For those that haven’t heard, the number of computers in use around the world has hit 1 Billion! I’m not sure if I am more surprised that we have hit this mark or that we haven’t hit this mark until now.
According to this story, the primary reason for hitting this number now and the projected doubling of the number by early 2014 is about broadband and wireless internet as well as low cost computers.
While I think that point is valid, I think its more about computers being necessary for life in a first wold country. With everything moving online from government information to television shows, in the time of high gas prices we are in, it is cheaper and more convenient to do things online than it is to do them in person. With news networks pointing to their websites for more information on stories, it is clear the value of computers and the internet and to have them is crucial for almost anybody.
While I know there are some people that don’t have computers, especially older people, that is slowly changing as people see how their life can improve by having a computer with an internet connection. Computers and the internet aren’t going away so if you know somebody who doesn’t have a computer, tell them to get with the 21st century!
That is only a part of this story. The other part here is what happens to computers when people get rid of them. It is expected that 180 million computers will be replaced this year alone. There are many ways that people can get rid of their computer. Many are sold or donated to those without computers while others are broken down and recycled. What is really shocking is that approximately 35 million of those will be taking up space in landfills. That is a lot of computers! If computers can’t be saved and donated to local schools or charities, they should be recycled rather than thrown away. The real problem is there is not a major effort to inform people about the harm that is caused by throwing computers away and the benefits of recycling them. There needs to be an organized effort to get this information out to the world and let people know where they can take their dead computers.
People also need to be aware of the security issues involved in getting rid of a computer. Unless you take measures to erase the data on your computer, your personal information is still on the hard drive, often including passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers and all kinds of other personal information. If you dont want to risk your information falling into the wrong hands, replace the hard drive in the computer before you give it away or use some software that will overwrite the data on the hard drive multiple times so that it is extremely difficult to recover. With a billion computers floating around, that is alot of personal data that can be lost if you don’t take proper measures to prevent the stealing of your information.