Ancient Tech

Like any geek worth their salt I rarely throw away anyting thing that once upon a time had electrons running through it.  For example each of my three main bookshelves each has a  large drawer built into its base and all of those drawers are filled with spare components from old PC’s and laptops.

I have one drawer filled with spare power supplies, another has six or seven old IDE laptop hard drives with such small storage capacity that my e-book collection on its own would fill two of them.  How about a spare LCD screen for a laptop?  Or enough IDE data cables to bind a lover quite securely to a kitchen chair?  Seriously I throw away nothing that may have a use at some vague undefined time in the future.

This extreme technological thriftiness extends much further though.  I’m writing this on the very first model Asus EEEPC, the 701, which I’ve had now since about three months after it was released.  Where’s the thriftiness in that?  Well I have another one hanging in a case in my wardrobe for when this one finally gives up the ghost.

My HP Ipaq which I use for everything from writing notes to reading my aforementioned ebooks was released in September 2005 and I fully expect to get at least another three or four years out of it.

So what about my PC you ask?  Well two thirds of it’s components are from a PC that was already severely outdated when my partner owned it six years ago.  Yup that’s right the motherboard comes from a time long before SATA drives.  Hell it only has two RAM slots and occasionally has really nasty shit fits when I try to install complex programs, you know like the built in Windows calculator.  But for all that it still runs World of Warcraft at minimum settings and those ancient creaking components did save me from a fate worse than death for a PC gamer…not having a PC.  For the record the newest component in a real Frankenstein of a PC is the graphics card which comes in at a remarkably young age of 4 years.

No my PC isn’t quite this ancient, although it does call this one uncle.

My mobile is a 5 year old Nokia, my cordless drill was involved in the construction of the Ark, my epilator (if you have to ask, ask your girlfriend and watch for the pained expression on her face) was built using Brunellian techniques and my MP3 player still uses AAA batteries.

So why write about this?  Well soon one of my dearest friends and an adopted lil sister of mine leaves this septic isle for brighter shores and she has promised to gift me her PC which due to weight constraints she can’t bring with her.  This will mark the first time ever that I have had an even vaguely up to date piece of tech in my possession and I thought it was a good time to take stock of what I have used and just how much fun and functionality can be gotten from something so old.

Old of course is a very relative term in electronics.  But when I see someone throw out something as wonderful as a working Apple Newton (one of the great granddaddies of handheld computing) or insist on having a new mobile every six months it makes me sad almost beyond words.  Not just because I tend to anthropomorphise technology (my PC has died so many times I call it Lazarus) but simply because people tend not to stop and wonder if anyone else would not just use but love using what they’ve cast aside.

Look people just because it’s old enough that it has to run on Windows 95 doesn’t mean it’s worthless.  It’s just worthless to you.  Instead of throwing it out how about finding it a loving home with a hardcore geek who will lovingly restore it to and beyond its former glory?  After all a pupp….I mean a piece of technology is for life until it dies in a cloud of ozone filled smoke not just for Christmas.*

Oh and Claire thank you for the future Daniel Jackson so to be named because you just know I’ll still have most of your PC running in one form or another in ten years time.

*refers to one of the ancient beliefs of electronics, that all eletronics run on smoke, hence why they stop working when you see that smoke escaping from your PC/dvd/television.  This belief always superceeds emergency repair proceedure number one, as once the smoke that makes something run has vanished no amount of beating it up with make it run again.

3 Comments to “Ancient Tech”

  1. Yes, I’ll see if either of those Newtons that I know used to be in my house are still there. And I’ll see if J&M don’t mind you having one.
    Of course, the other one’ll have to go to R. Gods know what the two of you’ll get up to with a Newton each…. 😉

  2. Aww why thank you, though that wasn’t the point of this I just saw it as a nice example. As for what R and I might get up to with a Newton each….you will know pain (of being ignored for ancient tech), you will know fear (of the evil chickles coming from both sides of the room) then you will lie (down when you finally get sick of it all.

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