Published in


Some ideas of what you could do with that old PC

Without preaching the Linux vibe

Photo by Tistio on Unsplash

I suspect many of us have a spare computer laying around. I have a few, it's one of the joys of being a programmer that we occasionally acquire very useful things.

I’m mostly focussing in this article on projects for tower-type PCs, notebooks tend to have less longevity. One of the best ways to develop as a programmer is to make things. Sometimes the hardest part of a new project is coming up with the idea in the first place.

Home intranet page

IIS is easy to install on Windows PCs, apache servers on Macs, and Linux boxes. Having a home intranet site on the box can do wonders for home communication. without the worry of exposing your site to the outside world. You can add a wide variety of projects to your home site.

House Blog — A kind of home newsletter. A wall to put up the pictures of the latest craft project. When granny is coming to town. Or this week's chore rota. There are plenty of things you might blog about if you knew the word wasn’t going to the world.

Shopping List — a page for you to get a list from everyone what they want in next week's shopping, then generate a shopping list. Bonus points if you can hook it up to your supermarket's API to do the shopping for you.

Chores — Reinvent Trello, or not. A page to organize the week's chores, perhaps have a signup sheet for pocket money attached.

Family Automation

With many developers dabbling in financial APIs, a home server can carry out worker tasks that automate things.

Home stock tracker. Use free APIs and web scraping to analyze stocks of interest, and store information in a db, for feeding into your day-trading strategy.

Set up an Arduino with a raspberry pi to record weather or fish-tank state data. Use the home server as an API server to automate the collection of data-logging data. Cool to do with older kids who are getting into automated science experiments.

Home Web Server

If you're wanting to get a better idea of how the internet works, or simply want to prototype your new idea — connect your web server to the outside world. There are some risks in doing this, and you should read up on application security before you try. The golden rule is never to put anything on an open server that you wouldn’t want to be attacked. But hey this is a spare computer that you’re not using for anything else. Learn about DNS, and publish a site. Even if it's only a sanitized version of your CV. The other bonus is you get to control all your trackers and cookies, and can’t get put in Facebook jail for what's on your own computer.




Everything connected with Tech & Code. Follow to join our 900K+ monthly readers

Recommended from Medium

Internet of Thinking: Come up with intelligent Environments through SAP-based IoT

Build A Modern Product Notification System: For Engineers and Product

Why your REST services aren’t restful

ML Day 35–41 : Week 6

What I learned in the first month of my internship?

9 Best Courses for Back-end Developers

What does a… developer do?

Handling multiple job dependencies in RQ

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Brian Jones

Brian Jones

Coder, Dad,

More from Medium

Automatically Sync Your Workflows On Dockstore With Our GitHub App

Cropped screenshot of the GitHub App installation webpage. It reads "Install Dockstore" followed by "Where do you want to install Dockstore?"

Fix “Failed To Create JVM ” error while installing TeradataStudio on MacOS Spur.

5 Reasons to Choose Xamarin for Cross-platform Development

How to easily set up a static server with VS Code (NO backend knowledge required)