Computers - hardware and software - have evolved so fast that no sooner has a system been installed than it is obsolete. Anyone who thinks that is an exaggeration should bear in mind that computers are about the only product that grows progressively cheaper as the years pass.
Most people have heard of the 80/20 rule, which states that 80% of users use only 20% of their machine's potential. In practice, this means that provided it is in good working order, somebody's old machine can always finds a new home.
Recently, Hyde Housing Association
underwent a major office refurbishment, which left them with nearly two hundred computers that could either be scrapped or donated. Being a charity and socially conscious, Hyde elected to donate
their old machines to ECO Computer Systems
This centre trains the unemployed to recycle old IT equipment, which is then sold to raise funds for community projects.
There are a number of such projects up and down the country, government and non-government schemes including an ambitious project to bring computing to the estimated 9 million plus people
who don't yet have broadband access. The quest to put Britain on-line started with the election of Tony Blair in May 1997 and continued through the Brown administration and now with the Coalition Government.
Although there is still a long way to go, about the only people who no longer have reasonable Internet access are the rural poor. Private Internet cafés, libraries and sundry resource centres have the rest of the country pretty much covered.