Unpacking the Pack Rat

Since I’m home, I’m making a concerted effort to clean and organize around the house. Every once in a while it’s time to go through all the stuff that’s been pack ratted away and make some hard, and not so hard choices.

It’s never hard to throw away PC power cords. They are like coat hangers, in that they seem to get together when you’re not looking and multiply. Ethernet patch cables are like that too. But some things are harder to part with. SCSI has been replaced by SATA and SAS by now, yet I bitterly cling to my last remaining SCSI cables and terminators for fear I may need it. I also was bitterly clinging to some remaining 10-Base-2 cabling , connectors and terminators for the same reason. When am I ever going to set up a 10-Base-2 network again? How many people reading even remember those? Another thing that are like coat hangers? Gun cases. I need to get rid of a lot of them, but I don’t want to throw them out and advertise to anyone who drives by there’s guns for a stealing. I would imagine everyone else who collects guns is in the same boat. How to get rid of them?

I’m still sitting on three NeXT cubes, and a slab in my attic I’d love to find a home for, but don’t want to throw out. Pack ratted along side is my Mac IIsi from college, a prototype Newton I found that still works, and a 30 gallon aquarium set. I think I’ve decided it’s about time to toss the aquarium, or sell it. I’m tired of the room it’s taking up. I don’t see myself ever getting back into keeping fish.

Also on the way out, several previous generations of digital cameras, the 8mm SCSI tape drive, and all my backups from 1998 to 2001. I’m pretty sure if I haven’t needed those by now I won’t ever need them, and even if I did, I encrypted all my backup tapes and doubt I even remember the passphrase.

This is going to be a long process, but I need to get in the mood of putting the past behind me, and throwing crap out is a good way to do that.

23 thoughts on “Unpacking the Pack Rat”

  1. NeXT! That brings back the memories. I have to admit I have some 10base2 around as well. I used some this past week to tie up a tree that was leaning. The coating is easy on the trunk. As for gun cases, shaving cream and a .45. Sounds like a great time.

  2. 10-base2… could that be used for inside phone wiring? I think I saw that done before.

  3. I have no problem throwing out 10baseT. But I do have a couple of SCSI cards, cables and terminators lying around. For some reason though, I still keep the power cables. I have to get over that.

  4. Wow… I have my Apple //e and a Mac SE hanging around with the Amiga 2000 ;) I too would love to get a next cube-I was just entering college and had no disposable income to get one ;p. Remember those days?

  5. How about getting everything to go away together, make a list and post it here. Anyone wanting the stuff can get with you privately and make arrangements.

    Set a time limit or else you’ll be fielding requests forever!

  6. Ha, brings back memories. A buddy of mine went dumpster diving at his old lab and scored some kind of unix box which used what looked like a betamax tape to boot it up. Don’t remember what it was.

    I need to through out old junk, too.

  7. Here’s what to do with the aquarium. First you have to turn it into a 3-sided one (usually found near apt dumpsters). Then line the insides with reflective foil. Fashion a lid.

    Put the result in the breakfast room window. Sprinkle birdseed on the bottom.

    The little birdies will come in to have their breakfast while you’re enjoying yours.

  8. “I have rifle cases coming out my ass.”

    You really should have that looked at.

    And perhaps opening a business in selling rifle cases…..

  9. Rifle cases…take them with you next time you go to the range, and drop them off in the trash. Some will find new masters.

  10. I’d volunteer to take some rifle cases off your hands. I’m “just down the road” in Coatesville, too.

  11. There is a great company here in Seattle called REPC that will take all your old computers and peripherals. They sell a bunch to the public (their store is awesome) and recycle the rest. I got over my pack rat ways and I have taken truck loads of gear down there. If I ever need a 10Base2 cable, an AUI transceiver or an IDE cable, I know they’ll have one.

  12. WOW, I need to do some De-pack ratting myself, but I would love me some gun cases.

  13. The NeXT keyboard is still my favorite for key feel. A guy in an office down the hall had a color turboslab… I was in awe.

    Now, my iPad outperforms it.

  14. I feel your pain….when we moved to Arizona (2000) I finally got rid of my ARCNET hardware, and all the 8″ and 51/4″ floppies. And when we moved to Montana, I got rid of … anything not 10base100 or better, got rid of the 3.5″ floppies, the 8mm DAT drives (including the jukebox), the Zip and Jazz carts and drives, the SCSI controllers, cables and terminators, my Zenith monitors, my SONY color monitors, the VGA cards….a couple of laptops that still worked…two desktops, lots of pointing devices. It all went to the landfill, after I couldn’t find anyone to take them as a donation (including a couple of charities in Phoenix).

    I still have my HP LaserJet III, which still works.

  15. I’ve noticed an affinity, over the years, to hardware that other people would mock as “outdated”. I suppose I’ve always been fascinated by anything that could run a program, and I’ve always wanted to be able to put them together into various configurations, to see what I could do with them. If only I had the time!

    In other words, if electricity still flows in it, and bits can still come out, it’s not outdated!

    May your “outdated” stuff find a new home; and if not, may they rest in peace in whatever landfill they end up in! :-)

  16. I admit that I am sitting on a 33MHz NeXT slab as well. Heck, the thing still boots and the monitor (B&W) still looks great. Never owned a cube, but I wanted one.

    Truth be told the industry connections I made by developing for NeXT made it the single best investment I have ever made.

    If you developed, I sold the original SerialPort object back in the day, then the PowerGuardian UPS manager app.

    I was eventually hired by a Palo Alto startup owned by people that I met in the NeXT days and then we were bought out by a BIG computer maker.

    My wife claims that visiting the computer museum is not much different than visiting my man cave..

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