# What do you do with obsolete technology?

#### RPinPA

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Just wonder what other people do to handle the sentimental-value-but-useless decisions.

I am attacking my attic this summer, one box at a time. A lot of those boxes are little time capsules, some of them going back years, when some surface or room or other was cleaned off by dumping a bunch of stuff in a box "to sort later". It's kind of embarrassing how many years "later" became, but at least I'm doing it.

So in the latest box, I found a couple items which I'm kind of stuck on: two iOmega Zip drives (one of which has a cartridge stuck in it), and a set of student French curves.

Most likely nobody anywhere is going to want a Zip drive unless somebody's running a museum of magnetic media. And yet it's a little hard to part with, and I hate to just trash them if there's somebody somewhere who actually wants one.

As for the French curves, that's a remnant of a time when you did plotting by hand on graph paper, which I'm not sure anybody ever does anymore. I certainly have no plans to. Yet again, maybe somebody would find them useful. When I googled "French curve" I got the impression that they still have uses here and there, in drawing patterns on cloth for instance.

Then there are the obsolete technological books, like Peter Norton's book that goes into the guts of PC-DOS and books on assembly language programming. I did some pretty cool stuff with those books, taking over the clock interrupt of a first generation IBM-PC and getting some pretty decent real-time signal-processing performance out of the thing. A skill set and application that is completely useless. Unless it's not for somebody.

I know if I donate these things to the thrift store or donate the books to the library book sale, they'll go in the trash. Even relatively recent textbooks tend to end up in the trash. Maybe I should just put it all up on eBay and accept any bid.

Anybody else deal with these issues?

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#### jedishrfu

Mentor
Be careful with data drives. I would destroy them and not give them away. Some folks relish the challenge of getting personal info from obscure places.

#### strangerep

Science Advisor
student French curves
You really shouldn't lock up curvy French students in your attic. Your inevitable prison sentence will be quite long.

Anybody else deal with these issues?
Several times -- each time I moved house.

I used to give furniture and white goods to the Salvation Army, but they're becoming really picky and won't take anything unless it's reasonable valuable and not too old. So when I downsized back in 2015, all my large, perfectly good, furniture got broken up, tossed in the back of a truck and taken to the tip. After that insult, I began to care rather less about the "needy" members of society.

Books are easy: if they're still relevant, keep them, otherwise recycle mercilessly. Same with computers. The latter was really hard -- when I deposited my previous custom-designed and built computer at the local recycling station it was as psychologically difficult as dropping the One Ring into the Cracks of Doom.

I tried to make a resolution not to buy so much s--t in the future unless I really needed it. I've only been partially successful.

#### 256bits

Gold Member
You could do a whole bunch of You Tube videos, make your own channel, on Ancient Technology, as you pull stuff from the archeological find, explain it and its uses, and hint that earlier civilizations were far more advanced technologically and culturally than we could imagine, and that some of their knowledge has been lost to the ages.

#### Bystander

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I tried to make a resolution not to buy so much s--t in the future unless I really needed it. I've only been partially successful.
"Really, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY ...." Been there, done that, "many, many ...."

#### Tghu Verd

You could do a whole bunch of You Tube videos, make your own channel, on Ancient Technology
That's a diabolical idea

Knowing the state of critical thinking people apply to social media, a whole family of conspiracy theories would arise based on this mythical 'ancient tech'!

#### davenn

Science Advisor
Gold Member
Be careful with data drives. I would destroy them and not give them away. Some folks relish the challenge of getting personal info from obscure places.

zip drives used removeable media
I would dearly love a replacement IDE zip drive, have a bunch of disks I need to recover data from

IDE ? hmmm? maybe it went via the printer port ..... It's been so long

#### RPinPA

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
You could do a whole bunch of You Tube videos, make your own channel, on Ancient Technology, as you pull stuff from the archeological find, explain it and its uses, and hint that earlier civilizations were far more advanced technologically and culturally than we could imagine, and that some of their knowledge has been lost to the ages.
I must say this is more than a little tempting. Although I was thinking of the Ancient Civilizations as the 1970s, and I would explain why that was a better and purer technological time in civilization.

"I reprogrammed a clock interrupt. Have any of you youngsters ever reprogrammed a clock interrupt? I'll bet you ignoramuses don't even know what a clock interrupt is! Dang kids today don't even <fades into incoherent mumble>"

BTW I also unearthed some "graphics" consisting of overprints on an ASCII printer, when that was a novelty. I've got Mona Lisa, printed from either punched cards or paper tape back when the idea of having a picture you could print on a computer was a status symbol and a treasure. And I've got a scanned image of myself. That was pretty wild in 1978, to have a video camera be able to print a picture of yourself on the line printer in real time. [*]

[*] note to youngsters: A line printer was a neolithic technique involving a guy tapping out characters on paper with stone tools in ASCII, which was the name of a pre-Sumerian script now lost.

#### 256bits

Gold Member
Been there done that..
Even have a black rotary phone to go with it all.

#### DaveC426913

Gold Member
Based on the title, I thought this was a Sea Shanty.

What do you do with obsolete technology?
What do you do with obsolete technology?
Throw it in the bin with the Captain's plotter!
Throw it in the bin with the Captain's plotter!

#### Mark44

Mentor
"I reprogrammed a clock interrupt. Have any of you youngsters ever reprogrammed a clock interrupt? I'll bet you ignoramuses don't even know what a clock interrupt is! Dang kids today don't even <fades into incoherent mumble>"
Never reprogrammed one of the interrupts, but I wrote lots of code that used the DOS (int 21h) and BIOS (int 10h) interrupts. I used one of the DOS interrupt functions as the basis for a C/assembly program to rename a directory, something that you couldn't do with the available DOS command line utilities. I still have between 15 and 20 assembly books, mostly x86, but one on M68000 and several on MIPS. All of the code I wrote using the DOS interrupts went out the window when Microsoft went to 32-bit OSes.

I don't have a French curve, but I have about a half-dozen slide rules. I also have an iOmega drive with about a half dozen of its disks. That drive is USB and still works.

Other obsolete tech includes film cameras -- I have a couple of those, including a Rollei miniature I bought using a large jar of change I kept for a couple of years when I was in grad school.

#### jedishrfu

Mentor
Ive done screen refresh interrupts on the Atari using their antic chip for a college independent study in realtime programming. Also done mainframe and pcdos assem using interrupts and extended instruction sets for packed decimal.

Gagetwise
Addiator
ti sr50
hp rp calc
Slide rules deci trig,
circular slide rules
Thinkadot
Turing tumble
Altair 680 still works

#### Nugatory

Mentor
but I have about a half-dozen slide rules.
My wife and I have two, both nice top-of-the-line bamboo ones. It’s two because we each brought one to the marriage.... and remarkably, I still use mine occasionally. Woodworking only needs two or three significant digits of accuracy, a shop environment can be very hard on electronics, and the slide rule is actually faster than a calculator if you want to know $\alpha{x}$ for constant $\alpha$ and a continuous range of possible $x$ values.

#### 256bits

Gold Member
note to youngsters: A line printer was a neolithic technique involving a guy tapping out characters on paper with stone tools in ASCII, which was the name of a pre-Sumerian script now lost.
I had to laugh at that.
The first time I saw a line printer, I thought "Wow, that is so high tech!" Buzz, buzz, buzz.
Carrying around a stack of that 16 x 11 folded printer paper screamed success and satisfaction.
Alternating shades of green and white. - beautiful.

#### jedishrfu

Mentor
My best experience with fanfold paper was as a courier for A GE computer center. While driving from the main plant, the suburban backdoor popped open and the wind sucked the fanfold paper out the back. A beautiful ribbon of paper was seen trailing the truck for at least a couple of hundred feet while on the crosstown highway.

#### strangerep

Science Advisor
What do you do with obsolete technology?
What do you do with obsolete technology?
Throw it in the bin with the Captain's plotter!
Throw it in the bin with the Captain's plotter!
...or, in the case of old MS-DOS diskettes,...

.... Shred 'em in the dunny and pull the chain!
Stuff 'em in the dunny and pull the chain!
[....]

#### symbolipoint

Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
Manual typewrites - and I still have mine.

Mark44, you can be in the antique sliderule trade or sliderule collector trade, at least briefly.
I lost track of the two that I had. Any slide rule that is not in some way broken, will still work so they are still fit to use.

#### dlgoff

Science Advisor
Gold Member
I wrote lots of code that used the DOS (int 21h) and BIOS (int 10h) interrupts. I used one of the DOS interrupt functions ...
Been there, done that. Very handy those interrupts. You're my kind of man.

#### Mark44

Mentor
Been there, done that. Very handy those interrupts. You're my kind of man.
- in case you can't tell, my cheeks are red here.

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#### davenn

Science Advisor
Gold Member
Just wonder what other people do to handle the sentimental-value-but-useless decisions.

well, Don, @dlgoff , does wonderful restoration of old technology

Dave

Science Advisor
Homework Helper

#### dlgoff

Science Advisor
Gold Member
well, Don, @dlgoff , does wonderful restoration of old technology
Thank you Dave.

#### dlgoff

Science Advisor
Gold Member
There's no way I'm selling or discarding that beauty.
I'd probably find beauty in all your goodies.

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