Free tablets as in pay for shipping! Sorry US only

If you missed it or did not think you could be a winner, there is a generous gentleman who is giving away tablets just for the cost of shipping. He still has a lot to give away so if you are interested just send him an email.

From the “One Man’s Trash” department, we have a request for help from reader Mike Drew who picked up a bunch — like, a thousand — old tablet computers. They originally ran Windows but they can run Linux Mint just fine, and while they lack batteries and the back cover, they’re otherwise complete and in usable condition, at least judging by the pictures he shared. These were destined for the landfill, but Mike is willing to send batches of 10 — no single units, please — to anyone who can cover the cost of packaging and shipping. Mike says he’ll be wiping the tablets and installing Mint, and will throw in a couple of battery cables and a simple instruction sheet to get you started. If you’re interested, Mike can be reached at Domestic shipping only, please. Here’s hoping you can help a fellow hacker reclaim a room in his house.

I got my response today that mine are on the way!
With shipping and packing cost it was $20!

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Very cool! I get those HaD updates but when I’m current with checking HaD site I figure I knew what was in the Update… totally missed this gem. Thanks. I emailed and will see how much they’ll be.

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For reference, here’s the email I received today and why I posted this.

Just a quick note to let you all know that the tablet mine is still in operation.

As of this morning I have sent out 420 tablets.

I continue to work my way through the “list” as best I can. If you are still waiting, thank you for your patience. As soon as I think I have completed the first pass through the list I will send out an email letting you know that I am ready to send a second round to those that want them.

There is very little chance that I will run out of tablets any time soon. I still have more than I want to try to count. If you know someone who might be interested, please help spread the word.

Stay safe, take care of yourself, and if you can, someone else, too.


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Great and I think he’s really busy ‘mining’ these days as I just received a much shorter email:

I will add you to the list if you are not already on it.

Thanks for your interest.

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update on my order:

Shipping total was $21( they come from MI ) and I just received this email with the tracking number.

Dear Doug,

We wanted to let you know that your package will ship on 12/27/21 via Priority Mail Cubic. You can track your package at any time using the link below.

Please allow up to 24 hours for the tracking link to update.

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I live in Arizona and mine came within 2 days.
I looked at them but was unable to play with them due to Christmas. Hopefully I have a chance soon.

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good to know, thx. I plan on powering one up on a benchtop supply to see what kind of power requirements are needed then see if any small lithium battery will work well enough so it can be run off of 5V via USB-A adapter. If that goes well, I’ll eventually look at designing a 3D printable back for them.

That’s the current plan at least. :wink:

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So do I have this right, for $20 you get ten battery and backless windows tablets???

@donkjr That is certainly correct! Loaded with Linux Mint

@dougl Here is where you can find all information he has gleaned from the units.

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@HalfNormal That page for information on the tablets is not public. You have to ask to join it. Maybe you can just copy and paste some specs for us?

that is correct and how I joined.

LightBurn runs on these tablets. It installed using the installation app and all I had to do was copy from another machine into the .local/share/LightBurn/lib directory so that the Update Manager can phone home to check for updates.

I used a script from a Dell machine to get auto-rotate to work and all I had to do was pull the Laser and Library tabs into the upper “Move/Layers/…” section so it fit in the 800 vertical pixels.

# The script below was modified from:
#   to work for the HackADay tablets from Vulcan
# Note that inotify-tools needs to be installed, e.g. from the Software Manager
#   to provide the monitor-sensor command
# Auto rotate touch screen based on device orientation for Dell XPS-13 (9365)
# adapted by Cristiano Bozza
#   Based on chadm's script at

# Receives input from monitor-sensor (part of iio-sensor-proxy package) and sets the touchscreen
# orientation based on the accellerometer positionn. We assume that the display rotation is
# handled by Linux Mint 18.1, Cinnamon 3.2.7. If this is not the case, add the appropriate
# xrandr command into each case block.

# Notice the device number name was obtained by running:
# > xinput
# and reading the output, which for the HackADay tablet includes:
# ⎡ Virtual core pointer                                    id=2        [master pointer  (3)]
# ⎜   ↳ Virtual core XTEST pointer                      id=4        [slave  pointer  (2)]
# ⎜   ↳ Goodix Capacitive TouchScreen                      id=12        [slave  pointer  (2)]
# + other lines

# This script should be added to startup applications for the user.

# Kill any existing monitor-sensor instance, for example if manually invoking
# from a terminal for testing.
killall monitor-sensor

# Launch monitor-sensor and store the output in a RAM based file that can be checked by the rest of the script.
# We use the RAM based file system to save wear where an SSD is being used.
monitor-sensor > /dev/shm/sensor.log 2>&1 &

# Initialise display orientation to 'normal'
# Without this, the display often starts in 'inverted' (or 'bottom-up') mode!
xrandr --output eDP1 --rotate normal
xinput set-prop 'pointer:Goodix Capacitive TouchScreen' 'Coordinate Transformation Matrix' 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1

# Parse output of monitor sensor to get the new orientation whenever the log file is updated
# Possibles are: normal, bottom-up, right-up, left-up
# Light data will be ignored

while inotifywait -e modify /dev/shm/sensor.log; do

# Read the last few lines that were added to the file and get the last orientation line.
ORIENTATION=$(tail /dev/shm/sensor.log | grep 'orientation' | tail -1 | grep -oE '[^ ]+$')

# Set the actions to be taken for each possible orientation
case "$ORIENTATION" in

# orient display
xrandr -o inverted
# orient touchscreen
xinput set-prop 'pointer:Goodix Capacitive TouchScreen' 'Coordinate Transformation Matrix' -1 0 1 0 -1 1 0 0 1;;

xrandr -o normal
xinput set-prop 'pointer:Goodix Capacitive TouchScreen' 'Coordinate Transformation Matrix' 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1;;

xrandr -o right
xinput set-prop 'pointer:Goodix Capacitive TouchScreen' 'Coordinate Transformation Matrix' 0 1 0 -1 0 1 0 0 1;;

xrandr -o left
xinput set-prop 'pointer:Goodix Capacitive TouchScreen' 'Coordinate Transformation Matrix' 0 -1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1;;

# On stopping this script, don't forget that "monitor-sensor" is still running - hence the "killall" !


Great information! Using LightBurn is one of the objectives I have for the tablets.
Thanks for the hard work!


Next up is booting Pop OS 21.10 off a live USB and try LightBurn installation.


PopOS 21.10 v3 - LightBurn runs, screen rotation is good and the keyboard popup is handy. System fonts and style needs to be sized up a bit as my fat fingers it’s touch and go as to what I’m really hitting but seems to be doable.
I have not be able to get the libssl patching to get the Check For Updates working but that’s minor IMO.


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This is wonderful news! This is a great way to run a laser inexpensively with an inexpensive tablet.

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I turned off the bottom launcher and changed the default font size in LightBurn to 15 and increased the icon size so it’s much more touch screen friendly.


After trying out Pop OS the performance issues were too much and I decided to test a lighter weight Linux. My go-to has always been Xubuntu/Lubuntu and I was quite surprised by how resonsponsive it is. Probably similar with the default Linux Mint but for the past week I’ve been pounding on Pop OS since it already had working auto-rotate of screen, virtual keyboard and multi-touch gestures.

Xubuntu icons and things were just too small for my fingers and as a longtime Kubuntu user I thought I’d try it. It works well and the icons are a bit larger than Xfce.

What I’ve done so far and have working:
1)ssh the auto-rotate script to ~/bin and set that into the AutoStart application list.
2)Installed onbaord keyboard and set that into the AutoStart application list
3)ran the sof-bin sound system driver update I’d used in the Pop OS testing thread.
4)I increased the systemwide fonts by 1( most were 10pt so changed to 11pt) and small fonts were 8pt so switched to 9pt
5)Lightburn installed fine and was pleasantly surprised that the onboard keyboard would hold shift and trigger the fire button on framing when either framing button was pushed.

get Touchegg working or some form of gesture system as they are very handy for tablets