Terra Blight image

Terra Blight captures the devastating effects of ewaste dumping and export.

There’s a new documentary by Jellyfish Smack Productions that traces the life cycle of computers from the manufacturing stage to the different end of life results. Terra Blight is a 55 minute documentary exploring America’s consumption of computers and the hazardous waste we create in pursuit of the latest technology. Terra Blight traces the life cycle of computers from creation to disposal and juxtaposes the disparate worlds that have computers as their center. From a 13-year-old Ghanaian who smashes obsolete monitors to salvage copper to a 3,000-person video game party in Texas, Terra Blight examines the unseen realities of one of the most ubiquitous toxic wastes on our planet.

The film employs a style similar to Gimme Green (the director’s prior film), whereby the audience encounters many dynamic characters and accesses the problem through subtle humor and identification with subjects on-screen. Shot in crisp HD, Terra Blight navigates surreal landscapes with a sensitive cinema vérité lens that conveys the unique point-of-view of each character.

Terra Blight examines the intricacies of American consumerism through the story of the computer.  It exposes some of the harms of its existence, but it also celebrates the positive changes it has brought to us.

By the film’s end, the audience will never look at their computer the same way again.

Watch the Terra Blight Trailer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aZuUw2S300

For more information about the harmful effects of toxic electronic dumping, visit the Basil Action Network’s (BAN) website, www.ban.org. BAN is the world’s only organization that focuses on confronting the global environmental injustice and economic inefficiency of toxic trade (toxic wastes, products and technologies) and its devastating impacts.

Terra Blight’s website also offers a link to the Electronics Take Back Coalition’s guide to recycling your electronics. For a guide to the most environmentally responsible recyclers, visit http://e-stewards.org/.

Continue Reading

AnythingIT recently released a white paper about the end of Microsoft’s support of Windows XP and what is the best economic decision regarding upgrading or disposal. It’s a good incentive to move to a new operating system, as history has shown that older operating systems out of support are the most commonly infected. In one survey, a large portion of infected computers were found to be running Windows XP SP2, for which Microsoft has ceased all support. If a hole is found, it does not get patched. That will be the case for XP SP3 in two years and Vista in another five years.

During the Extended Support phase, Vista users will still be able to get security updates and can still pay for support on a per-incident basis or per-hour.

Considering how long Microsoft is going to support these long-dead Operating Systems, that’s not bad. This is clearly the time for companies to migrate to Windows 7, especially with Windows 8 growing more and more unpopular.

Given the option between Windows 7 and Windows 8, the majority of IT professionals seem to favor the former. Though Windows 8 is winning rave reviews for its touch-friendly tablet experience, many feel that the operating system’s “Modern-style” UI makes life more difficult for PC users. In a survey conducted by PC World last month, half of people surveyed said that they would be unlikely to recommend the new operating system to a friend, despite praising its speed and improved browser. One blogger has taken to calling the OS “Vista 8.”

It’s very likely Windows 7 will become the new XP and stay on the market way past its sell-by date. This further proves our claim that disposing of corporate computers still running XP makes much more financial sense than just upgrading the operating system.

Continue Reading

Instructables.com (http://www.instructables.com/id/Things-to-do-with-a-old-computer/) has come up with a list of things to do with old computers:

Turn it into a server (web, printer, file etc.)
Put a big hard drive in it and make it a jukebox
Put a TV tuner into it and a big hard drive and make it a PVR
Use it as a firewall
Use it as a stress reliever
Automate Your Home
Use it as an answering machine
Make the monitor into an aquarium
Make it into a rendering farm
Trade It in
Put it in your car
Give it away/Donate

While we imagine that most nine-to-fivers don’t have the time or inclination to start morphing their old desktops into aquariums or answering machines, we do see a running theme… don’t throw it away. Whether we’re talking about personal or corporate computers equipment, electronics have value in their second life. Even if that life no longer takes the same form.

And although we’re no strangers to the need to relieve stress, we don’t recommend smashing your old computers to do it. Try a walk on the beach instead.

If you’re in charge of disposal for an enterprise, consider repurposing those computers in the form of a donations program. AnythingIT works with Work Vessels For Veterans, a non-profit organization that gives laptops to US Veterans returning to the workforce or going back to school, but we can set up a donations program for any charity of your choice. Part of that program will involve wiping the data off your hard drives and making sure the charity is receiving a working, viable computer.

If you have only a few computers, check out Computers with Causes. According to their website, “With any P4 or above computer donation you send to us, you will receive a vacation voucher allowing you to choose from 4 different deluxe vacation packages!”

We think that’s better than a jukebox.

Continue Reading