My coworkers and I sometimes go "trash picking" - when someone in the university doesn't want something, it gets "recycled" by putting it near the trash dumpsters of various buildings. Our new building however has the trash in the basement corridor. Since it's a medical facility, much of the stuff down there was outdated equipment (aortic balloon pump or graphing respirometer, anyone?) but there is a fair amount of furniture, chairs, etc. My supervisor's find was a 50's era manual typewriter (which we hauled back on a rolling chair) and I snagged a piece of computer equipment whose purpose was unknown. It looked something like a laptop screen without the rest of the laptop. There were plugs for "computer in" and "visual out" on the side, and it rattled like a beast.
Well, I looked it up online and it turns out that the actual function of the object is so that you can put it on an overhead projector, connect it to a computer, and it will show on the overhead whatever's on the computer screen. So, basically a low-budget projector from before projectors became less expensive - and it seems like less of a hassle too. The rattling was because ALL of the screws that hold the front to the back had been removed and placed INSIDE the case for some unknown reason. So I don't hold much hope that it actually works, but if it does, it sells on eBay for about $70 or so. I'm going to go to Radio Shack over the weekend and try to get a power cord for it, so we'll find out! Pretty good find out of the trash I must say, especially since I didn't actually have to dive into a dumpster to get it.