Got Any Old Tech From The Last Decade Still Sitting Around The House?

I was rummaging through my closet looking for something when I came across an old Sony Discman bag from when I was a teenager. This bag was specially designed to hold the CD player, my prized possession for many years, plus some CDs and those crappy headphones everyone I knew worse. Of course, that all went to the garbage heap the decade before that last one. I vaguely remembered what I’d shoved in the bag since then, and opening confirmed it: My MiniDisc player and all of my minidiscs.

What’s a minidisc, you might ask? It was the best thing since CDs, my friends, and I believe I bought my first one in the year 2000, ten years ago. The one in the bag was my second, as the first was either lost or stolen (can’t remember which). I loved this gadget to death and eschewed all others, including MP3 players.

Minidiscs were more awesome than the MP3 players out at that time. And even after the iPod came out it was still a while before I decided that an MP3 player would suit me better. Apparently I couldn’t bear to give up my beloved player, though.

Did you know you can still buy minidisc players? Weird.

I put the bag back in the closet on top of my Alphasmart, another device I couldn’t live without for a long time. It was my proto-netbook, though I was always yearning to do more with it. Still, it was a great writing companion. You typed whatever into the Alphasmart — which could hold quite a bit of text — then transferred it to your computer via the PS/2 keyboard port. No, it wasn’t perfect, and USB connectivity would have been more useful (that was the second generation), but it allowed me to carry around a device with full-sized keys that I could write on whenever I had some time, yet didn’t kill my back with heaviness. Like I said, proto-netbook.

Next to the Alphasmart sits another bag with my N64 in it along with all of my games. I looked inside about a month ago and found my old Neuros MP3 player. Loved that thing, too…. until it broke. (After a year. It was pretty crap.) But yes, it’s still in there. Right next to my (now non-working) HP Jornada 545 PDA. Though that lasted much, much longer than a year — I believe it finally gave up the ghost in 2007.

Yes, I have trouble letting go.

I know I should get rid of all that stuff. After all, I obviously don’t use it, anymore. I have a new MP3 player, a netbook, and I don’t play console games much anymore. But every time I come across them I feel a wave of affection. At one time or another in the last decade, my digital life revolved around these devices. They were awesome, in their day, and just tossing them out (or even sending them to be recycled at doesn’t seem quite right. I’m sure I’ll feel differently if I’m ever forced to move, but for now the closet remains their home.

What about you, what gadgets do you still have around your house even though they’re no longer working or obselete? Why did you love/like them when you used them and what tech replaced them in your heart?

  • mlp

    Oh gosh. Let’s see …

    Somewhere in a box, I still have the Palm V that I bought my first year of graduate school. I remember deliberating for hours over whether I should get it or the VII, because the VII had wireless; the deciding factor turned out to be that Iowa didn’t have coverage.

    I also have the second MP3 player I ever bought, a 128MB Creative Labs device that was the first MP3-player-in-a-USB-stick I’d ever seen. It replaced the 32MB Rio that I’d bought off eBay two years before, and I was amazed with how much storage it had. (These days, my cellphone charm is a thumbnail-sized 2GB USB stick that I snagged out of a box of leftover schwag from a conference my husband’s department hosted. Oh, the times they are a’changin’.)

    Apart from that it’s mostly laptops and desktops: an elderly Dell with approximately the same amount of CPU and RAM that my netbook has, at about three times the weight; a PowerBook G4; the homebuilt PC that I upgraded over and over between 1994 and 2004, now frozen in time with a dual Athlon CPU of some socket that isn’t manufactured anymore.

    Oh, and the pair of NeXT cubes. Which I haven’t actually used, but they’re a neat little piece of history.

  • Martyn44

    A USB floppy drive (I threw out several hundred disks just last year) on top of which rests an HP PDA which I wish still worked ‘cos it was more convenient for me than the HP mininote that replaced it when is ceased to USB any more. VHS tapes and a player (mostly stuff that reminds us when the kids were kids)! Vinyl records but no player.

  • Kate Y.

    I know I should get rid of all that stuff….But every time I come across them I feel a wave of affection.

    Honey, we all need more waves of affection in our lives. Reason enough to keep such things.

    I have a box labeled Kate’s Trunk. Would live in the attic if we had one. Contains, among other things, a favorite saucepan, my TI-30 calculator from high school, and my second cell phone (cute, and purple, and inexplicably designed with an irreplaceable battery. But cute!! and purple!!

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  • Jonquil

    Somewhere I have a Sinclair that was the first cheap programmable calculator. Bought it in high school. Gleaming white. It eventually stopped working, but I just couldn’t bear to toss it.