium.com

techquarium.com
 
2012-04-14 10:26:31 PM  
You can always depend on Lifehacker to absolutely farking suck with knobs on.
 
2012-04-14 10:42:45 PM  
I thought the ethernet keychains were kind of cute. The rest were pretty uninteresting.
 
2012-04-14 10:58:58 PM  

Phil Moskowitz: You can always depend on Lifehacker to absolutely farking suck with knobs on.


I really really want to love Lifehacker. And I really can't make myself do it. It's SUCH a great idea, but the execution is disappointing.
 
2012-04-14 11:04:12 PM  
cdn.uberreview.com

cdn.uberreview.com
 
2012-04-14 11:23:53 PM  

Aidan: Phil Moskowitz: You can always depend on Lifehacker to absolutely farking suck with knobs on.

I really really want to love Lifehacker. And I really can't make myself do it. It's SUCH a great idea, but the execution is disappointing.


This.

I clicked the link, but didn't know which of the two dozen scripts to disable which would allow me to see the content. So I passed.
 
2012-04-14 11:44:20 PM  
I could go on complaining about the downsides of spending tens of dollars on one of these basically pointless devices, but let's not and focus on the positive instead.

Well somebody is a little angry...
 
2012-04-14 11:48:50 PM  
11. Use a old turntable as a spinning-painting-thingiee that you would see at the carnivals and amusement parks. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spin_art
 
2012-04-15 01:18:42 AM  
"Old computers are just slow computers with an outdated selection of ports, less storage and RAM, and generally paltry graphics cards."

Yes, and they're an order of magnitude less energy-efficient, too.

If you need a NAS, go ahead and buy that new drive enclosure with the built-in NAS firmware, instead of jamming a SATA card into an old PII-400 tower case and leaving it howling in the corner 24/7. You'll pay it off in electricity savings within a year.
 
2012-04-15 01:25:17 AM  

poot_rootbeer: "Old computers are just slow computers with an outdated selection of ports, less storage and RAM, and generally paltry graphics cards."

Yes, and they're an order of magnitude less energy-efficient, too.

If you need a NAS, go ahead and buy that new drive enclosure with the built-in NAS firmware, instead of jamming a SATA card into an old PII-400 tower case and leaving it howling in the corner 24/7. You'll pay it off in electricity savings within a year.


Or just jam them all into one of your newer machines and VMware the old machine to run the drives as your NAS. Now that's how you save some energy.
 
2012-04-15 01:37:02 AM  

loser0: hamiltonjdavid: The laptop screen as a monitor this is a huge tease.

The end result is it's just a laptop in a different box running some lame video server application. I want my 3 minutes back.

Truth. I was hoping I'd have a use for this laptop with a fried video chip and a perfectly good monitor...


If you're a lan/console geek you can repurpose it into a display just for travel use.
(every few months we do the xbox thing at my brothers, nothing beats having the whole team in the same room while playing online) Can work on a PC tower as well, who wants to lug and risk a NICE monitor?

In depth DIY though.
 
2012-04-15 04:11:28 AM  
Holy crap! I have a computer just like the picture on #10, and it still works. I thought mine was the only one left.
 
2012-04-15 05:16:42 AM  
ol' gormsby: 2. Laptop with faulty touchpad

I replaced the touchpad, got it cheap (under $20 iirc) from parts people, and then replaced the fan a little later.

/ubuntu doesn't need more than a core 2 duo if you're just websurfing, my old laptop lives on.

// on my laptop (an inspiron 1525) getting to the touchpad and fan are huge pains in the ass, here is a shot from when I had finally disassembled everything I needed to get to the fan, (getting to the touchpad was just a little before this).

fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net

That's right, you have to essentially disassemble the damn thing to get to the fan. It's actually easier to remove the CPU from the laptop than to remove the touchpad or fan.
 
2012-04-15 05:22:34 AM  
Also, my junk closet is filling up, I have a decent amount of old working tech that I was content to let sit there, as long as I had space.

Soooo

What do I do with my old scanner (an HP Scanjet 5P) it's my target now because it takes up an entire shelf.

It's a SCSI scanner (boooo) but it came with an interface card (yahhhh) but the interface card is ISA (boooo), and the only mobo+cpu combo I have in the closet that has an ISA slot is a pentium 3.

//I have a Canoscan LIDE 200 now, the damn thing is powered via a single USB port. Man have scanners come a long way.
 
2012-04-15 05:59:32 AM  

lordargent: What do I do with my old scanner


Tough one. I seem to recall people making a lamp with the light, but really, there's not much usable tech otherwise(i imagine). You could hollow it out and use it for a container, or do an antfarm with it.
....
*shrugs*
Google: "turn the old scanner into"
Might pick something up, lots of lamp instructions, several others. A light table could be cool if you've an aspiring artist / graphic designer around(ie kids or wife), or as lit stand for RandomStatueKnickKnackX.
 
2012-04-15 06:40:27 AM  
omeganuepsilon: A light table could be cool if you've an aspiring artist / graphic designer

I am one, that's why I had the scanner in the first place :D

/though these days, most of my design work goes into making report dashboards, which is all digital. The new scanner is being used to archive bills and other documents.

/the old scanner was being used to scan in artwork as huge ass .tiff files (500 MB+) that I would burn to CD and send to the Canadians for digital inking and coloring.
 
2012-04-15 10:35:13 AM  
Most of the time, it's far more trouble than it's worth.
 
2012-04-15 10:42:01 AM  
I picked up a couple of old NES controllers to turn them into belt buckles. I like the MP3 player idea better.
 
2012-04-15 11:44:25 AM  

hamiltonjdavid: The laptop screen as a monitor this is a huge tease.

The end result is it's just a laptop in a different box running some lame video server application. I want my 3 minutes back.


I expected this, but then they commented about how you could use the bottom half of the laptop for something else, so like a sucker I followed the link. I feel lied to.
 
2012-04-15 11:54:40 AM  
Still use old xboxes to run XBMC every day for TV on tap. I've have to do more re-encoding than I've had to in the past because of the widespread change from xvid to h.264, but it's still worth it. I've been looking for a 1st gen Apple TV for little to nothing (impossible) to be my next XBMC box.
 
2012-04-15 11:57:16 AM  

lordargent: That's right, you have to essentially disassemble the damn thing to get to the fan. It's actually easier to remove the CPU from the laptop than to remove the touchpad or fan.


All I wanted to do is clean the fan. (new window)
 
2012-04-15 12:33:19 PM  

lordargent: What do I do with my old scanner


I searched for "scanner" at Hack a Day. Tons of stuff showed up. Most take a lot of work, but it's really interesting. Seems the stepper motor is what people use most, not the optical parts.

Couple of highlights:

Getting a home built scanner from '92 up and running again (new window)

This one is pretty fun, not practical at all, but I like the spirit of "because I can!". A windmill battery charger takes 10 hours to fill two AAs.
Sustainability Hack: Wind turbine battery charger (new window)
 
2012-04-15 12:36:20 PM  

anfrind: lordargent: That's right, you have to essentially disassemble the damn thing to get to the fan. It's actually easier to remove the CPU from the laptop than to remove the touchpad or fan.

All I wanted to do is clean the fan. (new window)


Is it actually easier to clean the fan on a Mac?

Yes, I've wanted to clean the fan on my laptop before.... It would be nice if they were easily removable from the exterior like hard drives and even memory are. Or if they had air cleaning ports behind them to squirt air in.
 
2012-04-15 12:47:39 PM  

RoyBatty: Yes, I've wanted to clean the fan on my laptop before.... It would be nice if they were easily removable from the exterior like hard drives and even memory are. Or if they had air cleaning ports behind them to squirt air in.


I vacuum mine out instead of squirting air in.

When I wanted to dismantle the laptop for a serious cleaning, I found a service manual online and was VERY happy I spent the money.

Without the detailed instructions I never would have figured out the byzantine process for dismantling the machine and putting it back together.
 
2012-04-15 01:02:02 PM  

jaytkay: I vacuum mine out instead of squirting air in.


Ah! Probably a great idea. (Though I've had other people tell me to be careful of vacuums when used on a desktop computer with the case off because of static.)
 
2012-04-15 01:04:39 PM  

RoyBatty: It would be nice if they were easily removable from the exterior like hard drives and even memory are. Or if they had air cleaning ports behind them to squirt air in.


But that saves the consumer money via extending the life of the product!

Or, in copyright math

That would cost us billions yearly!

Seriously, I'd run a product with features like we'd suggest, at the cost of mega-extreme profits, down to the mildly extreme profits.....all in the knowledge that customers would come back, time and again.

And a feature like that, an air port for cleaning, or a flip/slide open compartment? Pennies to implement. Don't want to retrofit? start with the next model/generation of preformed plastic crap, it's not like those are ever really the same anyhow.
 
2012-04-15 01:08:16 PM  

RoyBatty: jaytkay: I vacuum mine out instead of squirting air in.

Ah! Probably a great idea. (Though I've had other people tell me to be careful of vacuums when used on a desktop computer with the case off because of static.)


Don't bother being careful, just don't do it to a desktop. I know someone who thought it'd be a good idea, static discharge + case innards = dead PC.

Surface vacuuming of fans should be just fine though(or at least limited risk), just no open case stuff.

Plastics and a lot of air moving can stir up a shocking amount of static. OK, I didn't mean to pun there, but whatever.
 
2012-04-15 06:01:11 PM  
If you have an old desktop with a decent-sized hard drive, you can add in a tuner and install MythTV. It's like Tivo, only free!
 
2012-04-15 06:48:24 PM  
count me as one of those ticked off at the laptop display to monitor thing.

I got a small mountain of dead laptops in the graveyard, all with dead or damaged MOBO's and good displays.

I once made a decent little laptop out two dead latitudes, and one dead inspiron.

Manuals? we don't need no stinking manuals.. those extra screws weren't critical!

I actually spent money on this laptop. refurbished from the TV repair guy down the street... Inspiron 8500 for $200, spent another $35 and maxed out the Ram, perfectly fine for what I want, and need it to do.

now why it no longer wants to play nice with the port replicator docking station back home anymore.. I couldn't tell ya, but I only spent $15 on that off amazon so I'm not really incredibly concerned, just doesn't seem to be a rhyme nor reason to up and stop working.
 
2012-04-15 07:04:30 PM  

Cerebral Knievel: Manuals? we don't need no stinking manuals.. those extra screws weren't critical!


You're not doing it right if you don't have extra screws and maybe a few broken off plastic snaps.

/of course, you have to remember what's not there if you're mobile with it, or take it apart again later
//I've dropped parts cause of that
 
2012-04-15 08:49:44 PM  
if anyone wants to sell old laptops, eip... i fix em up for my friends and family...
 
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