Fact Controlled
MATH
for Special Learners

Busman's Holiday
Yes, Virginia, There Are Santa Clauses
by Steve Wood
January 12, 1999

 

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Reader responses are a mixed bag. Five readers will tell me I have expressed publicly what they desperately wished someone would say about Apple, or Company X, or... Another reader of the same column will send a one or two line zinger or a three page tirade. One of my favorites was an empty email with the subject line, "Last Rights - Last Rites," in reference to my poor proofreading on "Christmas Bloat and New Year's Mayhem." (Thanks to Calvin E.) One of my least favorites starred in the column, "Losing Educational Market Share: One Apple Rep at a Time." The email is always lively, and I relish the good relationships and information it sometimes fosters.

In late November I received the following short email in response to SE Fever: The Lure (and Reward) of Vintage Computing":

I have 2 or 3 SEs and 1 or 2 accelerators for them.
I'll donate them.

TR

You never know quite what to think of such an offer. Not wanting to appear greedy, and being rather smug that I have never accepted any goodies from those I review, I suggested he might donate them to his local school. But, I also offered to foot the postage if his local school demurred.

I received the following message the next day:

I would like to give them to someone who can "support" them. In town
here, I'm afraid they'll just sit in a corner.
Send me ship to info...

TR

I didn't hear back from TR on that subject for over a month. I had totally forgotten about it, when I received the following inventory of what was coming our way:

Qty

Item

Qty

Item

2

Mac SE

2

Duo 12mb RAM

1

030/40 accelerator

1

Duo 24mb RAM

1

030/25 accelerator

2

Hi Res Display Cards

1

68881/25

1

Techworks ethernet card

1

68030/20

1

SCSi HD

1

68881/20

5

Apple microphones

1

Mac Iisi accelerator, cache, math card

1

030/50mhz

1

MPEG Media System

1

PB 140/170 6mb

1

Apple Avid Video System

1

PB 140/170 modem

1

SCSI Hard Drive

4

4mb 30 pin

1

SCSI Hard drive for Portable

25

1mb 30 pin

2

Duo 280c logic boards

1

MS Word

1

Duo display

1

Faxcilitate

1

Mac II fx

5

Mac OS 7.5

1

Mac Portable

1

Mac OS 7.6

1

Portable 10 key pad

1

Stratavision 3D

1

Portable RAM module

9

ClarisWorks

2

Portable HD cable adaptor

3

Claris Organizer

1

Portable AC adaptor

2

RamDoubler

2

extra Portable batteries

2

SpeedDoubler

1

Duo battery

1

MS Office

2

040/40 for Mac Iici

1

MS Flight Similator

1

Mac II FDHD upgrade kit

1

MS Bookshelf

1

Color StyleWriter 1500

1

Automap

1

StyleWriter II

1

Wine Guide

1

ImageWriter

1

Grolier

1

Radius Full Page display

1

Home Projects

1

PowerMac 6100 (less floppy)

1

Remote Access

1

20" SonyTrinitron tube Display (use w non PPC)

1

Quicken

1

RGB 4 lead cable

1

Quicken Deluxe

1

Co-Active Connection Mac/PC network kit

1

Now Up To Date

2

PC LocalTalk cards

1

Employee Appraiser

2

ImageWriter din cables

4

In Control

3

ImageWriter 25-din cables

1

Datebook/Touchbase

3

OWC Nubus Powermac accelerators

1

SuperPaint

1

Hi Performance PowerMac nubus Video Card

2

Spinnaker Plus

1

ixTwinturbo 8mb PCI acclerated video card

2

NetObjects Fusion

1

Kensignton Turbo mouse

1

MS Fonts

1

Global Village modem

3

FastPace

4

PB 500 8mb RAM

1

Personal Press

1

PB 500 16mb RAM

2

WordPerfect

1

8500/8500 class 120mhz upgrade processor

1

Dataviz w/ cables

I was stunned.

I told our school's technology coordinator what was coming, and he immediately offered to help. He had space where the items could be stored until we decided what to do with them all.

Just Part of the LootEight large boxes of parts arrived about a week later. Some were so heavy that I just scooted them onto a cart before moving them to the techie's office. Then the fun began as "the evil NT techie" and I, equipped with our inventory sheets, tore into the boxes. Another staff member finally excused herself from the office amid the comments of "Gee whiz, look at this! Hey, this is a graphics accelerator! Look at that display! Is this a 40 chip upgrade? What will it fit?" I think she was totally geeked out:-).


partsTo the casual eye, this might appear to be a computer garage sale clean-up. But if you look closely, there's a lot of value in what we received. I immediately put an Ethernet card to use in a "new" Mac IIfx in my classroom. A display (not pictured) will go with a Mac IIsi that was donated by an eBay vendor. An SE/30 case with a very good monitor was quickly combined with a motherboard and drives I'd been intending to work on. One classroom teacher who has another SE/30 has already spoken for it.

Mac PortableI can tell the Mac Portable is going to be running again, soon. "The evil NT techie," oops, our technology coordinator, is totally taken by it and kept fiddling with it and the various extra parts while we were sorting. (Maybe there's a Mac future for our techie, after all?) We sorted through the boxes identifying parts for which we had an immediate or future need. Obviously, not everything will fit into our computing situation. He volunteered to handle most of the distribution within our schoolm and also began assembling a list of other Mac-oriented schools in the area with which to share the bounty. Schools are pretty limited by state regulations on selling surplus items, but swapping with other techies and schools may slide by the state board of accounts. I immediately thought of something Dan Knight had told me some time ago and I finally found the email he sent:

I'd like to add a new section to MacInSchool where needy schools can post what they're looking for and who to contact. Once I collect a decent list, I'll send a note to the 8 Mac email lists I manage soliciting donations of spare computers.

While I'm sure we'd all call ourselves needy, Dan really does have a good idea here. My school is extremely fortunate to be about in the middle of the pack--somewhere between hardware heaven and extremely needy. I've kicked up a good fuss over reliability of some of our machines, but we do have at least one fairly good computer in each classroom.

One thing I'd like to push is for schools that already have computers and are upgrading to donate one older computer for each two they receive. Not a hard and fast rule, but a way they can spread the wealth. (There are schools where an Apple II would be a blessing.)

This is a real biggie! I have seen working Apple II's cast out when teachers received their new Macs! (And boy, were some of them sorry.) Now, it seems to be the SE and SE/30s that are being pitched (and saved by me). I know a guy who uses SEs in tandem with Apple IIs who could use a couple of my off-inventory machines!

Dan might not appreciate this part, but a general computer listing and exchange might be a good move. In an ideal world, it would make sense to just have a posting site for all computer platforms, including the Evil Empire machines. But he's starting out right--not too big and trying to serve the Mac community which he knows so well. I hope Dan can pull it off, as there are people out there, such as TR, who wishes to remain annomymous in this column, who can and will supply usable materials to schools that will actually put them to good use.

I offer my heartfelt thanks to TR for his generous gift. I'd also ask that if readers have materials they'd wish to donate to needy schools, they contact Dan Knight, as he has already shown an interest in heading up such an enterprise. I'm not going to have time to do any such thing. I'm too loaded down with parts to use!

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©1999 Steven L. Wood

reposted to the new MATH DITTOS 2 site 6/5/2000