Chromebooks came up a little after I worked for the big Garseholes as a translator typing monkey. I didn’t believe the hype anymore and never bought one. But this looks like a good option if you happen to have one sitting around.

  • JacobCoffinWrites
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    11 months ago

    I’ve made a small hobby out of fixing up ewaste laptops and giving them away (recently to a local refugee resettlement org) and I’ve been frustrated at how quickly apple and Google kill their OSs. Everything I get that still has a valid, supported commercial OS gets factory reset and updated, because I try to give people something familiar to them. Everything else gets Linux Mint running MATE, which so far seems to be intuitive enough for former windows users.

    These laptops have so much more life in them than their OS support would have you believe.

    • atearinspace
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      11 months ago

      I’ve been thinking of doing something similar. Where do you source the ewaste laptops?

      • JacobCoffinWrites
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        11 months ago

        Originally an office rental company gave me permission to pick through their ewaste bins (they’re unsecured and provided with no guarantees, though I do take care to wipe any drives that haven’t been done already). From them, it was really inconsistent, sometimes I’d find brand new laptops, monitors, TVs, etc, because a company had to move suddenly or just upgraded and the laptops would be good quality and ready to go (once they already had the drives wiped and stacked in a second pile) other times they’d be stripped almost down to the motherboard, stained with coffee, and I’d have to buy a bunch of replacement parts to get them usable again. More recently, friends and relatives and neighbors have heard about this project and started giving me their old laptops to fix and give away. These tend to be working and cleaner than the ewaste ones, though a little anemic in RAM or hard drives. I had budgeted up to $35ish per laptop, so I buy whatever they’re missing used on ebay and ask for components on my local Buy Nothing page (which is where I originally was giving the computers away). If one laptop is already good, I’ll put it’s budget towards one of the problem ones.

        • atearinspace
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          11 months ago

          Nice! I will start putting some feelers out with my local freecycle and buy nothing groups and see where to go from there. Thanks for the info!

  • Sleepy forest wizard
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    11 months ago

    This is such a great read. I’m a long time raspberry pi enjoyer, but we do have so many sbc units out in the world discarded. I’d love to tinker with this.

    • schmorpOPM
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      11 months ago

      I took a long break from my electronics tinkering because it always just seemed to be ‘use modular proprietary stuff for your DIY’ and ‘order Chinese bits for projects you’ll never build’ plus the mindless automation of everything. I will start turning whatever old stuff I have around into net-worthy stuff at some point (just started to learn about self-hosting, so treading slowly here).

      • cerement
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        11 months ago

        it won’t replace a Pro Micro for a mechanical keyboard, but a Chromebook could easily replace Raspberry Pis for 90% of what I see them being used for …

  • heiroblast
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    10 months ago

    Love this. I’m a put-linux-on-everything tinkerer who’s made countless things work just by stripping off the junky OS that’s usually failing due to planned obsolescence – I still have a macbook from 2011 that stopped running MacOS in about 2017, but has been happily running linux ever since.

    I was really angry when I got ahold of a decent chromebook in 2019 and found I couldn’t put linux on it, due to deliberate design decisions made to lock the hardware into only using the [expletives] excuse for an OS that is ChromeOS. But it looks like I won the waiting-game, because I put that laptop away rather than throw it out, and last weekend I pulled it out, did some reading and found out that smart folks have now caught up to its little games, and it can run linux now. Exciting! it’ll be a great little energy-efficient server-machine once the upgrade is done. Chromebooks age like fine wine :D