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On recycling computers
OK. So, Waltham Forest has a computer recycling project, which is free to donate to, but they charge £10/computer for secure erase. With the result that we're sitting here with a small pile of hard drives, and 3 computers that would all be in working or near working condition were it not for the fact that we've removed the hard drives. I *am* wondering about ringing the recyclers and saying 'it's like this; you can have the computers completely except for the hard drives, or you can have the hard drives as well, provided you secure erase them for nothing'.

So. Is there anyone who would like some bits of old computers? You have only got till noon Sunday to shout, or they're off to recycling, and YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO COLLECT FROM Walthamstow or to be close enough, both in friendship and distance, that we don't mind delivering, which means East London at the outside. The stash includes:

A really very nice 17" Mitsubishi Trinitron monitor, CRT of course; we were using this until last week when we bought a flat screen off fivemack. This is the one item that will get a stay of execution for a bit longer than tomorrow.

Another CRT monitor; I think probably 14" but it might be 15".

3 PCs of assorted vintages, minus their hard drives. 2 of them have few redeeming features, though they may have some useful parts. The third is a Mesh which notably has an unbelievably good case, enormous, tool free access, but beige of course. None have a DVD writer though I'm pretty sure there's at least one combo drive.

Hard drives, including one that's 120Gb (edit: that one's been grabbed, but there's also ones of 40Gb and 20Gb, and, er, I think 2Gb), but again, not unless you convincingly explain how you'll securely erase them.

Also, Not a Computer: we have replaced our Tefal Crepe Party mini crepe-maker. The old one still works, but the non-stick had begun to lose its non-stickiness making it irritating to use. Unlike all the other kitchen gadgets, we use this one All The Time. Would anyone like the old one?

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Yes please to the 120gb hard drive if it's something IDE that'll work with a PC, or SATA and I'll get an external casing; difficulty is that I could do the secure erase thing with my desktop PC but not the ibook, and if the only way to get it is to transport the big PC to Walthamstow I might just as well not bother, because it'll never happen.

I will say that in all honesty I have no interest in con-running or anything else that might be on your hard disk, and would be putting it into a PC rather than a Mac so probably couldn't read it - and the first thing I would do when I put it in the PC is erase the drive and low-level reformat it for my own protection against viruses etc.

Obviously, we're much more concerned about bank account details etc. than we are about the original artwork for the wedding invitations...

I'm sure we can trust you to erase and reformat it; please do secure erase, and I'll set it aside for you. It's a perfectly ordinary IDE drive from a PC (these are all PCs, not Macs; none of our Macs are anywhere near end-of-life apart from the 2 we were given for the kids).

OK - any chance you can hang onto it until the next Tun?

Will you be at Tim & Marcia's barbecue?

Still not sure - I hope to be, but it's a bit iffy.

BTW, just found this in August Derleth's "The Adventures of Solar Pons," in the story "The Adventure of the Lost Holiday," in which various letters seized from an aristocratic blackmailer are being examined:

"Ah, here are Lady Sybil Wector's most indiscreet letters to young Alison Scott. Dear me! I fear viscount Pellman would never have appreciated them; he is rather stodgy, and doubtless the Baron is well aware of it. Let us just slip them into an envelope and mail them back to Lady Sybil tonight..."

So, young Alison, anything we should know?

I *am* wondering about ringing the recyclers and saying 'it's like this; you can have the computers completely except for the hard drives, or you can have the hard drives as well, provided you secure erase them for nothing'.

I really think you should. It does seem very silly of them to make it either expensive or insecure for people to donate computers to them.

I didnt know about that scheme and I too live in Waltham Forest of course

I hate to say it but I might like the 17" monitor when it is surplus to requirements. I'm currently after PCI graphics cards if any of those machines have one and it is being turned into parts...


17" monitor is yours now if you want it. Do you have a car? Can you drive over and pick up tat some time today, because I do have a pile of tat for you from the previous round of this? If no car then we'll bring the stuff over at some point...

I can probably help wipe hard drives if you trust me enough and the pile is too big for you to manage. Maybe just install Linux a few times :-)

It's not that large: 4 now, though more if we rooted out the *other* old hard drives we have lying around. We'd want secure erase though; somewhere securer than 'reformat' and less secure than 'this computer was once owned by MI6'.

Fdisk and reformat, which is what I'd do, tends to be pretty final, especially if you then shove a few gigs of data onto the drive.

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