Dec 2, 2016

Rebooting Costa Rica PC Rescue

Our kitchen-table charity, CRPCR, has been at an ebb, but not dormant, the last year or so. Some funds were collected via PC repair jobs, which contributed to refurbishing a handful of PCs, all of which have been donated to local families during that time. It's been a year where my time had to be spent on pressing family, farm and writing activities including a new book about how to earn money copywriting, which is in paperback and Kindle format.

A few weeks ago I received several boxes of computer parts and accessories including two desktop machines and a very old laptop via a third-party. Unfortunately, after a quick triage I found that all three computers were not repairable although I managed to scavenge some minor parts. The laptop had already been stripped of memory and a hard drive. It doesn't happen often that people use CRPCR as an alternative dump site, fortunately. These kinds of "donations" we don't need.

Anyway, that unpleasant episode turned out to have some real goodness to it. As the other activities that had kept CRPCR on the back burner were waning, processing those parts got me back in the shop and imbued me with inspiration. I was soon elbows-deep in the disorganized stacks of parts and untested machines that were threatening to consume all space in the shop.

old computer motherboard on the test bench
The last motherboard test - Celeron CPU/256 MB, circa 2000
Three weeks later of daily work, I'm polishing off the last system, which is a 500MHz Celeron board that maxes out at 256MB!

Imagine, that machine when new fetched well over $500! I thought I would have finished with it in half a day, but it has been challenging finding a Linux version that will even install with that little bit of memory.

During this time, I've also tested and organized all our spare parts into their own containers, which will make subsequent system builds a whole lot more efficient. I was also able to replace 3 broken computers of the 6 systems I'd orginally donated to the local elementary school back in March of 2015.