Author: John Yarham

I have spent the whole of my working life as a Technician in the IT and Electronic service industry, starting out as a Radio and TV Engineer. Did you know that DEC (remember them?) only hired ex TV Engineers to service their equipment out on the road? That was very nearly the best job in the world…

My current role as a Technical Consultant at Vissensa is one
that allows me to see both sides of the technical / sales environment, which is
really interesting. As technicians we’re the first port of call when something
needs fixing – and we are genuinely passionate about all things IT. If you know
somebody in a technical role, you may have noticed they will likely have
several opinions about anything IT related, own most of the latest smart
gadgets, and probably have several broken ones lying about, too. Did you know
that there are lots of useful components in the boards of laptops and
workstations that can be re-used?

In my office and at my home, you’ll find several boxes
labelled ‘really useful stuff’ that I might need at some point, or have stored
away to fix at a later date. The last piece I collected was a BBC Model B with
upgrades, which I stored next to an old IBM XT that I may get going again one
day. I’ve actually just finished repairing an old Roberts Radio that was given
to me for a new lease of life!

It’s not just because of my interest in technology that I
keep these things – it’s because I am painfully aware of the effect of throw
away technology on the planet, too.

The real issue is just how much Technology ends up in the
bottom of land fill. So what can you do to help? Try and reuse / upcycle
laptops that have finished their business life. You could donate them to
schools for pupils who don’t have resources to buy brand new, or even used in
the classroom. You can donate your old computers and laptops via various
organisations – for example: blog/recycle-reuse-not-refuse/

I do some part time work in a local charity shop repairing
old electronics and re-wiring lamps and electricals making them presentable and
safe to reuse. WEEE Regulations are in place to limit landfill, and mean that
you can’t recycle electricals in municipal tips, so a huge amount is broken
down for basic components or just minced up for the precious metals that can be
recovered – which, in its own way, is good.

There used to be Doll’s Hospitals and Radio and TV repair
shops in every town – and I would like to see a return of these shops, and to
see society re-using or upcycling old or broken technology for repair or spare
parts. Maybe with the likes of the BBC’s The Repair Shop it will start to
happen. This is a great site o search for local Repair Café’s near you:,
and other resources for reusing broken items I’d recommend are Hack Spaces or
Makers Spaces

Recycle, Reuse not Refuse.

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