My pre-spring cleaning is well under way. Feeling somewhat like an archeologist, I've unearthed several rich strata of artifacts dating from an earlier age. Some surprising items that have become obsolete way before I thought they would. 1) Firewire cable for first generation iPod (2002). This little gem had a lifetime of less than five years before being dropped by Apple. The iPod it came with still works (albeit with a battery life measured in minutes, rather than hours) and since I no longer have a PC with a Firewire port or card, the music on it is eerily frozen circa 2004. Hoobastank anyone? 2) A half dozen assorted USB to micro/mini cables for various Canon Digital cameras (2001-2011). Do people still bother hunting for these wretched things before transferring their pictures to the computers? Probably not. 3) 6 (six!) RGB monitor cables. The legacy of my decade in the Wintel wilderness. My last PC finally ditched this clunky format in favor of the (equally clunky) DVI. Off to the recycling center with these, unless anyone can tell me a reason to keep them around. 4) Keyboard and mouse with PS/2 connectors. I guess at the time it was considered a great leap forward not to need a freakin' screwdriver to attach your mouse to your computer. 5) Three component video cables. The legacy of my first steps into the wonderful world of hi-definition television. Along with a pair of RCA audio cables, this was state-of-the-art AV gear circa 2004. Thankfully replaced by HDMI. The back of my entertainment center used to look like a cage match down at the viper ranch. 6) Thirty eight assorted DC power supplies. Everything from Casio keyboards to HP Printers, by way of Braun Personal Trimmers (!) and four US Robotics modems. I really don't know what to do with these. I'm loathe to toss them out, since I keep telling myself the electronics project I'm always about to start working on will need exactly the one I just threw away. 7) Black Samsonite attaché case. The young whippersnappers reading this will be amazed to learn that at one time people used to show up at business meetings toting miniature suitcases, stuffed with manilla folders, legal pads, and glossy printed sales literature. Also served as an ad hoc lunch box, but since it had a three-digit combination lock, it not-so-subtly denoted one's superior business status from the guys who worked out in the shop. Short of wearing spats and a celluloid collar, I can think of few things that would mark one as hopelessly out of date as carrying something like this into work. 8) Small collection of adult DVDs. About ten years ago, a bachelor friend of mine was involved in a serious automobile accident. While he was hospitalized, his sister went to his house to pick up the mail, and happened upon his collection of "gentlemen's entertainment." This discovery sparked a year-long family feud, one that required a great deal of diplomatic effort on my part to resolve. Do people still bother buying smut on DVDs? 9) Canon Elph IXUS L1 camera. My last film camera, bought in 1998. I recently scanned a bunch of the travel and holiday snapshots I took with this camera for my iCloud Photostream. Looking at the poorly focused, badly faded, color-unbalanced photos, its hardly surprising that digital photography has all but eliminated film from the amateurs camera bag. 10) AT&T Digital Answering Machine, circa 1988. At one time, prehistoric humans used telephones that were attached to their houses by means of copper wires. If they weren't at home when someone called, panic would ensue, as callers had no means of knowing if their friends or loved ones had been carried off by marauding huns and visigoths. These ancient "answering machines" allowed fervent prayers for their release to be left by those calling. 11) Brother Daisywheel Typewriter. Long ago, if you wanted to neatly do your taxes or write a letter complaining about your home telephone service, you used one of these devices. Since most of us aren't perfect touch-typists, the Brother model had a useful autocorrect feature, which used tape with white gunk on it to go back and press over the offending character, obliterating it. I'm still trying to come up with a reason to hang on to this. I could use it for ransom notes, if only to cause utter confusion down at the FBI lab.