VOGONS


Reply 20 of 40, by CapitanOdessa

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Replacing the computers is not bad, if they're not critical and they need to be as fast as possible. You know what is wrong? When they not only throw away the computers, but 'dismatle them', also known as hiring some dude with a hammer to break down the components.

Reply 21 of 40, by Deczor

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CapitanOdessa wrote on 2020-02-18, 23:38:

When they not only throw away the computers, but 'dismatle them', also known as hiring some dude with a hammer to break down the components.

I used to volunteer at "e-day" here. It was set up by a charitable trust to recycle old electronics. They'd use the stadium car park and set up about 30 bays with cones for people to drive up to. Members of the public had a whole weekend to get their stuff together and take it to the stadium for free. Three people at each bay would get the stuff, sort it out and put in the appropriate bins for "recycling". It used to be really good. You could grab a few things for yourself, see old hardware things and generally have a laugh. But, the organisers got more and more greedy every year.

Initially the loaders (people in bays that collected the things), could pick out a few odds and sods for themselves. Then that was banned.

Then the organisers got mental about accepting computer stuff only, no other electronics. So, when a lady came up to my bay with a 40" sony LCD TV that was barely used I had to explain that we couldn't accept it. She was a bit confused and didn't know what to do with it, since she had no use for it and didn't know how else to get rid of it, so she offered it to me. I figured "why not?". She went to get the remote out of her car, the main guy from e-day came rusing over to my bay screaming that we can't take TV's. I said she was giving it to me, so it won't go in the computer bins. He got fucking apoplectic, screaming we weren't allowed to take anything for ourselves. Then he smashed the TV on the edge of the monitor bin, while the lady was watching.

Fun times.

Long story short; recyclers are generally scum. "E-day" got banned afer about ten years because it turned out that everything they got was sent over to china to literally be incinerated. They were getting paid by the containter load, so that's why they wanted everything to go in the bins and not be actually re-used. Except all the old Amiga, Apple and obviously high value stuff, which the few people running it took for themselves to sell on ebay.

Great. Now I'm all angry just thinking about it.

Reply 22 of 40, by imi

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well if it is any consolation to you, I get angry just reading it.

I used to live in germany in a small town for a bit decades ago, and I remember there was a day when people put out old stuff to get collected... I remember I always went through picking out random circuit boards cause I was fascinated by all the components, not that I needed any of it or even knew what it was... and needed to throw them out again anyways, but I was always fascinated by it ^^

Reply 23 of 40, by cyclone3d

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douglar wrote on 2020-02-18, 18:42:

Many companies lease hardware, not so much for the hardware obsolescence, but for the accounting & governance. A lease is a series of one time expenses (like a utility) that arrive in manageable amounts and are easily directed to a business units annual budget. Purchasing computers is a capital outlay (like a new building), requires upfront funding, which in turn requires more governance & fraud oversight, both during the purchase and the ownership. It is also more complicated from an accounting standpoint, ( depreciation, write-offs, audits, etc) and complicated finances can be a liability. It's easier if someone else owns & tracks the computers. Once the lease is up, the computer gets taken back to the vendor and replaced with a current model.

Scheduled replacement also makes it harder for end users to sneak in undocumented shadow infrastructure. For example, you don't get situations where that the burned out desktop in the corner with no monitor had been feeding bar code fonts to the mail room printer for the last 10 years, or that there was a piece of ancient CAD software with a special add in from a defunct company that was vital to engineering and the XP laptop it was running on just died. Making everyone hand in the stuff & reinstall every three years keeps many of the worst case shadow infrastructure situations from happening. The software doesn't stick around long once the installation process is forgotten.

And while scheduled replacement definitely increases scheduled outages, scheduled PC replacement almost certainly reduces unscheduled hardware & software outages. It's kind of like how changing all the light bulbs on a rotating schedule, burnt or not, can save overall maintenance costs compared to the costs of assigning one off tickets to change them haphazardly when there are outages, even if it wastes a few light bulbs. Likewise, if you can pick the week your laptop breaks I mean gets replaced, it should be less traumatic than having it burn out right before the next deploy. And because you swapped computers not that long ago, the process should be better understood.

And this is how confidential records get easily leaked.. by the companies that lease stuff.

We could never do this at the corporation I work at. Too many trade secrets and even DOD stuff depending on the office. And way too many incompetent / lazy IT people at some sites... but I am not in charge so I have no say in it.

Plus many locations have labs that have to use older computers because the software required for super expensive equipment will not run on a newer OS.. and shelling out 10s or 100s of thousands of dollars just so the software can be upgraded when the old stuff works just fine is not really an option. And that is even if the hardware being used has new software available for it. If not, then the cost can get exponentially more expensive.

Then if the computer for those systems is replaced, the whole setup has to go through a new validation process before it can be used.

We also have the "keep you hard drive" warranty on all systems so that we don't have to send / give back drives when they fail.. thus lessening the probability even more that data will be leaked.

ANY company dealing with any type of confidential, financial, or medical information should not be leasing computers.

And you also have to be super careful about recycling places as well. I've purchased systems from recyclers before that ended up having source code on them for some stuff that would not be good if it got out.

If you don't want your data to get out, you better do a nice DOD approved wipe on your drives before getting rid of the computers. I guess you could do this on leased computers but it is better to not take the chance that some slip through on accident.

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Reply 24 of 40, by Deczor

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Not sure about where you live, but here if you want to throw away electronics you have to pay for it. It's like $10 for a computer, $25for a CRT, $50 for a fridge at the local dump. It's really annoying. They have this big thing called the "dump shop". People can drop stuff off for free. Furniture, books, stereo gear, whatever. That goes into the shop and the public can go in and buy it.

If people want to donate a computer, an LCD TV, network switch... basically anything computery, they have to PAY for the dump shop to take it. Then, that stuff gets put in a secure, fenced off area that nobody is allowed to go in. It doesn't go up for sale. Again, it gets sent away to be incinerated in another country.

Reply 26 of 40, by Errius

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Deczor wrote on 2020-02-19, 00:59:

"E-day" got banned afer about ten years because it turned out that everything they got was sent over to china to literally be incinerated.

What are the economics of this? Who is paying who to do what?

“Your mission is to attack and destroy the Apple Computer manufacturing plant. You are allotted 35 bombs and 60 lasers."

Reply 27 of 40, by Deczor

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Errius wrote on 2020-02-19, 01:49:
Deczor wrote on 2020-02-19, 00:59:

"E-day" got banned afer about ten years because it turned out that everything they got was sent over to china to literally be incinerated.

What are the economics of this? Who is paying who to do what?

Basically Chinese company pays "charitable orgnaisation" a certain amount per container load of materials to get rare-earth metals. So, the organisation got govt subsidies for promotion and stuff. That promotion gets something like 30 container loads of e-waste which they then sell to overseas "recycler". Free money essentially.

Reply 28 of 40, by gdjacobs

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RINO - Recycling In Name Only

When I acquire a drive someone has discarded, I use nwipe to forensically erase it. I plan to use the integrated erase function for SSDs when they start to come across my desk. This should be sufficient for the majority of infosec applications.

More exotic disposal methods are appropriate when increasing amounts of verifiability are demanded. This can involve certified wipe processes or physical destruction when the data absolutely must be irretrievable.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 29 of 40, by RacoonRider

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I'm from Russia, the company I work for does research and development as well as small-series production. There are 1200 people working here, around 500 use computers. Top managers and people dealing with finance have two computers, at least one of them is a laptop.

We're "green" in this respect. The computers are only replaced when broken beyond repair, which I find very convenient when you need old data since our IT department and infrastructure is unbelievably basic. My work PC is 7th gen i3, I got it new when I came here in 2017 since my department did not have any vacant computers. I use it for office tasks, C programming in Atmel Studio 6, Python programming in IDLE, simple drawings in AutoCAD2007, calculations in Mathcad 14, viewing p-cad 2006 projects. I am not officially allowed to have internet, but I use a WiFi adapter and mobile hotspot to bypass this performance-hindering restriction. All these functions could have been performed by a first gen Core 2 Duo just as well.

P.S. As I typed the word "green", our 50-year old field engine passed by the window cleaning the snow away from the roads. It exhausts dense black smoke and, by the looks of it, consumes as much engine oil as it does fuel. Yup, we're "green".

Reply 30 of 40, by douglar

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cyclone3d wrote on 2020-02-19, 01:14:

And this is how confidential records get easily leaked.. by the companies that lease stuff.

We could never do this at the corporation I work at. Too many trade secrets and even DOD stuff depending on the office. And way too many incompetent / lazy IT people at some sites... but I am not in charge so I have no say in it.

We have a really serious & well funded data loss prevention team. All local fixed storage is encrypted at rest. Removable storage is disabled. All devices are secure erased before getting decommed. Data loss might still occur, but it probably isn’t from leased hardware.

Reply 31 of 40, by torindkflt

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The business I work for just finished a mass computer replacement project. All of the old computers were seven year old Ivy Bridge systems, most of them still running Windows 7 (EOL for Win7 is part of what prompted this replacement...ironically, the at-the-time impending EOL for WinXP is also what prompted us to originally buy those Ivy Bridge systems seven years ago). I can certainly understand the "why get rid of something that still works" sentiment. With a good dust eviction, some SSD and RAM upgrades, plus the (thanks to the still-existent loophole) free update to Windows 10, these systems could have continued to function perfectly fine for general office tasks, and possibly even run some of the new software that was scheduled to coincide with this replacement project.

However, upper management decided to take the "even if we upgrade the current systems, their age means they could still die at any time" stance, and I can certainly understand that line of thinking as well. Doing this replacement did also provide the opportunity to switch to a smaller form factor system that takes up less desk space and conceivably uses less power. A change in software service providers was also scheduled to happen at the same time, and it's possible that there may be hardware requirements I'm not aware of that necessitated all new computers (I was involved only in the physical setup of the computers, not installation of the software itself). As for the old systems, I've been told to DBAN the hard drives then take them for recycling. The recycling center here has a storefront where they can sell used/recycled computers to the general public, so fortunately when I take them there, it is almost a certainty they'll be resold.

As for the three-year replacement cycle...as already mentioned, a lot of places lease their computers, which means they are contractually obligated to replace them on a predetermined schedule. I agree, depending on the reputation of the company repossessing the computers at the end of the lease period, there is always a risk of data breach. The business I work for doesn't lease, but if we ever were to do so, I would be proactive about making sure the hard drives are totally wiped before returning any computers, rather than simply trusting the company managing the lease to do so themselves. As for what would happen to the computers themselves afterwards, that would unfortunately be out of my hands, but I would hope they are resold.

Reply 32 of 40, by Errius

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Do offices still run their desktop (not server) computers 24/7 /365? I remember at my first job I was told off for powering down my computer before going home. Everything was just left running overnight. This was before energy prices went crazy in 2008 though.

“Your mission is to attack and destroy the Apple Computer manufacturing plant. You are allotted 35 bombs and 60 lasers."

Reply 33 of 40, by user33331

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Hello
Now everything happens very slow in innovation.
It all boomed until WinXP and it has been downhill since.
Not a pc but Ipad 1 in 2010 was the last great idea of future.

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Reply 34 of 40, by Deczor

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Errius wrote on 2020-02-19, 05:58:

Do offices still run their desktop (not server) computers 24/7 /365? I remember at my first job I was told off for powering down my computer before going home. Everything was just left running overnight. This was before energy prices went crazy in 2008 though.

It shouldn't be a requirement now. Not for a long time. Updates and group policy stuff can be scheduled and delays allowed at any time. There's no reason to leave everything on 24/7. Has been no reason to for ages.

Reply 36 of 40, by imi

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Errius wrote on 2020-02-19, 05:58:

Do offices still run their desktop (not server) computers 24/7 /365? I remember at my first job I was told off for powering down my computer before going home. Everything was just left running overnight. This was before energy prices went crazy in 2008 though.

on the contrary here, people always get told off for leaving their computers on overnight... yet some still do.

Reply 37 of 40, by torindkflt

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In our case, at least some of the computers do get left on at night on a rotating basis, because nighttime is when they are scheduled to perform incremental backups to an off-site server. This was scheduled to happen at night to limit impact on our internet connection during business hours, because our internet has fairly slow upload speed and saturating the upload also kills the download speeds.

Last edited by torindkflt on 2020-02-19, 15:18. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 39 of 40, by lordmogul

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They might not even be buying the machines but instead lease them from a company.
And hey, that means there are lots of refurbished machines out there for little money, that are still capable today. Just thinking about it, a decent 2-3 year old office machine that is still capable of doing basically everything, that can easily be upgraded to play recent games, that just wasn't a thing back then.

Thinking of it, back in winter 2012/13 we were actually still using old Athlon XP 2600+Sempron 2800+ machines with Radeon 7000 VE or 9200 Pro and 512 MB-1 GB RAM and XP. Machines barely enough to to simple office work in a nonconnected environment. Oh and yes, we used floppies.

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