Hey Mr PC manager! Yes you! Wondering what to do with those old 486s running DOS? Worried about the cost of getting rid of 'redundant' but perfectly capable desktop systems? Well help is at hand, courtesy of your friends at PC-U-Keep.
It's true - for $100 (that's about #65 in the U of K) you can transform your dull and dreary desktop landscape into a networked nirvana with JavaPC.
Using this never-seen-before software technology, developed in sunny California by the men in white coats at Sun Microsystems, you can wave goodbye to creaky microprocessor misery and bid a cheery hello to the wonderful world of the webtop.
Announced on 2 April - a day late? - JavaPC helps users turn their PCs into NCs without the need to invest in new hardware. It's cheap, easy and available this autumn from a reseller near you.
According to Sun, there are 181 million PCs worldwide that would be 'eligible' for a JavaPC makeover. They're 486s and Pentiums running DOS or Windows, and are next in line for the corporate desktop cull as Intel and Microsoft relentlessly bully us up the upgrade path.
It is one of those sad truths of business life that, rather than donate our old kit to worthwhile causes like schools or countries less well off that ours, we blithely dump unwanted PCs in skips and on rubbish dumps without a second's thought for their longer term potential. According to Gartner, the disposal of ageing PCs carries a price tag - #375 per PC, in fact.
In the light of that figure (even if it's wildly overestimated, we're still talking quite a bit of dosh) JavaPC's u65 looks a modest price to pay to extend the life of your kit, get a taste of what network computing can do for your organisation and break the stranglehold Microsoft and Intel have on you.
Whether users will embrace the JavaPC fold is another matter, as there are drawbacks. Older PCs not only use older chips, but out-of-date cards, obsolete hard disks, 5.25in floppies and other componentry which no longer feature in manufacturers' catalogues.
If you can live with the fact that when your old PC begins to show its age you may have to kill it off anyway, JavaPC will be well worth the investment.
If nothing else, it will expose you to the joys of Java and equip you with a skill for which demand will undoubtedly outstrip supply.
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