Systems Fundamentals

Platforms | The Digital Divide | E-Waste


Computer Hardware in Plain English

What components are insider my computer?

Installing Computer Parts:
What Components Are Inside My Computer?

The problems with different platforms:

Even more complex when you add Linux:

The problem with the continued advancement of technology:

The Digital Divide

Defintion: The difference in the access to and use of technology between Developed and Developing Countries.

Why the divide?
  • Technology is expensive when first developed, so only wealthy people can afford it. Socio-Economic discrimination.
  • Technology becoming obsolete / outdated it drops in price. Developing countries can now have access. Gap between the technology being used in Developing countries is significant. Business in developing countries suffers and cannot compete. Education; most students in developed countries have had use of a computer.


One way that developing countries get technology is via e-waste. E-waste is electronic components e.g. computer hardware that needs to be disposed of.

Advantages of countries receiving E-waste
  • Access to technology
  • Creation of employment opportunities
  • Recycling of products - precious metals, can be used for other products
  • Payment for receiving it

Problems in receiving and using second-hand computers

*May cost more to run the computers than what they are actually worth

Problem with receiving E-waste - General
  • Health issues - basic and unsafe recycling, kids work on the waste dumps
  • Environmental issues - contaminated waterways and soil, air pollution, visual pollution
  • Difficult to stop it coming into the country - corrpuption and poor policing
  • Space - where to put it - illegal dumping

Solutions to the Problems
  • Advancements in materials that are used in IT goods - less harmful. Negative side - more expensive and performance issues (power)
  • Investing in recycling in developed countries. Negative side - cost
  • Laws and regulations - Basel Convention. Specific to developed and developing countries. Negative side - hard to police
  • Education and awareness
  • Placing more responsibility on manufacturers - cost to consumer
  • End user cost - reduce carbon emission. Negative - cost and willingness to do so.

How environmentally frinedly is your iPod?

How Toxic Is Your iPod? - 60-Second Earth

E-waste in India

An excellent website and video about e-waste
A multimedia look at E-waste

Advancement of technology at such a rapid pace means that hardware becomes obsolete quickly and a large amount of wastage is produced. The issue is what happens to all of this e-waste?

More articles on E-waste
UN warning on E-waste mountain
Dirty business: E-waste in Nigeria

How E-waste Works - TechStuff

The Basel Convention
About the Basel Action Network

How to recycle your TV or Computer monitor

Home Entertainment: How To Recycle Your Television Or Computer Monitor