The transition from thriftin’ typewriters to thriftin’ teenaged digital cameras and laptops

2005 HP Pavilion DV4307cl
1.73 GHz Pentium M
1gb DDR2 800MHz SDRAM, 60gb IDE HD, 1280×800 15.4″ WXGA screen
Intel GMA 900 128mb shared
My Cost: $7, Mesa Thrift Store 2007 HP/Compaq 6715b
2.2 GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-64
4gb DDR2 SDRAM, 120gb SSD, 1680×1050 15.4″ WXGA screen
ATI Radeon X1250
My Cost: Free, from a client looking to safely get rid of an old computer 2005 Dell Latitude D410 (with expansion base & external DVD Burner)
2.0 GHz Pentium M
2gb DDR2 400MHz SDRAM, 40gb IDE HD, 1024×768 12.1″ XGA screen
Intel GMA 900 128mb shared
My Cost: $4, Deseret Thrift Store 2008 HP Pavilion dv6815nr
2.0 GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-60
4gb DDR2 SDRAM, 120gb SSD, 1280×800 15.4″ WXGA screen
Nvidia GeForce Go 7150m
My Cost: Free, from a client looking to safely get rid of an old computer 2008 Dell Inspiron Mini 9 Netbook
Diamondville Intel Atom N270 (1.6 GHz/533Mhz FSB/512K cache)
2gb DDR2 RAM, 8gb PATA SSD, 1200×600 8.9″ screen
Intel US15W Express
My Cost: Free, from a friend looking to safely get rid of an old computer

Addendum: Windows 11 has been announced, along with the End-Of-Life date for Windows 10 (the supposedly “forever” version of Windows, ha!). This is interesting news to me, because it looks like Win 11 will outright *not be installable* on any CPU prior to 8th Generation Intels with TPM modules built-in. By 2025, you won’t be able to run patch-supported Windows on machines that might have been sold new 3 or 4 years ago. The used computer market after 2025 will be *really, really* interesting and super-cheap for those of us who aren’t enslaved to Windows 11/12, and who aren’t especially interested in having AI integrated into our computers and operating systems. Just say “no” to “internet-required” spy software and operating systems – it’s cheap (or free) and is only gonna get more so as the sheeple move to the newest things and toss away their “useless” barely-old computers.

Currently in the earholes:

Updated: June 21, 2023 — 3:12 pm


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  1. Oh, The Alarm! Great band.

    I need to bust out the Munk Machine again and have some play time.

  2. I am not that good at keeping up with the developments in OS for the Windows platform. Your post today gets me thinking about my Win95 and Win98 desktops in th3 basement storage… My only think about laptops is they all broke down after a while, not sure I would be confident the laptop is going to last.

    1. Depends on how much they were used. I always rode my laptops hard and wore them out, but I find that the used ones I pick up are generally lightly used and work fine. Most of the time they don’t come with the power brick, so I don’t even get a chance to test them before buying, and I’ve yet to get a dead one. (:

      As for desktops, prior to about Y2k, the thing you’re going to find killing the motherboard is the on-board clock battery, which will explode and leak acid on the board, corroding traces and such. Around Y2k through the late oughts, the thing that kills the motherboard is the cheap capacitors that leak electrolyte on the board, also corroding traces.

  3. I’ve always had a passion for “obsolete” tech. When I knew we were being kicked off Windows XP, I became temporarily obsessed with beating the system, and did several experiments with Linux, and I became particularly interested in the most minimalist versions such as Puppy. It’s totally possible to get a lot done with an operating system under half a gigabyte, and in fact I got an amazing result from booting the system from a CD on a temporarily malfunctioning workplace desktop, and using a USB drive as storage for other files. The little ASUS netbooks with 4 gb ssd systems can really fly on Linux.

    As for digital cameras, I heartily agree that CHDK and old Canons is amazing, though I barely scratched the surface of its potential. Even ancient digital cameras are fun to try, i.e. things with 1 megapixel that burn through half a dozen AA cells and sold new for a thousand dollars or more! Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever purchased a new digital camera!

    It’s interesting how much the junk film cameras that were five bucks in the thrift stores ten years ago are going up in price. Some of the little Olympus point and shoot cameras have terrific lenses in them, so I’m happy they’re being appreciated. Enjoy!

    1. Re: ancient Digicams – yuh, I’ve got a ridiculous number of them dating back to 1996 (pair of Powershot 600’s), most are the Canons, but I do have a couple of the Sony DSC-F707/717’s for infrared shooting:

      I noticed the prices for the old digital cameras when I checked a couple weeks ago – seems like they’re more in the $50-$100 range now, which seems crazy. That was why I ended up dropping $5 on a DOA Powershot S3is at shopgoodwill then – can’t pass up a $5 Powershot. :D Luckily I was able to clean it up and get it running:

      Re: Linux on old laptops, I have Antix 19 on a couple of them – really only the ones that have good batteries, though, like the Netbook shown last in this article. If I have to keep ’em plugged in, they get either Win98 or XP or 7, depending on capability, and all network access disabled. My main machines are all running Mint 21.1 – I got tired of killing the Telemetry & spyware in Win10 after every update. :P

  4. Remember I said I had my parent’s old Cannon PowerShot sitting in a drawer somewhere? It’s an SX-10IS, and it takes AA’s! I should be able to run CHDK on it, I’ll see. Come to think of it I think I have a Lenovo netbook in my desk somewhere….

    1. Yup, that’ll run CHDK:
      just need to figure out which version of the firmware it has.

      Direct download of the versions here:

      If your Lenovo Netbook has a 32-bit Atom CPU, I’d recommend Antix Linux. I’m running Antix 19 on my Dell netbook, but you can use the latest version 22:
      Antix is *very* lightweight and runs great on single-core CPUs, and if you’re one of those anti-SystemD cultists, it’s sysd-free.

  5. I actually still have a few old 16 bit machines I keep around and working just for the fun of it. I also have some old 32 bit machines that still work fine. Thing is old Windows machines not on the WWW don’t need to be upgraded to anything and then there is the ever trusty stable LINUX.

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