#1 – Dead Tech (52 Fewer Things)

Gadgets.  They promise so much – but often not what I really need.  They lie around, lifeless and unused, filling up my office.

Studio Tall 1
Image by matt.searles via Flickr

Then there are the gadgets’ accessories – cables, software, manuals, cases…

Then there is the technology that was so new just a few years ago, but has been surpassed by easier, faster, cleaner, convenient options.

Funeral for Dead Technology

I opened the top drawer of my techno-cabinet and faced the tangle of cables, CD-ROMs, storage boxes and the like. I almost faltered: it seemed too big a job to complete, but perhaps I could do triage:

  1. Stuff that really is useful, like the back-up CDs of old courses
  2. Stuff that is new or usable – but honesty compels me to admit I don’t use it anymore.
  3. Stuff that it’s hard to imagine anyone using – or even knowing what it is.

Type #2 is the stuff that holds me hostage, preventing me from disposing of it by its appearance of value, while gradually aging into Type #3 items which I would throw out in a few years.  I spend the time to gather together the manuals & cables for a scanner with a burnt out bulb, a first-generation MP3 player, then bundle everything up into recognizable and usable bundles – and trek it down for our “take it if you can use it” table.

The bundling process moves some supposed Type #2’s into the Type #3 pile: I can’t see anyone going by the “For Takes” table and saying, “Oh good! An extra used coiled telephone cord!”

Burial for Dead Technology

Type #3 presents environmental concerns.  We don’t have good recycling for the dozen or so CD-ROMs of instructor manuals, test banks, and other materials provided with now-out-of-print textbooks.   We don’t get them anymore – publishers post them on the internet.  I sort out everything that can be recycled, and send the rest to the trash.

Thoughts from the Dead Tech Graveyard

Some of the technology that I buried today was dead on arrival – unsolicited CDs from folks pushing a variety of books or services. I resolve to re-double my efforts to remove my name from publishers’ mailing lists.

Many items were bought in bulk – a package of 10 Re-writable CDs when I only needed one or two.  I’m sure they cost less (per CD) bought in bulk – but more than the cost of the 2 or 3 I used most of the time.  I make a note: only buy what you really need.


    • Once I started, I found more and more pieces of dead tech around too. Some isn’t really dead – just surpassed – and I’m lucky to find homes for it. Good luck with your project!

  1. We have lots of that old-tech stuff! What is amazing to me is how much we can sell on eBay. Recently, we sold a whole box of cords and cables. We don’t always get a lot, but at least they go to someone who really wants them.

    • I haven’t ever sold on eBay, although I keep hearing that it’s easy. This 52 Fewer Things project may be the reason to look into it – if only for the ecological reasons. What did you do to get started?

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