Waste Watch: Right to Repair as Remedy for School Computer Shortage?

By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans.

The New York Times featured a piece earlier this month about how the pandemic is worsening the digital divide and thus indirectly worsening inequality, The Digital Divide Starts With a Laptop Shortage. Yet while that account is a decent statement of that problem, it fails to highlight an obvious remedy: adopting a right to repair.

Not only would such a solution help reduce inequality, but it would also help reduce global warming, as it would reduce the amount of computers that must be disposed of, as well as reduce the number of number of excess machines that need to be created in the first place.

Over to the NYT:

When the Guilford County Schools in North Carolina spent more than $27 million to buy 66,000 computers and tablets for students over the summer, the district ran into a problem: There was a shortage of cheap laptops, and the devices wouldn’t arrive until late October or November.
More than 4,000 students in the district had to start the school year without the computers they needed for remote learning.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Angie Henry, the district’s chief operations officer. “Kids are excited about school. They want to learn.”

Millions of children are encountering all sorts of inconveniences that come with digital instruction during the coronavirus pandemic. But many students are facing a more basic challenge: They don’t have computers and can’t attend classes held online.

A surge in worldwide demand by educators for low-cost laptops and Chromebooks — up to 41 percent higher than last year — has created monthslong shipment delays and pitted desperate schools against one another. Districts with deep pockets often win out, leaving poorer ones to give out printed assignments and wait until winter for new computers to arrive.

That has frustrated students around the country, especially in rural areas and communities of color, which also often lack high-speed internet access and are most likely to be on the losing end of the digital divide. In 2018, 10 million students didn’t have an adequate device at home, a study by education nonprofit Common Sense Media found. That gap, with much of the country still learning remotely, could now be crippling.

The problem outlined is not just one that affects the U.S., but the laptop shortage is worldwide, as the NYT recognizes:

Sellers are facing stunning demand from schools in countries from Germany to El Salvador, said Michael Boreham, an education technology analyst at the British company Futuresource Consulting. Japan alone is expected to order seven million devices.

Global computer shipments to schools were up 24 percent from 2019 in the second quarter, Mr. Boreham said, and were projected to hit that 41 percent jump in the third quarter, which just ended.

Chromebooks, web-based devices that run on software from Google and are made by an array of companies, are in particular demand because they cost less than regular laptops. That has put huge pressure on a supply chain that cobbles laptop parts from all over the world, usually assembling them in Asian factories, Mr. Boreham said.

While that supply chain has slowly geared up, the spike in demand is “so far over and above what has historically been the case,” said Stephen Baker, a consumer electronics analyst at the NPD Group. “The fact that we’ve been able to do that and there’s still more demand out there, it’s something you can’t plan for.”

Unsurprisingly, computer manufacturers, are more worried about goosing their bottom lines than improving access to their products. Over to the NYT again:

Adding to the problem, many manufacturers are putting a priority on producing expensive electronics that net greater profits, like gaming hardware and higher-end computers for at-home employees, said Erez Pikar, the chief executive of Trox, a company that sells devices to school districts.

Before the year began, Trox predicted it would deliver 500,000 devices to school districts in the United States and Canada in 2020, Mr. Pikar said. Now, the total will be two million. But North American schools are still likely to end the year with a shortage of more than five million devices, he said. He added that he was not aware of any large-scale efforts to get refurbished or donated laptops to school districts.

Right to Repair as Possible Remedy for Worldwide Laptop Shortage?

An obvious remedy would be to reuse or revitalise existing machines rather than making new ones. This would have the advantage of more or less immediate availability of lthe l laptops currently in short supply, as local repair shops could presumably act much more quickly and supply existing machines. By contrast, manufacturers cannot be as responsive as they must negotiate longer supply chains and distribution networks in oder to produce supply.

I reached out to Nathan Proctor, director of the Right to Repair Campaign for U.S. PIRG, an advocacy organization, to provide an explanation in a nutshell as to how by stymying a right to repair, many manufacturers are exacerbating rather than ameliorating the worldwide laptop shortage:

When companies block repair by refusing to provide access to diagnostic software, parts or service information, computers and tablets that should be in people’s hands end up as waste. Also, companies increasingly use software locks which lock out refurbishers. Meanwhile, when manufacturers get used items, they require recyclers to destroy instead of resue those devices. All of this undercuts the secondary market for used electronics, and reduces the supply of low-cost computers.

To flesh out his comment,  The Register has discussed Apple’s lawsuit against a recycling firm, for reselling perfectly usable products rather than breaking them down and recycling them, in Apple seeks damages from recycling firm that didn’t damage its devices: 100,000 iThings ‘resold’ rather than broken up as expected:

Apple in January sued the Canadian arm of Global Electric Electronic Processing (GEEP) for allegedly reselling roughly 100,000 iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches that were supposed to be broken up and recycled.

The lawsuit, first reported last week by The Logic, a paywalled Canadian tech publication, reportedly prompted a countersuit from GEEP Canada in July in which the recycler claimed the gadgets were resold by three rogue employees and that their little side hustle was not official policy.

According to The Logic, Apple claimed the iPhone maker sent GEEP more than half a million devices to be recycled between January 2015 and December 2017. When Apple audited the facility, it supposedly found lapses in on-site security, and then reviewed the serial numbers of the devices it had shipped.

Apple is said to have discovered that almost 20 per cent, or about 100,000, of the devices associated with those serial numbers were still active on mobile carrier networks. As a result, the iGiant is seeking $31m CAD ($23m) in damages plus any profit GEEP made on the resale.

That’s a lot of potential sales!

I can understand Apple suing the company because it thought to was paying for recycling rather than resale. But in a day where waste and excessive production are such major issues, shouldn’t that policy be reconsidered, so that someone should be reselling perfectly usable and operational items, whether Apple itself or an agent acting on its behalf?

It’s not just this lawsuit that’s the problem, as Proctor mentions. Apple also uses software locks to inactivate otherwise perfectly functional devices – some of which the original user donated so for environmental or equity reasons the the devices could be reused, but forgot to make the necessary unlocking fix and they item thereby ended up bricked. So that means Apple and other manufacturers are happy that the devices either end up in a landfill or that some have some components “recycled” rather than have the devices be used by someone who needs them.

Right to Repair is Gaining Popularity

The right to repair position seems to be gaining popularity. Earlier this month, I wrote about its resurgence as a ballot question concerning the use of telematics repair data by third party repair shops in Massachusetts, Right to Repair Redux: Massachusetts Ballot Questions.  The state had previously passed a landmark statute for auto repair in 2013, following voter direction via a ballot question. In writing that piece, I was surprised to see how well some people questioned had figured out exactly what high costs manufacturers were trying to do by resisting a right to repair.

As present, 32 states have put forward various forms of fight to repair legislation, according to The Markup, Why Can’t I Fix My Own Phone, Toaster, or Tractor? So far, no state has implemented such a provision. Click on the link if you have time, as it includes a table summarising the status of extant legislative proposals.

In the following twitter thread, Federal Trade Commissioner Rohit Chopra laws out the case for a Right to Repair – and why manufacturers hate it so. Hint: they make more money selling you new, unnecessary devices, rather than allowing you to repair or upgrade devices you already own.

Laptop Shortage and Right to Repair

And, to come back to that laptop shortage and how implementing a right to repair would address it, US PIRG has written a post, The Right to Repair could help address a critical shortage in school computers.

This is an idea whose time has not only come, but is well past due:

Whether or not you or your child can access a computer and the internet could mean the difference between getting an education this fall, or not. The stakes have perhaps never been higher for equitable computer access in the U.S. But thanks to disruptions in the supply chain, even though schools and businesses have ordered new computers, they aren’t showing up.

California is short 1 million computers. Denver’s public schools are lacking thousands of computers, while waiting for orders to be fulfilled. Delays are threatening remote learning for school districts in Nevada, and Louisiana. All across the country, schools are scrambling, from Savannah to Austin.

All across the country, refurbishers are stepping in to fill the gaps. In Delaware, a local non-profit called NERDit NOW is providing low-cost computers to students in partnership with local schools, and has ramped up its local operation. In Atlanta, New Life Tech Group, which normally refurbishes and donates 50 computers each year, ramped up its workflow and gave away more than 2,000. Both non-profits note that it costs about $50 to refurbish one laptop.

Necessity is the mother of invention.Two high school students started their own refurbishing program in Virginia, and as did an engineer in Florida to address the needs in their respective communities. In Cuyahoga County, Ohio, a local television station is running a used computer drive to collect and refurbish devices for students.

Most of these community-refurbished computers are going directly to families, and not through the school system, explained Erez Pikar, the CEO of Toxell-CDI, one of the larger computer refurbishers. “Schools don’t have enough IT staff,” explained Pikar to U.S. PIRG, and therefore can’t support too many dissimilar devices. The best products for schools to use are refurbished business computers which tend to come in lot sizes big enough to give each student the same computer. Unfortunately, according to Pikar, businesses have been reluctant to send computers to refurbishers over the last few months.

U.S. PIRG emphasizes the lack of a right to repair means computer manufacturers are imposing barriers, rather than promoting solutions:

Even as refurbished computers are more and more mission critical, many barriers remain to getting them into the hands of students.
Many usable computers are sitting in corporate overstock or empty offices, and perhaps even in your basement. But even when refurbishers get those computers, they can’t always get them working because manufacturers restrict access to spare parts or manuals.

[TechDump CEO Amanda LaGrange] and other refurbishers describe bins of activation-locked devices in their facilities — devices that work fine, but are locked down because the original owner forgot to unlock her account when she donated or sold it.

We’d have a lot more computers available if the industry as a whole valued reuse and the secondary life of electronics.

According to LaGrange, manufacturers should use this as an opportunity to evaluate their positions regarding the right to repair and how lower barriers to repair could help address the digital divide.

“This would all be a lot easier if we had right to repair,” said LaGrange.

I’ll say.

So why don’t we?

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  1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    I’m glad this issue has come to the fore again. There’s a non profit in Portland a lot like “NERDit” called FreeGeek, which survived the Rona, happily. So if you are in that area, definitely worth supporting.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      The pandemic has not banished the issue, but instead, has thrown up shortages that make its implementation even more urgent. The right to repair addresses that short-term concern, as well as the longer-term global warming considerations.

  2. The Rev Kev

    Maybe mobs like Apple should be hit up with full costs of production. That is, they should be charged for the disposal of the unit at the end of its life as e-waste. As the cost would be the same if it was brand new or several years old, then it would be a cost that could not be depreciated. And that this cost would apply whether it stays in the country at the point of sale or eventually sent overseas. The only way that Apple could avoid this cost would be to assign FULL rights (including repair) whenever they sell any unit so it would be up to end-user to pay that disposal cost. Just to keep Apple honest, unless that it was a government department, it only applies to individuals. Otherwise Apple would set up a series of dummy companies to eventually take in those old units and then ship them to some other country for disposal. I know that this idea is full of holes but it is a start.

    1. Mike Mc

      Abso-freaking-lutely. Just retired after 20 years as Mac repair tech, sales and service too, with another 10 years as professional Mac user in publishing and marketing.

      We desperately need major manufacturers to embrace TCO: Total Cost of Ownership for ALL our techo gizmos. Landfills can’t (and shouldn’t) hold all our not-very-old smartphones, laptops, desktops, flat screen TVs and monitors, projectors etc. etc.

      Governments need to draft and enact laws mandating recycling as an integral part of the entire design/manufacture/sell/replace continuum. The planet we save we be our own!

  3. Grumpy Engineer

    Maybe schools need to consider providing their students with desktop computers instead of laptops. There are more desktops computers available in the refurbished computer market than there are laptops. They’re also easier to repair or to upgrade.

    I know this because I repair, refurbish, and upgrade computers as a hobby, and I’ve had much more success with desktop computers. On a laptop, about all you can do is replace the HDD with an SSD and maybe add some RAM, but on desktops you can also replace fans & power supplies, upgrade CPUs, install wifi & graphics cards, add HDDs for automatic backups, etc.

    And the end result is arguably more ergonomic. I’ve seen way too many people hunched over a tiny laptop keyboard, squinting at a tiny laptop screen. Students would really be better off using a full-sized monitor and keyboard, especially when one considers that they’ll be doing it for several hours every day. [And yes, I know you can add an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse to a laptop to make it reasonably ergonomic, but at that point, you may as well use a desktop.]

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Good suggestion. What we really need is for people to embrace a repair/upgrade mentality, rather than chase the newest thing and trash the old model. At the moment of course, that is what manufacturers force them to do. I found that tweet of all the Activation Locked and therefore unusable iPads to be extremely depressing.

    2. BridgetownBeast

      I would agree with this provided that the USA addresses access to broadband. A lot of rural and low-income kids don’t have access to broadband in the household, and are forced to go out of the house and work in parking lots outside of restaurants offering wifi to get access to class materials.
      The approach is two-pronged at least: we have to extend the lifespan of our devices AND regulate broadband access as a necessary utility, and increase its availability.

      1. Grumpy Engineer

        Aye. Having broadband at home is indeed critical for the desktop computer scheme to work. I find laptops annoying to use and difficult to repair/refurbish, but if you regularly need to take your computer to other places, they’re hard to beat.

    3. Arizona Slim

      Slim (who is working at a standing desk while reading NC) heartily agrees. And, yup, I’m using a desktop computer.

    4. Amfortas the hippie

      i tried to change the battery on my last laptop…did that right, but the keyboard never worked again.
      conversely, my very first computer, a 1999 gateway, had a crash, and i took it, and 3 other desktops that MIL had obtained from the school’s dumpster(!),. apart, and held my breath and constructed a brand new computer from all the parts and pieces…ended up with more ram, rom and a better graphics card.
      that monstrosity lasted almost 10 years.
      (upgrades to the internet, etc made it eventually unusable)

      i think about all this sort of thing, a lot:
      for our new bar, we have our old house fridge…prolly 10 years old…will eventually die.
      and for the liquor cabinet, a 1960 or so Coolerator “ice box”. This thing still runs, and keeps beer ice cold, and it’s 9 years older than me.
      I snipped the power cable, but only because the wire insulation is toast, making it a fire hazard. if i wanted to rewire it, it would still run. This is amazing to me.
      how robustly we built things in the past….and how fragile and crappy everything is, today.
      my policy, inherited from my Great Depression/WW2 forged Grandparents, is to hang on to things that work…so i’ve got lots of antique tools and such.
      much better quality than what’s on offer, today…and can generally be worked on if there’s a problem.
      with newer power tools, for instance, it’s almost impossible to change out the little bushings on the electric motor, without bricking the whole thing.
      my old ones, no problem at all. same with the trigger switches and such.
      newer stuff is either so crappily made that you can’t repair it…or it’s purposefully manufactured that way.
      I am all in on this Right to Repair Movement.
      it’s stupid and wasteful to be otherwise.

    5. Carolinian

      The schools want them to have a device they can take to school (at least eventually). Agreed that desktops are more long lived but they aren’t portable.

      as to

      $50 to refurbish one laptop

      they are probably just replacing the batteries which can cost about that much. Those lithium batteries only last two or three years and can be hard to replace on the theory that you’d rather upgrade and buy a new device after that anyway.

      However I replaced the battery on my beloved Samsung Chromebook turned Linux and it is still going strong. Should the keyboard go bad, though, then likely time for new.

  4. Calypso Facto

    Ever since the pandemic really picked up swing, I’ve been called in for Family Tech Support duties (as the family’s sole millennial AND professional coder, I am unable to get out of the gig) regularly. My unofficial tally so far of the number of ‘old but perfectly serviceable’ computers that myself or others in my family/friends circle of ~40 have dug out of storage, fixed, and handed over so someone could get work done is at 7 devices. So in lieu of right to repair or ability to buy outright, people are already digging though the closets and asking their gamer children if they have any old hardware to spare and, if so, could they pretty please help set it up?

    Nobody has been willing to move to Linux yet, though. I don’t think its lack of interest, it is lack of tech support skills with the mandatory crappy Zoom/Canvas apps everyone is being forced to use for remote work. Unlike the tech triumphalism I hear from the comfortable set, I think this actually heralds the death knell for cloud/remote/telework as ‘the future’. I do not see anyone enjoying this in any way, and the technology is simply not ready for primetime at scale. I realize that was Google’s entire ‘move fast and break things’ scam but there are limits to faking it until you make it.

  5. Synoia

    Raspberry PI, $100, as desktop.

    Need also to buy usb keyboard & mouse. For a Monitor I use an old flat panel TV as a monitor.

    1. Charles 2

      Totally agree. USB keyboard and mouse are ubiquitous and cheap on the second hand market. One must add a USB headset adapter for microphone support though. (10$ extra).
      The screen issue is tougher, but the fact that the Pi can be connected to the family TV helps. For multi-kids family, sharing the screen would require n+1 Pis (one for each kid + one for the TV to display a mosaic of screens). This is one area where the cable/ISP providers could help, by building a mosaic VNC client in their box. For the many families where a single mobile phone (Usually running android) is the internet connection), it would be useful to have a free VNC app that ties well with HDMI output. This way the phone can be at the same time the router (via hotspot) and the mosaic VNC client with output on the TV.

    2. Bill Smith

      Is the needed software available on the Raspberry PI? And that means more than just Zoom. Otherwise, great idea.

  6. Alex Cox

    Surely the problem is that school administrators aren’t very bright and have bought the Chrome and Apple propaganda hook line and sinker. They aren’t interested in alternatives or in recycling; they want to spend their budgets on shiny new gizmos — proprietary laptops with almost no memory, which need to be permanently online.

    Regarding the right to repair, I must be missing something. Surely it’s possible to re-use the hard drive of any computer, even if the previous owner has “locked it.” You just erase the drive and install a new OS. With Linux, this is ridiculously easy. Apple make it a bit harder but not that difficult.

    If school administrators would just get on the GNU/Linux bus their students could be using a variety of refurbed computers (laptops and desktops) running the latest Linux Mint or Ubuntu, with Libre Office for all writing and spreadsheet purposes. If they must have it, Zoom works on Linux, too. Learning to work with free software is vastly more interesting and empowering for students than being locked in the walled gardens of Google and Apple.

    1. Grumpy Engineer

      @Alex Cox: You said, “Surely it’s possible to re-use the hard drive of any computer, even if the previous owner has “locked it.”

      That’s mostly true, but not entirely. I was once asked to work on a netbook that used 32GB of eMMC storage (soldered onto the motherboard) to host Windows 10. It worked okay initially, but once that first “feature update” rolled along… WHAM!! Out of disk space. The feature update failed, and it would try again (and fail again) every single boot. Ouch. I tried my hardest to free up enough space, but couldn’t do get it to complete. [In my opinion, it shouldn’t have even been legal to sell such a limited POS that was so obviously headed for failure.]

      Next, I tried to install Linux. Getting SystemRescueCD to boot took a little BIOS finagling, but I eventually used it to wipe Windows from the eMMC chip. I installed Debian Linux next, but it wouldn’t boot no matter what I tried in the BIOS. I’ve probably put Linux on 20+ computers over the years, and this was the first time I couldn’t do it.

      But overall, I definitely agree with you. Even a 10 year-old desktop provides an acceptable computing experience with Linux, especially if you’re willing to spend an extra $30 for an SSD. Forcing students to live in the cramped world of Chromebooks and iPads does them a disservice.

      1. Alex Cox

        And installing Linux really has become much easier of late. There are so many “useless” computers out there which could perform the simple tasks students – and most of us – need to do.

  7. Jesper

    I’ve found the pricing of the refurbished laptops to be slightly strange. My current laptop is 8 years old, I bought it when it was 3 years old. If I were to buy it today then the price it is being advertised for is very close to the price I paid 5 years ago. If I bought it today then it would come with Windows 10 and cost slightly more than what I paid for it 5 years ago with Windows 7.
    The SSD appears to be about to give up, so I replaced the SSD. It was easy enough but installing Windows on the new SSD was more difficult as Windows came on a hidden partition. Installing Linux was very easy, all hardware was recognised instantly after installing but the media I used to install Windows didn’t have the drivers for the network cards. I managed to get Windows working in the end, next time (hopefully long time until then) I might not find the effort worth it and instead use Linux.

  8. Palaver

    Students should already be using personal tablets or laptops in school. Hopefully, this pandemic forces many schools that have fallen behind technologically to catch up.

    But budget is only half the problem. Older administrators are technophobic. It’s requires a bottom up initiative like most things that need doing.

  9. David

    I had no idea you could do homework on an Apple Watch ….
    Seriously, beyond the clickbait, there’s a serious idea trying to get out here, which I call the differential digital divide. It starts from the observation that in virtually every country, there’s a percentage of the population that doesn’t have internet access, but goes on to point out that “internet access” isn’t the same thing anywhere. In France, for example, around 20% of families with school-age children don’t have internet access at home. What most of them do have, is simple “internet” access via cheap Android phones, and this has enabled many areas of France to move to completely paperless interactions with parents. So parents with only this access (often from immigrant communities ) have to fill in forms, apply for educational assistance and sign up for courses on a crappy Chinese phone that will probably need replacing before long. Any kind of homework, of course, is impossible, and this is believed to be the main reason why tens of thousands of children simply dropped out of school without taking examinations at the end of the last school year.

    Rather than Chromebooks, it would make sense for schools to buy something that is robust and lasts. During the current epidemic, I’ve wiped and passed on for educational purposes both a 2011 MacBook Air and a first-generation iPad mini, both of which (I’m told) are working fine.

  10. none

    Unfortunately a) new software releases tend to require recent hardware, b) the most important software app is web browsing, and c) web sites keep escalating their demands on browsers so you have to keep upgrading browsers to have any existence online. So you are on a perpetual hardware and software upgrade treadmill driven by web site publishers rather than by hardware manufacturers. There is not really any way for a right to repair law to force web sites to stop using javascript so heavily or stop relying on recent browser API’s.

    It sucks. I resist it by using very minimalistic designs in my own sites, but that’s partly because it’s easy and partly to feel better. It’s like resisting corporate Democrats by voting Green. It’s satisfying in a way, but it doesn’t make any difference in the bigger world.

  11. No it was not, apparently

    Some thoughts:

    It seems we’re neck deep in corporate propaganda waters here, various “disruptive” technologies and “innovative” corporate brands are being thrown right and left, without any type of concern as to what is being discussed here – a move to information age interactive institutions (in this example – schools).

    What is actually needed, is a highly standard, both currently and historically (the proper term is backwards compatibility) solution that works on a broad selection of computing devices, has high available platform and software solutions and, consequentially, supports any file one might throw at it.

    The solution must also be cheap, both hardware, software, and document wise; plus it must also be flexible and extremely well known, so its use and adoption costs are low.

    So do tell, why are the brands mentioned, either:

    a) upper class (laptop – a high cost non-upgradeable, non-flexible type of “PC”),

    b) extreme upper class (a manufacturer of low performance lock-downed entertainment consoles sold at a minimum of 3-times price overcharge was promoted), or

    c) exotic solutions from hobby communities (I’ll omit mentioning their obese, toe-fungi eating, founder here)

    It’s as if the authors simply don’t understand that most of the users worldwide – and, in fact, in US – use and depend on IBM/Microsoft /Intel/HP(etc.) based solutions for standard data exchange, access and editing.

    Do those nasty monopolies need to be brought under government regulation? Absolutely, 40 years ago, actually. Nonetheless they’re still the base and backbone of what is the only “information society” that we have available, any and all grievances that some may have against them do not change this fact, nor do they allow for fantasy thinking of “disrupt” and “innovate” and “IT revolution.”

    IBM 100% compatible Personal Computer (i.e. WiNtel) is still the only solution in town.


    To shock you all a bit more, let’s review some costs:

    Entry level PC: Core2Duo, 2-4 GB of RAM, 200 GB disk, price: 33 EUR
    (note: poor support from the refurbished vendor – i.e. a “low end” vendor)

    Standard low cost PC: Core i3 (third or forth generation), 4 (8) GB of RAM, 200 GB Disk, price: 120 EUR
    (note: much better support, with the availability of purchasing on site assistance)

    Standard low end monitor: 21/22 inch FullHD (1920×1080), price: 50 EUR

    Minimum cost per seat of up to 100 EUR, with delivery, 1 year warranty (3 with vendors that offer extended support, though it must be purchased), and Windows 7 Pro or W10 Pro license attached (depending on model also installed and configured), plus accessories.

    These systems are maximally standard, offer everything you need, and come at a fraction of a cost of a new tablet (300EUR), phone (600-1000EUR) or any other “innovative” and “disruptive,” consumer data capture DRM consoles.

    Oh and yeah, in our country we had no big issues with supplying refurbished hardware to families too poor to own usable computers, and yes, they were all Windows desktop PCs.

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