I have been thinking about putting together a “Computer Recycling Guide” for everyone – talking about the best ways to prepare your computer to either recycle it as e-waste (by taking it to the Shady Grove Transfer Station here in Montgomery County for instance) or finding someone to donate it to (like MacRecycleClinic or other recycling organization). But in a very brief moment of inspiration, I thought why not let you help me do this? Let’s give you the power to contribute to something we can all use. In fact, it’s something we could distribute here and through our MacRecycleClinic.org website.
You don’t need to answer all of the questions – even one is beneficial. It just needs to be based on your own experience no matter where you are. And the answers can be short too. Links are welcome of course. We’ll gather them all together, combine, edit and format – and repost it here on RecycleMac for all to enjoy. And although we are focused on Macs, if you have great tips for the PC side, we’ll be happy to have them as well. Just put your tips in the comments for this posting(which follows) and we’ll take it from there. Or if you’d rather, shoot them to me at dottalini at macrecycleclinic.org.
Here are the questions:
- How do you know it’s time to replace your old computer (see earlier post here but I want your thoughts);
- How should you prepare your Mac or PC for recycling or donation;
- Are their pieces of the older machine you can put to good use with the new one?
- What is the best software to use to get your information transferred from your old computer to your new one?
- At what point is it better to just recycle your computer vs. donating it individually to someone else or through a non-profit like MacRecycleClinic?
- Anything else you’d like to contribute?
This will be posted on our Twitter site too (we don’t have a Facebook account as of yet but I do and will post it there) but please pass this along.
(Updated 3/16/2011 to fix photo links)
When I first started working with computers – my old Apple /// (like the one at
left right) back in the early 80s – computer users groups like Washington Apple Pi had already sprung up across the country. Their motto at the time was “Users Helping Users.” WAP was a club whose members wanted to learn more about how their computers – Apple II series, ///, and increasingly, Macintosh – worked. They really wanted to know what made them tick – not just how to upgrade them by adding memory, a new, larger hard drive, new graphics or other internal cards. They were willing to spend the time, effort – and money – to do that.
Today, computers have, for all intents and purposes, become appliances. They are SPECIAL appliances of course, but most folks are not interested in opening the hood and tinkering. They just want to turn them on. They expect them to work.
Users today still may want to add memory or a new hard drive, but Apple has made it pretty difficult for the user to do much of that except for their higher-end MacPro models. At the Clinic, we usually suggest external drives when that’s possible – they come in a wide range of sizes, USB and Firewire are on virtually every Mac – and the price is reasonable. But we do have the tools and expertise to dig into the internal workings when necessary.
The question is – when should you replace what you have? When is it time to spend the money for a new Mac? We get those kinds of questions all the time and each answer is really tailored to the individual owner.
But in general, If you have an older PowerPC Mac you are a prime candidate unless you are happy with what you have and the programs continue to do what you need them to do. Apple and most vendors no longer support the PPC platform, but most of the later-model machines – towers and laptops – remain highly capable and able to do what you need. If there’s a problem, we have the tools and expertise to help (that’s us working at left). If we don’t we’ll tell you up front.
The Macs of today are Intel based and OS X continues to grow in power and ability. Macs can run both Windows and OSX easily at the same time. In the future, OSX may well morph together in some form with the iOS we all know from the iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad. There are rumors Apple will stop including optical drives in all their machines as well. If that happens, third party vendors will be making lots of money because folks will still want those peripherals. I certainly do even with the App Store.
So while the decision about when to buy a new (or refurbished) Intel Mac is a very personal one, there will come a time when:
- Your old machine just won’t work anymore;
- When you are really ready to move up for the power, speed and improved graphics;
- You want a Mac but still need to run Windows;
- You need to run the latest version of Office or other software;
- You need to do video editing;
- You want a better computing experience.
As one of the volunteers at MacRecycleClinic I can tell you we have a group of folks who are passionate about helping you keep your Macintosh working – but we are also happy to provide suggestions about your next step should you want to upgrade to a new computer.