Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
It's funny.  Laugh. Hardware

True Tales of Tech Hoarding 268

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the hands-outta-my-closet dept.
Recently some member of my household forced me to watch several episodes of A&E's Hoarders. This led to several *ahem* discussions about hoarding tendencies and the closet of cables, wires, boxes and parts in my basement. But I'm not doing bad compared to some of these tech hoarders. My favorite is the guy using a stack of 9 VA rack machines as an end table.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

True Tales of Tech Hoarding

Comments Filter:
  • by ComputerGeek01 (1182793) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:07AM (#31923446)
    Only one closet full? Pfft, lightweight. Come back when you have a real collection!
    • by spun (1352)

      I've got one box of cables, neatly organized in gallon freezer bags by type. I've got another box with a few spare parts I might actually need. I used to have many, many more boxes of parts and wires I never used, but now I have a wife, and she is the opposite of a hoarder: she's a compulsive thrower-outer. If you can't justify its existence, it's gone.

      • by Yvan256 (722131)

        I have a wife, and she is the opposite of a hoarder: she's a compulsive thrower-outer. If you can't justify its existence, it's gone.

        Possible replies:

        1. Make a list of all her clothes and shoes and when she wears any of them. If she ever wants to throw something away, tell her she hasn't used clothes/shoes x in y days and that therefore she should throw those out.

        2. How long before you're thrown away? /duck

        3. Don't ever tell her you don't want kids!!!

        • by spun (1352)

          I have a wife, and she is the opposite of a hoarder: she's a compulsive thrower-outer. If you can't justify its existence, it's gone.

          Possible replies:

          1. Make a list of all her clothes and shoes and when she wears any of them. If she ever wants to throw something away, tell her she hasn't used clothes/shoes x in y days and that therefore she should throw those out.

          2. How long before you're thrown away? /duck

          3. Don't ever tell her you don't want kids!!!

          1. She already does this. If she hasn't worn it in a year, it goes to Goodwill. You thought she was power-tripping with the clutter removal? Nope, it's damn near a compulsion.

          2. Ah, but I continue to be useful. ;)

          3.) She hates clutter, remember? Kids are clutter to her. Neither of us want kids.

        • by ajlisows (768780) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:43PM (#31925380)

          Funny thing is, I was a slight tech hoarder and my wife is a shoe/old clothes hoarder. If the clothes are wearable....even if they are more fit for a teenager....she keeps them. I harassed her to get rid of some of the stuff and she pointed out my collection of garbage. I decided to set a good example and one day started throwing out/selling/giving away/hitting with a bat most of the stuff in my tech pile. It was actually quite liberating. It is not longer difficult to find the actual USEFUL things that I rarely use amidst the piles of stuff I never used.

          Never did get the wife to throw away the old clothes though. Oh well. At least it ensures that she keeps the school girl skirt. ;)

      • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:41AM (#31924010)

        My 'tech closet' is very similar, although not so neatly organized. I have a big box of random video/audio cables, and another box of PC parts, ranging from expansion cards for things like SATA when SATA wasn't integrated, and video capture cards. The rest consists of old optical drives, old IDE/SATA drives, Motherboards, old video cards, etc. Every few years I go through and throw out items that I'm not likely to need anymore (simm's, ISA cards, 10MB NIC's, etc). Although I can see things getting very messy, I do have a sig other to keep things in perspective. I would only hope that others who keep a similar stash have someone else to keep them in line from time to time.

        I do occasionally have to defend the value of my tech closet. I have saved friends and family some significant cash over the years just by recycling parts from there. I probably re-use maybe 30-40 percent and the rest gets tossed, but better some reuse/value than none at all.

        • by xaxa (988988)

          I have a small toybox of useful stuff (spare mice, HDDs, keyboard, cables, etc). Anything that's obsolete or broken is in a second box (along with other broken electronics, light bulbs, etc). About once a year (or if I move house) I take the contents of the second box to the recycling centre.

          At my parents' place I have a few old Acorn Archimedes PCs and some spares. They're underneath a bed and very difficult to access, but at some point I'll put most of them on eBay.

      • by Shotgun (30919) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @01:55PM (#31927128)

        I used to have many, many more boxes of parts and wires I never used, but now I have a wife, and she is the opposite of a hoarder: she's a compulsive thrower-outer. If you can't justify its existence, it's gone.

        My wife used to try that. Then she ended up needing a few cables or such. I told her to go to BestBuy to price them. Then I'd go to my closet and pull out a few, or make one up from others. She learned real quick that my stash is not just a random collection of wires.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by raygundan (16760)

          Eventually, your wife will discover monoprice.com, call you out on both misleading her AND hoarding useless shit, and make you get rid of it all again. Seriously-- when any cable you can conceive of is like $4 shipped, there just isn't a point to keeping an entire attic full of them "just in case".

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mog007 (677810)

            Can they ship the cables to my house in less than the 5 minutes it takes to dig the cable out of the box in my closet?

            Sometimes you need parts NOW, and I have been desperate enough on several occasions to get ripped off by the local stores.

    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:54AM (#31924210) Journal

      I didn't even know this was a thing until now. My room mate came up to me the other day and casually told me "My cousin thinks we have a very geeky house" and I replied, "How come?", to which he responded, "Well, we've got 4 desktops here in our living room/kitchen, only 2 of which actually get any use. This doesn't include the laptops you and I normally use, and Mike has HIS own desktop in his bedroom. Not to mention the pile of 10 or so Programming books stacked on the coffee table here, and the remaining pieces of that printer we took apart for fun last weekend. We've got posters on the walls with cheeky jokes about what you've learned from video games."

      And I told him, "Yeah, I guess its a bit messy, but I mean, I don't know if its all that geeky. I mean, what do other people have lying around?"

      To which he replied, "Well my cousin has posters of girls in bikini's along his wall, and many many more empty pizza boxes. His X-box has Modern Warfare 2 in the tray, ours has the movie cube2:hypercube. Where we have our router, he keeps his stereo. There is no computer in visible sight, they are all tucked away into each others bedrooms. His coffee table is littered with empty beer bottles and plastic cups, one of which has a sticky ping pong ball in it. When people come over to play Age of Empires 2, he has chicks over, and probably bones them all."

      So I retorted, "Your cousin sounds like a douche"

      Anyways. Anecdotes aside, my house has about as much junk as that entire article shows, except for the last 2 pictures (which are of course the most impressive, I can't keep stuff that organized)

      • Oh and the photo of the lamp on the stack--sure made my day--and if he had a girlfriend/wife, I'm sure SHE won the argument, See? THAT'S what this table is for! but as soon as she turned away, the guy put it back and adamantly proclaimed: 'and THAT'S what this stack is for!!' (spoken in a whisper though).

  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:08AM (#31923456)

    Took out the hard drives... maybe... maybe... I'll mount them and extract them.

    Took out the memory (???? who is going to use the old memory- why did I do that?)

    Threw two away- put the other on the curb (it felt like a super high quality case someone might want).

    Entire box of random cables (sorted through it and kept 5 "special" cables but tossed the rest.

    When in doubt, watch an episode of Hoarders.

    Trying to get my house in decent shape for a party this weekend.

    • by 2obvious4u (871996) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:15AM (#31923590)
      You can take your old computers to Best Buy and they will recycle them for you. No need to put them in a landfill. That is where I take all my old tech.

      Here are some links:
      news article [bby.com]
      recycle information [bestbuy.com]

      Also note that if it has a screen they will charge you $10 to recycle it; however they give you a $10 gift card to use in the store as well - so it is a wash.
      • by tixxit (1107127)
        At many of the garbage dumps here they have a section for computers that they will sort through and donate to schools/kids.
      • by Minwee (522556)

        they give you a $10 gift card to use in the store as well - so it is a wash.

        No, it sounds to me like you're still out $10.

    • Took out the hard drives... maybe... maybe... I'll mount them and extract them.

      Took out the memory (???? who is going to use the old memory- why did I do that?)

      A good Ask Slashdot... how does one quickly and securely wipe a pile of hard drives? As for the old memory, one can make money on it if their timing is right. Good old Rambus RAM sold for a pretty penny when the 5 people still using those machines wanted more RAM.

      • Take the platters out and go to town with a sledgehammer/sandpaper.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by hldn (1085833)

          be sure to salvage the strong magnets out of there as well. they're very useful. i took the two magnets from an old harddrive and used them to make a super strong money clip. it can securely hold 25 bills folded in half (50 layers!)

      • by Firethorn (177587)

        how does one quickly and securely wipe a pile of hard drives?

        In my area that's a 'fun trip to the rifle range' A few holes through the platter and you're good.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ikkonoishi (674762)

        How does one quickly and securely wipe a pile of hard drives?

        Fe2O3+2Al

    • I know if I hold onto these SIPPs long enough I'll find a use for them eventually.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by golem100 (581505)
      Given that my significant other is moving in with me, some "adjustments" have been made to my single-Engineer lifestyle.. This past week I delivered unto the philistine clutches of the local Electronics Recycler: Six Amiga 1200 Computers; [14 MHz MC68EC020/2MB/120MB EIDE HDD] Four Amiga 3000 Computers; [16 and 25 MHz MC68030/18MB/105 to 400 MB SCSI HDD's] Two Amiga 4000 Computers; [25 MHz MC68040/18MB/250MB SCSI HDD's] Five Amiga 4000T PCBA's; Two VideoToasters; 1 Moniterm Monitor; 40 SCSI HDD's; [of var
      • The amiga was awesome.

        My first computer virus

        Tank Wars

        I wrote and sold a game for it (made about $900).

        Played endless hours of Battletech (so sweet-- and the new versions do not duplicate the experience- they always get their egos involved and try to make it "better" and drop something that was cool for something which is stupid). We made our own mechs, had our own fleets, had our own pilots and occasionally watched them die on a failed eject. Played ridiculous numbers of games of hours and hours and hour

      • by SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @01:00PM (#31925836) Journal

        Given that my significant other is moving in with me, some "adjustments" have been made to my single-Engineer lifestyle..

        This past week I delivered unto the philistine clutches of the local Electronics Recycler:

        Six Amiga 1200 Computers; [14 MHz MC68EC020/2MB/120MB EIDE HDD]
        Four Amiga 3000 Computers; [16 and 25 MHz MC68030/18MB/105 to 400 MB SCSI HDD's]
        Two Amiga 4000 Computers; [25 MHz MC68040/18MB/250MB SCSI HDD's]
        Five Amiga 4000T PCBA's;
        Two VideoToasters;
        1 Moniterm Monitor;

        Are you bragging or trying to piss people off? I have an empty shelf in my hoarding room just crying for an A4000 and 1200. I can't even win one on eBay and you're tossing them out....

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by raygundan (16760)

        Why... why would you do this? The recycler? Hell, I've sold things like "grab-bag of untested PC cables i found in my garage" on ebay for money. Functional Amigas could have at least earned you several good dinners out with the wife if you hadn't just dumped 'em... and selling to somebody who will use the gear is ALWAYS a better option than recycling, which should be your option of last resort. People on ebay will buy ANYTHING, and pay you to ship it to them.

        Start in on your video game collection next.

    • Took out the memory (???? who is going to use the old memory- why did I do that?)

      Old memory can actually be fairly valuable since they don't manufacture it anymore. I recently sold a 64MB DDR SO-DIMM for $25.

  • But, but, (Score:5, Funny)

    by omarius (52253) <omar@[ ]wrong.com ['all' in gap]> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:09AM (#31923476) Homepage Journal

    I use a MicroVAX for an end table, you insensitive clod!

    • A microVAX is a little too small unless it's racked, but I used to have a VAX 11/725 in the small wheeled case that was coffee table sized. Alas, during a move I had to part ways with it because the power supply had died. sniff, sniff, I miss that beast. It had 25MB fixed disk and 25MB removable, 3MB of RAM and ran BSD 4.2. In MIPS, it was about as fast as a IBM PC/XT (but had a linear address space)
  • by qwerty8ytrewq (1726472) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:11AM (#31923504) Journal
    Not that many years ago my dad got an air-spun harddrive the size of a washing machine, and an electron microscope the size of a kitchenette stashed in our back shed. To be fair, he did remake it into some cool shit, but really, it was all about love of last years tech. I still think about diving into any dumpster I go past that I see wires poking out of. Recycling is such a good crutch for the hoarder.
    • by Jhon (241832)

      I do stuff like that on a much smaller scale. I have an old acoustic modem sitting next to a 1960s phone in my office. Both the phone and the modem are busted -- but it looks just too damn cool.

      At home, I have an Atari 1030 sitting under my bedroom phone. I also turned an old dual mobo server case in to a small chilled wine cellar (it's about the size of a small fridge anyway).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by markass530 (870112)
      I was intrigued by your mention of that "Air Spun Hard Drive" but didn't come up with anything on wikipedia, did it go by other names?
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:13AM (#31923540) Homepage Journal

    The pictures sent in weren't worth their price in bits. I've got three crates of cables (those clear 12-gallon ones) in my room, and probably four computers that aren't turned on. And this is my light load. At one point I had four IBM RT/PC model 135s at work, and about 11 Apollo workstations in my apartment. *shudder* DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU. At least I sold my 4/260 and my Cat 5k when they were still worth some money.

  • When his soon to be wife and kid moved in to his trailer, she made him throw out 4 full computer systems and a dozen CRT monitors. Why? because there was no room in the kitchen cupboards for trivial things like food and dishes.

  • AtariAge (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:14AM (#31923560) Journal

    You think that's bad, you should check out some of the collections [atariage.com] at AtariAge. People who have a dozen spare 800XLs "just in case". I've got to say this [atariage.com] shit is impressive. This [atariage.com] too.

    • by santax (1541065)
      That reminds of the time I was still 'collecting' msx-homecomputers. In the end I had 27 of them. Sometimes I still think about that collection, but to be honest... it's better now it's gone. Was just collecting dust and when I wanted to play a game, I would just fire an emulator. Still did hurt a bit saying goodbye to them. Then again, in return I got a walking voicebook with titties. If only she had come with a mute option.
    • Thanks for the links. Absolutely awesome collections, very well organized. I'm sure it took a lot of planning and thinking and moving things around for them to be displayed so well. If you're going to collect something this is the way to show it off.
  • I'm sorry but that G5 PowerMac tower is still one of the most attractive towers ever built. I still find it amazing looking and I wouldn't bin it either.

    I too hoard wires, but they often come in handy. I just recently needed an old-style pre-USB printer cable ... Which I had... Four of...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      old-style pre-USB printer cable

      And you don't even know what they're called?

      • by Manip (656104)

        Which name would you like me to use? And would anyone else know what I was talking about?
          - "Printer Cable"
          - "Parallel cable" (which could be one of dozens of things!)
          - 25 pin D-SUB
          - 36-Cen cable
          - "serial cable" (very vague - and inaccurate)

        Pre-USB Printer cable makes sense, everyone knows what I mean, and it doesn't allow people to think I don't know what a USB cable is...
         

    • Still sell for quite a bit on eBay/Craigslist.

      I've taken a couple old PM cases, gutted them, hacked in modern components and had some funny reactions from Apple guys.

      I think I'm going to try it again, only this time, I want to change the finish from alu to gold or bronze to fit in more with Art Nouveau/Deco style of projects I've been going with. Anyone got any ideas how to do that?

  • Until I realized how much of a pain in the ass it was to move everything. At this point, I'm 26, and likely will only move a couple more times, but when I was younger moving was a fairly normal occurrence...and I definitely didn't want to deal with all that stuff.

    • by plopez (54068)

      I read somewhere that the avg. 'Merican (I am assuming you are one) moves about every 2-3 years. So consider that. Moving a couple of times is prob. a low estimate. I lived so that all I needed fitted into my van until I was in my early 30's, following tech jobs across the country. The bad part was I had *ahem* 3 bicycles (commuter, road, and mountain) and 2 sets of skis.

      I used to "rent" furniture from the Salvation Army. I would buy some cheap, but nice looking and serviceable furniture from them. When I m

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      When my marriage broke up and I lost the house, I had a half dozen computers and a whole bunch of other stuff. I moved into a tiny apartment with my then-teenaged daughter, and left most of it at the old house the bank was taking. First, there just wasn't room (I had to rent a storage shed for the stuff I did keep), and second, moving all my junk just became too painful. I still have all (well, most) of my cables, though, and the woman who's staying with me now bitches because I'm a hoarder.

  • I have so much junk around and in the attic. My old gateway from 1992 is up there. The PC we got back in 86 is up there. Part of it is sentimental value. Part of it is "hey...I may get bored and fire that up" someday. It has of course yet to happen, but you never know when a VLB video card will be needed. Or I may need to get data off that old MFM drive.

    Part of it is the initial cost of the stuff makes it hard to get rid of. Part of it is knowing that it's not good for the landfill. But my wife s

    • That's nice... I don't have a lot of stuff (for some values of "a lot"), but all of my friends know that before they (or someone they know) throw out an old device (especially old audio equipment - tape recorders etc) they should call me and most of the time I take it.

      The oldest working computer device that I have is a dot matrix printer made in ~1985 (Robotron CM 6329.01M), I use it as a backup if my primary printer (also old, but not that old HP PSC 2500CM) stops working. I also have an old MFM hard drive

  • value (Score:5, Insightful)

    by leomekenkamp (566309) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:18AM (#31923632)

    It would be interesting to find out if the reason why some of us are so attached to old hardware just might be that it was not long ago that that hardware was mind boggingly expensive. My brother sometimes took a IBM model 5155 [oldcomputers.net] home and let me play nethack on it. At that time you could buy a nice car for that money instead of such a beast.

    More than 10 years later I got my hands on one of these, but sadly parted with it under the influence of my wife at the time. (Yup, we divorced.). Seeing a picture of it still fills me with awe thinking how expensive this machine once was. Maybe that awe combined with a but-it-still-works attitude makes us think twice about throwing such stuff away?

  • by 2obvious4u (871996) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:18AM (#31923648)
    NO! I can't throw away my old Token Ring cards and cables! What happens when the world goes post apocalyptic and I have to connect to a legacy system to save the world from Skynet? I need all my old devices it is our only hope!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Skynet will plug a single 4Mb/s card in, the whole ring will slow down from 16Mb/s to accommodate it, and you'll spend all fucking day running around the building trying to find it.

      (Wow, I'm old.)

      • One of the many disadvantages (along with reliability) of networks that directly connect end devices together.

        Thank god for modern switched ethernet.

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @01:33PM (#31926624)

      NO! I can't throw away my old Token Ring cards and cables! What happens when the world goes post apocalyptic and I have to connect to a legacy system to save the world from Skynet?

      I totally thought you were going to say you couldn't just throw the Token Ring cards away because you had to make sure they were disposed of properly in Mt Doom.

  • by jp102235 (923963) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:18AM (#31923650)
    The first sign of trouble is when you said/thought, at least I am not as bad as X. oh goodness.
    The second sign: an intervention by way of watching a tv show devoted to your disease.
    Take it from a former hoarder: just throw everything away (donate, trash, etc). There are way
    more important things in life than, well, "things". Once you start spending as much time, energy,
    and care for the people in and around your life, I doubt you will ever hoard again.

    -sent from my cray-
  • Murphy's Law (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symes (835608) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:21AM (#31923696) Journal
    applies in this case. It states that an item's usefullness increases ten-fold as soon as it is thrown away. Hoarding is only natural.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Has anyone else noticed accusations of hoarding coming from their other half, the same one who has a wardrobe full of clothes and shoes she's worn maybe once or twice but can't throw out, y'know, just in case?
  • Whew! You know when I think about all the boxes full of crapola I've hoarded over the years it reminds me that I should just send that stuff to the electronics recycling centre instead of having it take up my precious living space.

  • The small stuff (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hessian (467078) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:24AM (#31923736) Homepage Journal

    In my electronics box I found:

    * Disk labels for an Apple ][e
    * PC/XT to PS/2 keyboard converters
    * PS/2 to USB keyboard converters
    * A 14.4k modem
    * A chip extractor tool
    * A laplink cable

    Archaic, but small enough to overlook for another decade. I put it all back of course.

  • by Chelloveck (14643) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:24AM (#31923746) Homepage

    Bah. Pikers! Look at those photos, you can clearly see the floor in some of them! No tech hoarder worthy of the title still has a visible floor.

    • No kidding, that collection is for babby. I've got old SGIs laying around, stacks of ZIP drives, spare scanners (3) in case I need them, about eight laptops, eight different kinds of Macs, including a working SE with SCSI network adapter(!) I've got two RS-6000's that are too expensive to run. About ten towers of various builds. I've got a Windows NT4-Alpha machine for kicks.

      My friends bring their friends over to stare in awe at the fruits of a life wasted on old junk, and that's not even to speak of the vi

    • by mikael_j (106439)

      Well, some of us make sure to "forget" large chunks of our collections in our parents' garage every time we move (just make sure there's a gap of a few days between moving out from your old place and moving in to your new place, your parents will happily let you put your stuff in the garage "over the weekend"). And despite this sneaky move I still have a 10 m^2 storage room connected to my apartment that's a deathtrap due to all the stuff I've piled in there.

      The only problem with my storage method is that I

  • Just mention "shoes" (Score:5, Informative)

    by petes_PoV (912422) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:31AM (#31923862)
    and the conversation will magically change direction, though you'll be even deeper in the doghouse
    • You do realize clothing designers rummage threw the trash to make popular whatever statistics show that people throw out in a significant amount.

  • by Foxxxy (217437) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:34AM (#31923930)

    I recently was forced to part with my old IBM System 36 and corresponding hard drive that was 350lbs and the size of a dishwasher. The system 36 was the original 700lb model 5630. They were used as end tables but didn't fit with my wife's tastes. I am proud to say that I was able to get the box up, with connected terminal and actually pulled data off of it (printed) in 2005. I was challenged by some friends to make it work to show it could still be put to use and damn it, the yellow paged manuals I still had made it easy.

    My tech hoarding earned me some extra income as I won the bet making it work. So don't throw it out, your tech buddies will pay good money to watch you fight with 20 year old tech.

  • Toxic waste (Score:5, Insightful)

    by plopez (54068) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:36AM (#31923946) Journal

    Considering that much of tech gadgets contain toxic waste, usually in the form of heavy metals, reusing them as furniture isn't a bad idea. It beats dumping them into a landfill or paying for recycling.

    The tech industry is a filthy industry. Esp. when you factor in the planned obsolescence.

    • Some old processors have a lot of copper in the heat sinks. On the London Metal Exchange looks to be about 3.5 dollars a pound.

      You can usually get a good price for those, and the rare earth magnets in hard drives also sell for a pretty penny.

  • Please be on the lookout for this old soundcard (Innovation SSI 2001) [yvan256.net], as well as AdLib Gold (or its echo/reverb modules), anything by Covox (especially Sound Master 1, Speech Thing), Roland (MT-32, CM-32L, CM-64, LAPC-1), and the old Creative Game Blaster.

    I'd buy the SSI 2001 and AdLib Gold modules, the rest should still be a pretty easy sell on eBay.

    If you have anything that can be classified as "Sound Blaster or compatible", it's not worth anything unless of course you want to use it yourself in an old s

  • by BlueBoxSW.com (745855) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:51AM (#31924136) Homepage

    Any psych-turned-CS person will tell you that the hardest behaviors to break are partial reinforcement.

    Behaviors that don't pay off all the time, but sometimes do.

    Anyone who has saved hours of time by pulling out an obscure manual from the bottom of a pile, or recovered data with the help of a rare connector type from the junk closet, is getting partially reinforced.

    And therefore, will continue to collect.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by greed (112493)

      Right; if I give something away, I know I'm going to need it in the next 6 to 12 months.

      I gave away my last AGP video card a couple of years back. 4 weeks later, my fileserver went down with bad capacitors on its AGP video card.

      I gave away my solderless breadboards. I've since had to replace them....

      Power supplies... RAM DIMMs... you name it.

      (Part of this is because I'm the fix-it guy for a small start-up and all my friends, especially the ones with "restricted finances" let's say.)

      Anything that's truly n

  • Isn't that what sunk Hans Reiser's excuse for chucking out the back seat of his car?

    I saw some guy on the TV who said, "What a lie! Everyone knows that geeks *never* throw anything away. Even if it is broken and useless!"

    He should have followed that up with, "Tip the veal! Try the waitress . . . etc."

  • I don't have all that much computer equipment. Just five 1U servers, a 2U server, my old machine that was replaced by by new machine, my laptop, a few switches and routers, a butt-load of network cables, a bunch of spare power cables, a couple of UPSes, and 170 SCSI drives (73G, 15K RPM).

  • For true tales of tech-hoarding horror, look to your local university.

    I spent the past year clearing two physics spaces out. Forty years worth of leaky vacuum pumps, x-ray transformers, copper, stainless steel, botched and long-forgotten projects, a Heathkit PDP-8 rack, Hercules graphics cards....
  • I just give away/sell/trow away everything I have not used in two years. Clothes, computer parts, all the same. I have given away my C64 and made somebody else happy. My old openSUSE boxed sets go in the bin as soon as I get another. I this get rid of about 95% of the stuff I have. The other 5% are things I mostly keep for decoration. CDs, DVDs and books are among that.
    And yes, there will be some other exceptions. But all in all, I just get rid of stuff I do not need anymore.

    Once a year I do a serious clean

  • I agree that throwing old hardware all over the room is excessive, but some of us "collect" these old machines. I collect them for a mixture of history and as a way to remind myself "Don't do THAT again!" I even write about them and their history: http://codeslave9000.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] for anyone interested in following along at home. Parts is parts, but keeping old machines in running order is much more challenging and rewarding.

  • by Angst Badger (8636) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:05PM (#31924462)

    My favorite is the guy using a stack of 9 VA rack machines as an end table.

    The best part is that if you look past the stack of machines he's using as an end table, you'll see the original wooden end table shoved ignominiously into the corner.

  • Now my wife has a different opinion of course, but it seems to me that keeping your clutter around you self limits your acquisitions of more clutter. Those people that buy, use discard, buy use discard are filling up the common landfills with toxic waste whereas I keep my toxic waste close at hand and out of the ground water.

    I do have several Sinclair 1000 systems and a few 5 1/4 drives and maybe a few computers that can use them. But I think my wife got my box of punch cards and tossed them. I am still try

  • I've got as much crap laying around as anyone but I do wish I had one more piece--a big purple SGI deskside, I think like this one [questier.com] that really would have been a perfect end table. Unfortunately, I didn't have room for it at the time it was available, and by the time I did, the guy who had it moved away and the machine had been tossed.

  • I've been moving around quite a bit for the past five years - I teach internationally and live on what I can fit in two checked bags and a carry-on. And this includes a bicycle.

    I've managed to shed nearly all of my tech equipment that's not currently in use - I'm down to laptop, monitor and a small gym bag of cables, media, and crap.

    However, when measured digitally, I've become quite the hoarder, with about 10 TB of crap split between my four 2.5" external HD's (Now in 1TB!), and a video server I run for

  • I would suspect most tech folks have to some degree or another hoarding of old technology.

    I know myself I have an embarrassing amount of crap I should throw away.

    I think I have an IPC Pentium I 120Mhz system, a Dell PIII 800 system, and a custom built BP6 dual 466Mhz Celerons. I am sure other people have a lot more.

    What is worse is all the crap that goes along with that. Cables, spare parts, etc... About the only rational for keeping them is because you still have the systems. Some of the stuff isn't even c

  • Highly recommend these, make brilliant coffee tables.

    My one even functioned as a computer last time I tried powering it up
  • The Hubble telescope runs off Intel 486 chips.

    I remember reading somewhere that NASA scours resale shops for electronics to keep the shuttle flying.

    You never know, hoarding could mean you have the "Right Stuff" for space exploration.

  • It seems like cleanliness is the real decider. If you keep things organized, and maybe even labeled, people seem less inclined to complain or see it as a problem . If you have stuff shoved in a closet, or all over the floor, or just stacked randomly in the order that they entered your closet... well that's when it's a problem.

We don't know one millionth of one percent about anything.

Working...