• [Hoary Hardware]

    I ran across this Joy of Tech comic the other day and it started me reminiscing about old hardware sweeties in my life.
    Someone mentioned to me, while discussing this comic, that they had a paper white monitor on their old DOS box. I had a few of those paper white monitors. They were so crisp compared to the green screens. I picked them up dirt cheap one day (in the 90s) back at a computer flea market. Siufai and I used to go down to these things on the weekends and then build cheap PCs out of components we’d pay next to nothing for. Do people still do that or are cheap pre-built systems integrators so ubiquitous that it’s unnecessary?
    While hardly ancient, my old Apple “Lombard” G3 PowerBook from 1999 has been turned into a roving iTunes server for the house, hooked up to our swoopy stereo system in the living room–a poor man’s AirPort + AirTunes. We can control it via a web-based interface or use a VNC to pretend that we’re right in front of the machine. It’s a little awkward (have you noticed how awkward this word is itself?), but it gives us access to a lot of music and to playlists without leaving our chairs.
    Our other slightly faster “Lombard” we traded to EinSweetie’s mother for her old stationwagon so we have a car when we’re in Canada. She’s using it to do e-mail and to surf the web, enhancing her guerilla gardening activities.
    Someone else commented that their Commodore 64 had the beautiful “blue screen of life”. Ah, the blue screen of life, so bright, so vivid! Ah, those were the days. I have a working Commodore 128 packed away in Canada with a working 1571 drive. When nostalgia really hits me hard, I fire up one of my Macintosh C-64 emulators and play games. “Kill him, my robots”, anyone?
    The most useful piece of kit from my C-128 set-up, though, is the RCA monitor that Commodore branded and shipped with it. That monitor was an excellent RCA television and mine has travelled from Edmonton, to Vancouver, to Regina, back to Edmonton, and is now with me here in England. It had standard RCA inputs, so it makes a good video monitor when hooked up to a DVD player or a VCR! We used it here in England, when we first moved here, to play my North American PlayStation games! It’s still going strong!
    While newer stuff may be (currently) dearer to our hearts, what are we doing with our former equipment sweeties which is cool/interesting and makes them still useful? Tell us your Hardware Sweetie Stories!