Give Thanks for IT by Giving Back to IT

Ed Tittel's Thanksgiving turkey 2016.

As we all bask in the afterglow of the first of the big year-end U.S. holidays, and reflect on the gratitude we feel for the bounties we've received, it is also time to think about giving something back to those less fortunate or perhaps less well-off than we are.


I myself am a big fan of my local food bank (the Central Texas Food Bank) to which worthy organization I like to give $100 or more around this time of year. You can search your favorite search engine for "local food bank" or more simply "food bank" and, as long as your browser has some sense of your location (most of them do) you should be able to get a link to a food bank in your area, too.


With the holidays approaching, many of us will be thinking about (and perhaps even getting) new electronic devices of all kinds. As I am something of a computer nut, computers come and go here at Chez Tittel on a pretty regular basis. When the direction for older, gently-used and still working devices is outbound, I contact my old buddy Ken Starks at Reglue, aka The HeliOS Initiative.


This organization takes older PCs, refurbishes them, and installs Linux and other low-cost or free applications on them to give to school kids of all ages who might otherwise be left hanging on the wrong side of the digital divide. I have given these folks at least a dozen computers over the years, and also regularly give them my older disk drives, SSDs, memory modules, motherboards and other fallout from upgrades and rebuilds on the half-dozen-plus PCs I routinely work on around the house.


To figure out who handles used PCs in your area, search on "donate used PCs" or "donate <device>" where you plug in the kind of device you'd like to place in a new home. And don't forget: as long as you get a receipt from the receiving organization, and it's a registered nonprofit, you can write the resale value of the donation off (if you itemize deductions on your income taxes). I usually use the average of eBay and online resale search prices myself, so you should be able to do likewise.


If all else fails, please remember that Goodwill — active in most communities of any size in the United States — is able to accept and handle ewaste properly and safely. I've given them lots of devices, spare parts, cables and electronic detritus over the years, and always take my non-functional electronics and parts to them for safe disposal. The organization's home page has a locate tool that will help you find donation sites (where they accept incoming items, including ewaste and other electronics) closest to you, wherever you may be.


And remember, as you prepare to give thanks for where you have landed in life, it's never a bad thing to do what you can to help others. If nothing else, you may give somebody else something for which they can be thankful. Please accept my best wishes for you and your family for a safe and joyous holiday, too.


As the New Year approaches, it's time to start planning for what you'd like to do career-wise, and what credentials you may need to keep active, for 2018. More on that in blog posts to come soon. In the meantime, you should visit the Global Knowledge Salary Survey for 2018, and let your current situation and pay inform the next round of results in some small part, too.


Happy Thanksgiving to one and all, with my very best wishes.


Would you like more insight into the history of hacking? Check out Calvin's other articles about historical hackery:
About the Author

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed also writes on certification topics for Tech Target, ComputerWorld and Win10.Guru. Check out his website at, where he also blogs daily on Windows 10 and 11 topics.