Computer club finds niche for old equipment BALTIMORE COUNTY

April 02, 1993|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Staff Writer

A Columbia-based computer club working with a national charity has found a way to put obsolete IBM-compatible computers to good use.

"They might not be good for businesses," said Art Silverglate, a member of the computer club. "But they're perfect for schools."

Last week, the Columbia-Baltimore Users Group, or C-BUG, accepted $104,000 worth of older computers and other equipment from the Packard-Bell Corp. Do any of them work?

That's what C-BUG members want to find out.

They're looking for people, preferably those with knowledge of computers, to volunteer on Saturdays to help test the computers and make necessary repairs.

"Some of them work, some of them don't," Mr. Silverglate said as he stood in the 10,000-square-foot warehouse in Columbia where the computers are kept.

Once repaired, the computers will be used in schools, in centers for the disabled and in other social service facilities. Many of these institutions need computers, even the older models now obsolete in the business world.

The older machines still are good for basic word processing, running spreadsheets and storing information, said Ed Schrader, Packard-Bell salesman.

"Packard Bell has the product, so we would like to donate it to a worthy cause," he said.

If all goes well, Packard-Bell will rid itself of unwanted inventory (while getting a nice tax break), C-BUG's members will get hands-on experience testing and repairing computers, and the restored machines will end up with students.

C-BUG is working with the National Christina Foundation (NCF), a charity that has spent the past eight years placing unwanted business computers in needy schools and nonprofit agencies that help train the disabled or handicapped.

Dr. David L. Hayden, of the state Department of Education, has )) worked with NCF and said the program has put more than 2,500 computers into Maryland schools since 1986.

Those who would like to help test and refurbish old computers can contact Mr. Silverglate at (410) 461-8430.

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