This is one of those fables with the mor­al “don’t be greedy”. 

A couple of weeks ago at col­lege I spied a trol­ley loaded with books with the label “Take me!” The lib­rary was giv­ing away old books to make space for new ones. There were plenty of inter­est­ing titles, ran­ging from basic PC repair to *NIX to pro­gram­ming. I col­lec­ted a massive pile of books (If I could place them all on top of each oth­er I think they would reach my waist). 

I travel by pub­lic trans­port (I don’t own a car), so there was no way in hell I could take them all home at once. What’s more, I was work­ing that even­ing and I had to take a bus to get there. I decided to take about half of them and I made arrange­ments with the instruct­ors to leave the rest so I could take them the next day. It was a pain cart­ing those books to work and back (espe­cially since I nor­mally return home around 10:30pm), but I man­aged it. The next day I took the rest dir­ectly home (thank­fully I wasn’t work­ing that day). No dramas. 

Then on Monday I saw some­thing else at col­lege: free com­puters! They weren’t very good (AMD K6200 with 32MB RAM), but hey, they were free! There were only five of them and I didn’t want to miss out, so I decided to take two home at once. These were chunky: old-style AT desktop cases made from thick steel. Car­ry­ing them home was a night­mare. I had to take fre­quent breaks so that my arms could recov­er. I also had a heavy backpack. 

I man­aged to get home with myself and the com­puters in one (or rather three) piece(s). My arms were almost numb. If I tried to raise my left hand to my face it would invol­un­tar­ily shake. I could not straight­en my left arm until two days ago. I can still feel a bit of muscle stretch­ing when I do. 

I still don’t know what I’m going to do with those com­puters. I don’t have any key­boards with AT con­nect­ors (I only have PS/​2). I’ll have to give it some thought. 

It’s funny what some people chuck out. A few months ago my mum found a per­fectly work­ing 63cm tele­vi­sion set. Yes­ter­day I was at my cousin’s house and I saw a com­puter mon­it­or sit­ting on the side of the road. It was an old HP Pavil­ion 15in screen, and it was slightly damp since it had rained earli­er in the day. I didn’t expect it to work, but I decided to pick it up any­way. Not know­ing the fre­quen­cies of it, I decided to hook it up and boot with the PCLinuxOS Pre­view 8 liveCD and hope that it would be auto­mat­ic­ally be con­figured. Lo and behold, it was! KDE looked great run­ning at 800×600 on it. I’ve been want­ing to set my mum (who is essen­tially com­puter-illit­er­ate) with a com­puter, but I didn’t have a mon­it­or. This one will do fine. 

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