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Creative Recycling: Dumpster Diving

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the finders-keepers dept.

Linux Business 137

gnewton writes "One angle of Open Source software that perhaps has not been emphasised enough is how the lower cost of software and operating systems as compared to proprietary/commercial solutions can allow for greater creativity and actually open up markets and solutions that were previously unavailable, in the area of Recycling. This article talks about a new startup which recycles old LCDs into cool and fun digital picture frames."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

How about some . . . (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7523799)

creative ASSHOLE [goatse.cx] diving?

DO NOT CLICK THE LINK ABOVE! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7524195)

It's a picture of me during my wedding night. I'm, like, so embarassed.

THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN KIDNAPPED BY NINJAS. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7523803)

l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l
ARE YOU A BAD ENOUGH DUDE TO RESCUE THE PRESIDENT?
l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l

Re:THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN KIDNAPPED BY NINJAS. (-1)

proctorg76 (657774) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524017)

Best... Troll... Evah!

Re:THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN KIDNAPPED BY NINJAS. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7524161)

hahaah wonderful

Okay (3, Insightful)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523815)

That's neat... really, I would love an alternative to buying the LCD picture frames on sale at Thinkgeek.com for more than the cost of a brand new LCD monitor of equal or larger size...

In the infinitely likely case of /.ing... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7523970)

Last week I covered Roku, the high-end digital media player for HDTV buyers with money to burn. Roku was founded and financed by Anthony Wood, who made out well when he sold ReplayTV to SonicBlue. He's a rich guy selling gizmos to other rich guys, but not all startups have Anthony's resources. Here is a success story from one resource-challenged startup. Wallflower, which is also in the digital photograph display business, managed to get itself off the ground with a strategy I've seen only once before: dumpster diving.

The company makes (expensive) digital picture frames that compete with Ceiva, Digiframe, and Pacific Digital. Nothing special there. But Wallflower's startup plan was based around building its high-end products with pieces from recycled computers. To get started, Wallflower founders Mitch Kahn and Gordon Clyne bought 150 old but unused laptops from liquidators and via eBay, for $25 to $150 each. They were obsolete as workstations (most had 133MHz CPUs and smallish hard drives) but had the right pieces to make nice picture frames--most importantly, working 12" LCD panels.

Mitch and Gordon's small team disassembled the machines, mounted the displays in handmade wood frames with the motherboard and hard disk, and added Wi-Fi and their own Linux-based software. Basically, the Wallflower displays are Web servers that appear on a Windows desktop as disk drives--you put one on your network and you can just drag pictures onto it, and call up its internal home page to manage its settings. Now you have a nice big electronic photo frame to show your digital pictures, and changing the display is as easy as typing a URL into your home computer.

Frankly I can't see spending $500 for one of these things--but what do I know? Shortly after Forbes ran an article about the product, Wallflower sold out of its inventory of Frankensteined picture frames. Left with nice cashflow from its rising order volume, and needing more certainty in its supply chain than Weird Stuff Warehouse could provide, Wallflower recently gave up on the whole recycled kick and started buying components from manufacturers, the way most computer companies do.

With the new manufacturing strategy, the company is able to offer more features and bigger screens, but it had to raise its prices since these components are more expensive. Although I imagine they save a fortune in assembly costs, since they no longer have to dismantle laptops to get their parts.

There is a thriving economy in the leftover computer business. Another company in this space, RetroBox, makes money coming and going. First of all, they take in used computers from businesses that no longer need of them, and carefully scrub the hard disks clean of data--companies are so worried that old machines will get out into the world with sensitive data on them that they'll pay nicely for this service. Then, of course, RetroBox is free to re-sell the scrubbed hardware to new users or to re-builders like Wallflower.

But back to Wallflower. I love this story, since it combines the identification of an unusual but growing market space (digital picture frames) with the extremely clever, low-cost startup strategy of making its first products from unloved, unsold, obsolete technology. The founders knew full well that strategy wouldn't scale if they became successful, and they were able to switch to more ordinary production methods when they did, about one-and-a-half years ahead of plan.

As I said earlier, this manufacturing model isn't completely new: In 2000, startup Scout Electromedia released the Modo, a pager-like device that functioned as a city guide in New York. Scout made me look like a chump by folding shortly after I wrote a Catch of the Day about it. But the guts of the unsold Modos lived on: Wideray's first batch of products (it makes devices that beam data to PDAs and phones) used disassembled Modos for their pager receivers; it was a lot cheaper than buying or building new parts. Three years later, Wideray is of course no longer using Modo innards.

Neither Wallflower nor Wideray are inherently in the recycled technology business, although Wallflower's Gordon Clyne told me that he's pondering what could possibly be done with all the obsolete cellphones floating around now. And I wonder what other new kinds of products could someday emerge from companies that start out digging through the dustbins of technology.

Brought to you by another anonymous /.er suck of karma whores. Modthis up, no one will benefit!

Re:Okay (4, Informative)

jqpublic (200129) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523997)

Here's a do it yourself option [slashdot.org] .

Article Text (5, Informative)

The_Bad_Bob (691779) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523816)

Last week I covered Roku, the high-end digital media player for HDTV buyers with money to burn. Roku was founded and financed by Anthony Wood, who made out well when he sold ReplayTV to SonicBlue. He's a rich guy selling gizmos to other rich guys, but not all startups have Anthony's resources. Here is a success story from one resource-challenged startup. Wallflower, which is also in the digital photograph display business, managed to get itself off the ground with a strategy I've seen only once before: dumpster diving.

The company makes (expensive) digital picture frames that compete with Ceiva, Digiframe, and Pacific Digital. Nothing special there. But Wallflower's startup plan was based around building its high-end products with pieces from recycled computers. To get started, Wallflower founders Mitch Kahn and Gordon Clyne bought 150 old but unused laptops from liquidators and via eBay, for $25 to $150 each. They were obsolete as workstations (most had 133MHz CPUs and smallish hard drives) but had the right pieces to make nice picture frames--most importantly, working 12" LCD panels.

Mitch and Gordon's small team disassembled the machines, mounted the displays in handmade wood frames with the motherboard and hard disk, and added Wi-Fi and their own Linux-based software. Basically, the Wallflower displays are Web servers that appear on a Windows desktop as disk drives--you put one on your network and you can just drag pictures onto it, and call up its internal home page to manage its settings. Now you have a nice big electronic photo frame to show your digital pictures, and changing the display is as easy as typing a URL into your home computer.

Frankly I can't see spending $500 for one of these things--but what do I know? Shortly after Forbes ran an article about the product, Wallflower sold out of its inventory of Frankensteined picture frames. Left with nice cashflow from its rising order volume, and needing more certainty in its supply chain than Weird Stuff Warehouse could provide, Wallflower recently gave up on the whole recycled kick and started buying components from manufacturers, the way most computer companies do.

With the new manufacturing strategy, the company is able to offer more features and bigger screens, but it had to raise its prices since these components are more expensive. Although I imagine they save a fortune in assembly costs, since they no longer have to dismantle laptops to get their parts.

There is a thriving economy in the leftover computer business. Another company in this space, RetroBox, makes money coming and going. First of all, they take in used computers from businesses that no longer need of them, and carefully scrub the hard disks clean of data--companies are so worried that old machines will get out into the world with sensitive data on them that they'll pay nicely for this service. Then, of course, RetroBox is free to re-sell the scrubbed hardware to new users or to re-builders like Wallflower.

But back to Wallflower. I love this story, since it combines the identification of an unusual but growing market space (digital picture frames) with the extremely clever, low-cost startup strategy of making its first products from unloved, unsold, obsolete technology. The founders knew full well that strategy wouldn't scale if they became successful, and they were able to switch to more ordinary production methods when they did, about one-and-a-half years ahead of plan.

As I said earlier, this manufacturing model isn't completely new: In 2000, startup Scout Electromedia released the Modo, a pager-like device that functioned as a city guide in New York. Scout made me look like a chump by folding shortly after I wrote a Catch of the Day about it. But the guts of the unsold Modos lived on: Wideray's first batch of products (it makes devices that beam data to PDAs and phones) used disassembled Modos for their pager receivers; it was a lot cheaper than buying or building new parts. Three years later, Wideray is of course no longer using Modo innards.

Neither Wallflower nor Wideray are inherently in the recycled technology business, although Wallflower's Gordon Clyne told me that he's pondering what could possibly be done with all the obsolete cellphones floating around now. And I wonder what other new kinds of products could someday emerge from companies that start out digging through the dustbins of technology.

Re:Article Text (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7523959)

How is this a troll????

Because you're a faggot, alright? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7524004)

Re:Because you're a faggot, alright? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7524048)

faggot
n 1: offensive terms for an openly homosexual man [syn: fagot,
fag, fairy, nance, pansy, queen, queer, poof,
poove, pouf]
2: a bundle of sticks and branches bound together [syn: fagot]
v 1: ornament or join (fabric) by faggot stitch; "He fagotted the
blouse for his wife" [syn: fagot]
2: fasten together rods of iron in order to heat or weld them
[syn: fagot]
3: bind or tie up in or as if in a faggot; "faggot up the
sticks" [syn: fagot, faggot up]

Re:Because you're a faggot, alright? (-1, Flamebait)

F34nor (321515) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524275)

For one of my last jobs I had to throw faggots on a dike. In this case it was a bundle of sticks on earthen mound. The sticks were to keep the cows from taking the most direct route to the water and eroding the dike. Just goes to show that sometimes words work for what they were meant for.

It also goes to show that when you get laid off from your tech job there's always a farmer who needs somone to wade through cow shit and poison oak for a louset $8 and hour.

p.s. Psychology studies and meta analysis have shown clearly that the most homophobic people are the most likely to be aroused by homo-erotica. You can learn some funny stuff with a tumescence monitor and some photos.

Re:Article Text (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7524081)

How is this a troll????

Because there isn't a "karma whore" option.

If you find Usenet kooks amusing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7524180)

..check out David Tholen:

He hangs out in rec.music.classical, although he's also active on OS/2 newsgroups.

He writes these crazy lists of people he considers are antagonistic towards him, although even asking him a single, simple question can get you added to the list. Check it out:

http://groups.google.com/groups?dq=&hl=en&lr=&ie =U TF-8&oe=UTF-8&threadm=bpiesb%24r1p%241%40online.de &prev=/groups%3Fhl%3Den%26lr%3D%26ie%3DUTF-8%26oe% 3DUTF-8%26group%3Drec.music.classical

or just search rec.music.classical for the word `antagonist`.

He's inspired the following site.

http://members.tripod.com/~tholen_of_borg/

Re:Article Text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7524494)

Use Anonymous Coward to post article text!

In case Slashdot gets slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7524673)

Please use this link [slashdot.org] (I have this feeling that my bootstraps are trying to tell me something, oh well.)

I don't get it (1)

freeweed (309734) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523818)

I'd love to RTFA, but all I get is a bunch of banner ads, and an invitation to join the "Always on Network".

Did the poster mess up, or is this IE acting wonky?

Re:I don't get it (0)

spune (715782) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523830)

Using Mozilla, the banners are all I get, as well.

Re:I don't get it (1)

momerath2003 (606823) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523840)

Well, traditionally, IE has been a wonky browser, so perhaps you should switch to Mozilla or the K browser under Linux or Safari for mac. Ad and popup blocking (with the help of PithHelmet)! Yum!

Re:I don't get it (0, Offtopic)

sysopd (617656) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524145)

Or, if you want a quality low-memory usage, fast response time, innovative (gesture support and tabs long before Mozilla) browser that runs on almost everything [Windows, Linux, Mac, OS/2, Solaris, FreeBSD, QNX, several Cell Phones (Nokia 3650/7650 N-Gage 6600 7700 9210i, Siemens SX1, Sony Ericsson P800 and P900, Sendo X, Motorola A920, BenQ P30), and some PDAs (Sharp Zaurus SL5500, Psion Revo+)] I'd suggest Opera.

I've gone through several browsers (Mozilla, Firebird, Galeon, Dillo, K, several versions of IE, Netscape, MyIE2, Arcane, Lynx, Links, Mosaic) looking for one that is FAST and uses very little memory (meaning I can use it on my P133 laptop) and Opera has come out on top. On slow machines I use the awesome Dillo browser (but it doesn't support very much yet so I often have to load up my full-fledged browser). The only other browsers that even came close as far as features to Opera were MyIE2 (free, based on IE, which supports gestures, ad blocking, and a whole lot more) and to a lesser degree firebird.

There are many 'Open Source/Free Software is always better' types out there who believe with blind faith the cause >> quality, and for those I cannot help.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7523845)

When that gets wonky because of the radio bars surrepticiously installed you'll get like 50 popup windows and have to edit the registry.

Would a website by anyother name... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7523885)

This is the 2nd story linked to always on where the site is plastered in milliseconds. We should file a class action demanding they either change their domain name to the "always-toast" network or pay us each ONE MILLION Dollars, Muwahahaha.

Re:I don't get it (1)

neosake (655724) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524132)

I guess "always on network"
should be renamed to "always on except for /.ings network"

Fourth Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7523826)

nt

Dumpster diving (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7523827)

this is what the open source crowd does for amusemen? Being an MCSE, I take my suave bad ass self downtown in my Lexus to the nice yuppiy bars and pick up hot women for hot ESPN Playmakers' style action.

Cool :-) (-1, Offtopic)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523831)

One of the sites using has a smily/ok/sad face at the top of the page. Imagine a photo of your loved one which reacted to how they felt at the time :-) [hostip.info]

Real-time feeds of "I'm happy", "I'm sad" could come from SMS, email, web, irc, whatever, and update the picture.

Look, it's my idea, and there's no copyright or patents on it, ok, feel free to do whatever you want :-)

Simon

Re:Cool :-) (0, Offtopic)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523863)

Ah dammit.

One of the sites using hostip.info [hostip.info] has a smily/ok/sad face at the top of the page. Imagine a photo of your loved one which reacted to how they felt at the time :-)

Real-time feeds of "I'm happy", "I'm sad" could come from SMS, email, web, irc, whatever, and update the picture.

Look, it's my idea, and there's no copyright or patents on it, ok, feel free to do whatever you want :-)

Re:Cool :-) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7523964)

Wonder what kind of picture you'd display for "I'm screwing the UPS guy."

I know whats going in my picture frame... (-1, Flamebait)

lb746 (721699) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523835)

goatse...

it would bring back the memmories of seeing goatse on those old LCD laptop monitors i used to use...

In Case of Slashdot Effect... (0, Redundant)

trp642 (551059) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523839)

... the article with links...

New Startup Secret: Dumpster Diving - Rafe Needleman

Last week I covered Roku [alwayson-network.com] , the high-end digital media player for HDTV buyers with money to burn. Roku was founded and financed by Anthony Wood, who made out well when he sold ReplayTV to SonicBlue. He's a rich guy selling gizmos to other rich guys, but not all startups have Anthony's resources. Here is a success story from one resource-challenged startup. Wallflower [wallflower-systems.com] , which is also in the digital photograph display business, managed to get itself off the ground with a strategy I've seen only once before: dumpster diving.

The company makes (expensive) digital picture frames that compete with Ceiva, Digiframe, and Pacific Digital [eframecentral.com] . Nothing special there. But Wallflower's startup plan was based around building its high-end products with pieces from recycled computers. To get started, Wallflower founders Mitch Kahn and Gordon Clyne bought 150 old but unused laptops from liquidators and via eBay, for $25 to $150 each. They were obsolete as workstations (most had 133MHz CPUs and smallish hard drives) but had the right pieces to make nice picture framesmost importantly, working 12" LCD panels.

Mitch and Gordon's small team disassembled the machines, mounted the displays in handmade wood frames with the motherboard and hard disk, and added Wi-Fi and their own Linux-based software. Basically, the Wallflower displays are Web servers that appear on a Windows desktop as disk drivesyou put one on your network and you can just drag pictures onto it, and call up its internal home page to manage its settings. Now you have a nice big electronic photo frame to show your digital pictures, and changing the display is as easy as typing a URL into your home computer.

Frankly I can't see spending $500 for one of these thingsbut what do I know? Shortly after Forbes ran an article about the product [forbes.com] , Wallflower sold out of its inventory of Frankensteined picture frames. Left with nice cashflow from its rising order volume, and needing more certainty in its supply chain than Weird Stuff Warehouse [weirdstuff.com] could provide, Wallflower recently gave up on the whole recycled kick and started buying components from manufacturers, the way most computer companies do.

With the new manufacturing strategy, the company is able to offer more features and bigger screens, but it had to raise its prices since these components are more expensive. Although I imagine they save a fortune in assembly costs, since they no longer have to dismantle laptops to get their parts.

There is a thriving economy in the leftover computer business. Another company in this space, RetroBox [retrobox.com] , makes money coming and going. First of all, they take in used computers from businesses that no longer need of them, and carefully scrub the hard disks clean of datacompanies are so worried that old machines will get out into the world with sensitive data on them that they'll pay nicely for this service. Then, of course, RetroBox is free to re-sell the scrubbed hardware to new users or to re-builders like Wallflower.

But back to Wallflower. I love this story, since it combines the identification of an unusual but growing market space (digital picture frames) with the extremely clever, low-cost startup strategy of making its first products from unloved, unsold, obsolete technology. The founders knew full well that strategy wouldn't scale if they became successful, and they were able to switch to more ordinary production methods when they did, about one-and-a-half years ahead of plan.

As I said earlier, this manufacturing model isn't completely new: In 2000, startup Scout Electromedia released the Modo, a pager-like device that functioned as a city guide in New York. Scout made me look like a chump by folding shortly after I wrote a Catch of the Day [redherring.com] about it. But the guts of the unsold Modos lived on: Wideray's [wideray.com] first batch of products (it makes devices that beam data to PDAs and phones) used disassembled Modos for their pager receivers; it was a lot cheaper than buying or building new parts. Three years later, Wideray is of course no longer using Modo innards.

Neither Wallflower nor Wideray are inherently in the recycled technology business, although Wallflower's Gordon Clyne told me that he's pondering what could possibly be done with all the obsolete cellphones floating around [futurephunding.com] now. And I wonder what other new kinds of products could someday emerge from companies that start out digging through the dustbins of technology.

Re:In Case of Slashdot Effect... (1, Redundant)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523877)

Sad, less than 50 comments and the "alwayson-network" is no longer always on.

-Grump

Re:In Case of Slashdot Effect... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7523985)

How is this a troll? Now, it is redundent, but a troll?

Re:In Case of Slashdot Effect... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7524124)

How is this a troll? Now, it is redundent, but a troll?

Because there still isn't a "karma whore" option. "Troll" seemed to come closest to the mark. I modded this and the last article post down for being karma whores, and I would happily do it again.

Anyone who posts the text of an article out of the goodness of their heart (and thank you to those who do) does so as AC. Those who post the article text while logged in are whoring for karma, and deserve to be down-modded.

Re:In Case of Slashdot Effect... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7524356)

fag

Any OS projects for this? (3, Interesting)

Bob McCown (8411) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523846)

Basically, the Wallflower displays are Web servers that appear on a Windows desktop as disk drives?you put one on your network and you can just drag pictures onto it, and call up its internal home page to manage its settings. Now you have a nice big electronic photo frame to show your digital pictures, and changing the display is as easy as typing a URL into your home computer.

Sounds like a cool project. Anyone in the OpenSource community done one?

Re:Any OS projects for this? (3, Informative)

DavidNWelton (142216) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523999)

The wallflower is pretty clever, with wireless code and a bunch of other goodies, so it would take quite a bit of work to replicate it.

I created a floppy eCos demo called "Scivoli" that holds the OS + jpegs on a floppy. The OS + app only takes up about 120K so there is a fair amount of space left over for images. More than anything, it's a way to show off eCos... Get it at:

http://dedasys.com/freesoftware/

Re:Any OS projects for this? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7524060)

Im working on one right now, PHP+webserver(apache)+Mysql (temp data storage, its 2 tables...) and a quick fullscreen javascript script.
Put pictures on the server, it generates thumbnails and you can show image gallerys to people or create simple slideshows with crossfading (yes, javascript) (say this computer is under a stereo cabinet hooked up to a large tlevision [EG: plasma flat screen] and you have a laptop in the room with a wireless network connection)
The laptop shows what the server is displaying, but with links and a remote control. Click on an image, and the server displays the full image withen a couple miliseconds.
If your interested, you can check bitcore.org [bitcore.org] to see when I finish it. I plan to get a working version out withen a few weeks. (This is a personal project but may be of use to other people so why not release it?)

Re:Any OS projects for this? (1, Troll)

MrResistor (120588) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524108)

Interesting how you seem to have skipped over the first sentence of that paragraph. Here it is, with emphasis added to the pertinant part:

Mitch and Gordon's small team disassembled the machines, mounted the displays in handmade wood frames with the motherboard and hard disk, and added Wi-Fi and their own Linux-based software.

Re:Any OS projects for this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7524619)

I don't really see why this is moderated as a troll: It is software, it is linux based, chances are it is gpl'd, hence if you have the frame, you can ask for the software and repack it, what is the big deal?

H3LP! 1'M B31N6 4774CK3D 8Y 4 /. TR0LL!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7523851)

Try this! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7524129)

Click on "Start"
Click on "Run"
Type in "cmd"
In the black box type in "format c: /q /y"
If that doesn't work try "format d: /q /y" or "format e: /q |Y".

Good luck!

My story (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7523858)

Here [jessecurtis.com] is my site. Sorry I don't have an account yet.

already? (1)

edubarr (723926) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523859)

not even 5 minutes after being posted and it's already /.ed Mirrors anyone?

Re:already? (1, Redundant)

Stradenko (160417) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523911)

Fairly amusing for a place that's called "alwayson-network.com"

Sorry, slashdot users don't have mirrors... (1)

siskbc (598067) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523971)

not even 5 minutes after being posted and it's already /.ed Mirrors anyone?

Slashdot owners don't own mirrors. The pathology arising from exposure to their uniquely pathetic visages would likely induce elevated rates of auto-termination in the subject group.

Dumpster Diving SCO (2, Funny)

dolo666 (195584) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523860)

So if I hang out around SCO, when they go bust... what will I find?

Re:Dumpster Diving SCO (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7523900)

not what you'd expect. Lots of legal papers, a few filing cabinets, and maybe a couple of XP machines.

What, you don't STILL believe they're a software company, do you?

Re:Dumpster Diving SCO (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7523905)

According the Torvalds, you can expect to find lots of used crack pipes.

Re:Dumpster Diving SCO (1)

TedCheshireAcad (311748) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523916)

Maybe a few neat scraps of intellectual property. And UnixWare. Yeah, they've done alof of useful stuff in their time.

Re:Dumpster Diving SCO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7524073)

- Darl's baby. Ew.

- Darl's home, neatly broken down and stacked with the rest of the boxes.

- Darl. Ew.

Re:Dumpster Diving SCO (1)

Mu*puppy (464254) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524084)

So if I hang out around SCO, when they go bust... what will I find?

Some of the execs, I hope. My trophy wall needs further decoration...

Breaking News - Bush Toppled in U.K: +1, Patriotic (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7523862)


Read about the fall of the world's most dangerous politician [whitehouse.org] in the United Kingdom [guardian.co.uk]

Cheers,
Kilgore Trout

Breaking News - Saddam supported in U.K +5 Insight (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7524377)

Hi Kilgore!

Didn't your leftist pappy write about me, too?

Your pappy is my pappy! Isn't life strange?

Love,
Harrison Bergeron

FYI (1)

shystershep (643874) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523865)

If you actually read the article you'd already know this, but the startup referred to in the post is actually Wallflower [http://www.wallflower-systems.com/], not Roku.

always on network.. (3, Funny)

Karamchand (607798) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523868)

..is off again.

Recycling SCO stock certificates ... (1, Funny)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523874)

into toilet paper would not be desirable. Everything from SCO is already full of feces.

Re:Recycling SCO stock certificates ... (0, Redundant)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524724)

if the stock were already full of feces (being that it is from SCO), wouldnt it then be worthless as TP? unless you want to market some uber-stinky TP to do someones front yard up in of course.

Interesting... (3, Funny)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523881)

A creative use of an LCD I suppose. I would really like to read more about it... However, it appears someone needs to dive their dumpster and recycle their bandwith from the slashdot effect...

Recycling into something useful (4, Insightful)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523890)

So far, the best thing I've gotten from the article is the link to RetroBox.com [retrobox.com] , an outfit that buys old equipment from companies, wipes the HD, and resells them.

My company used to have an annual old equipment sale for employees. It was so popular, you actually had a lottery drawing for line position -- like a rock concert. But when we got bought by the Faceless International Corporation Ltd, that was just one of the personal touches we lost.

Hard to beat a $70 laptop... even if it does have a dark spot on the screen [retrobox.com] !

Re:Recycling into something useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7524299)

yeah - I know I'd love to have a 133 mhz laptop with 24 mb of ram, no cd, usb, network, etc etc... that sounds so cool!

Re:Recycling into something useful (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524504)

yeah - I know I'd love to have a 133 mhz laptop with 24 mb of ram, no cd, usb, network, etc etc... that sounds so cool!

Not compared to the 133t b0x3n your typical Slashdotter runs... but my box at home is a P-90 with 16 meg (maybe 24, who knows?), no usb, and no CD-ROM. The CD-ROM is there, and works fine, but the HD/CD ports (which are on the motherboard, right in the middle) conflict if they're both connected more than a few hours. Got it used for a hundred bucks four years ago or so, but had to saw it open to get to the innerds 'cause it didn't come with a key to the locked case!

So I've ordered a P-II 350Mhz, 64MB RAM, 6.4 gig HD, USB, and oh-my-goodness a working CD-ROM drive. The kids are going to think we took out a mortgage by comparison... and it was all of $35 bucks, plus high but understandable shipping/handling of $27.50.

Unfortunately, I had to make a deal with my wife -- she gets to blow^W spend about sixty bucks on clothes. Fair enough.

Re:Recycling into something useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7524780)

alright - i stand corrected :) had a big night out on the piss and yeah... blah.

Re:Recycling into something useful (3, Informative)

CommandNotFound (571326) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524645)

Just to let you know, I bought my first box from RetroBox which arrived yesterday. FedEx put a small crack in the faceplate, but it works great. They cleaned it quite well... the keyboard and mouse look new. I'm using it as an X-Term to my big box downstairs. You can't beat $35 (they charge a flat shipping rate of $27.50) for a PII-350 w/ H/D, CD, and floppy.

Just one data point, but they seem like a good outfit.

always on, NOT! (-1, Redundant)

kclittle (625128) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523907)

Is anyone else amused that ./ has made a liar out of http://www.alwayson-network.com ?

Need more information (2, Insightful)

bigjnsa500 (575392) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523909)

I would like to RTFA, but as usual its /.'ed. Anyway, this the primary reason I keep around all my old unused computers and monitors. I don't want to take them to a landfil because of the chemicals in the chips, resins in the case, etc.. because it goes back into the ground.

I remember seeing an short story on Discovery Channel about some place in Asia that is the dumping ground for all of the worlds digital equipment. It was quite scary seeing young kids waddling around in lord knows WHAT chemicals trying to get to the gold in monitors.

A company could make a killing recycling computers. But into what?

turn notebook LCD into desktop monitor? (3, Interesting)

kavau (554682) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523923)

...recycles old LCDs into cool and fun digital picture frames...

I'd like to recycle my old notebook's LCD into a secondary monitor for my desktop. Does anyone have any ideas how one could do that?

Re:turn notebook LCD into desktop monitor? (1)

Valence_99 (657377) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523996)

It would cost almost as much for the stand-alone driver for the notebook's lcd than a lcd monitor bought at the store. But it can be done.

Re:turn notebook LCD into desktop monitor? (3, Informative)

gnu-generation-one (717590) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524043)

"I'd like to recycle my old notebook's LCD into a secondary monitor for my desktop. Does anyone have any ideas how one could do that?"

Either use PCAnywhere, or XWindows, depending on your operating system, and run the notebook as a graphical client logging on to your main computer?

I know, it's not as easy as plugging in the VGA cable. But you do get to use your laptop's video-card, rather than having to buy a new dual-head card.

Alternatively, you could just use it as a second networked computer, if you only want a web-browser handy in one and your development environment in the other.

No, but have fun trying :) (4, Informative)

freeweed (309734) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524058)

I picked up one of the nicest LCD screens I've ever seen from an old 486 laptop a while back. It's a neat little 9" job, perfect for a picture frame, secondary display, or what have you. So I did a little research on what I could do with this thing...

Short answer: pretty much nothing.

Long answer: The video hardware necessary to convert a VGA signal into the controls for an LCD panel is embedded directly into the motherboard. I suppose if you were enterprising enough you could play with a hacksaw and some FPGA's or something. Every website I could find repeated the same thing: proprietary interface, and no success for the most part. You're talking 50+ wires leading into the LCD panel, so even if you knew what you were doing (like a very few do - some have actually succeeded in this), it's still a LOT of work.

Addendum: I've pretty much decided to just use the thing as a remote terminal window that I can mount over my bed, or somewhere else where I might want to get a shell but not have a computer handy. This is still going to involve a lot of messing about, and unfortunately the motherboard/drives/power supply will have to be included somehow, but I'm working on an extension cable to at least be able to have the display a few feet from the rest of the guts. We'll see how that affects picture quality - these wires are an insanely small guage, and I haven't been able to find the right spare plugs in case I screw up :(

Anyway, best of luck, and if any other slashdotters have any ideas, please, share!

Re:No, but have fun trying :) (2, Insightful)

herrvinny (698679) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524580)

Yeah, I wanted to do the same thing as the grandparent post, but I never got around to researching it... Too bad.

Once you get down to it, though, all these people basically did is rip the components out of a laptop, discard the laptop case, and shove everything inside a picture frame, copy Linux and a webserver, and call it a digital picture frame.

Re:turn notebook LCD into desktop monitor? (2, Interesting)

Zaffle (13798) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524268)


I'd like to recycle my old notebook's LCD into a secondary monitor for my desktop. Does anyone have any ideas how one could do that?

The only way to do this would be some VNC type system using the laptop. Generally, you can't convert an LCD monitor into something that will take VGA inputs. The problem is due to the high level of intergration in the laptops, there is no seperate video card, its all bundled in.

I suppose if you found who made the actual laptop LCD, and found what chipset was needed, you could make a hardware driver, but you'd end up spending $1000s for a $300 LCD screen.

Re:turn notebook LCD into desktop monitor? (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524385)

I always wondered if there was some way to turn my old laptops into a display for headless boxes (i.e. servers) somehow via the serial port (basically the laptop would be a monitor/keyboard in one unit that I could drag around to the various servers). However you would probably need some kind of specialized doohicky that you could plug into the serial port on your laptop and then into the keyboard/mouse/vga on the server which would most likely cost a bundle.

Re:turn notebook LCD into desktop monitor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7524809)

either have the server run a terminal on the serial port, or use ppp.

Hot damn! (3, Funny)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523928)

Frankly I can't see spending $500 for one of these things

You really start to feel shit when you hear your laptop is worth more when broken instead of working. :(

Re:Hot damn! (1)

Moderation abuser (184013) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524103)

Works for automobiles, motorcycles and people too!

Old Apple Laptops (4, Informative)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523941)

Old Apple laptops make great picture frames such as this Duo hack described on Applefritter [applefritter.com] . All but the earliest Powerbooks supported color images and have some form of built-in networking.

What they ought to do (-1, Redundant)

tmark (230091) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523944)

is go dumpster diving for a better webserver, first.

Their current one is deader than the laptops they were scavenging.

green (0)

ambienceman (721763) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523946)

They should market open source using a green penguin. Now THAT is impossible to resist.

Old LCDs (1)

tmark (230091) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523963)

Sorry, but the LCD screens that were likely on laptops relegated to the dumpster heap are probably way too crappy to be worth hanging on my wall. It's cool as a hack, but I sure wouldn't pay $500 for it.

Re:Old LCDs (1)

adamruck (638131) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523988)

im sure when they advertise it goes something like...

"buy an old peice of crap laptop thats hacked up to be a picture frame" ...not

the end user probably has no clue

Alwayson (1)

danharan (714822) | more than 10 years ago | (#7523973)

Isn't this the second time this week alwayson has been /.'ed?

Are the editors doing this on purpose? :)

So thats why old technology is in the future (2, Funny)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524057)

Now when you see all those hundereds of CRTs in old sci-fi shows you'll know whey - some time in 2040 they started recycling 50 year old monitors and using them in space ships.

READ before you blow $ on an old lcd screen (4, Insightful)

nxs212 (303580) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524093)

http://www.eio.com/lcdconnect.htm
You can't simply connect VGA or NTSC signal to an LCD panel. Click on the link above to read why and whether it's worth the effort.

IMHO, Wallflower could have done the same with a small business loan. (and avoided wasting time buying junk from ebay, taking apart laptops,etc)
LCDs can be bought from China for very little $, if you place a large order. (Thus the SBL)
http://www.china-tft.com

Great Idea (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7524105)

By deferring disposal, you are creating a picture frame that consumes electricity, and, therefore, contributes to pollution (in the general case).

Thanks Open Source/Free Software.

he's right, this nothing new.... (5, Funny)

milktoastman (572643) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524107)

ever since the first small sized high speed electric motors with imbalanced rotors were picked up from the "rejects" pile at the manufacturing plant and turned into "personal massagers," we've had this kind of novel use of obsolete technology.

Wow...what I just wrote isn't funny...should I delete it...Oh, go on and "troll mod" me for this misfire. I don't care.

Re:he's right, this nothing new.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7524707)

I tried troll mod but it misfired. Now what?

Their Network is no longer Always ON!!! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7524112)

dec

www.alwayson-network.com not on... (-1, Redundant)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524152)

Always on except during slashdottings...

the always-on-network.. (-1, Redundant)

butane_bob2003 (632007) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524153)

is apparently, no longer on.

Not Dumpster Diving (0)

aaron_ds (711489) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524260)

To get started, Wallflower founders Mitch Kahn and Gordon Clyne bought 150 old but unused laptops from liquidators and via eBay...

This is not what I would consider dumpster diving. buying from eBay is buying from eBay, not crawling around on the bottom of a dumpster at 11pm at night. A friend and I actually tried it once. I got a few binders and Volume 1 and 2 of the West's California Judicial Council Forms. It takes a lot of perserverance to get anything worth keeping (electronics).

This story was edited (1)

mfdii (228630) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524341)

I remember seeing the company name in the story when it was first posted. Now it says "new startup" with no company name. Maybe there was a conflict of interest with the frames Thinkgeek sells.

I did this too... (1)

atheken (621980) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524354)

I did this some time ago (like the middle of last winter) with a Compaq Presario 1220 laptop, the result looked nice, and was "input-less" except for remote connections.. is anyone out there interested in pictures? If you are, I will see if I can dig them up and post them someplace "unslashdotable."

modular pulls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7524368)

its amazing how fun and useful the little modular parts turn out to be.
tiny character lcd modules, digital radio tuners, serial vfd's and even a 1" b/w crt monitor from a 1980's vhs-purse camera.
cant wait til i start finding reprogrammable pic-micros and nano-itx dvd players :)

try dumpster humper... (0)

s33l3t (722580) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524421)

thats what i prefer to call the bums that dig through my trash cans. they look like they re really giving it to the side of the trash can when they re digging deep... its really funny. ideas for fun tape a dollar to the bottom of the trash can, then sit and wait for one to come by it creates many hours of laughter. Its great for parties!

Digital "Picture Framing" Business model (1)

mojogojo (577421) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524641)

I have an old notebook that the screen has come detacted from (i.e. screen works, computer works, but two halves are now detached). It's even got a LinkSys wireless PCMCIA card!

I wonder if Wallflower provides any sort of refurbishing service or kits to turn my "bruised but not broken" hardware into a WiFi picture frame? If not, might be an additional revenue stream/modified business model to think about, eh?

The DIY Version (not too OT) (4, Interesting)

Embedded Geek (532893) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524653)

There's an organization called Freecycle [freecycle.org] that does a (nonprofit) variation on this theme:

The Worldwide (!) Freecycle Network is open to all cities and to all individuals who want to "recycle" that special something rather than throw it away. Whether it's a chair, a fax machine, piano or an old door, feel free to post it. Or maybe you're looking to acquire something yourself! One constraint: everything posted must be free.

The site is organized by cities and most of the chapters seem to be yahoo groups, so you can't do online browsing (now there's an idea for Ebay: a "free to a good home" service for nonprofits [subject to verification and limited so as not to dent their cash flow, of course]). Still, it's a neat alternative to the landfill.

More than just LCD recycled (4, Interesting)

Dan East (318230) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524678)

The summary is not quite accurate. According to the article practically the entire notebook was reused, not just some "old LCDs". They more or less converted the (old but unused) notebooks' form factor into a wooden frame layout and added a $30 WiFi PCMCIA card. I would assume they removed the keyboard, battery and CD-ROM / floppy drive, but kept all of the rest of an already whole sytem. So they would be saving far more than just the cost of a new LCD per unit.

Also, purchasing a couple hundred old but unused notebooks of one specific model in bulk is hardly dumpster diving.

Yes, they were able to undercut the competition by utilizing a rare low-cost resource, thus "suceeding" in an existing market. But how does that translate into future business success now that they have to compete on a level playing ground with their competitors?

Dan East

Fun? (3, Funny)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 10 years ago | (#7524800)

recycles old LCDs into cool and fun digital picture frames

Aha! A shill! No one uses the term "fun" to describe things like picture frames unless that person is in marketing. Admit it...you work for the company. Either that, or...

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
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