End of Year Gadget Cleaning

Well, part of all that I’m try­ing to do this week­end between our stinky fridge and New Year’s cel­e­bra­tions is put up a bunch of old junk on eBay so that I may get some new com­put­er mon­ey1. Well, it turns out we have quite a bit of stuff to sell. No, none of it is real high-end stuff but it’s hope­ful­ly stuff that some­one out there wants.

One such item is Ange­la’s old lap­top, a Dell Lat­i­tude C600. It was a sol­id busi­ness-type machine with Win­dows 2000 on it and it last­ed her for about four years. Of course, it shows it’s age try­ing to do most any­thing now and it’s had some hard dri­ve prob­lems in the past. Just for fun, I put in the Ubun­tu 6.06 Live CD2 last night to see how it would oper­ate. It was like a whole new machine (after the 20 minute boot time)! Menus popped up like they were sup­posed to. The graph­ics looked great. Pro­grams opened with­out the need to leave the room for food while wait­ing.

Laptop Running Ubuntu Live CD

My eBay pho­to of the lap­top run­ning Ubun­tu 6.06.

Of course, here’s the down­side to sell­ing an old PC: clean­ing and prep­ping the sys­tem. I swear I think it takes less work to sell a car or a house. I bought Steve Gib­son’s Spin­Rite 6 (some­thing I’d been mean­ing to pur­chase for a long time any­way) to make sure the hard dri­ve is up to the task of, well, act­ing as a hard dri­ve. So far no prob­lems, but I don’t want any­one to buy it and feel suck­ered. Also, I feel real­ly strong­ly about using dri­ve-wipe soft­ware and pro­vid­ing a clean install of Win­dows (or what­ev­er). I use Darik’s Boot & Nuke (DBAN) because it is both free and extreme­ly thor­ough (I think you have can set it to re-write up to sev­en times, though three is usu­al­ly con­sid­ered enough). Any­way, by the time you’ve run Spin­Rite, DBAN, and re-installed Win­dows 2000 with updates on a rel­a­tive­ly slow machine, there goes your week­end! For­tu­nate­ly, most of this soft­ware is self-suf­fi­cient and requires lit­tle on my part (except needy old Win­dows 2000).

So, if any­one out there is inter­est­ed in get­ting a old­er mod­el Dell lap­top, par­tic­u­lar­ly to run as a Lin­ux lap­py, let me know. It’ll be at least a cou­ple of days before I can get this up on eBay and I would be just as hap­py to sell it to a friend as a stranger. I can pro­vide the specs if any­one is inter­est­ed, since I’ve got to get all that stuff togeth­er soon any­way. How­ev­er, I will men­tion that it has a Linksys 802.11g PC card installed that is going with it (I don’t real­ly want to sell it sep­a­rate­ly, since who would ever buy a lap­top with wire­less now?). Already on the block at eBay:

And, in addi­tion to the lap­top, some items I’ve not yet put up on eBay that will go up as soon as they are “cleaned and cleared:”

  • My old Lin­ux Box desk­top with Antec Lan­boy I case (now) run­ning Ubun­tu
  • This love­ly Dell Dimen­sion 4600 WMCE that I am typ­ing on right now (after I get a new machine only)
  • My 15GB 3G Apple iPod (seen here, minus the car dock) – Sold!
  • An HP Inkjet 1220c medi­um for­mat (up to 13“x19”) print­er
  • A Net­gear Cen­trex port net­work print serv­er (works great with the 1220c)
  • My Belkin KVM+S switch (seen here) with two pairs of cables – Sold!
  • And any­thing else I can find up in the attic that needs to go…

Update (Sun­day): Well, DBAN failed, so I had to run Spin­Rite twice, once in brief mode and once in a more thor­ough mode. The sec­ond time it spent about six hours on a sin­gle dri­ve sec­tor which it final­ly gave up on as “unre­cov­er­able.” I hope that means the dri­ve knows not to use that sec­tor in the future at least. Any­way, it took just shy of 20 hours to run Spin­Rite and I’m not going to let DBAN run again before try­ing to install Win­dows. Aarg!

  1. No, a new com­put­er prob­a­bly isn’t my high­est pri­or­i­ty right now, but it was the deal that Angela and I came up with: clean up the attic, sell some stuff, and use my year-end bonus to buy a com­put­er which will last for the next five years. Win-win all around (space, mon­ey, no more com­put­er wor­ries to dis­tract from more impor­tant things in life…). []
  2. By the way, if you haven’t tried out Ubun­tu, then you should. It’s actu­al­ly worth all the hype it gets. If you’ve nev­er even tried Lin­ux, then make a Live CD and pop it in your Intel or AMD machine. You’ll be sur­prised at just how fast you feel right at home. []