Just when I thought I had done a thorough job cleaning last time, or the time before that, I found the Box Of Obsolete Technology sitting waaaaay in the back of the closet.  Among the the numerous power adapters, weird cables and networking equipment were:

  • Sony Clie – my first and last personal digital assistant.  This was a nifty device, except it was ultra fussy about the MP3s it would play.  I accidentally dropped it on a concrete floor, knocking out half the vertical rows of pixels – the same week Sony discontinued production of this fine device.   I wasn’t impressed with the Blackberry Tecplot got me – of course, now I need a real screen to look at graphics and such.
  • 3 1/2″ Floppy disk module for a Dell Latitude C800 laptop, circa 2001. The floppy was the only method available to install certain drivers. Capacity of a floppy disk: 0.00144 Gb. Amount of primary and external disk space accessible from my current Dell Inspiron 9300: 1350Gb.
  • Wacom tablet – This is an external device used for drawing things, but only if you use the special pen that comes with it. I could never get this thing to work with my computer.
  • Three 4mm digital audio tapes. In the day, these tapes held over 1.3Gb, which was plenty to back up a small company’s files. The two obvious problems it took a very long time and the media is sequentially accessed. The tapes were from early 1994. Judging by the terse recovery instructions, I was playing with Slackware Linux and made these because afraid I’d mess up my home computer. (Linux was pretty bad then because you’d need to know your monitor’s hardware refresh frequencies before you could start the windowing system.) Though the tapes have a lifespan of about ten years, I ran them under some rare earth magnets just in case.
  • 1/4″ cartridge (QIC-24) tape. These held about 45Mb of data. This particular tape is from the early 90s, when I worked at a large database company. Some customers did not have these drives, so there was this dude whose job was to make diskette versions of the patches.
  • write protected9-track reel tape, circa 1990. These held about 120Mb (because it took three to do a full set of backups) — Mitch may remember. The tape drives were the size of two refrigerators, mostly to house the vacuum system that kept the tape tension constant. On the picture to the right, the red ring was the “write protect tab.” My tape contains — or rather contained — various class projects I had been working on, as if I’d ever be called upon to write parallel FORTRAN or design chips for a video card. I’m surprised this lasted as long as it did.

I may be making a run to the “solid waste transfer facility” tomorrow…

5 thoughts on “BOOT”

  1. Oh, I remember those tapes quite well. Backing up those VAXes was one of the best jobs on campus.

    I remember Vicky even better, eye candy being a fringe benefit of the job.

  2. I’ve got some of those tapes in my desk at work, as well as a couple of the Really Big Floppy disks. Sentimental value, I think. Plus the manual to the software on the Really Big Floppies.

  3. 1990’s and 120M…must be a 6250 bpi (bits per inch) drive. Be glad you didn’t have to do backups on their predecessors – 1600 bpi.

  4. We’re moving office and our DBA unearthed some reel based backup media from 1986. I was in highschool. I suddenly feel so young.

    @Lynne: do you mean “really” big floppies as in 5 1/4 or REALLY big floppies as in 8in? I’ve got some 5 1/4 laying around.

    ‘course, I also remember when Compu$erv let you switch from 1200 to 2400 baud…wow was that 2400 baud modem fast 😉

  5. @Mitch – It was one of the better paying on-campus jobs, and Vicky was hands-off. (I didn’t see her in the staff directory.)

    @Lynne – that’s pretty funny. I ditched them because there’s no (easy) way for me to read whatever’s on there.

    @Dave – yes, it (was) 6250bpi. Attached to each VAX (which at the time, had moved to BSD UNIX) was a hard disk the size of a 3-stack filing cabinet. Worst design feature of these was having the 0/1 switch at waist level.

    @Woodstock – Ah, that reminds me of the siren song as these modems would connect and attempt to up the baud rate. scrreeee Scrreee SCCCCRRRRREEEEE Scrreee (silence)

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