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What can I do with older computers and parts?
Hey all, got a critical thinking problem for you. Over the last few years, I have recycled/collected/retired more than a few computers. Now, as I look at them just laying around, I find myself asking "what is something cool I can do with this stuff?" Now it is not nice, new stuff, but it isn't old windows 95 stuff either. Slightly outdated to moderately outdated lol. But like I said, I want to do something with it. It could be useful, fun, or both! I use my windows 7 Dell Inspiron as my main and this is what I have laying around. Feel free to take a look and share your suggestions. My guidelines are fairly simple, yet somewhat limiting too. I cannot put much money into it(I can buy small things such as cables or whatever), and tho I have just started a Computer Science Major, I do not yet have much knowledge. I know my way around a computer very well, and know the basics when it comes to the technical side, but definitely no code monkey. I would love to expand my knowledge, but don't want to start out with something extremely difficult! Anyway, here is what I have to work with:
1 older gateway laptop with windows XP. Ruff shape, but boots and runs solidly.
1 HP Tower with Vista. Well taken care of but started running loud! Not hot, but still noisy fan.
2 Matching eMachines Standard "Lunker" Monitors.
2 DVD Drives pulled from old towers(not the one above).
1 Internal Hard Drive pulled from a tower(Data can be wiped)
Spare Keyboard & Mouse
4 USB Webcams
Power Supply pulled from old tower
Old 7 port USB hub that is as big as a book
12 year old never used Iomega Zip Drive
Old Qwest DSL Modem
2 Netgear Wireless Routers in great shape and fully functional
Several 7' CAT-6 cable
Several other various USB, Ethernet, and various cables.
Couple year old JVC Camcorder, harldy used and in great shape.(No cable to connect to pc atm)
What I run in my room now is my Dell Inspiron laptop(wirelessly) and a old HP Photosmart all-in-one printer/scanner/copier. I also have an external 320GB Hard Drive and several flash drives, as well as my Android-Powered HTC Incredible. Out in the living room is where the my router/modem sit at a desktop that I do not ever use, but have access to. Running wirelessly in my room, but also have a jack in here for hardwiring.
I was kicking around a few useful ideas that may or may not work, such as: Using the tower as an FTP Server for my laptop, Using old laptop and/or tower as storage, putting Ubuntu or another GNU/Linux distribution on one(I don't have any experience with GNU/Linux, but really want to get into it). I could set up a crude surveillance system, but not much action going on around here. However, it would be fun to check out what is going on when I am away! I would also be interested in remotely streaming video to one to be saved. I think the most interesting to me would be to set up an FTP Server, and/or use one as a GNU/Linux machine! I am in computer science, and very interested in the subject, so anything that would give me good "experience" is a plus! I would love to learn how to use the Command Line, Linux, ABD, stuff like that.
But, I was hoping people could throw out some ideas? What would you do, if anything? What would you like to do if you had the same crap laying in a pile? Anything especially fun,cool, and/or useful you can think of? Again, feel free to share your ideas! I'm open to anything!