I got 2 gigs of memory for my mac today, and an external hard drive. I had enough money for a new mac–one of those shiny silver ones with the black keyboard and the upgraded trackpad that I drool over in the stores. But I wrote a research paper on electronic waste in China last semester, and it was shocking to discover how much technology is exported abroad to be trashed under the guise of “recycling.” Instead of spending the necessary funds to safely dismantle electronic goods at the end of their lifetime, most manufacturers prefer to simply ship these products to Asia or Africa for dumping. There, people in impoverished circumstances dissemble these discarded products and deal with raw substances such as cadmium and mercury, with little to no protection.
For more info, just google the town Guiyu (pronounced gway-you). It has been called the electronic wasteland. The 60 minutes documentary is particularly thorough, along with the investigation done by the Basel Action Network (BAN). Whenever looking at shiny new electric gadgets, I always think about the children I read about in the journals & investigative reports, their blood tainted with lead, their faces smudged with chemical-ridden dirt in the photos. The towns where water has to be trucked in because the public water sources are overrun with acidic sludge and burnt bits of computer screens. In a sentence: I am going to be using this mac until the day it conks out and dies. (And even then, I may try to bring it back to life, if any store will deign to sell me new parts for an ancient model.)
I’m going to be taking my mac in for servicing tomorrow so they can put the gigs in for me (I’m paranoid that I’ll do it wrong), and then I may buy Leopard. I don’t feel so bad about buying new software because it’s not like I have to “throw away” my old software, you know? I’m just buying a CD and installing it on my comp. My current operating system (Tiger, I think?) is aging, and I’m pretty sure that in a few months the upgrades that Apple offers won’t be compatible with my older system. I couldn’t even buy the damn gig chips at the Apple Store because my computer was apparently “too old.” (I bought it in 2006). So they sent me to Microcenter, because I had already went to Best Buy’s yesterday and they didn’t have the right gigs for my model either.
Let me tell you- I adore Microcenter! Everything they have is half the price (or less) of what Best Buy sells. One gig for my computer was $80 in Best Buy. It was $20 in Microcenter!! My mouth literally dropped. Now Best Buy has a lot more salespeople on the floor, and the Geek Squad is extremely useful, especially for PC users. And they do seem to have a wider variety of products. Buuuuuut Microcenter gets the job done, and for less. In fact, they probably are able to cut costs in their store precisely because they have less salespeople & only key products. For a girl who just needs the basics, finding this store was like discovering a hidden gem. (I mean, come on- my sister bought a 4G USB stick for $19! Where else do you see those kinds of prices?!?) I will definitely be back.