The Joy of Reusing Old Hardware

Diego Peralta

Diego Peralta / 12 days ago

3 min read––– views

In a world where the allure of the latest and greatest gadgets often takes center stage, there's an undeniable thrill in uncovering the hidden potential of what some might consider "older" hardware. Allow me to clarify that when I refer to "old hardware," I'm using a touch of exaggeration, as I firmly believe that a computer that is a mere eight years old can hardly be considered truly ancient. However, in the case of the Macbook Air 11" (2015), a discontinued model from Apple, it exudes a certain charm that made it an extraordinary find. It was serendipity that led me to stumble upon this gem, perfectly fitting in my sling bag, and all it took was a modest investment of $120. The thought of resurrecting this device, breathing new life into it, and unleashing its untapped potential filled me with a delightful sense of anticipation.

So to fully harness the capabilities of my old new netbook, I decided to dive headfirst into the world of NixOS. With its declarative configuration and emphasis on reproducibility, NixOS stood out as the ideal choice for my journey. After some tinkering, trial, and error, I managed to get it up and running, ready to unveil the possibilities within.


With NixOS installed, I began to explore the true potential of the Macbook's Air hardware. The first step was creating a basic configuration for my new workstation. Curious to see the final result? I've uploaded the comprehensive configuration to GitHub for your perusal: spacecowb0y/nixos-config. For those eager to explore the intricacies of NixOS further, I invite you to visit the NixOS developer portal: Also, you should definetly check this talk given by Jakub Fišer at the DevConf 2023:

Astonishingly, even after four hours of intense coding and rebuilding the system multiple times, the laptop still boasted a remarkable 20% battery life. The tenacity of this device never ceases to amaze me.


So as I conclude this adventure of rediscovering the joy of reusing old hardware, I can't help but reflect on the valuable lessons it has taught me. I think we must not only unlock the hidden capabilities of aging devices but also liberate ourselves from the marketing trap that lures us into buying new, shiny hardware, only to witness it running the poorly built software we have these days. Let us resist the temptation to succumb to the illusion that newer equates to better. Instead, let us find contentment in maximizing the potential of what we already possess. By repurposing and optimizing our existing hardware, we not only save money but also contribute to reducing electronic waste, aligning with a sustainable approach. So, before yielding to the allure of novelty, pause and consider the wisdom of reusing, and revel in the satisfaction of efficiency, longevity, and conscious consumption.

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