I tried to take the remains of my yard sale to the Salvation Army today. I was turned down. There’s something a bit odd about being told that they can’t take your donations because they don’t have room, considering that the idea is less about keeping it in storage until someone can pay for it, than it is about getting stuff to people who CAN’T afford it. Evidently the Salvation Army is a for-profit organization that has its roots in religion (thus the “salvation” part… and maybe also the “army” part). So people donate to it out of the goodness in their hearts, and they then turn around and sell all these items to others. I’m sure they make more than enough to cover their storage fees, but given how many keep cropping up everywhere, I almost get the feeling it’s some sort of scam or something.
So I thought about it for a while, and then donated it to a girl at work who had recently had her house burned down when I recalled that she was still in need of some stuff despite some extensive fund-raising at work. All told, there was two boxes of dishes, some books, some board games, a few small kitchen appliances, and various cables and bits that I otherwise had duplicates for. She was grateful, as evidently pretty well all of it was useful to her. Plus I got rid of about five boxes of stuff we would never use, and wouldn’t want to move anyway. Win-win all around!
I also tried to install a Motorola SM56 Softmodem into a Windows Vista machine for a yard-sale-goer I met on Sunday. The computer was relatively decent in the specifications, a 3.06GHz Intel chip with 512 megs RAM, which ran dog-slow under Vista Home Basic. Strike two against Vista for this case, came in the fact that the softmodem is totally incompatible. I tried several different drivers from XP, but most of them wouldn’t even install, and the ones that did wouldn’t recognize the PCI card. The funny thing is, when I installed it, Vista recognized it and even tried to find the drivers, but when it failed it told me exactly what model of card it was and that it was incompatible. That same computer could run both the dial-up modem and Windows XP with absolutely no problems whatsoever, I’m sure of it. It’s sad. We all know Vista’s designed from the ground up to be as resource-intensive as possible, even on the most basic model with the lowest settings you can set, so it’s an obvious bit of money-grab when they do things to attempt to force you to upgrade to Vista such as tying DirectX 10 into it, trying to force people to upgrade both their computers and their operating systems despite XP finally making it through its extensive breaking-in period and achieving some modicum of stability and security.
Needless to say, it was a failed exercise. A bit of a down note on an otherwise up day.