Old Computers

Old Computers

One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure

Computers for Families Takes a Donation From Barney

Where Old Computers Go: I decided to take mercy on the HP computer that had been living an abandoned life in one corner of my daughter Frances’ place

It had done yeoman duty, mostly at the hands of granddaughter Natasha, who kept busy downloading every song in cyberspace. But then it developed internal maladies and I bought them a new one. So the other day, months after the new computer arrived, I dropped by to take the old machine off their hands. But what to do with the retired traveler of the information superhighways?

Take it to the county landfill,” one source advised. Dump it on freeway center divider at midnight? Toss it in a city trash can, where too many people unload their garbage?

Then I remembered Computers for Families. These magic people revamp the mysterious innards and turn them over to families with the desire for a computer, but who lack the bucks. I found the Computers for Families website and deposited the machine on the loading dock at the County Education Office off of Cathedral Oaks Road.

There I met Kristine White, the project administrator who assured me that the computer will get a good going-over and a new operating system, then a good home. So far this year nearly 1,000 computers have been contributed by individuals like me and businesses like Mid-State Bank and Trust - whose employees delivered more than 300 of them.

It’s all possible thanks to volunteers and donations through the CFF Sustainability Campaign. Donors include QAD software - where daughter Wendy works - which came up with $15,000. The Four Seasons Biltmore gave gift certificates and Cox provides high-speed Internet access at a 75 percent reduction rate. Not every computer qualifies.

By Sue De Lapa

Historic Homes Tour

Homes Sweet Homes: OK, so you missed Sunday’s Pearl Chase Society Historic Homes Tour and the Foodbank’s Sacred Space Gardens Tour. They were indeed eye-opening, and though I don’t know of any more coming up, there is the Santa Barbara Historical Society’s workshop on historic and landmark designations. Jaime Limon, a city planner, will review Santa Barbara’s proposed and existing historic and landmark districts on May 29 at the Historical Museum from 5:30-7:30 p.m. More info is available by phone. Call (805) 966-1601.

For Art’s Sake: Art Mankin, long a contributor to my News-Press column and founder of the Santa Barbara Planned Parenthood Book Sale, passed away at 85. Mankin had a diverse career “as a property developer, small businessman, canny investor, farmer, and passionate Democratic Party activist,” according to his son, Eric. “He offered a ‘Nobel Prize Discount’ when he was running Thrifty Rent-a-Car - and a Nobel Prize winner took advantage of it,” Eric told me. Mankin, born in Pittsburgh, the son of Jewish immigrants who moved to the U.S. from Liudvinavas, Lithuania, “loved and admired the arts, music, theater, and song - especially Bernstein, Gershwin, Berlin, and Porter,” Eric said. “He would comment ‘That Cold Porter is wonderful. And he’s not even Jewish!‘” There’ll be a memorial at the Friendship Center in Montecito on June 10.

Write On: Ray Bradbury, winner of a 2007 special Pulitzer Prize, kicks off the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, taking place June 22-29. Bradbury will be the keynote speaker on June 23. Marcia Meier - my former colleague at the News-Press, who bought the conference from founders Mary and Barnaby Conrad - points out that public can attend the afternoon and evening speakers’ events. One I won’t miss is Santa Barbara’s own Gayle Lynds, author of The Last Spymaster. Bradbury has spoken at the conference every year since it began 35 years ago. These days it’s held at Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort.

Hike to Naples (Not Italy): Members of the Naples Coalition are inviting the public to its third beach walk on June 9. Meet at Haskell’s Beach, adjoining the Bacara Resort & Spa at 9:30 a.m. The three-hour walk involves a little more than a mile and a half each way. No dogs, please. Once at Naples Reef, the Coalition will hold a talk about preventing the loss of the coastal environment. The Coalition will also discuss the proposed construction of 54 to 72 large luxury houses to be built on the Naples property by an Orange County company.

Hunger Day: More than 35 million people in the U.S. live on the brink of hunger, according to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. The Foodbank is inviting the public to take part in Hunger Awareness Day on June 5 by volunteering a few hours at the warehouse to learn about hunger right here in our neighborhoods. Community Relations Coordinator, Jane Lindsey can be contacted for more info at (805) 967-5741, Ext. 101.

Barney Brantingham can be reached at or 805-965-5205. He writes online columns on Tuesdays and Fridays and a print column on Thursdays.

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