More on the PCs for Kids charity, plus an insight into the homelife of ex-MS judge Thomas Jackson, from reader Matthew A. Holzbauer.
I just read your article and felt that I had to contact you regarding some points mentioned in it. I volunteer at a local charity that does the same things as PC's for kids, but sponsored by the federal government (I'm an American by the way).
We receive our PC's and software from our local Naval Air Station, as well as from local government contractors. The systems we receive are then repaired, averaging one complete system for every three donated, and given to local schools and non-profit organisations. The average performance specifications for a system we receive are as follows; 486dx2 50 or 66 mhz processor, 8 or 16 mb of RAM, 256 mb Hard drive, occasionally a CD-ROM or sound card, and a one megabyte video card. The only OS's we have received are windows 3.11 for workgroups, and from contractors we have received Windows 95.
We have seldom received site licenses for these programs, and when we do, we give them away immediately to whomever requires one (usually teachers, due to the nature of the IT director of our local school system).
As for the refurbishment licenses, I would like to know the source of your information, since the only way we get licenses from Microsoft is when one of our volunteers, who works for them, finds a forgotten license in a closet and brings it in. The only reason they have not pursued our charity in the way they pursued PC's for Kids is because one of our volunteers lives next door to Thomas Penfield Jackson, who, as you know, is the original judge in the Microsoft anti-trust lawsuit.
Until last year we also recycled higher-end 386 machines also, and we have just started receiving higher end machines such as pentiums, and even the occasional newer machine, since the Navy started their program to replace all machines with a standardised model. So, you might want to check your facts before taking such a pro Microsoft stance in your articles.
Meanwhile, William Douglas wrote in to tell us of a similar charity in Canada. However, he is not too enamoured with the scheme...
I work for a school district as a computer tech and I come across lots of these computers. I hate them. They only thing they're good for is spare parts (those old floppy drives are much higher quality then those found on PCs today.)
And thanks to Ray Hunter for the following suggestion:
Regarding the PC's for kids thing: Why don't they launch a BP style "send us your old licenses."
I think I've got two for Win 3.1, and it's the sort of thing people don't throw out, but are never going to use anymore! That way, they get their licenses for free, and there really ain't sod all MickeySoft can do about it...?!?