Sunday, July 29, 2007

They don't make 'em like they used to

It was a weekend for cleansing, finally taking major steps toward getting RID of old & busted technology that has been collecting dust for too long.

It doesn't take long for computer stuff to become fit for a museum, and not much else. Ages ago -- actually it was just 14 years ago -- I was the manager for a small network of Macintoshes in a corporate art department, and generally considered to be the Mac-Person-To-Ask when questions arose anywhere in the facility (at the time, I should stress, I knew stuff. These days that's no longer the case). Having responsibility for all the hardware/software, including all the files (and being a packrat by nature) I ended up with lots of gear and junk. It was mine, they closed the facility down to a skeleton crew and sold us what we wanted. The tower unit I still have, a Mac 9600, is 10 years old! It still runs!! Not very useful, but it's the lone SCSI unit in the house so I've had it hooked up to the old iOmega Zip and Jaz drives all weekend -- trying to get crappy old files (that I will probably never get sorted out) downloaded so they can be burned to CD... then promptly forgotten I'm sure.

Yes, check out the picture above. "Time remaining: About 44 hours." I was beginning to think it was not too far off the mark. The iOmega Jaz and Zips, at least from back then, were notoriously unreliable media. Zip drives were noted for the "clicks of death" that you will often hear, meaning the disk won't mount, the disk is corrupted, or the drive is bad. The Jaz is a chirper, so all weekend we were clicking and chirping along (still not done!!! Gaaaaah!! What a pile!). The old-timer (the 9600 system, which cost ~$9,000 new with all the bells and whistles), also now known as "the boat anchor", has a CD drive but doesn't burn CDs, so we have to do File Sharing over to my Blueberry Baby, my 1999 iBook, which doesn't burn them either but must rely on an external burner, a USB device not compatible with the other box. After this project is through, I am going to get rid of all these drives, cables, big floppies, little floppies, terminators, old mice, dialup modems... and I don't ever want to see them again. I will miss my Blueberry Baby, but it's so slow by modern standards, and of course it's also a dinosaur. My current machine is a Powerbook G4 (17 inch) and it is pretty great but could probably be handed down for a new one soon -- one of those Intel Macs so I can get the latest gizmos. Things just get antiquated so quickly.

Sometimes, however, I really love old technology. Here's my sewing machine which I've had since I was about 12 (and yessss... it was already an antique. I'm not THAT old!), got it at a thrift store for $14.95. You can still see the price written in some kind of marker on the top. This was before these old-timers became trendy. It's non-electric, relies on pedal power, and I used to make plenty of clothes and drapes and everything with it. It's a beautiful running machine and I would never think of trading it for the latest thing.


Peacechick Mary said...

We do the same thing. We have a local group that is teaching homeless people computer repair and maintenance, so they get any and all computers we send out the door. also, that sewing machine is a gem. Reliable and a workhorse.

Nava said...

The Beauty and The Beast (44 hours??!!?).

Blueberry said...

I actually only spent about 3 hours with that particular disk -- between it not mounting, the files not copying, disk errors, and a failed run of a disk utility, ending up with dumping the files in the trash without retrieving. [sigh]

Nava said...

TAh yes, the pure joys of technology... join the club!