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By Keith Reid
Itís tempting to open this column complaining about winding through the summer doldrums, but when youíre headquartered in Chicago every second of summer is precious whether itís a doldrum or not.
Still, itís hard to look pleasantly at the several recent weekends spent shuffling through mountains of clutter in the hot, humid garage for a long overdue ďspringĒ cleaning. On the plus side, this served as a reminder of the march of technology that has occurred in the past 20 years, particularly since much of it could be found in the various boxes I finally decided to hack through after way too many years.
A variety of motherboards and CPUs dating back to the old Intel 286; indeterminate system RAM of the SIPP variety, purchased at a ridiculous cost per megabyte way back when; the old Mac Classic I was going to mod into a fish tank; assorted peripheral devices having lost both purpose and power cords; old ISA cards, practically as big as some motherboards today; a box worth of modems that reached 9600 or 14.4 baud performance; assorted SCSI scanners, video encoders and Web cams; four 15 inch monitors; a large commercial laser printer and assorted optical and tape drives inherited as partial payment for a consulting gig back in the late 1990sóand much, much more.
You ask yourself, while sitting in a pool of sweat in a stifling garage, why you bothered to save all of this junk in the first place. Much of it had survived various purges and had actually traveled in boxes and bags through a succession of moves over the years. The only answer is that it was likely due to an illogical emotional attachment at some level. Much of this obsolete equipment worked very well (though there was the occasional expensive lesson learned), performing beautifully until progress move forward.
If there is nugget to take away from this editorís whining about a self-inflicted problem, itís that technology does march onward. If any of this equipment still provided value it would not be sitting in a box in the garage, but would be actively making my life more productive and enjoyable.