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Ask HN: Does anyone have an old computer laying around unused in Brisbane, AU?
71 points by DonaldH on Apr 27, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 35 comments
I'm currently unemployed, broke and using a 5-year-old laptop to work on my startup. The laptop has undergone multiple emergency surgeries and is basically on life support at this stage, going into cardiac arrest every hour or so.

Does anyone happen to have an old laptop or desktop laying around unused? I'm really, really not fussy about what type of machine it is, or how many times it has traveled around the sun.




Check out freecycle.org, it's a place where people advertise stuff to give away for free (normally on condition of you picking it up). There is also a "wanted" section to ask for particular items, which you might find useful.

Here is the URL for the Brisbane group: https://groups.freecycle.org/group/freecycle_brisbane/posts/...


Hey Jono, thank you for the suggestion. I have actually been watching freecycle for a while but have had no luck.


Dell 610, currently with Xubuntu. Also runs NetBSD and FreeBSD. Works fine. Battery lasts 20 mins. I can meet you Central Station or Nundah Station.


We've got a small office in Brisbane - we might have something spare up there. If you can't get anything email me: smj (at) fastmail (dot) com


@DonaldH, Sam is a great guy! Hit him up :)


I think you need to sort out your life before you continue to work on your startup. I don't say that to criticize you, I am just being realistic. It's disadvantageous in almost every way to be absolutely broke (mostly for obvious reasons) while trying to pursue something as amibitious as a tech startup. You're really pushing the odds.


While I can't help with your immediate crisis, if you ever want to talk startup strategies just ping my email (in profile). squirrel in London has a great gesture I'd like to pay forward now I'm back home in Brisbane, of always being willing to buy you lunch, learn about what you're building, and offer to help / connect in anyway I can.


@DonaldH ping help [at] littlebirdelectronics.com and we'll help you out with a Pi.


Shout out to littlebird - bloody great company - I've bought a few nice kits from you over the last few years.


Nice gesture!


Hey fellow Brisvegasian, my email is in my profile. Send me an email and I'll forward it around to all my mates. Maybe we can find something.


Ah, memories. I started our company in 2006 with a very heavy, very yellow, 486 compaq laptop.

Yes, I'm fully aware there are better machines I could have used for a fairly nominal amount, but all I needed was bash, mutt and vim, and money was better spent on food and water.

Graduated to using a "broken (needed a new HDD)" ibook when the roof decided it didn't feel like keeping rain out one night.

That doesn't help one jot with your immediate problem, but I empathise, and have been in your shoes.


Ayaaa brissie! Email me your addy and I'll ship you something.



I just taught a workshop there. It's not really the space to start a software startup.


Call me crazy, but if you don't have a working computer anywhere where you can use one for free is a pretty good place to work on a task that requires the use of a computer.


I'm in between moving, but when I unpack I have a bit of a PC graveyard and can piece together something if you're still stuck. Even a Windows key I guess if you're that way inclined.


If you don't need Windows or the mobility, a Raspberry PI 2 may be an alternative. They are about $35 plus tax and the model 2 is as capable as a five year old Laptop.


I've never used one, but I'm surprised at the apparent gap between such suggestions and the lack of availability of such devices.

I mean, if a Pi can run perfectly well for $35, where's the place where you can just go and get a ready-to-go PC for under $50, BYO salvaged peripherals? It doesn't quite seem to make sense? PC/mobile manufacturing is so competitive.

Isn't this a market anyone wants?


  Isn't this a market anyone wants?
There are plenty of competitors in the $150-$250 netbook/chromebook market. Not to mention things like the Intel Compute Stick and its competitors like the MK802. Not to mention tablets and phones.

A raspberry pi might only cost $35, but don't forget you'll need an SD card, and a power supply, and a case, and a wifi dongle, and a keyboard, and a mouse, and a monitor, and HDMI and power cables, and maybe a powered USB hub.


You really don't need a case. No wifi either, if the desk isn't too far from the cable/telephone box. Spare power supplies, keyboards and mice probably aren't hard to find either. But yeah, it's more than 35$ in most cases.


Once you add the bare minimums you need to make a RasperryPI a basic PC (power, case, wifi, storage etc) then you're probably pushing at least $100 and you're going to have a hard time making money selling them for less than $150-200. And at that price point there already are a number of players


Exactly. The rpi2 makes perfect sense if you are already a techy and have all those bits lying around and are happy enough making a cardboard case (which I am). For the consumer it's not packaged well enough.


Probably because it has to run a linux desktop and most consumers balk at anything that isn't windows.


I don't think that's true anymore. Not in a world where a 4 person house has 4 smart-phones, 2 tablets, etc. Not when the device costs $50 (assuming you can get peripherals free).

For $50 you can take some risk. It can't be a huge learning curve but it doesn't need to do everything you need a computer to do for the next 4 years, which was the paradigm that lead to Windows dominance. IE, if I'm buying a PC in 2002, the cost is serious and I need to get years out of it. I can't risk it sucking. For $50 the risk is on par with a pair of jeans. Sometimes you wear them all the time. Sometimes you don't like the,

The most obvious paths seems to me to give Google some competition in their Chrome OS market. Pi, Ubuntu, Mozilla. Tablets are great, but I think a significant part of the froth is just a side effect of (A) A fresh start on UI paradigms and backwards compatibility debt and (B) Price.

It's just a different kind of decision when the price is as low as it can be today.


To sell the Chromebook idea, Google had to address the XY problem for productivity applications. People will say "I need Office" because they want a spreadsheet and a word processor. By simply making people aware of their apps, Google was able to get many people to forgo the "Office XY" problem [And the iPhone XY problem via Android].

Apple and Microsoft ingrained a lot of intellectual shortcuts in regard to the way people in the mainstream think about computing in their quests for market share. So of course has Google. In fairness, these abstractions simplify the daunting complexity of deciding among a vast domain of computing options.



Recently, I've been thinking about how weird this is. By which I mean that many of the same people who would balk at Linux because it's not Windows wouldn't balk at a Mac and don't balk at Android instead of an iPhone.


I'm on the southside and have an old p4 2.4ghz w/ 2gb ddr2, some asus motherboard, gpu and a coupla hdds. Unfortunately there's no case but if you can come grab it it's all yours. Also a raspi 1 model b and 22" lcd.

Email me hnpc at eggsampler dort com


Great to see such good gestures from the community. I have 2 laptops which are not working(one with motherboard problem). Is their any way I can dump them as they are just taking up space in my home.

PS - I am from India.


I'm pretty suspicious about motherboard problems. Lot of computer shops simply dish out "motherboard problem saar gib me 10000 rupees" rather than investigating what really went wrong.

BTW, you can salvage the hard drive, possibly the memory, and other parts from the laptop easily. Hard drives can pretty much be substituted on any other laptop but memory will need to be of the same type and compatible.


Freecycle.org is a good option

One other way is to check out the surrounding local council's hard rubbish collection days. Scour the nature strip for exactly this and you will be quite lucky. Your chances improve with the poshness of the council.

I recycled a Multi-function printer 8 years back in Melbourne, Australia and it works fine except its hard to get the print cartridges, so gets used mostly as a scanner.


Check the craigslist free section.


Craigslist isn't in Australia, it's just in movies from our perspective.

The Australian equivalent is gumtree.com.au that was bought out by eBay a while back.


Craigslist is in Australia.

Its not as good as Gumtree - but it is in Australia.

https://geo.craigslist.org/iso/au




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