[Athen] [EXT] Your opinions on keeping old AT

Robert Beach rbeach at KCKCC.EDU
Wed Jul 17 08:40:12 PDT 2019

I usually work first from the practical question, "Can it still work with the current technologies our campus is using?" Using this test, I have sent several pieces of technology to the recycle bins due to cable or other connectivity issues. In fact, I have an old embosser that will not work with current technologies so I am planning to send it off before the fall semester begins.

Next, I ask, "Is this still viable technology or is there something newer and better?" Using this test, I have sent items to the recycle bins because (for example) students just don't use CD's any more. There is nno reason to hang on to a CD-based book player.

Then, if there is technology that hasn't been used in a while, I ask myself, "If a student came in needing this resource, can this technology still provide the needed accommodation or will I need to purchase something newer and more advanced?" If the technology can still provide an accommodation, then I hang on to it. If it cannot or not effectively, then I remove it.

Using these tests, I have sent PS2 adapters, 9-pin and 25-pin serial cables and adapters, devices that used such connections, and other outdated technologies away. I do still have a couple of CD-based book players in my cabinet, only because I haven't taken time to clean them out. But, soon, when I have nothing else to do, I will gather them up, along with their supporting documentation, and send them on their marry way.

I also have an old (one of the original) Victor Streams that will probably go bye-bye too. It doesn't hardly hold a charge and my students all come in with devices that can provide access to their books, so it is not needed any longer.

Just my two cents worth.

Robert Lee Beach
Assistive Technology Specialist
Kansas City Kansas Community College
7250 State Avenue
Kansas City, KS 66112
Phone: 913-288-7671
Email: rbeach at kckcc.edu<mailto:rbeach at kckcc.edu>

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf Of Deborah Armstrong
Sent: Wednesday, July 17, 2019 10:22 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [EXT][Athen] Your opinions on keeping old AT

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Curious about others' opinions here.

Over the years I've had a variety of deans, supervisors, bosses. Each time we switch to new management priorities change.

One boss will want us to spend money when we have it and buy as much equipment as possible. Another boss wants to clean out and throw away everything we haven't used in a few years. One boss worries about accommodating every student while another boss only worries if a student complains.

The current management is on a massive cleanup canpaign so everything I don't want to see thrown away has migrated to my office. I have piles of stuff we "might need" someday but haven't used in a while. Before I could stop it a thirteen-volume Braille textbook was thrown away that was only used one quarter. Last year they nearly threw away my PIAF machine because nobody had seen me using it - but I resurrected it in time.

So when the cleanup started I grabbed stuff. Now I can hardly move I'm so - 'er' stuffed with stuff in my office!

But maybe like some previous bosses, I myself am a hoarder. Maybe I need to just say goodbye and move on.

I email other departments asking if they want some wacky thing, like a Braille atlas of the world or an ancient but still working CCTV and get no response.

I surplused three perfectly working Braille embossers a few years ago simply because I no longer had convenient parallel or serial ports. I couldn't take it home because that would have been stealing but it was probably broken up for scrap metal. And just yesterday I threw away all our CD-based Daisy players because nobody has requested one in at least four years.

I do tend to hoard because it has served me well before. One of my friends still uses a large-print French-English dictionary, a massive thing I found at a flea market for a dollar. No doubt some school surplused it.

When I lost my job at TeleSensory, they were literally throwing Braille displays and Optacons in the dumpster. My husband and I snuck back after dark and loaded them in to our car. I gave away the Optacons to very grateful users and still use those displays today.
But I was young and poorer then; I'm not going to grab stuff that doesn't belong to me, yet I hate to see it thrown out.

Do you others tend to hang on to obsolete technology in case it might be needed? Or do you toss it out because after all you don't have space and don't want to hoard.

And how do you make decisions about what to keep?


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