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back to article Welsh council's unused mountain of 2,400 laptops

A Welsh council kept 2,400 laptops, which were supposed to be used by school pupils, in storage for at least a year because it couldn't figure out what to do with the kit. Torfaen County Borough Council bought a batch of 8,642 laptops in March last year for itself, Monmouthshire council and Newport council. Torfaen footed the …

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DJV
Happy

I'll take em off their hands...

...for nuffin!

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Re: I'll take em off their hands...

I'll split them with you 50/50 :-)

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Re: I'll take em off their hands...

I assume Morgan Computers are making more or less the same offer ...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'll take em off their hands...

You really want 2400 laptops with 'ch', 'dd', 'ff', 'ng', 'll', 'ph', 'rh' and 'th' keys, but no 'x' for reaching those naughty domains?

(sent from a town where a garage proudly advertises its expertise in the fields of Teiars, Batris, Egsosts, Siocs and Brecs. It's another country over here ; )

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Re: I'll take em off their hands...

I hadn't realised I spoke Welsh. It's easier than I thought.

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Anonymous Coward

Third rate

Politicians who don't know their ar** from their.....

As a Welsh Tax Payer I say the idiots that procured them should pay the money back to be used for better causes.

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I will take one

Or all of them for that matter! Need an address?

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Obvious disposal mechanism

Leave them, one at a time, on trains, or in the back of taxis.

(Don't you just hate it when someone gives you 2400 laptops?)

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Or...

Just give them to the kids and see what they make of them... My money would be on a massive LAN party using OS and games of dubious legitimacy, but who knows.

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Megaphone

lets see someone sacked for this.

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Re: lets see someone sacked for this.

Lol! That's a good one...!

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Flame

Re: lets see someone sacked for this.

Very good.

Out in the real world it would happen - but not, of course, in the public sector.

It's only taxpayers' money, so who cares?

There's plenty more where that came from.

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RE: lets see someone sacked for this.

Good!

But first, hang them by the balls in the town square.

You have to give the taxpayers an opportunity to "vent" first.

I will set up the rotten egg and tomato concession stand.

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Joke

"still operational... HP laptops."

C'mon: It can only be one or the other, surely?

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Great planning skills

Give these local politicians a desert to run and in 10 years time they import some sand.

What a waste of taxpayers money.

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Anonymous Coward

The word 'sand' doesn't appear in the definition of desert.

Much of Antarctica is classed as a desert; no sand in sight tho.

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Facepalm

Re: The word 'sand' doesn't appear in the definition of desert.

Really, of all the comments you can pick on...

You chose the one where pedantry has the least impact...

I'll throw you a bone though : their are many other importand issues in the world today, dont yuo thnk?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I agree

They're are far more important thinks to be thinging about.

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This may seem bizarre ...

... but is quite common within the public sector. Someone negotiates a deal for a really good price without actually knowing what they need or what for.

They can't sell them as they will end up losing money and will then get criticised for wasting public money. They can't give them away for the same reason. You'd think that they could just give them some schools, but that would cause a fuss with those schools that don't get any. They could then try to charge the schools; but the schools will probably refuse if it comes out of their budgets as they would rather have new equipment and don't want anyone's cast offs.

They are buggered whatever they do. Welcome to the world of the modern civil service

(disclaimer: I don't work in the public sector although I was a school governor for a long time and had far too many dealings with LEA and othrr LGA.)

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Facepalm

Councils eh?

They'll not only empty your bins for you, but your wallets too.

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Unhappy

Re: Councils eh?

Yeah, but both rarely! What, you want to go back to a weekly frequency? I'm not earning fast enough...

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Anonymous Coward

W O W, the Brits really are a bunch of f*ckwits! Fking councils.

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Headmaster

Not Brits - Welsh.

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Thumb Down

ahem

The Welsh *are* very much Brits and one can make the argument that they are more British than those Anglo-Saxon blow-ins.

Ye can fight amongst yourself as to the difference between race, nationality and the belonging to a big island.

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Re: ahem

I claim this island on behalf of the Neanderthal Peoples Party. You bloody Homo Sapiens incomers can all go home.

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Anonymous Coward

"neanderthal"

As the name suggests, you'd be representing german blowins (like this monarchy).

Come to think of it, that might explain some family members looks, and views on architecture.

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Re: "neanderthal"

We may be named after one of our brother found in the Neander valley in what is now known as Germany but we populated the whole of Europe, including this fair isle long before you lot turned up with your big brains and your fancy modern ways.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Homo Sapiens"

Looking at the evidence around us I don't think that 'sapiens' is a very well-chosen adjective. Maybe 'stultus' or 'imbecilis' would have been more accurate for most.

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Facepalm

couple of reasons this probably happened. Educational and Council licenses are not the same so they wouldn't be able to shift a bunch of latops from the Corporate side into Education without sorting that out with MS. Also just to reimage the laptop would take quite a bit of time. Since the ICO will fine you (a lot) if a laptop is nicked and found to be holding personal information these laptops would have to be properly wiped and reimaged taking even longer. If their IT department is under-resourced, which is pretty much the norm now, they wouldn't have the people to do the reimaging never mind a wipe.

As for selling them, the WEEE makes the Council responsible for electrical testing before they can sell and that again probably makes it uneconomical. They could have dumped them onto a professional recycling company but depending on their options that might have cost money too and storing them might have been the cheapest options.

Nothing like Government / EU / MS red tape to make something as simple as donating a laptop a frustrating, expensive exercise in futility.

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Anonymous Coward

Well informed

Educational and Council licenses are not the same so they wouldn't be able to shift a bunch of latops from the Corporate side into Education without sorting that out with MS

Well as they are new, I doubt they have any corporate keys on them. They most likely (I hope) either bought them devoid of OS, or with the bog standard HP image on them. Unless they paid extra for pre-imaging.

"Since the ICO will fine you (a lot) if a laptop is nicked and found to be holding personal information these laptops would have to be properly wiped and reimaged taking even longer. "

Well as these are new, I doubt they have any info on.

If their IT department is under-resourced, which is pretty much the norm now, they wouldn't have the people to do the reimaging never mind a wipe.

(Apart from above). Connect to network. Boot to PXE image. Job done. Not hard.

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The devices are new as far as this article explains. It is *very* unlikely that anyone has done anything other than take delivery of them, as they were to be shipped to other councils who would then distribute to schools, who would distribute to pupils.

Each council would have their own way of setting them up, and possibly each school (will vary by school).

Also, with licensing - these devices were bought for schools. Not for corporate. So this would not be an issue. They would have been bought with the license required from HP (ie. Win 7 Pro).

Selling them would require the council to be sure the devices were safe before selling, but as they were new, boxed, due diligence would accept them in new condition as being safe - so that would deal with the electrical safety requirements.

There are also many recycling companies which would take them for free (there's also at least one education specialist reseller who would happily have bought them).

No, this is idiots buying them without having a reason at fault, not any red tape.

(I work in a school, so have to deal with this sort of nonsense).

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"Educational and Council licenses are not the same so they wouldn't be able to shift a bunch of latops from the Corporate side into Education without sorting that out with MS."

So MS control councils' use of assets? One more reason not to use MS in that case.

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Anonymous Coward

Licensing

Going from Corporate to Education would be fine as the edu license is cheaper.

It's the other way round that would present more difficulty.

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Clutter

They should take a picture of them and enter it in the Reg clutter competition.

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Re: Clutter

My suggestion for a clutter competition was picked up?! Heck, I missed that! Right, got camera...

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Good lord

Now that's incompetency at its finest.

When other parts of the country no doubt struggle with shite gear, these bunch of muppets are left with a mountain of new laptops. Christ.

Heads should, but won't; roll.

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I'm a little puzzled by the maths. If 8642 laptops cost £9.8M grant + £2.28M from the councils, I make that a unit cost of just under £1400.

The remaining 2400 are said to be worth about £1M - a bit over £400 each. Is that supposed to be their disposal value, or has the council really wasted more like £3.36M?

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Admin costs, storage costs, distribution costs etc...

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They were new, now they are 18 months out of date + warranty, therefore worth less.

I think that's it.

It sounds as though Torfaen didn't have the deal signed that it thought it had with either or both of Newport and the supplier. But some other kind of fiddle is also a possible explanation.

Cunning suppliers playing tricks on schools and on local authority education departments is a perennial problem. The lease on the school office photocopier is a classic scam, very often done.

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Re: They were new, now they are 18 months out of date + warranty, therefore worth less.

"The lease on the school office photocopier is a classic scam, very often done."

But if done properly it can easily be a lot cheaper than buying a lower spec machine.

Bear in mind that schools don't get to charge depreciation on equipment against income. Capital costs are sunk ones and if the income isn't high enough to fork out for the new gear, leasing is often the only way ouy.

OTOH it's clear that a lot of school finances are run by people who are so piss-poor at the job that the 3rd form economics class would do significantly better.

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WTF?

Expensive laptops...

£12.1m pounds for under 9000 laptops, what are they, MacBook Pros?

I bet they're naff HP laptops costing aroudn £500 each, the other £700 per laptop went on "consultancy fees" and disappeared into the hundreds of meetings arranged to discuss getting them, distributing them, etc.

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What the hell?

So these "bargain" laptops weigh in at £1,400-ish? Really? Why the bloody hell to kids need laptops with that level of juice? I'd say give 'em all a RasPi (plus peripherals) but I doubt RaspPi could deliver until next year. Still, there are heaps of vendors who could sell kit for much, much less than what the council paid. Even allowing for on-site support etc.

Although I question the children needing a latop at all.

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Re: What the hell?

"Although I question the children needing a latop at all."

Back in -my- day, we had Etch-A-Sketches, and we liked it!

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Re: What the hell?

"Back in -my- day, we had Etch-A-Sketches, and we liked it!"

Etch a Sketch? Sheer luxury!

In my day you went and scraped your homework into concrete with your fingernails, and you were grateful for it!

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Re: What the hell?

Fingernails? What luxery! We had to close our eyes and imagine having fingernails!

We had to use left-over pieces of charcoal to write on leaves we gathered in the morning!

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Unhappy

Re: What the hell?

OK, OK, I'm sorry I said anything. I should have known. Let's move on. Can I downvote myself?

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WTF?

Knobs

Knobs

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Anonymous Coward

if you knew

the councils involved none of this would surprise you.... greedy, poorly organised and over staffed with idiots

- personal experience of working in IT in this area.

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Dear Torfaen Borough Council

If the laptops are still in their packaging as delivered by HP, then you should be able to offer them for sale to your own Council Tax payers at a suitable knock-down price, subject to the understanding that they are out of warranty etc.

Too simple an idea for the bureaucrats?

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Headmaster

Re: Dear Torfaen Borough Council

"Too simple an idea for the bureaucrats?" I think you've committed a major error there - "idea" and "Bureaucrat" in the same sentence?

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