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Used IT Equipment Can Be Worth a Fortune (Video)

Roblimo posted about 7 months ago | from the how-much-is-that-mainframe-in-the-window? dept.

Hardware 79

This is a conversation with Frank Muscarello, CEO and co-founder of MarkiTx, a company that brokers used and rehabbed IT equipment. We're not talking about an iPhone 3 you might sell on craigslist, but enterprise-level items. Cisco. Oracle. IBM mainframes. Racks full of HP or Dell servers. That kind of thing. In 2013 IDC pegged the value of the used IT equipment market at $70 billion, so this is a substantial business. MarkiTx has three main bullet points: *Know what your gear is worth; *Sell with ease at a fair price; and *Buy reliable, refurbished gear. Pricing is the big deal, Frank says. With cars you have Cars.com and Kelley Blue Book. There are similar pricing services for commercial trucks, construction equipment, and nearly anything else a business or government agency might buy or sell used. For computers? Not so much. Worth Monkey calls itself "The blue book for used electronics and more," but it only seems to list popular consumer equipment. I tried looking up several popular Dell PowerEdge servers. No joy. An HTC Sensation phone or an Acer Aspire notebook? Sure. With price ranges based on condition, same as Kelley Blue Book does with cars. Now back to the big iron. A New York bank wants to buy new servers. Their old ones are fully depreciated in the tax sense, and their CTO can show stats saying they are going to suffer from decreasing reliability. So they send out for bids on new hardware. Meanwhile, there's a bank in Goa, India, that is building a server farm on a tight budget. If they can buy used servers from the New York bank, rehabbed and with a warranty, for one-third what they'd cost new, they are going to jump on this deal the same way a small earthmoving operation buys used dump trucks a multinational construction company no longer wants.

In February, 2013 Computerworld ran an article titled A new way to sell used IT equipment about MarkiTx. The main differentiator between MarkiTx and predecessor companies is that this is primarily an information company. It is not eBay, where plenty of commercial IT equipment changes hands, nor is it quite like UK-based Environmental Computer, which deals in used and scrap computer hardware. It is, rather, the vanguard of computer hardware as a commodity; as something you don't care about as long as it runs the software you need it to run, and you can buy it at a good price -- or more and more, Frank notes -- rent a little bit of its capacity in the form of a cloud service, a direction in which an increasing number of business are moving for their computing needs. Even more fun: Let's say you are (or would like to be) a local or regional computer service company and you want to buy or sell or broker a little used hardware. You could use MarkiTx's price information to set both your buy and sell prices, same as a car dealer uses Kelley Blue Book. We seem to be moving into a whole new era of computer sales and resales. MarkiTx is one company making a splash in this market. But there are others, and there are sure to be even more before long. (Alternate video link.)

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I pick up all the hard drives I can. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46606431)

I go through them looking for goodies.

Re:I pick up all the hard drives I can. (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 7 months ago | (#46606455)

Magnets?

Slashvertisement? (5, Insightful)

glasshole (3569269) | about 7 months ago | (#46606439)

I can't tell if this reads like an ad for one of DICE's partners/customers or not...

Re:Slashvertisement? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46606539)

That's how I felt...especially since that is one of the longest front page posts I've ever seen. I came in here wondering if I was alone it that thinking, but apparently not.

Re:Slashvertisement? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 8 months ago | (#46608837)

Long? Bennet Haselton's titles are longer than that.

Re:Slashvertisement? (4, Informative)

Roblimo (357) | about 7 months ago | (#46606981)

I would *never* make or run a paid ad unless is was clearly identified as "sponsored content" or "advertisement" or some such, and when you say that's what I'm doing without the notice, you're insulting me. No problem. I have thick skin.

What this company is doing that's different from others is building a worldwide database of used enterprise-level hardware prices. This is a GREAT tool if you need to buy or sell (or just [price) used/rehabbed equipment. Nothing to do with Dice -- although if it makes you happy to believe it does, go right ahead.

Meanwhile, I'm sure there are some Slashdot users who are looking at this and thinking, "Hmmm..... there's a business opportunity here for me."

Re:Slashvertisement? (2)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 7 months ago | (#46607189)

Thanks for the reply. It still reads like an ad. I also thought it was an ad until I saw this reply.
I didn't even get through the whole summary. I started skimming as soon as my "this is spam"
meter went off. I'm not sure what the solution is but it would be best to avoid making articles look
like someone paid you to post them.

On a somewhat related note, my dad cut up some old generators from a power plant and sold
them as scrap only to find out later that they could have possibly been worth $250k apiece
if sold to rural towns in india.

Re:Slashvertisement? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 8 months ago | (#46607569)

Yeah, I didn't realize until rob's reply that the link actually does contain a way to sign up for their pricing database/exchange. That does seem nifty but I didn't get that from the summary.

Re:Slashvertisement? (1)

richlv (778496) | about 7 months ago | (#46607207)

thanks for responding here. it did read like an ad, and i did not get a clear idea on what's so special about this company from the summary - it went round and round with cars, construction equipment... i got lost

Re:Slashvertisement? (5, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 8 months ago | (#46607355)

The problem is that it looks like an ad.

It seems to be a common trait of video-related articles, likely due to the way the videos are produced. Rather than general discussion of a new technology's impact or contribution to the state of the art, the videos often focus on one brand's selling points. To those familiar with the brand, the article is just a review of what they already know. To those outside the brand's narrow field, the benefits of the industry are obscured by the focus on the single brand.

This inconvenient focus often transfers to the summary as well. In this example, the brand MarkiTx is mentioned six times. In comparison, James Schlesinger's obituary [slashdot.org] includes his name only three times. Many stories include the subject's name only once in the summary. This disparity becomes very obvious when the reader skims the summary, and their eyes are drawn to the capitalized names.

Unfortunately, I don't have a good solution to recommend. The typical news outlet avoids the issue by making their segments a compilation of several interviews and depictions, but that requires a rather large investment of labor and a specialized workflow, which I don't believe Slashdot's set up for. As for the writing, it is natural that the articles read more like a press release than an article. I assume that you've spent longer writing this piece than you would spend proofreading a user-submitted summary, so it's now a personal effort. The quality of the writing is higher than the usual submissions, and as you're more familiar with the subject, it's longer as well.

In short, the whole thing just seems different from Slashdot's usual fare. Given the somewhat-paranoid anti-corporate disposition of the userbase, the assumption is that it's a sponsored submission.

Re:Slashvertisement? (1)

vikingpower (768921) | about 8 months ago | (#46608551)

Rob, both you and the other slashtards here have a point. You sound credible enough in pointing out that inserting this item as an ad would go against your ( journalistic ) ethics. The other users, however, are not without a point in remarking the ad- or plug-like quality of the item. And yes, you are right: I sit here in Central Europe, reading this, and my brain cells start humming : "this might be a business opportunity.... tight-budget government agencies in eastern europe.... hmmm".

Re:Slashvertisement? (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 8 months ago | (#46608819)

Well...why aren't you getting paid for Slashvertisements? Seems like an easy way to make cash on the side. If you're not getting paid then why do you run such free ads? You're just getting used. Seems off to me.

is this an ad? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46606447)

is this an ad? you have to tell me if it is.

Re:is this an ad? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46606541)

is this an ad? you have to tell me if it is.

No, it's not an ad. Also no, I am not a cop.

Re:is this an ad? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46606565)

The check is in the mail, and I promise I won't come in your mouth.

Leeches... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46606459)

I get spam all the time from people looking to buy my old gear.

Astroturf much? (-1, Flamebait)

Y2K is bogus (7647) | about 7 months ago | (#46606469)

Let me guess, Dice also has them as featured employers on their homepage?

SLASHVERTISMENT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46606481)

Clearly an ad placed by a Dice customer...

Nice ad (-1, Flamebait)

qubezz (520511) | about 7 months ago | (#46606513)

sing along..."Spam Spam Spam Spam"

worthmoney couldn't find ... (2)

cirrustelecom (1353617) | about 7 months ago | (#46606577)

Worthmoney couldn't find items I searched for... It said they were not in their database although was able to show me a full name during a search. That does not make sense!

Re:worthmoney couldn't find ... (1)

cirrustelecom (1353617) | about 7 months ago | (#46606583)

worthmonkey.

Re:worthmoney couldn't find ... (1)

ichthus (72442) | about 7 months ago | (#46606623)

Thath the worthmonkey ever. Thtupid monkey.

Re:worthmoney couldn't find ... (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 7 months ago | (#46606745)

"That does not make sense!"

That's because Chewbacca is a Wookiee that lives on the planet Endor.

Re:worthmoney couldn't find ... (-1, Flamebait)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 7 months ago | (#46607231)

It said they were not in their database although was able to show me a full name during a search.

Well, then, I guess you've solved the mystery of where the former slashdot programmers ended up.

threAD (-1, Flamebait)

hemp (36945) | about 7 months ago | (#46606591)

Its a threAD.

Re:threAD (-1, Flamebait)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 7 months ago | (#46606613)

Thank you, Ad-miral Ackbar!

Recycling rare earths and then (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46606669)

Why are we not recycling these vast amounts of electronics to get, as least, the rare earth contained within? With Chinas recent announcement of decreasing rare-earth exports, this should be a no brainer. Why yes, I do have a plan. Thanks for asking!

Here's how it would work. Pay worker to strip apart the electronics down, and seperate according to material (plastics, component board/electronics, metal casing, cables...

For the rare earth extraction, take the boards and put them on a conveyer belt system. Flow through either an oven to knock surface mount componenet off, upside down to fall, and flip if necessary, or use a CV system in conjunction with a solder iron and solder extractor, similar to rep-rap, and free the through hole portion of components to knock out. Send the 'cleaned' boards into a liquid Nitrogen chamber to freeze completely. Within chamber, use high pressure waves via controlled explosion, depressurization, or other means, to shatter the frozen board down to ver small particulate size.. Send chamber of particulates through various grinders, and then on through magnetics and other methods that specific minerals would be filtered by. The idea here is to NOT use water at all. Ideally, the only thing coming out the end after all rare-earths and common earths have been removed, is possibly silicon, some plastics, and some other non-trace minerals.

Send all cables through a cable stripper toremove the copper, or zinc, then recycle. Send all metal casings and hardware to be recycled by the ton. Plastics are are pulverized and any metals within are removed and sent to recycling. Plastics are identified for ability to be recycled. Ones not currently having a recycleable outlet, are held until such time that one is developed in house, or externally.

I know, I know. It'll never work. A man can dream though....

Re:Recycling rare earths and then (1)

davidhoude (1868300) | about 8 months ago | (#46607803)

Uh, I am pretty sure they do much of this already.

I've known this for the last 20 years (4, Informative)

MindPrison (864299) | about 7 months ago | (#46606711)

And it has saved my butt more than a few times. Basically everything I have is second-hand, and the IT equipment is no exception. And it's worth more than most people think. I've been picking up older but very good computers here and there for peanuts, and re-sold them for thousands.

Same thing with other tech gear, radios are particularly lucrative as they're still useable, and people like to listen to radio all over the world. Of course, you can't sell any old gear...it has to have some kind of collectors value OR usability value, perhaps even both. Those items I've collected are all high-end products from their own time. Rare portables with rare interfaces fetches a small fortune. Some laptops have very good serial port functions, and runs well on older operating systems - this is excellent for programming older micro-controllers and burning special eproms that can't be programmed with modern burners.

There are specialty plotters & cutters & cnc machines that doesn't have new drivers and the businesses can't afford to purchase new CNC machines when their old ones are doing a perfectly good job. That old computer comes in and saves the day.

If you think everything can be solved with a new computer, think again - old serial port based equipment (RS232 etc.) Parallel port etc. have timing issues with newer computers that simply are too fast, and the operating system "simulating ports" is just way too incompatible in "dos mode" etc. Trust me, I've been doing this for YEARS - and no matter HOW good you are as a coder/hardware hacker...you simply can't solve all these issues just like that.

The old "If it's not broken, why fix it?" applies here.

P4 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46606941)

So, you have sold P4 machines for "thousands" - do tell!

See, I run a charity that gets those machines as donations - we have hundreds. So please, tell me so that I can get what we REALLY need.

Re:P4 (-1, Flamebait)

MindPrison (864299) | about 7 months ago | (#46607053)

See, I run a charity that gets those machines as donations - we have hundreds. So please, tell me so that I can get what we REALLY need.

I've always known that you must be into charity Anonymous Coward, the hundreds if not thousands of hours you've spent on /. And that's how you do it as well, with your hundreds of machines - commenting.

Re:P4 (-1, Flamebait)

james_pb (156313) | about 7 months ago | (#46607133)

He didn't say P4, he said "older". And yes, there are servers that sell, new, for many thousands that will sell, used, for a fraction of that - still in the thousands, just many fewer thousands. This isn't mysterious, happens many times a day on eBay.

What is mysterious is that the original poster thinks that a new company in the used-equipment space is interesting on slashdot. It's not.

Re:P4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46608085)

We have P4 "workstations" that are used to run highly specialised equipment, they still cost thousands to replace second-hand due to the niche nature of the exact motherboards they use, so it's possible.

Re:P4 (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#46609271)

See, I run a charity that gets those machines as donations - we have hundreds. So please, tell me so that I can get what we REALLY need.

Virtually none of the machines you're getting are that special. If they were, they'd have been sold or given to someone who cared.

Re:P4 (1)

toddestan (632714) | about 8 months ago | (#46610603)

P4's are pretty much at the bottom of the depreciation curve. Too out of date to be used as general use machines, too new to be retro, and common enough that they're still "just an old computer". In 20 years, the P4's that manage to survive may appreciate in value, kind of like how a 486 in good working order can fetch decent money whereas in the late 90's they were worthless. But then again, maybe not.

fix old (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46607415)

no new

Re:I've known this for the last 20 years (1)

wwphx (225607) | about 8 months ago | (#46610253)

Yeah, there's definitely a market. My wife operates a 3.5 meter telescope, and one program that she runs works only on an old Sony laptop running XP. Apparently the graphic part of the program is tied so closely to the hardware that it just doesn't work as well on anything else. I really ought to scrounge and buy a couple more for backups. What will probably happen is the observatory won't do a thing until the current one rolls over and dies.

Come on, what a ridiculous "article" (4, Insightful)

nbvb (32836) | about 7 months ago | (#46606823)

Oh, please...

Used IT gear has been sold professionally for as long as there's been IT gear.

This is just a crappy ad for another Johnny-come-lately vendor.

Re:Come on, what a ridiculous "article" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46606893)

This is just a crappy ad for another Johnny-come-lately vendor that obviously has some sort of financial ties to DICE.

FTFY

Re:Come on, what a ridiculous "article" (1)

jon3k (691256) | about 8 months ago | (#46609337)

So what other online market do we have for big, commercial IT gear? We buy a lot of stuff from NHR but it's nearly impossible to see what our existing gear is actually worth. Typically it's lots of googling, checking ebay, getting quotes for our existing gear from vendors like NHR and others.

So if he's just another "johnny-come-lately" then who is already doing what they're doing? Because I'd love to be able to go to one place and check prices of our old gear.

Re:Come on, what a ridiculous "article" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46620471)

Old gear is worth different things to different people depending on need.

To you, a VAX9000 might be worth 10 cents, but to a bank that has critical information and needs one badly, it could be worth a million.

I'm super skeptical of any arbitrary value assigned to used gear - the market really IS that use-case dependent.

(says a guy who sells new and used IT gear for a living.)

Good news Dice! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46606827)

Slashdot may be worth something after all (assuming that they own their servers)!

some sort of ad from slashdot? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46606839)

must be an ad.

no real company would buy used hardware and expect it to keep running.

no real company would want used equipment unless it was next year's model. A two year old SAN or compute rack is trash.

Can you imagine how much space and power a rack of dell or hp servers over a year old would take compared to the ones you would buy today?

all in all, you might as well try to sell used kleenex

Re:some sort of ad from slashdot? (1)

nobuddy (952985) | about 8 months ago | (#46608203)

You have clearly never worked for/consulted small businesses. Budget is paramount, and a used server can be the difference between a viable setup and a user's laptop running as a fileserver.

Re:some sort of ad from slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46623527)

You have clearly never worked for/consulted small businesses. Budget is paramount, and a used server can be the difference between a viable setup and a user's laptop running as a fileserver.

In fairness, if that's what you are choosing between, a Synology single drive box is only $150, $200 for one with raid, and $300 for "the good one". If they don't have even that sort of budget, it's because 1) they're not a business, 2) they wasted money on consultant labor, or 3) they're not in the US.

If it's just one person, a usb drive for backups of their laptop is better than a server.

yeah So NEW! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46606881)

Cmon whats new about used hardware for sale. Super lame article.

spamdot strikes again (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46606935)

"buying used hardware is not the same as buying a used car" uh well yeah actually it is. Same stuff is on ebay and will show you the market value.

Dell PowerEdge (4, Insightful)

dfsmith (960400) | about 7 months ago | (#46606953)

Last time I went to Weird Stuff [weirdstuff.com] they had a huge stack of 1U, 8GB DRAM Dell servers for about $150 each.

I don't think a "Blue Book" system could ever work:

  • Used IT equipment comes in bursts: imagine thousands of the same model of car in the same color/options all appearing at the dealership at once. Supply is grossly disconnected from demand. Pricing could never equilibriate.
  • Computing power is still growing too fast: yesterday's servers consume too much resource per unit of work/infrastructure to justify using them. Witness the secondary price above—less than 1/20th of the original purchase price, but when networking, rack space, storage and power are included, the capital cost, even if zero, would still likely be too high.

Re:Dell PowerEdge (-1, Flamebait)

Mashiki (184564) | about 8 months ago | (#46607395)

You're right a blue book system would never work, and it shouldn't. And the only reason why the blue book system exists in the first place is for insurance companies and tax purposes for governments. So please, don't give them any fsking ideas on it.

Re:Dell PowerEdge (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 8 months ago | (#46607641)

Weird Stuff [weirdstuff.com]

Whoa. The kids can catch up [weirdstuff.com] with Slashdot nerd culture.

Re:Dell PowerEdge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46608283)

I bought a used HP MDS600 for ~$2k with shipping, filled it up with 3TB SAS drives and have 210TB of raw disk for less than $20k. When I bought it, the same thing from HP would have cost 80k+ new.

We've also had two different leases where power was included, so there's no economic point for us to try and be too efficient.

We got some pretty beefy 1U servers 5 years ago which were over 4k a piece. Same ones now go on ebay for ~$350 shipped. Performance-wise these 5 year old servers remain pretty competitive. To get equivalent performance out of a new server we'd have to shell out over $1,500 (of course it would be more efficient) We have enough power overhead that I could buy a 2-3 year old fully loaded blade enclosure for ~$5000 that would cost more than 40+k to match in a new purchase.

Huh? I maintained a list of companies doing this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46607005)

Back in the days of usenet I maintained a list of used equipment resellers. Nothing fancy, name and phone number.

Even "big oil" bought used systems from these guys when a budget was tight. I started the list after I bought my first Sun workstation and others asked where I got it.

Dear lord... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46607047)

I've never wanted to ballgag two people more in my life.

On one hand: Dumb old blustery guy, who doesn't get it, and derails shit, and makes the pitch twice as long as it needs to be to shill effectively.

One the other hand: Giant-nosed creepy car-salesman on the make. He's just short of one of those infomercial pitchmen. Advocating the "some crap I got off the back of the loading dock" approach to hardware purchasing.

the toilet really, really swirls here.

So many blade servers (2)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 7 months ago | (#46607185)

So many good blade servers show up on ebay with pretty decent specs but they are useless without the rack to supply power and most lack a way for adding video. I'm talking about 3 year old blades with dual quad core Xeons and 8Gb of memory for $50. Even if you did rig one up the cooling fans would be deafening for desktop use.

Also a big problem in science labs. (1)

students (763488) | about 7 months ago | (#46607263)

Suppose a university scientist wins a grant to buy a million dollar instrument. Thirty years later, the scientist dies. Nobody knows what the instrument is anymore, or what it is worth. University policy does not allow the sale of excess property. Nobody knows what restrictions were placed on the sale of the equipment in the grant award. Nobody wants to pay money to figure any of these things out. So, the equipment is either ignored or landfilled.

In my experience this happens often.

Re:Also a big problem in science labs. (2)

Rich0 (548339) | about 8 months ago | (#46607359)

Suppose a university scientist wins a grant to buy a million dollar instrument. Thirty years later, the scientist dies. Nobody knows what the instrument is anymore, or what it is worth. University policy does not allow the sale of excess property. Nobody knows what restrictions were placed on the sale of the equipment in the grant award. Nobody wants to pay money to figure any of these things out. So, the equipment is either ignored or landfilled.

In my experience this happens often.

Yup. At work there is still an old VAX sitting in a room because nobody wanted to deal with the disposal forms. It still had residual capitalization since the asset was tied to the value of the work required to deploy it (the hardware is the cheap part of a custom software project), and the writeoff went across many years. It couldn't be disposed of without fully depreciating it, which is a PITA. So, it just sits there.

The value of any kind of specialized hardware also depends greatly on finding the right buyer. We had a bunch of data acquisition boxes that only worked with a particular vendor's proprietary software, but newer versions of the software used different boxes and the old ones were discontinued. That made the old boxes either worthless or priceless depending on whether you could find somebody desperate for them.

Re:Also a big problem in science labs. (1)

toddestan (632714) | about 8 months ago | (#46610659)

I've seen it happen too, and the time scales are often a lot sooner than 30 years. All it takes is a professor leaving for another school, or in some cases all the grad students who were the actual users graduating. Oftentimes the true ownership of the equipment is confused enough that no one is sure who it technically belongs to, but the threat of an audit from the feds/state/university is enough to keep them from disposing of it, so the equipment just sits.

The bad thing about used equipment (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46607269)

Most often - it is the power supply - and then those PATA hard drive - they don't make them anymore
so you end up resort to Ebay.

Re:The bad thing about used equipment (1)

nobuddy (952985) | about 8 months ago | (#46608215)

I tend to packrat hardware. It pays off in the long run. When I want something, I build it. When the clutter starts to grow I will throw parts on EBAY and see what flies. Usually I can get about $10 per part for most, some I get nothing.
I just sold late 90's HP RAID controllers for the NetServer SCO servers, new in the original box. I got $900 each for them. Somebody has an old server running a critical legacy application, when they see working spare parts for it, they snatch them up. Apparently there were more than one for this piece as the bidding was furious on both auctions.

Re:The bad thing about used equipment (1)

Life2Death (801594) | about 8 months ago | (#46610155)

I think you can get both lightly used almost anywhere. Microcenter around here has PATA drives of all sizes and AT power supplies can be had online.

Good old 386 for secure network (-1, Flamebait)

MonsterMasher (518641) | about 8 months ago | (#46607435)

If I were building a secure network machine, I would start with a processor as simple and as old as possible (the works.)
Build kernel from secure sources (check verification codes.) and use older network cards, perhaps.
I want a motherboard that is too old to have the bios hacks or other hardware related vulnerabilities..
There are a thousand other things.. but the security alone will likely flag your machine and traffic for special attention.
Best to non-violently remove anyone in the government (and perhaps parts of the government) that supported this general spying abuse rampant today.
Get this done Yesterday.

Re:Good old 386 for secure network (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#46607753)

"If I were building a secure network machine,"
I would got with SPARC, you can get SPARC stations for dirt and they have decent specs even today. Compile BSD for it and you will have a 100% virus and trojan proof computer.

Go with a robust and oddball platform. If you want flashy and street cred, get your hands on some old Silicon Graphics hardware.

Re:Good old 386 for secure network (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 8 months ago | (#46608945)

Compile BSD for it and you will have a 100% virus and trojan proof computer.

While it may be true there are less known exploits for oddball platforms, an oddball platform is not inherently more secure, and certainly not 100% virus / trojan proof. All you do is add a level of difficulty, which may stop script kiddies, but a determined attacker (or sophisticated attacker who might see more oddball equipment then you think (read NSA)) will still get through.

The problem with eBay to sell electronics (1)

snsh (968808) | about 8 months ago | (#46608219)

eBay could be the perfect place to sell used electronics. The problem is the way they handle auction / buy-it-now listings.

Suppose you have a used Dell-brand server. You know that almost nobody is going to spend more than $800 on it, because for that money you could buy a new model. On the other hand, you figure someone out there might spend $500 on it because they're nearby and need it ASAP. And, you're willing to let people bid on it for a week and get it rid of it at the end of the week.

You can't accomodate all three parameters at once. If you set a reserve price, then once auctioning hits that reserve, then the buy-it-now is killed. On the other hand, if final bids are less than reserve, then the auction is effectively cancelled, and you're stuck holding the item.

Until eBay changes this, it will remain a non-ideal place to sell old IT equipment.

Re:The problem with eBay to sell electronics (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#46609283)

If I'm the seller, I don't care if someone needs it right now. Once it's passed the reserve price, which should also be the buy it now price, I'm getting more money so those people's problems are not my problems. Yay capitalism!

eBay most specifically wants it to sell for as much as possible so they get a bigger cut

Re:The problem with eBay to sell electronics (1)

snsh (968808) | about 8 months ago | (#46609409)

You should care. If someone needs your widget right now, is unwilling to wait a week for your auction to end, and is willing to pay more than your reserve price, then you're losing that sale opportunity. That's where the reserve == BIN assumption fails.

Re:The problem with eBay to sell electronics (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#46609435)

You should care. If someone needs your widget right now, is unwilling to wait a week for your auction to end, and is willing to pay more than your reserve price, then you're losing that sale opportunity. That's where the reserve == BIN assumption fails.

It only fails if you fail to match your reserve to your buy it now price.

If your goal is to fleece someone hard because they need the hardware now, I'm not sad that eBay won't help you.

Re:The problem with eBay to sell electronics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46623647)

You should care. If someone needs your widget right now, is unwilling to wait a week for your auction to end, and is willing to pay more than your reserve price, then you're losing that sale opportunity. That's where the reserve == BIN assumption fails.

It only fails if you fail to match your reserve to your buy it now price.

If your goal is to fleece someone hard because they need the hardware now, I'm not sad that eBay won't help you.

In fairness, there is a cost to him to warehouse 100 old pieces of crap in hopes that someone will buy 1 of them. If he knew which they'd buy and he didn't have to packrat the rest you'd have more of a point. How many times have you had to get rid of "junk" to maintain the peace at home?

Similarly, it may be worth an unscheduled trip to the post office to overnight an old RAID card when there's an extra $100 in it, but if you're only bidding $20, you can wait until the end of the month when the rest of the stuff gets shipped. It's good that people do this - otherwise this stuff would end up land filled or at best as scrap. The long tail of economics, etc.

Re:The problem with eBay to sell electronics (1)

jon3k (691256) | about 8 months ago | (#46609359)

So make the reserve slightly higher than the Buy It Now?

Re:The problem with eBay to sell electronics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46623695)

So make the reserve slightly higher than the Buy It Now?

That loses the "I'd like one of those" crowd since they won't pay the same much as the accountant firm that NEEDS that specific raid card to recover their data in a disaster.

Here is the value of the thing over a long time:
\
. \
. . \
It drops to nothing.

But if you zoom in, the accountant firm which needs the data back by Friday for an audit or they lose their biggest customer:
. . . /\
  . / . \
_/. . . \_
$1 $X $0
$X is much higher on a Thursday delivery than a Saturday one.

Re:The problem with eBay to sell electronics (1)

jpvlsmv (583001) | about 8 months ago | (#46609365)

That, plus the fact that you need to find a buyer willing to pay for your item during the 7-day window that you've run your auction, and who's willing to wait until next Tuesday to get it.

eBay is terrible for low-volume items for this reason. (I personally flooded the eBay market for SGI Indigo workstations a while ago -- the first two sold, the rest of them never did)

Re:The problem with eBay to sell electronics (1)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about 8 months ago | (#46609883)

Personally, I only use "buy it now" sales on eBay. I skip over auctions entirely. I don't have time to wait on auctions to finish, don't have time to snipe them, and can't afford to not have a guaranteed sale on a thing I buy. Auctions and overseas sales are the two things I immediately turn off after running a search (and I wish I could permanently disable them.)

Auctions might be fine for very casual purchasers, but people who actually need to get something to get the job done are shut out by an auction-only format because they don't have time to game these things.

They have double the fees of eBay (1)

reaper (10065) | about 8 months ago | (#46609141)

I do sell IT surplus equipment and the real issue I see here is that the fees are about double that of eBay's. The exchange getting a 20% cut is a huge deal on the lower-end items. Combine this with their limited user base, general shopping practices, and small amount of value add, it's not worth the extra pricing information.

For instance: I have a stack of Cisco 2960G Switches. I can go to eBay, do a search for closed auctions, or go to any number of pricing services to get historical selling prices. Since these are common, I will have no issue seeing the buying range. I make a compelling ad, pay $0 to list and pay 10% on the final value and probably 2.7% on the payment end. I can make a compelling ad and create incentives to get people to use me instead some other seller.

Now take something like a Thin Client, KVM cables, Rack keyboards, etc: low volume, and low price. Same fees for eBay. Double for this exchange. AND no one is looking for them because it's geared towards the network hardware side of things.

While I think it's a good idea and if they can get people to pay that much for an automated pricing system, great. But I'll be skipping it for now.

Sign-up required to browse (1)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about 8 months ago | (#46609827)

Sites that require signing up just to see what they have to offer are annoying as hell, and this one doesn't look useful based on any of its front-page accessible marketing literature. It looks like it wants to be "used IT eBay" but it doesn't let you see anything. I'll just stick to eBay.

Re:Sign-up required to browse (1)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about 8 months ago | (#46609845)

I just saw this gem too: "Sellers pay a 20% commission or a flat, monthly rate."

That's insane. 20% commission is absolutely ridiculous for an online middleman used gear matchmaking service.

Re:Sign-up required to browse (1)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about 8 months ago | (#46610135)

I emailed them to let them know that the forced signup was annoying to me, and this is the response I received:

Thank you very much for reaching out. User-experience on the MarkITx exchange is our number one priority. I am sorry that you were annoyed.

My name is (redacted) and I would love to assist you anyway I can. Was there anything in particular you were looking for, to buy or sell? If so, I can definitely help you with that. The reason we encourage sign up to view items on the MarkITx exchange is to protect the integrity of our platform.

I hope that this e-mail serves as an indication that we value you and your opinion and appreciate that you went to the MarkITx exchange to check us out. We look forward to working with you in the future.

Thanks again (me), have a great weekend!

Re:Sign-up required to browse (1)

SarahArg (3599415) | about 8 months ago | (#46623807)

Hi Jody, I have to apologize on behalf of my colleague. The short answer is that you do not have to sign up to view what's available and trading on the exchange. All you have to do is click on one of the brand logos on the homepage or explore the https://www.markitx.com/market [markitx.com] page to see all brands. It sounds like we need to make that more clear on the site and I want to thank you for taking the time to let us know how to improve. We're a small team and direct feedback like yours really helps us get better at helping you. I hope you'll give us another chance. Thanks again! Sarah Argue Community Manager

Junk? (2)

Life2Death (801594) | about 8 months ago | (#46610117)

I checked prices of stuff I've been trying to buy, and its way, way off. Like 10x off. C2950's used go for like $18-150 and they say it starts at the high point. Ok, sure. Maybe its all new stuff, but I cant tell, so what good is this?

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