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Computers #9a-z (Auction Laptops and other gizmos)

My former employer (The MITRE Corporation*) employ thousands of scientists and engineers at lots oGateway Libertyf sites around the world. Providing all those geeks with the tools of the trade included buying boatloads of laptops for them and refreshing them with newer technology after a "reasonable timespan" (started out at two years, gradually stretched out to 3½ years by the time I retired). I actually had one of the first MITRE-provided laptops, a Gateway™ Liberty™ bought for me while I was working in Germany in 1994. It was a screamer... at the time (Intel™ 486DX4-100 CPU, 8MB Memory, 340MB IDE drive, external 1.44MB 3.5-inch floppy, 14.4kbps data/fax modem, and running WindowsForWorkgroups™ 3.11). It was a "featherweight" at 4.2 lbs. (not including the external floppy and AC adapter). I brought it back with me when I relocated back to the states in 1995, and when it was time to get it replaced they let me buy it outright from them for $25(!), which was a pittance considering what laptops cost back then. Others got wind of the semi-official "perk" of buying your old laptop for pittance and the employees who didn't have assigned laptops (not everyone got a laptop back then, only folks who traveled a lot) complained, so they changed the policy and instituted periodic auctions where anyone could bid on any turned-in laptop. After awhile the auction added desktop machines and monitors and printers. I got into the habit of buying a newer auction laptop whenever the company replaced *my* company laptop, so my work laptop was never more then 3 years old, and my home laptop was never more than 6 years old. I also dove into the "between-upgrades" auctions to buy cheap laptops for family and friends. I stuck with Dells™ since that's what I was used to.

When I see the sleek lightweight laptops available now and think back to that first heavy, thick doorstop-of-a-laptop, I just shake my head.

I also bought CRT and flat-screen monitors at auction, and even twin laser-printers... one for each house!



* - "The MITRE Corporation was chartered in 1958 as a private, not-for-profit company to provide engineering and technical guidance for the federal government*." [https://www.mitre.org/about/our-history]



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