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An Update and Look Forward to the Summer

May 27, 2012

Monday Night Clinic - MRCOnce again I wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone for reading the blog and giving us a chance to talk about what MacRecycleClinic is all about. The stats say we have had more than 7,000 hits – just amazing for an occasional blog. So thank you!

The Clinic is only open Mondays (save holidays) from 7 to 9 PM which makes it a challenge for folks to find us or take advantage of our services. We only work on out-of-warranty machines but love to answer questions and can help install software or hardware on any Mac. We have also been asked to help grab information from older machines (going WAY BACK in fact to original Macs and even Apple IIs and ///s) or just help keep older machines working.

MacLab Install at Marvin Church Silver Spring

One upgraded station at our Marvin Church MacLab. We now have G5 Towers with flat screen monitors.

I likely mentioned that we’ve gotten customers over the years who knew they’d spent a lot for their computer years ago and remained determined to get every cent out of them. We’re happy to accommodate when possible.  When we left Washington Apple Pi and went into hibernation for two years (while looking for new Clinic space) we took with us a treasure trove of older Apple and Mac parts that WAP just had no room for. Because we have that material (and the church where we are located was kind enough to give us some storage space) we have access to parts that are difficult to get ahold of anymore. And we are lucky to have members who remain experts are repairing really old Apples and Macs or know how to extract data from them to move to newer machines.

Just in the past few weeks, in fact, we’ve had customers bring in an original Mac SE and (I think) a IICI that needed a SCSI interface to get the info out. Working on these machines can be frustrating at times but ultimately they are just fun to work on because of the challenge!

I’m happy to report that we were able to provide computers to every high school in the Montgomery County Down County Consortium (Blair, Northwood, Einstein, Kennedy and Wheaton) for their AfterProm/PostProm celebrations. The computers – all laptops – are used as raffle prizes at the end of the evening (usually four or five AM) as a way to help keep the students on campus safe and sound after their Proms.

Note that we continue to look for referrals for students, families or other non-profits for computer donations. We rely on the counselors at the high schools to give us those referrals but non-profit groups can also do that. We do not take direct requests from computers tho we will sell used computers to anyone interested.

We have been busy working to upgrade the Mac Lab we built at Marvin – moving from older eMacs to G5 Towers. This will give users much great speed and capability – including the ability to run higher level editing or graphics software. We are starting to see PPC software going into the public domain so it’s possible we’ll be able to update these machines with higher level software over time.

We are also finally starting to see some Intel iMacs coming in from Shady Grove where we are able to save discarded Macs from being destroyed for recycling. Only a few and there are always issues. One machine, for example, works perfectly except it has a bad screen (a line appears randomly at times in differently locations – a new screen may be in the offing here). Another came in and would not start. We discovered it had been reformatted incorrectly (as if it were a PPC) and with a new reformat, we were able to install a Mac OS on it.

We are not seeing a lot of folks coming in for repairs or upgrades. Mondays are not always easy for folks, but we remain committed to helping and invite you to come visit us. All work is done by volunteers and we are a 501(c)3 non-profit – so all we ask is a donation to help us keep the lights on! 🙂

I wanted to welcome Ray to the Clinic as a new volunteer as well. He also volunteers with the Capital PC Users Group and their Project Reboot recycling program.

Sailor is a MoCo Library service for free Dial-Up Internet

Looking to the summer, we will keep looking for non-profits and families who might need a computer. Note that if you live in Montgomery County, the libraries operate a free dial-up service (their “Cruise Account”) called Sailor that can help get you online for free. You do have to renew every few months, but it’s a great way to get online!

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