It was an awesome experiment. I was able to test and do the following.
* Get FreeBSD up and running on an older computer, including X11 and a fully working desktop. I've also been able to do this on a not-so-older Dell desktop. Complete success here.
* Develop ways to write in a non-graphical/non-connected environment. I wanted to be able to write without using a word processor. Just a text editor. I found that the markdown language allowed me to do that pretty easily and the convert it to HTML to add to Evernote. Complete success, but I've replaced a lot of that with the iPad I'm using. I will probably get a keyboard and move all my writing to a tablet.
* Develop applications on an older machine. I was fully able to write, edit, compile, and test Java and Groovy applications. I have been able to use Netbeans to do it, but it was slow. Most of the problem with Netbeans was memory, not processor speed. However, editing with Vim and using the command line to compile with Gradle worked just fine.
All in all, I think it was a successful experiment. The biggest benefit I got out of it is to understand what I need from my next laptop. The prime requirements will be memory and connectivity. Secondary will be size and weight. Third down the list will be speed. It's still important, but I can handle a slightly slower box, if it has memory to do all I need it. And I need to be able to get online both for updates and to support projects I'm working on.