Hardware Hunting

August 15, 2006

I am seriously on the hunt for another machine. It doesn’t have to be brand new, but it has to be able to do at least a few things. And this is where things get challenging.

My wife Jane is turning into almost as much of a computer nerd as me, meaning she likes to do stuff on the machine every chance she gets. Mostly, it is sorting and editing pictures, although she likes to surf the web as much as the next person.

I don’t need to be on the web all the time. I download email and various blog subscriptions and play a few games. Occasionally I’ll render some video of the kids and burn a DVD or two.

When Jane saw me playing around a bit with some of the photo editing stuff on Mepis (NOT the Gimp, though) her eyes kind of lit up. I think she might eventually be able to adjust to a Linux machine especially if she likes how it works with her pictures. But I don’t see her doing it full time for awhile as it has taken me quite some time to get with it. But she is at least open to trying it, which is a big step. She is the ultimate newbie as she really has no loyalty to one OS over another as long as it works. She also doesn’t have a lot of patience when things go wrong, which happens frequently with Windows.

Mepis has come out with some utility CDs for folks who can not get ready access to broadband. So I’m busy trying these out in hopes that a Mepis 6.0 distro could have all the same stuff that I’m enjoying with 3.3 plus a bit more, maybe. Of course, the first thing I noticed was WINE did not appear, so I sort of figured out how to download what I needed. I hope.

Ghengis Khan is working his way through the special ed. department with new computers. Each of us is supposed to get 3 new ones, one for the teacher and 2 for student use. Mr. Khan had informed me that these would have DVD players, CDRW and be running around 3.0 GHz, and I’m assuming some sort of dual core processor. Seems a waste to have all that power without a DVD burner.

In anycase, he may not approve of my having an unauthorized Linux machine on the network. Which means I need to wrap up whatever downloading and burning I’m going to do before he pulls my plug. And then again, he may be okay with my initiative and improvising. Maybe he’ll even be impressed! Right.

I wouldn’t mind having one of these older P3 machines. Pretty much all the games I play can be played on P2 or P3 machines. As long as I have at least 128 Mb RAM, I’m good. There has got to be millions of these things sitting around the world. Our own school system has them by the truckload. They have no use for something that won’t run XP anymore and Win98 is now an orphan OS.. The machine that I currently have Mepis installed on is a 550 Mhz P3 with 192 Mb RAM and a 10 gig hard drive. Too weak to run XP, but adequate for Mepis 3.3. I’m anxious to see how it likes my favorite game, which happens to be Age of Empires, Rise of Rome at the moment. Not a new game by any means but I generally run a couple of generations behind on games just so I can pick them out of the bargain bin!




  1. Hi Dick,

    As I am not in the US I don’t really know how to do it there, but around here we either go on to EBay or our local news paper for second hand stuff. I’m sure you will be finding good deals there. I just got a laptop for my daughter (a Dell Latitude with 800 MHz, 256 MB and 20GB of hd) for about 260 euros (around 300 dollars or so). Just a thought.


  2. Thanks, and yes I am looking on ebay and keeping my eyes open. I’ve been keeping my eyes open in the paper, too. I’m just being deliberate about it.


  3. Older systems… fun.

    I always use some Slack derivative for systems with less than 300MHz and 192MB. Kinda sad that (graphical) software needs this much these days. Oh well, my old 386 still runs fine as a router. Come to think of it, all my systems run their purpose perfectly.

  4. I have picked up tones of el crapo systems for free, about the same as your P3 550mghz (No offence). I find that if you go around to the local schools and preaty much any place that would buy PC’s in bulk will most defernatly have some oldies they are will to give to anyone who will take, or if they wana get stingy maby charge you about 50 bucks a peice. A while ago I went to the tafe around the corner and i asked if they had a cheep pc i could buy, they opend up a store room with about 60 p2’s and p3’s they said i could rummage though for free, walked away with 3 working towers. They wouldnt accept my money, so i didnt force the matter :P… Any hoo, could pay off to have a ring around.

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