Spring Cleaning Part II: Drew's Museum of Science & Industry

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by vrDrew, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    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.
  2. decafjava macrumors 68030


    Feb 7, 2011
  3. kdarling, Mar 5, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012

    kdarling macrumors demi-god


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    The best thing I ever started doing ten years ago, was labeling every power supply and cable the moment one came into the house.

    Prior to that, I would be left scratching my head as to what a power supply was supposed to go to. Searching for the right one was a pain.

    With the labels, I instantly know what a power wart is meant for. Highly recommended practice.

    Still have mine with initials stashed away. Forgot all about it. Wonder what papers are in it? Scared to look. lol

    One advantage of an answering machine, still, is that you can listen to who's leaving a message and decide whether it's worth picking up or not.

    My wife's a kindergarten teacher. A few years back I actually found and bought a mint IBM Selectric with the correction tape feature on eBay for her, because her backwards school district still required typing onto a printed form for classroom grants. (Now I just scan the form.)


    Thanks for the trip down memory lane! I still remember, as a kid, having to dial the "long distance operator" first, to get a line to speak to my grandmother halfway across the country. They would call you back when a line was free. Calling long distance was something special... and expensive.

    Even in the late '60s, people still often sent Western Union telegrams instead, because it was cheaper than a phone call. Cue the Western Union song by the Five Americans, a rock&roll song that is meaningless to kids today. Wait! Maybe not! After all, it was about a girl breaking up with the singer via text telegram instead of by phone! She sent it collect, too. He had to pay to read it. Ouch.

    Things went wrong today
    Bad news came my way
    I woke up to find
    That I had blew my mind

    Western Union man
    Bad news in his hand
    Knocking at my door
    Selling me the score

    Fifteen cents a word to read
    A telegram I didn't need
    Says she doesn't care no more
    Think I'll throw it on the floor.


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