Gadgets. They promise so much – but often not what I really need. They lie around, lifeless and unused, filling up my office.
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:
- Stuff that really is useful, like the back-up CDs of old courses
- Stuff that is new or usable – but honesty compels me to admit I don’t use it anymore.
- 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.
- Recycling Technotrash (1800recycling.com)
- 8 Steps to an Organized Desk (dailyblogging.org)
- 10 technologies on their way to the scrap heap (ctv.ca)