Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

Hanging on to that old technology

I went on a bit of a shopping spree recently, though being unemployed I probably should limit my spending to food, bills and the mortgage payment.

I bought a pair of new sneakers for $20, and then hit Office Max for a digital audio recorder and Best Buy for a new digital camera and a 1 GB memory card for the camera.

The latter three purchases weren’t impulse buys. I am taking some assignments as a freelance reporter for my former newspaper, and decided that it was time to upgrade my equipment.

The audio recorder I used until recently was a microcassette recorder I bought in the mid-1990s and used during my college journalism days. Later, on the occasions when I went out on stories, I would use it to back up my scribbled and sometimes unreadable notes. I figured the time was right to go digital, plus I can download the audio files to a computer and save them.

The digital camera definitely brought back memories. It’s only my second digital camera, and with the extra memory card I paid less than half what I paid in December 2001 for my Fujifilm 2600. The new camera has a lot more megapixels and will make better pictures for the newspaper.

Honestly, I’m not a big fan of throwing out old stuff, so the former audio and photo recorders will not be going to the landfill. I even have my old Minolta XG film camera, which I used until 2001, somewhere in a box in the garage. I bought that camera in 1981 after I returned from my overseas deployment in the Marines, and it gave me so many years of reliable use that I felt bad when I retired it for the then-new digital camera.

During a recent garage cleaning and reorganizing session, I even found my old Sears VHS video camera, which was replaced a couple of years ago with a small Sony camera with tons more features. I just can’t bear to let the old machine go.

Others are less tolerant of old technology, but I find it fun to sometimes fire up the old stuff just to see if it still works. For example, in my garage is a Pentium-166 PC from Gateway 2000. Several months ago, just for fun, I connected its mouse and keyboard, hooked it to an old monitor, and pushed the “on” button. It started up, and soon Windows 95’s splash screen appeared, followed by the familiar desktop. It still worked, after years of inactivity. I have to admit I was touched.

There’s nothing wrong with old technology save that the pace of innovation has rendered it out of date. Maybe I’m just a pack rat for keeping that stuff, but I figure I spent my hard-earned money on those things and might as well keep them.

I have two desktop PCs, for example, that are still set up and are used occasionally. My Gateway laptop from 2002 was given to a friend who found a use for it after I bought a new HP laptop, unfortunately with Windows Vista on it.

I try not to see old technology as useless. Once, it was cutting-edge and people paid big bucks for it, and I think hanging on to it pays tribute to those who made it all possible.


November 26, 2008 - Posted by | Living in the modern age | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Good luck with your new assignment! No news here yet – although I’ve made many inquiries to the Tampa office.
    I’ll keep in touch.

    Comment by Diana-NYC | December 1, 2008 | Reply

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