August, 2003 Edition

by Ms. Duh
Contributing Columnist


The joys of legacy equipment.

Most of my macs are rapidly becoming what's considered obsolete and outdated, and for some reason I am buying more and more. And its all ebay's fault for giving me the privilege of bidding on and paying for other peoples trash.

I have legacy equipment. My house is filled with it. Although, I am a card carrying hardware junkie, a bona fide nutjob when it comes to getting the latest and greatest for my Apple addiction, I still get on ebay, and buy many a metric ton in old Centrises, SEs and LCs, so they can sit in my house and have me stare at them for months, till I move them to the dead crap closet.

We all have one. A place where all the stuff is we can't bring ourselves to get working or throw away. Mine holds all the secrets of the Aztecs, if only I could get rid of the junk blocking it.

That's where I store computer desks that I have mangled, and computers I bought at garage sales, and parts that I don't remember which machines they fit. Printers that don't work, and I can't run, scanners that only scan black and white pictures, transceivers and power cords, drive sleds - you name it, I bought it, got frustrated at it, planned on getting to it later and stuck it in the closet.

I don't know what it is. There's a slight thrill knowing that originally this little SE cost $3,000 and I got it for $20 and three packs of Bazooka Joe Bubblegum. I have so many SEs and Mac Pluses, I have two making up the base of my coffee table, one in the bathroom so that I can play Snood in there, and one that I killed with a hammer so that I could make a playhouse for my hamster.

I'm sure I had some good reasons buying the seven SEs, or the two Centrises, or the LC or even the Quadra 700. I think it was a large, poisonous insect that came into the house, stalking me, watching me, waiting for me to go to sleep, so that it could sneak up on me, and sink its dripping toxic fangs into my nubile flesh, injecting me with devil juice that later takes over my mind and body, making me buy machines that I have NO use for other than either modern art or paperweights.

It's not like they are going to magically transubstantiate into G4s or G5s or big piles of money. And they really aren't very much good for anything else other than taking up space. Plus, I already have equipment giving up the ghost on me regularly, so between the three dead 20 inch monitors in the living room, and the sea of SEs waiting for a purpose in life in the hallway and bedroom, I have enough redundacy and uselessness around me to open up a DMV.

I have bought at least $800 worth of accessories, peripherals, dongles, and gadgets to make these computers do some of the basic things my new one does. Internet, printing, scanning, server functions. I hook up all the stuff, as visions of all the wonderful potential jobs each could do for me - ripping documents to the printer, mail server, Snood station. But, after hours of trying to make the whole giant mess work, and sticking myself with screwdrivers and dropping machines on my foot and cussing under my breath, I pretty much gave up and put everything in the dead crap closet. Oh, I did get the computer in the bathroom to work. Yes. I have a computer in the bathroom. Of course, that's probably something I should keep to myself.

You know, I have a box of ram that is unlabled and stained with barbecue sauce? Why don't I throw it away? Don't know. I think its a cry for help.

Maybe its the dream that every person who watches Antiques Roadshow has, when they think they might discover a Frank Lloyd Wright toilet seat cover at the thrift store or a civil war sword stuck in a dumpster outside a Stucky's. Maybe this little $20 computer will go for $20 grand at Sothebys. But, alas, I've found that most of this stuff is STILL worth $20, and for some brain damaged reason, I keep buying more.

I'm kind of thinking later, I can cobble everything together into a G5. Later. Right now, I'm waiting for UPS to deliver the three Imagewriter IIs that I ordered off ebay.



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