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Computer frugality

 
pollinator
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john mcginnis wrote:Simple fact is unless the unit is less than 5 years old take said device to a qualified PC recycling facility and be rid of it. Why? Energy use.

if energy use was the only consideration, i would agree with raspberries and arduinos. but most recycling outside 'developed countries' equates to burn pits where copper and other metals are extracted. and really, if energy was really an issue, 5+year old computers at homes is nothing compared to themtube/social media data centers and cryto-currency mining operations.
 
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pusang halaw wrote:

john mcginnis wrote:Simple fact is unless the unit is less than 5 years old take said device to a qualified PC recycling facility and be rid of it. Why? Energy use.

if energy use was the only consideration, i would agree with raspberries and arduinos. but most recycling outside 'developed countries' equates to burn pits where copper and other metals are extracted. and really, if energy was really an issue, 5+year old computers at homes is nothing compared to themtube/social media data centers and cryto-currency mining operations.



You have conflated two items -- energy and competent disposal. The latter is a social-ecological issue that a given country has to address. The former is an issue in many countries where 300watts might be the entire energy budget for the entire house if they even have electricity to begin with. A PI can be run off a small solar-battery array. The old PC would require a much bigger array costing probably more than the asset value of the old computer.

I won't deny that data centers consume large amounts of energy. However that was NOT the thrust of the thread -- home use. Want to reuse, go for it, but you are actually degrading the long term more ecological use of computing.
 
pusang halaw
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john mcginnis wrote:conflated two items... you are actually degrading the long term more ecological use of computing

no, i didn't conflate anything. frugality, energy consumption and disposal of electronics are all interrelated. and i was clear upfront agreeing with you when i said "if energy use was the only consideration". besides, most of the power consumption of old units was mostly the CRT displays. it wouldn't be too costly to get a LCD monitor and run a 10yr old desktop (or an old laptop) upgraded to free open source software. and i wouldn't recommend old units for those off-grid since most of them have energy efficient tablets and smartphones anyway (which consume less power than a raspberry or arduino and hdmi screen).
 
pollinator
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From personal experience if you don't game or have to run something that doesn't like an emulator run Linux, or duel boot, I used to duel boot Ubuntu/XP I don't anymore as I do not use word-processing as much and am normally flipping in and out of games, While I'm sure I could get them all to run in Linux using Wine or something similar it's just too much work. You will be absolutely amazed how much faster any PC runs in linux rather than windows. As to power requirements.. well I cannot say anything my computer draws about 250W while I am typing this and when playing something that can climb to 600. It's due an upgrade in a couple of years, but the power usage will only go up not down!
 
pollinator
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Skandi Rogers wrote:..... I don't anymore as I do not use word-processing as much ...



Speaking of which, I'm still searching for a light word-processor for the 'Elementary OS' distro of Linux....Don't really need the full-metal offering of LibreOffice and was more interested in something along the lines of 'WordPad' that's built into Windows.  Anything like that available that is GUI and can be installed without using the command line?  Thanks!
 
pusang halaw
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John Weiland wrote:was more interested in something along the lines of 'WordPad' that's built into Windows

pardon me for jumping in but can i suggest AbiWord?


i sometimes have a 'blinking' problem with it on Lubuntu but not on Mint.
 
John Weiland
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pusang halaw wrote:..... can i suggest AbiWord?


i sometimes have a 'blinking' problem with it on Lubuntu but not on Mint.



Thanks for this recommendation.....I was just looking this up the other night!  Is it pretty easy to install from their download?  Will definitely try this out!
 
pusang halaw
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John Weiland wrote:Thanks for this recommendation.....I was just looking this up the other night!  Is it pretty easy to install from their download?  Will definitely try this out!

hmmm... it came 'built-in' with lubuntu; but i don't recall if i used mint's software center or synaptic. check app center; try synaptic if it's not there; when all else fails there's always apt-get install...

Let me know how it goes and if you get that blinking bug too 🙂
 
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Of the five computers I've had, I bought three used. And I've always kept them until they went belly-up on me. When my iBook was getting too slow I replaced it with a used Toshiba netbook and had the dealer wipe Windows and install Ubuntu, but I kept the iBook until it died because its disk drive was handy for watching movies.

Lee Einer wrote:I started a program a few years ago called "Computers for Kids" which rebuilt donated computers, loaded them with linux and gave them out to kids and anyone else who wanted them, free of charge.

Gave out more than a hundred computers, one year.

Didn't attract a lot of volunteers to help, and the project has ramped down, but I still do this on a small scale from home.

Turns out that most computers people get rid of are being chucked not because of fried motherboards, blown power supplies, etc, but because they are either old and not powerful enough to run the latest and greatest Windoze, or because they were running Windows and got so crapped up with viruses and malware that the owner decided to get a new one (which will do the same in time.)

Thing is, many of these will run Linux just fine, and there are Linux distros for the real clunkers that will even run on a Pentium II.

I have gotten fine computers from thrift stores for less than ten bucks. All that was needed was to wipe the hard drive and install Linux, a process generally accomplished in under 20 minutes.

I occasionally buy new components for my home PC, when one goes south on me, but I haven't bought a new computer in close to a decade.

 
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I'm a Linux admin by profession (at least 20% of what I do at work) and use it on the desktop since 20 years as my main driver.
If you need help or have a question just shot me a message.

 
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I'm currently running SparkyLinux on my laptop, as I have a variety of games and that's what SparkyLinux is designed for. It's based on Debian, and if I were to do it over I'd probably just install a major Linux release and tweak it from there, as SparkyLinux  has some limitations imposed to it as a branch but I've been learning my way around so those limits are going away. Certainly a learning curve after 20 years of professional support of Windows based systems!

I'm happy with the system regardless, and it can play a wide range of games between Steam, native Linux ports, and using Wine within PlayOnLinux. I think the only significant limitation is DirectX11-12 games, I don't think there's a working port for that so any game requiring DX11-12 won't run. I switched back to Win7 because of that to play Conan Exiles with a friend, but it's mostly a PvP game with lots of nice building and crafting elements, but if you aren't big on PvP it gets boring fast. So back to Linux for me!
 
John Weiland
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pusang halaw wrote:  hmmm... it came 'built-in' with lubuntu; but i don't recall if i used mint's software center or synaptic. check app center; try synaptic if it's not there; when all else fails there's always apt-get install...

Let me know how it goes and if you get that blinking bug too 🙂



I'm afraid this is a bit over my head at the moment.  I did some work in Unix many moons ago but was glad when GUI took over for having to know the ins and outs of UNIX and DOS.  So I did not see AbiWord as one of the options in the App Center at Elementary OS.  Also, unless I'm not seeing the link clearly, there is no GUI download option for AbiWord for Elementary OS directly from the AbiWord website.....again, it may be that it's there but I'm not seeing it correctly.  Is 'apt-get install' the command-line option for downloading and installing the package?  Thanks!

(edit:  just found the skinny on using the apt-get commands here:  https://itsfoss.com/apt-get-linux-guide/     Hmmmmm....will have to decide if I want to dive in here...... )

 
pollinator
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Another reason that PCs are tossed out is that a single hardware part will poop out and the owners/users aren't knowledgeable enough to identify the broken part and replace it, so they toss the whole machine. Basic computer repair isn't very hard to learn, but it requires a fair amount of persistence and a willingness to research. If everyone was dumping their "obsolete" PCs at charities like Vancouver's Free Geek (where computer nerds will diagnose, disassemble, and rebuild new working PCs out of the salvageable parts) that might work out fine, but I feel like a lot of perfectly good PC parts are ending up in landfills.

Personally, I'm quite pleased that the PC arms race has slowed down in recent years. I bought a top-of-the-line PC about eight years ago and while it's not top-of-the-line anymore, it's pretty close. My husband was looking to replace some RAM recently because his pooped out, and it was actually more expensive to buy the exact same RAM chip today than it was when he originally built his machine, not because it's obsolete but because it's NOT obsolete and there's more demand for it. This is really good news for the environment. IME, as a software developer, most software is developed so that it can run decently on hardware that's considered "current". The slower that hardware improves, the slower that the software will bloat, and the slower that the general public will feel the need to replace their hardware.
 
Meg Mitchell
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pusang halaw wrote:

john mcginnis wrote:Simple fact is unless the unit is less than 5 years old take said device to a qualified PC recycling facility and be rid of it. Why? Energy use.

if energy use was the only consideration, i would agree with raspberries and arduinos. but most recycling outside 'developed countries' equates to burn pits where copper and other metals are extracted. and really, if energy was really an issue, 5+year old computers at homes is nothing compared to themtube/social media data centers and cryto-currency mining operations.



This advice of trashing 5+ year old computers for power savings is exceptionally questionable because of the way desktop PCs are built. Your PSU wattage acts as a cap on the maximum power usage of your machine, and parts don't typically use more energy as they get older. A PC built with a 500 watt PSU is never going to be able to use more than 500 watts and if it worked with 500 watts on day 1, it's unlikely to even try to use more than that 10 years later. I think this argument must come from an idea that newer computer parts are more efficient, like washing machines and dishwashers, but that's not how PCs work. When PCs get more efficient, typically the expectations from the software just go up. Yes, there are machines built from 5y ago that are very inefficient, but it's also very easy to build a machine that's just as inefficient today.

What a person needs from their PC is going to depend on their life situation. There are people out there who don't need any computer at all, which is admirable, and people who need to stream video to and from their PC via multiple other sources all day every day. Someone else can try to do the math on this, but I think that a remote worker who needs a high-powered PC to communicate with their coworkers is still having less impact on the planet than someone who has to commute 30m a day every day, especially when you factor in that most commuters have to live in urban/suburban areas where other permie opportunities are extremely limited. From what I understand, permaculture is supposed to be about building a holistic system, and I think this analysis is ignoring a lot of outside factors.
 
pusang halaw
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John Weiland wrote:I'm afraid this is a bit over my head at the moment.  I did some work in Unix many moons ago but was glad when GUI took over for having to know the ins and outs of UNIX and DOS.  So I did not see AbiWord as one of the options in the App Center at Elementary OS.  Also, unless I'm not seeing the link clearly, there is no GUI download option for AbiWord for Elementary OS directly from the AbiWord website

this guide addresses all your concerns: https://flatpak.org/setup/elementary%20OS/

apt-get commands here:  https://itsfoss.com/apt-get-linux-guide/     Hmmmmm....will have to decide if I want to dive in here......

the command line is only daunting until you do it. terminals today easily take cut-n-paste so just paste each line in that installation guide and run in sequence. then you can hit the install button on this page: https://flathub.org/apps/details/com.abisource.AbiWord

again: let me know how it goes.
 
pusang halaw
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Meg Mitchell wrote:This advice of trashing 5+ year old computers for power savings is exceptionally questionable because of the way desktop PCs are built.

john mcginnis isn't wrong and today the raspberry pi is the right alternative for most desktop users but many will have to adapt their way of thinking. transitioning from microsoft or apple to free open source software is hard enough for non-techies (that's what they mistakenly think), making the leap from the desktop to a small unfamiliar device will even be a greater leap for most. i also suspect that less than ten percent of most consumer electronics is actually recycled and most of the metal is shipped to china and plastic parts go into incinerators or landfills.

bought a top-of-the-line PC about eight years ago

me too: my i5 from 2012 is fine but i discovered last night that the ati radeon's gpu fan seized and was causing my system to hang within 6mins of booting. good thing i caught it in time. now i'll have work with the internal gpu until i acquire a compatible gpu cooler (almost impossible), or scratch enough for a new graphix card.
 
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:What irks me is the printers!  I've got two printers, one about a year and a half old, the other only a few months old, and neither one works anymore.  When you add the cost of ink, it's atrocious!  I think when we move, I may go computer-less for a while again.

Kathleen



Eco tank printers are now a thing https://epson.com/ecotank-super-tank-printers
 
John Weiland
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pusang halaw wrote:
again: let me know how it goes.



Well.....baby steps!

This is where I got stuck:

elementary@elementary:~$ sudo apt install software-properties-common --no-install-recommends
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree      
Reading state information... Done
The following additional packages will be installed:
 python3-software-properties
The following NEW packages will be installed:
 python3-software-properties software-properties-common
0 upgraded, 2 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 140 kB of archives.
After this operation, 604 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] y

(edited to remove bad URL links that were associated with errors, hence leading me to cancel further operations with that attempt......the links have since been resolved, but not at the time of this original thread entry)

Any suggestions?  Where it says "Do you want to continue?", I entered "Y" and hit the 'Enter' key.  Bad idea?

Thanks!.....It's also my first time using Epiphany!....
 
pusang halaw
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John Weiland wrote:Err:1 ...python3-software-properties all 0.96.24.32.5+elementary7~ubuntu18.04.1
 404  Not Found [IP: 91.189.95.83 80]
Err:2 ...software-properties-common all 0.96.24.32.5+elementary7~ubuntu18.04.1
 404  Not Found [IP: 91.189.95.83 80]
E: Failed to fetch ...python3-software-properties_0.96.24.32.5+elementary7~ubuntu18.04.1_all.deb  404  Not Found [IP: 91.189.95.83 80]
E: Failed to fetch ...software-properties-common_0.96.24.32.5+elementary7~ubuntu18.04.1_all.deb  404  Not Found [IP: 91.189.95.83 80]
E: Unable to fetch some archives, maybe run apt-get update or try with --fix-missing?

seems the server for those packages wasn't available at that time - that's all. you could try fetching those packages elsewhere but it's better if you just try again later and hopefully it'll be up.

Any suggestions?  Where it says "Do you want to continue?", I entered "Y" and hit the 'Enter' key.  Bad idea?

no harm done now but when you encounter errors, better to NOT to continue. and be careful as the command line requires ACCURATE commands - did you cut-n-paste? you should because i saw typos and syntax errors ($ sudo add-apt-rpository). but really, you should try installing a package manager (if possible from app center) which will make installing programs so much easier.

Thanks!.....It's also my first time using Epiphany!

you're welcome but don't thank me yet - not until we successfully install ABIword on your unit. but from this point forward, we should continue via private messages (purple moosages) and not completely hi-jack this thread.
 
John Weiland
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Will do Pusang......I'll send you a PM soon to make the initial connection.  As an aside, I've been informed that my last two posts received '404' notifications..??....can someone help me decipher what editing I must do to rectify the problem?  Thanks!
 
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404 means if you click on the link, you will see a notice that says:

Not Found

The requested URL /elementary-os/os-patches/ubuntu/pool/main/s/software-properties/python3-software-properties_0.96.24.32.5+elementary7~ubuntu18.04.1_all.deb was not found on this server.



It's an error that a machine on the net says if you ask it for something that is not there.

Easiest edit would be to kill the two links at the end, that are both erroring. Edit out just the bits that say [url] at the front of each link and the link will not be clickable anymore.
 
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I wore down the power input metal on my MacBook.  I had been babying it by having the power cord taped against the worn out plug and the cord draped over the edge of the screen and taped to provide stress relief.  It is 9 years old, I was trying to make it to 10.

Well I'm house sitting one of my kids dogs and she bumped me and my setup night before last and now it is truly dead the computer works but the power plug is truly gone and I think the cord transformer died from shorting.  I have to say this mac book has been shorted quite a few times during the last few months during
this problem time and has lived thru it, it just shuts itself off and I have to reboot

I would need to solder a cord or new plug to the circuit board, which sounds like a pita and a god way to lift traces and other damage as I have no decent equipment
 
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I use MX Linux (pretty darned fast too) and Mint 17.3 KDE.
MX on desktop for the internet use.
Mint on laptop for both internet and other things I need to do as it is full featured (requires a decent CPU and at least 4gb ram to work well).

Linux does NOT have 3D accelerators as much as some might claim. Hampers some activities.
And linux USB drivers STINK.
I transfer huge files under windows and it is very fast. Under linux it is SLOOOWW and when linux says the transfer is done it is NOT DONE.

Many linux users love the cinnamon desktop (almost full featured but nicer GUI for windows migrants and such).

IMHO Linux is best suited as an internet using system. Unless you want to become a geek and learn the horrible complex command line and use that.

The most hack/virus/malware resistant operating system is BeOS if you can stomach the hassles getting it installed, configured, and working.

Others would be Whonix (requires a very STRON and expensive cpu, ram, and graphics card), QubesOS, and probably a few others similar. All those are complex and not for people who have no time for foolishness (i.e. having to set everything up and REMEMBER to so certain things to get it to work like flash for example).

We need an OS that works like windows and runs like linux.
But none exists.

Mac is worthless too unless you plan on doing video editing which there is no better OS in the world for doing that stuff.
And Mac also is in cahoots with windows and governments with spying and back doors and such.

Never use any program or operating system that isn't open source. What do the others have to hide anyway? THEFT OF YOUR PERSONAL INFO. That's what.
NEVER run WINE on a linux box! If you do then you have the same issues as windows - malware etc.

Puppy linux is very small and works OK. Fun to play with once in a while.
TAILS is excellent for privacy (none are perfect though).

FYI: nearly all hardware has built in spyware from the factory. NSA uses 'air gap' technology and some others. Many we have no clue about yet either.
No matter what OS you use, some spying is happening.

The 'Five Eyes' are everywhere.

Linux is more privacy engineered than Windows or Mac though.
But privacy expectations go right out the windows if you aren't smart enough to NOT put personal info on the web.

Linux is generally far more stable than any other OS, but it is a trade off. It is not compatible with games usually. Nor many popular softwares.

You can run windows in a virtual machine and use the software that way. But again that required a strong cpu, lots of ram, and almost new video card or it can be slow.

I have used both windows and linux for many years now.
I like windows due to the ease of use (up to and including win7 but NOT after that).
I like linux for the speed and generally more stable system as well as few if any *ware issues.

Oh and linux won't wear out your expensive ssd like windows will.
 
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