I took a monitor to Best Buy today. They offer free recycling of most consumer electronics, with a $10 charge for things like monitors and TVs. In exchange, they give you a $10 gift card. So in essence, they’ll take a monitor or TV for free if you buy something.It seems like a lot of computer enthusiasts have a large collection of computer dinosaurs. Friends and relatives give us their cast-off parts in exchange for doing upgrades for them, and we put those parts to use for a while, and give some away, but ultimately an awful lot of them just pile up in storage–too good to throw away, but not good enough that we want to use it on a daily basis anymore.

In this case, it was a 15-inch monitor that had lost its red gun. Unlike a lot of stuff in the pile, I never intended to use it again except in case of emergency. I just didn’t throw it in the trash because you’re not supposed to do that.

I have more stuff, but since you’re technically limited to turning in two items per day, it’ll take a few trips. Somewhere I have a box of old motherboards taking up space. Those will have to go. Ten years ago, I could argue that a Pentium-75 was still useful to me. Not today. If I find myself in desperate need of a low-end motherboard, I can rest assured I can find something capable of running Windows XP at a garage sale for less than 20 bucks, even on a slow week like this week. So there’s no point in keeping Windows 95-era stuff around anymore.

But it’s hard to let go. I know what all this stuff cost originally. I remember paying $199 for 16 megs of RAM and thinking I robbed the place. In those days, it was extremely difficult to build a decent computer for less than $1,000. That was without a monitor. So in the mid 1990s, the pile of junk in my basement was probably worth $8,000.

And in those days, I was making $6-$8 an hour, so it took me more than a month to make a thousand dollars.

Now I’m happy that I can give it all away as long as I buy a couple of gift cards.

I’ll turn around and use those gift cards to buy a prepaid cellular phone. I need a new one, and those phones fit my usage pattern well. And that phone will have as much computing power, if not more, than any one of those old computers.