Are computers disposable? You might think so if you've considered upgrading yours lately. After Microsoft announced that they were pulling the plug on Windows 98, you probably looked into the cost of hauling your computer over to Floyd's Fix-It Shop for an upgrade and decided it was more cost-effective to buy a new PC. Or maybe someone told you that your recent vintage XP box isn't quite "Vista" compatible (whatever that means). It's all the price of doing business in this age of modern computing. At the end of the day your trusty beige box is sitting by the door, en route to the curb. However, there is an alternative to discarding viable if slightly dated technology.
Micrecycle started in 1996 as a partnership between Nortel, Science Linkages in the Community, and the United Way Gifts-in-Kind Program. The "Computers for Education" volunteer-based program has been refurbishing donated computers and distributing them to schools, agencies, and low-income families. Programs like the "mouse in every house" collaborative effort with Flower City Habitat for Humanity have helped forward the vision that "all people have affordable access to the benefits of computer and information technology."
Once they've gone through refurbishing, Micrecycle computers come with a version of Microsoft Windows (for which the license travels with the machine), as well as the Open Office productivity suite (a free alternative to Microsoft Office). Other pieces of freeware are available through the Internet after you're online.
If you're interested in receiving a refurbished computer, want to redirect a computer away from the waste stream, or need more information, call or e-mail Alex Johnson of the RochesterMuseum and ScienceCenter at 256-3170 or Alex_Johnson@rmsc.org.