The Dirty Secret of E-Waste: Are You Part of the Problem?

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via Treehugger.com

I remember when I was a kid, we used to go up to the barn attic. We rented our home, and our garage was an old fire dept. barn that had its own upper level; the landlords used this attic for their storage. There was a lot of it. When you’re five, six years old, climbing a large pile of what is essentially junk is kind of a dream come true in a weird way. Maybe it’s because you feel rich or self-sufficient in a time when you exclusively rely on your parents to provide you with all of your needs (but not necessarily all of your wants).

When you’re that young, anything can become a toy, and for the kids of my generation, we’d find out that any toy could (and would) eventually become electronic. Speak & Spell educated us, Gameboys let us catch Pokémon, and MS-DOS forced us to become mini-programmers in order to get a simple game to start on our computers.

How many of us still own all of these toys? More than likely, the majority of them got thrown out over the years. Even as adults, our insatiable appetite for new ‘toys’ has created quite the conundrum: electronic waste.

E-waste is a massive, global problem of today. Before it, plastics were the big problem—they don’t biodegrade (meaning there’s a doll from the ‘50s probably just sitting around somewhere out there, eternally smiling as Blinky the Fish swims by).  I’ve gotten older and realized that pile of junk isn’t so majestic anymore:

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(image via Transitionconsciousness)

There are many villages and cities around the world that have become dumping grounds for the e-waste of the world, most of them in developing nations. Our very own country is just as guilty for dumping our e-waste overseas, and while it might seem like only a big, inconvenient heap, there are plenty of toxins being dispersed here (lead and mercury, for example). Computer monitors and old TVs are the biggest offenders. Once the screen cracks, the toxins become airborne or bleed into the water supply. This is all in addition to the fact that there is a massive amount of plastics from these devices that has to be incinerated, too.

One of the main principals of our business here at planIT Hardware is that we are giving second life to many still-useful electronic products and components. We help keep the secondary market alive, because there are hundreds of thousands of units out there that don’t need to be trashed. Save the planet, save money: it’s a winning combination every time. We live in a culture where we are being programmed to believe we must need the newest and latest in electronics. As folks in data centers and server rooms know, the benefits of refurbishing units and buying from the secondary market far outweigh the cost of buying new, more often than not. In addition, we do consignment deals so that a bankrupt business, for example, doesn’t need to dispose of their defunct hardware—we can sell it for them, putting money back in their pocket and these products back on the market.

So, business owners, network engineers and electronics consumers (i.e., everyone else), make sure you’re disposing of your IT assets properly, and while you’re at it, you might as well see if you can make some money off of them!

 

 

For a more in-depth look at the effects of e-waste, check out this Dateline expose:

Net Neutrality: What It Is and Why You Should Care

planit hardware, net neutrality, isp, court of appeals, FCC, federal communications commission, broadband service, network equipment, IT hardware, used Cisco reseller, secondary IT hardwareThe term net neutrality has been popping up a lot over the last few years. It’s seemingly become everyone’s favorite buzzword, sure to light a controversial spark wherever it’s mentioned and rouse the ire of millennials everywhere. With the World Wide Web having just celebrated its 25th birthday, it seems appropriate to start by reviewing what it is that makes the internet so powerful and innovative, even all these years later.

What has always made the Internet fascinating and appealing from the start, I think, is the ability for the end-user to explore and journey. Imagine adventuring through a daunting terrain such as a massive forest or desert; the only thing hindering you being natural law, the physical limitations of this planet and your body. Suddenly, we were introduced to a world where those limitations weren’t really much of a factor, especially as the technology fueling that world continued to advance and mature exponentially. Sure, we were left to experience things differently, with nothing tangible but buttons, keys, screens and the mouse; if we got tired in this realm, it was only from staring at the screen for too long.

The main tenet behind all this is simple: ISP’s (internet service providers—e.g., Comcast, AT&T, etc.) and the government do not get to discriminate amongst websites, content providers, end-users and the like, as to who gets any sort of preferential treatment in the delivery of data; all content is delivered neutrally and with the same preference. The current battle is whether this neutrality should be required by law, so as to protect status quo.

Back in 2006, Jon Stewart made a big show of the net neutrality debate, long before most were aware its now-looming existence. He made jokes that if ISPs could give preferential treatment to pages by sending their data faster to the end-user, then sites like “ihate(nameofISP).com” would take forever to load. As the debate waged on for another four years, the FCC decided to finally take some action to protect the fairness of the internet. In 2010, they enforced the Open Internet Order, which made sure that ISPs couldn’t interrupt the flow of certain kinds of traffic (streaming video or downloading files, for example) simply because it wasn’t in the immediate interest of their business to do so.

As of January of this year, however, that Open Internet Order was nullified and declared unenforceable in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Now, the race is on between the FCC and the giants of broadband service; both will try and quickly make the case for legislation that favors their side of the fence. If the ISPs get their way, they could, for example, slow down streaming services to push users toward their own digital media service. The FCC is in the middle of tightening up its legal approach to the matter while the public is becoming increasingly vocal about which side they are on.

Our business here at planIT HARDWARE is to provide the best deals on the secondary IT hardware market. The biggest part of what we do is enabling both individual end-users and corporations as a whole to have smoother, faster and safer web experiences. We feel it’s important to protect the integrity of the internet and hope that a resolution is reached soon.

BONUS: Here’s Stephen Colbert breaking down Net Neutrality like a boss.

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In Anticipation of Final Month of Obamacare Enrollment, Gov’t Makes a Dramatic Move

planIT Hardware, healthcare exchange, obamacare, healthcare.gov, cisco, used cisco reseller, CMS, HHS, network equipmentBig money was dropped recently in the world of network equipment.

The HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) is anticipating plenty of traffic in the last month of open enrollment for Obamacare (the deadline is March 31st). After the now-infamous debut snafu of Healthcare.gov, the government is taking preventative measures to ensure a smooth registration process for those still holding out until the deadline. As a result, the HHS has recently ordered $2.5 million worth of IT hardware to bolster the anticipated bandwidth.

Surprisingly, only $56,782 of this large order was spent on Cisco devices; these were purchased for a firewall upgrade.

Unfortunately, the agency within the HHS that’s responsible for the purchasing, CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services), was not legally able to partake in the competitive bidding process that’s typical of most large IT infrastructure buildouts. According to a quote on freebeacon.com, “‘CMS is not in a position to take the time to compete the added capacity requirements and successfully implement the exchange program as mandated by law.'” Basically, they’re spending a fortune for the sake of time.

If only they’d gone through us! (Oh well…there’s always the next government buildout)

planIT HARDWARE has both new and refurbished network hardware at 60-90% off list prices. Contact us for a quote on whatever parts you need.

Speaking of urgency, looks like the POTUS is eager to get the news out about the deadline by whatever unconventional means necessary:

Über-Fast Google Fiber Internet Service Considers ATL, Eight Other Metro Areas For Expansion

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It’s about time someone new came around to put Comcast in a headlock.

Google Fiber, the wicked-fast internet and TV service from the web behemoth we all know and love, is in a new stage of expansion. The company is planning on bringing the service to nine new metro areas, including Atlanta.

Up until now, Fiber has only been available, for some reason I can’t begin to explain, in Kansas City, Kansas and Provo, Utah (not the most obvious of candidates); by mid-year, it will be fully deployed in Austin, Texas. The service features gigabit speeds (1000 mpbs), making it 100 times faster than today’s average broadband speeds. To illustrate: I used the Google Fiber “race” widget on their website to compare speeds. I chose the option ‘Download HD Movie’ and set my speed at 10 mbps (the next highest tier was 50 mbps, which is not as close to my average work/home speed of 20mbps). Here were the results:

Google Fiber Speed ComparisonGoogle is now in the stages of purveying these incredible speeds in nine new metro markets. These areas are only potential spots, as the company is simply in the talking/planning stages with these interested parties. The metro areas announced as being in talks are the following: Portland (OR), San Jose, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, San Antonio, Nashville, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham and Atlanta. Within these metro areas, there are 34 specific municipalities/neighborhoods/cities that are being considered.

Aside from surveying the physical region and determining its appropriateness, Google will also have to ensure that the cities it’s working with hold up their end of the process. Google has given each interested party a ‘checklist.’ This list consists of three main categories of information that a hosting metro would have to deliver to Google: provide information about existing infrastructure; help ensure access to existing infrastructure; help make construction speedy and predictable. If a city chooses not to complete this checklist and does not desire to make the necessary preparations, this would keep Fiber from coming to that area. If you live in any of the above metro areas, keep your fingers crossed!

Oh, yeah…and the price points/packages in the two existing cities are nuts, so expect a good deal:

There’s Gigabit + TV for $120/mo (includes 200+ HD channels and a FREE Nexus 7 tablet), Gigabit Internet for $70/mo, and Free Internet. Yup. Free. If Uncle Herb only needs 5 mbps to take care of business, then he can pay a flat construction fee of $300; this can be done up front or monthly ($25) for a year. On top of this, the Free plan has no service contract (unlike the prior two plans) and is “guaranteed for at least 7 years per address.” So, once you’ve paid off that construction fee, you could have up to 6 years of practically (can’t avoid taxes/fees) free internet.

If your business or home needs better IT infrastructure now, contact us for a quote on any number of network hardware devices. Google Fiber plus the heavy artillery of planIT sounds like a match made in fiber-optic heaven.

Excitedly awaiting the day I call Comcast/Xfinity and blast this over the phone:

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NASA Bonanza: How 715 Planets Were Discovered in Kepler Mission

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Exoplanet Image Credit: NASA

Bonanza. No…not that. It’s the word NASA is using to describe the recent Kepler mission findings that were announced Wednesday. 715 new planets have been discovered, orbiting 305 stars in what NASA calls “multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system.” What. Previously verified exoplanets, planets that orbit a star outside of our solar system, have generally been the size of Neptune (four times the size of Earth) or larger. One of the more remarkable aspects of this recent discovery is that nearly all of these newly-verified celestial orbs are smaller than Neptune, greatly adding to the number of known smaller planets with a size closer to that of Earth. To help you understand just how monumentally exciting and bonkers this all is, here is an overwhelming infographic:

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Quite the discovery.

This recent discovery made me think of things in planIT HARDWARE terms, as I usually do. We have a bonanza of our own with our recent influx of the HWIC-4ESW, a Cisco High-Speed WAN (wide area network) Interface Card. These little stars are a part of the Cisco router system, and they allow these high-performing routers to really shine with gigabit speeds. Our recent shipment just added a whole slew to our inventory. And here’s this again, just because it’s awesome and space is just like the Wild West:

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Young Abe Lincoln Says: “Happy Presidents’ Day from planIT HARDWARE!”

planit hardware, network hardware, used cisco reseller, presidents day, abe lincoln, young abe lincoln, february 2014Happy Presidents’ Day 2014!

Today seemed like the perfect day to let my co-workers here at planIT HARDWARE have their fun with their running ‘Young Abe Lincoln’ joke, so, here’s that.

If you’re fortunate enough to have the day off, enjoy it! Spring is just around the corner and some areas in the South are starting to see those temperatures climb; the fair Georgia lady has shone her golden radiance down upon the northern slush.

On the other hand, if you’re at work, good for you…so are we!

Snowpocalypse 2.0 (Winter Storm Pax) Descends Upon ATL, 90% Chance of Panic

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It’s Coming…

The Snowpocalypse (v.2.0) is upon us…or, in this case, what I’m going to go ahead and dub ICEPOCALYPSE.

Yes, the threat of Icepocalypse is very real. What’s the fuss? you might ask, after failing to notice a single snowflake, It’s only a little rain…

This is where you are dead wrong, friend.

All you need to do is step into a metro Atlanta Kroger and you will see pure chaos, the likes of which you’ve never seen. Milk shelves are empty. Chicken breasts? Gone. As for the bread shelves, paleo diets are out….carbs are way, way in. AND SOMEONE TOOK ALL THE KRISPY KREMES!

Okay, maybe we’re not getting the most snow/ice possible, but it’s enough for folks down here to react strongly enough to, so mind the panic. We hope that all those in our community will stay safe regardless, and we’re looking forward to seeing/hearing about more acts of do-goodery by our fellow ATL denizens.

Also, pre-packed, sodium-filled deli meats were apparently in high demand:

The #snowpocalypse cometh. QUICK, GRAB ALL THE DELI MEATS

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