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Disposable computers

Sunday 1 September 2002

The computer in front of me is my ninth. Its predecessors averaged less than two years on my desk. The superseded computers have trickled down to other people, then been sold or given away. When last seen, all of them worked well but couldn’t manage the latest software — practical proof of Parkinson’s law of data. Here’s the list of PCs and where I last saw them:

Brand

CPU

New

Last seen

IBM

8088

1985

1990 (sold to a friend)

Epson

8086

1986

1992 (given away)

LT

80286

1988

1995 (sold to a dealer)

TP

80386

1990

1997 (still in use then)

Compaq

80386

1990

2000 (given away)

Teco

80486

1991

1997 (still in use then)

Formosa

Pentium 1

1994

1997 (still in use then)

Formosa

Pentium 1

1998

Still in use

Dell

Pentium 3

2001

Still in use



Where will my old PCs end up? In landfill? Or worse? The BBC Disposable planet website has a story about illegal workshops in China:
Photo journalist Jeroen Bouman gets a rare glimpse inside the illegal Chinese workshops where young teenagers work long hours amid noxious fumes, recycling computers from the US and Europe. The industry has turned four villages in Guiyu, Guangdong province, into toxic waste tips. Drinking water is now brought by lorries from 30 kilometres away…
filed under Society + Technology

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