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Hardware IT Technology

Ask Slashdot: Old Technology Coexisting With New? 338

Posted by timothy
from the revisiting-the-unary-days dept.
New submitter thereitis writes "Looking over my home computing setup, I see equipment ranging from 20 years old to several months old. What sorts of old and new equipment have you seen coexisting, and in what type of environment?" I regularly use keyboards from the mid 1980s, sometimes with stacked adapters to go from ATX to PS/2, and PS/2 to USB, and I'm sure that's not too unusual.
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Ask Slashdot: Old Technology Coexisting With New?

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  • A few items (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alphatel (1450715) * on Thursday December 06, 2012 @03:59PM (#42207363)
    Here's all the components I can think of using in the 80's, and what their function or lack thereof would be today:
    3.5" floppy - still used for some driver diskettes
    5.25" floppy ?? have not used one of these since 1995
    Keyboards - usable with adapters
    Mouse - same as above
    LPT Printers - DB-25 still shows up on many new motherboards
    Serial DB9 - I can still make these by hand! Definitely useful for many console RS232 equipment ports
    IDE Hard Drives - useable if you really had to, but why?
    IDE CDROM - same as above
    10Base-t Ethernet - 10 MB back in the day, but still compatible (although they might be only half-duplex)
    Cat3 Cable - good for phones, digital or analog, or 10base-t
    Cat5 Cable - Good for home PC or connecting internet-facing equipment
    Modems (v21/v22) - Doomsday is sure to come, always have a tinfoil hat, and dialup number at the ready
    • by jandrese (485)
      Why is Slashdot showing this as an archived discussion already?

      Anyway, I've got quite a lot of old equipment because I'm a packrat and tend not to get rid of anything that's still working. My Keyboard is from 1995 (although I had to upgrade my mouse last year when my old one died), my PC is from 2006 and is probably going to need an upgrade reasonably soon, as games are finally starting to ask for more than it can give. My previous monitor was from 1998, but it died last year as well and I had to repla
    • by Quila (201335)

      I have no idea how to hook up my old Atari plotter and 300 baud modem.

    • by Ashenkase (2008188) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @04:26PM (#42207777)

      5.25" floppy ?? have not used one of these since 1995

      You would have gotten extra points if you mentioned Double Sided 5.25 Floppy.

      I wonder if sales in the Single Holed Punch tanked after 5.25s went out of style.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's really impressive if you think about it, that telecos have established such a track record of reliability that people just assume dial-up modems will be useful in the doomsday. There's not even a question in their minds. Almost like the Telephony version of the Postal Service's, "Rain, Sleet, Snow, or Doomsday" (Did I get that right?)

      • by AK Marc (707885)

        Almost like the Telephony version of the Postal Service's, "Rain, Sleet, Snow, or Doomsday" (Did I get that right?)

        In Snow, In Rain, in heat, in blackest night
        Beware my power, the Postman's Might!

      • by couchslug (175151)

        MANY people still use dialup because cable and DSL don't reach them.

        I keep a stash of cheap Winmodems for when power spikes and storms take out customer modems. Dialup sucks, but not worse than "no internet access".

        I also keep a US Robotics externaI bought in 1999 because I couldn't get Winmodems to work with Linux. I sometimes visit rural places where dialup is the only game in town and it does fine.

        USR still make their descendants, because they WORK.

        http://www.usr.com/products/modem/modem-product.asp?sku= [usr.com]

    • Modems (v21/v22) - Doomsday is sure to come, always have a tinfoil hat, and dialup number at the ready

      Sounds more like a motivation to get some nice Packet Radio hardware. ;-)

    • by tringstad (168599)

      Where were you that you were using 10baseT ethernet in the 80s?

      Although it technically existed, the standard wasn't published until 1990. I personally didn't have any interaction with it until around 1992.

      I have never seen with my own eyes anyone using 10baseT over Cat 3 cabling. I've heard rumors, but never seen it. In my experience, prior to the introduction of Cat 5 most people who were using 10baseT were doing so over coaxial cable.

      Cat 5 cabling wasn't introduced until 1991 or 1992, and wasn't widely

      • There were several forms of networking over twisted pair in the 80s. StarLan, AppleTalk, even twisted-pair ARCNet used early Bell cable. LattisNet was proposed, but the IEEE committee wisely chose 10BaseT in '87.

        The need for higher speeds prompted examining the TSB-67 to come up with what was then Cat 4, and Cat 5. Cat 5 took off quickly, and because there were other strange things that worked with Cat 5, became the default until various "enhanced" schemes that could tolerate the biggest problem-- the modul

      • Re:A few items (Score:4, Informative)

        by Phreakiture (547094) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @05:08PM (#42208459) Homepage

        In my experience, prior to the introduction of Cat 5 most people who were using 10baseT were doing so over coaxial cable.

        That's called 10base2 when you run it on coax.

        I've seen 10baseT run on cat3. In my sophomore year of college, I lived in one of two dorms that was experimentally set up with a college-owned computer in every room, all networked using DECNet. 10base2 emerged from the back of the computer, through the usual T-connector and resistor, followed by a short run of coax and another T-connector and resistor connecting it to a media converter. Cat 3 cable then ran from the media converter to the wall jack. It sucked ass during the first semester, while they were trying to bang out the bugs (they gave us a partial refund for the extra we'd paid to be in that dorm) but come the Spring semester, it rocked.

        I used it mostly as a terminal to access the VAX. It was a faster terminal than anything that was in the computer labs, where everyone connected at 9600 or 19.2k. That was kind of nifty to have a terminal that would, as far as the eye could tell, update all at once.

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        I've deployed 10 baseT on cat-3. 100 BaseT works over cat-3, thought I was using it at shorter distances. Modular jacked offices with multiple cat-3 runs to each block. and I thing you may have been using 10base2, not 10baseT over Coax.

        As an aside, 100baseT works fine over 300+ meters (100 meter max specification). Though the place that installed that and was having trouble so they called me in managed to have set it up as half-duplex, which doesn't work (you end up colliding with yourself at distances
        • by cusco (717999)
          At my first real IT job (1996) we replaced a bunch of dumb terminals with 486/66 machines running NT 3.51. The terminals communicated fine on the CAT-3 telephony cable originally installed. All but two of the PCs could talk to the server about 30 meters away. Those two were about 10 meters further away. We replaced the Intel NICs with ones from DEC and they worked as well. For some bizarre reason the drivers for the DEC cards could only be installed from a floppy, would not install from the hard drive.
    • IDE Hard Drives - useable if you really had to, but why?

      IDE CDROM - same as above

      Why not? They still work and provide enough storage to be useful especially for backup purposes (backing up to the same spindle is less useful) The PATA -> SATA transition is still pretty recent. I upgraded motherboards recently and kept everything else except for the video card (AGP), memory, and cpu. The pair of SATA disks that were connected via a PCI adapter I connected directly. The IDE devices that were connected directly, I attached to PCI adapters. Especially the IDE DVD burner. Why repla

  • I have a power deck that I got in a garage sale that might be from the 80s but everything else is from the last five years.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2012 @04:04PM (#42207447)

    but college girls' equipment stays the same age.

  • It's AT to PS/2.. ATX standard used PS/2... Just needed to state that..
  • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @04:06PM (#42207469)
    I have a few old devices I keep by my modern equipment for perspective. You know, a sundial, a vcr, and an iphone 4.
    • by Tumbleweed (3706)

      I have a few old devices I keep by my modern equipment for perspective. You know, a sundial, a vcr, and an iphone 4.

      God, an iPhone 4 - that's SO OLD!

  • by raymorris (2726007) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @04:06PM (#42207477)
    I can get a new keyboard at Big Lots for $8, so no need to keep them for decades. I do use older top-of-the-line enterprise equipment, though. Raid cards that were $750 new can be found for $35, old IP KVMs that were $1200 new are actually BETTER than current models because don't require proprietary software. The other day I used a serial cable to transfer files from an Win98 laptop that didn't have USB mass storage drivers.
    • by noc007 (633443)

      Which IP KVMs are you referring to? The cheap ones I'm finding still require a dedicated KVM switch or proprietary software to be licensed. I'm looking for one that's browser based and hopefully can remotely mount an ISO and do the keyboard power button command. $200+ for the ones I'm finding isn't worth the cost to me for a home server. There's an optional remote management card for my server, but the web interface sucks and it uses up a whole expansion card slot when there's only two slots total.

      • by compwizrd (166184)

        Well, for something that will convert any KVM into an IP KVM, look into the Lantronix SpiderDuo... though you can only iso mount to one drive at a time... one version even supports pass through, so you can leave the original monitor and keyboard connected.

        For an actual ip kvm that works through a browser, the Avocent DSR4020 will at least easily and cheaply give you a bunch of ports via your browser.. the ps2 dongles are about 5-10 each, the USB around 40-50, so I'm just using ps2 to usb dongles.. once in a

    • by pjwhite (18503) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @04:47PM (#42208095) Homepage

      I have been using the same keyboard layout since 1989, when I first got a Northgate keyboard, and I refuse to switch. The function keys are in two vertical columns to the left of the main keyboard and on the left-hand side of the main keyboard I have, from bottom to top, "Alt", "Shift", "Ctrl" "Tab" and "Esc". (Caps Lock is safely out of reach just to the left of the space bar). There is a full numeric pad on the right as well as a cursor control group just to the left of the numeric pad.
      I find this layout much more efficient ergonomically than more modern keyboard layouts, which sacrificed good layout for compactness.

      One of my main computers that I use almost every day is a Pentium 3 Win98 machine, with four different parallel port devices (attached through a switch to the single parallel port on the computer) -- an HP LaserJet Series II printer (still making clean prints), an EPROM programmer, a security dongle and a JTAG adapter. I also have (and use regularly) a Houston Instruments plotter connected to this computer via RS-232.

      • Why do you use the Win98 machine? Just no reason to upgrade, or are there compatibility issues with some of your devices?
    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @05:12PM (#42208509)

      Please let me know what bucking spring or cherry switch keyboard you can get for $8. If you mean mushy plastic dome garbage, that is why we keep old keyboards.

    • by Cinder6 (894572)

      If a keyboard still works, why replace it? I know $8 isn't exactly breaking the bank, but I still see no reason to just waste it. I'd rather spend that money on a book.

      With that said, I have a das Keyboard. It's mechanical, so it should last a damn long time. It was also $120, so I plan on keeping it for a while.

  • I'm glad I'm not the only person doing that.

    Actually the keyboard's not that great. And being so old I hate to thing about what crap is in it. I do it partly out of stubbornness and pride: it's the first PC keyboard I owned (from 1996). Then I can be smug at youngsters on forums telling them I'm typing on a keyboard older than they are.

    I'd like to think I'm trying to be funny, but it's actually true.

    • by i.r.id10t (595143)

      When I can find a replacement for my Model M keyboards that cost $10-20, let me know... Have my original and 2 spares in the garage...

      • If you get lucky, you'll occasionally run across fools just throwing away, or selling by the box for peanuts, Model Ms; but you won't find a buckling-spring keyboard for sale under ordinary conditions for much less than $80 new. Unicomp still makes them; but they don't exactly give them away.

        If you are willing to embrace heresy, the Cherry MX keyswitches aren't nearly as bad as the rubber dome crap, and can sometimes be found slightly cheaper.

    • by noc007 (633443)

      I have a few Model M keyboards from 1984 that I still use (banging away on one right now). All of them are older than my wife. The nice thing about the earlier Model Ms is one can change out the cord for PS/2. I still get asked if I'm using an adapter for this tank, but I just point to the one cord going to the docking station without any adapters.HP has yet to drop them from the docking stations for the Elitebooks and Probooks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2012 @04:10PM (#42207519)

    Today's telephone networks are a random mix of old and new technology. The modern phone backbone is fiberoptic digital, but when wired to your house, it's made to emulate good old Bell. You can plug in an 80 year old phone rotary phone, and when someone calls you, it'll ring, and you can answer it! You can have one of these ancient devices right next to your DSL modem on opposite ends of that filter the phone/internet company gives you. In some area, pulse dialing will still work! And touch-tone phones is also an old technology. When you call on your cellphone, the numbers you dial don't get sent as tones. But in a call, when you call up one of those annoying phone robots, your cell phone will send tones, emulating the old signaling technology of the 70's or 80's or whenever the tones were invented. Plus, add in VOIP and the IP phones I use at work, and it becomes apparent that the modern telephone network is a continuum of technological anachronisms.

  • Apple ][+ (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lord Byron II (671689) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @04:13PM (#42207559)

    I have an Apple II+ that I program on at least once a week. It's a fun exercise to see what I can get the old machine to do. I don't have any disk drives, so I use the cassette interface. But I don't have a cassette deck either, so I use my brand new laptop as the storage by plugging the Apple into its audio ports. So I have 33 year old tech not just co-existing, but working in tandem with, brand new equipment.

    • by idontgno (624372)

      I wondered how long this would take to come up.

      "This" being "I use modern technology as a peripheral for really old technology."

      Case in point: I use my early 2000s white box PC (Athlon XP 1800+) running CentOS Linux as a household server... and as an RS-232 serial terminal for a 1983 NorthStar Horizon (Z80 CPU, 64K memory, dual 5.25" floppies, running CP/M 2.2). And sometimes I use my 2012 Motorola Droid 4 smartphone as a wireless SSH terminal to get to the server, to run miniterm to access CP/M on this anc [wikipedia.org]

    • by greg1104 (461138)

      I used the same trick when trying to write an Atari 2600 game, with the Starpath Supercharger [wikipedia.org]. That lets you load a new cartridge via the cassette interface. But rather than plug a real player in, you can compile your code into a WAV file that uses the same format as those cassettes. Play that sound on the laptop, audio output plugged into the Supercharger, and you can test the game on real hardware.

      This is extremely useful, as emulators only go so far. I had my demo display loop working fine on the 260 [sourceforge.net]

    • > But I don't have a cassette deck either, so I use my brand new laptop as the storage by plugging the Apple into its audio ports.

      Well done! Hats off to you sir.

  • Actually, I don't even know if it still works, but it there it sits...

    Oh. Books. Lots and lots of books.

    • by rk (6314)

      I still have my BASIC and assembler programming books for my TRS-80 Coco. For that matter, I still have a TRS-80 CoCo somewhere. I should dig it out and see if it still works. You never forget your first. :-)

      • by Eristone (146133) *

        So do I - (Books and Coco) - I need to clean out the garage this week - let's see if I can get the beasty to talk to the flat screen TV... (I can see the wife now just shaking her head and mumbling)

  • 8-bit to 64 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hamsterdan (815291) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @04:15PM (#42207601)

    Working, an old C64 (original, still working with modifications made circa 1988) with Amiga monitor, 2 1541 hooked up. (similar setup on my TV)

    There's a 160 Mhz 486 (5x86 all ISA & VLB, no PCI) with an Ensoniq Soundscape Elite soundcard running under DOS 6.22/Win 3.11 .
    Right next to it a 800Mhz PIII with 98SE. Powermac G4 400Mhz with OS9 / Leopard. (those are using a CRT)

    There's a 2Ghz G5 iMac hooked up to my home theater (iTunes), my Media Center (XP MCE) and the *newest* machine, a Core2 duo (Win 7 x64 about to go back to x86).

    What's saddening is the older stuff works as it is, but I had to recap the iMac, the Media Center, my AV receiver (2003) needed a new relay and caps on the Core2 are starting to bulge (that one is probably 2006)

  • Power usage. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2012 @04:17PM (#42207641)

    I've had a lot of old hardware running alongside newer stuff, hobby, nothing serious, but I always tried to get rid of relics. It's not their age, performance, looks or anything like that; the power usage was simply too high, reducing the power costs actually made it easier to buy more new hardware.

    And call me sentimental, but I stil have an 486, a p266 and other things, all perfectly functional, in the back of the closet, things I have a hard time parting with.

    • by jandrese (485)
      I finally got rid of the PII-400 (well, disassembled it, the parts are still in boxes in the closet) but only because my AthlonXP 1700+ finally "retired" and became the beater box instead.
  • 80386... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2012 @04:18PM (#42207651)

    I have the worlds only 80386DX connected to the internet. I have an IBM Model 80 with an Ethernet card and a 9Gb Full height SCSI hard drive running OS/2 Warp 4 Fixpack 5 and Mozilla Firefox version 3. It works for most sites that don't require Flash.

    Nathan

    • That's it, I'm connecting my 286.

      What does it have to do to be considered "connected to the internet"? Just be physically connected and have working NIC drivers or does it have to run a server or some browser?

      • by neurojab (15737)

        I used to use Net tamer (a combination PPP client, e-mail client, and web browser) on my 80286 over a 2400 baud modem. This was in 1996... ah the anguish. Seriously though if you want credit for having the least powerful online machine, you have to be able to do something useful with something less powerful than an 80286. Turns out you can browse the web with a Comodore 64. http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/classic-tech/surf-the-web-on-your-commodore-64/182 [techrepublic.com]

        • I used Arachne on my 286. It worked, but was rather slow. I did not want to set up a modem emulation so I just used ethernet. Still it's fun trying to figure out what you can do with such an old computer. I tried using a web browser on Windows (3.10) but with the Ethernet drivers there is too little RAM left for the browser. The computer has 1MB and I don't know if it is possible to upgrade (it uses DIP chips for RAM and I don't know if there are any compatible higher capacity ones).

          Unfortunetly, the 286 is

      • by bre_dnd (686663)
        I'll mark you points if you can open a telnet or ssh connection to a Unix shell account somewhere. Packet drivers and NCSA Telnet would get you there, and you could run a commandline webclient from there.

        For another starting point look on http://users.ohiohills.com/fmacall/ [ohiohills.com] or http://sshdos.sourceforge.net/index.html [sourceforge.net]

        Your next challenge: do it on an 8088.

        • I already did that. No need to use a text mode web browser, when I can just use Arachne - it works on DOS and is graphical (and really slow on a 286).

          I also managed to get on IRC with it (I think the IRC client was part of the package with the telnet client). I even managed to access Windows shares (WinNT4 server has the required drivers for DOS), though it was a bit inconsistent - sometimes it would work, sometimes it wouldn't.

    • I have the worlds only 80386DX connected to the internet.

      ...



      Challenge Accepted.

    • by greg1104 (461138)

      386DX? Luxury [googleusercontent.com].

  • Of course, some of us love the old Model M keyboard. I do, and I have four of them in reasonably heavy use.

    I also have a computer with an Intel motherboard that uses RIMM memory. That's being a web server, so I can't nuke it yet; but when the next power supply fails (I have two that I've been swapping and repairing -- the RIMM motherboards used a funky 6-pin connector where the modern ATX uses the PCI-4 or PCI-8 connector) it will be time to start looking for a replacement. The machine I used until just rec

  • Any where there is an industry that needs to be computerised, but isn't one where massive gains in computing power would improve the bottome line: any kind of insurance, Retail POS systems, Accounting systems, ect. In some places you'll have web front end connected to a back end java system that queues and proxies the request back to the mainframe which runs a virtualized instance of an older mainframe that sends a file to a different older mainframe system that generates a print out in a back office where

  • I only have one non laptop now. I just tossed my last USB attached floppy drive. Used to have a parallel port tape drive, tossed that too. Tossed a Com1 Serial port Acom digitizer tablet. I haven't used a CDROM or DVDROM in years, read or write. I haven't owned a modem in years. Only my desktop has LPT or COM ports. I tossed every extra PS/2 mouse and keyboard and have a single spare USB keyboard. The desktop uses my sole remaining PS/2 keyboard and the Logi marble mouse is connected by a USB-PS/2 dongle. I

  • Save the musical gear, most of this stuff lives in my workshop:

    An Apple II (gonna play Oregon Trail, gotta do it right!)

    I've got a serial mouse that I bust out occasionally, though not often...

    mid-1990's laptop, kept alive for the serial port and working 3.5" floppy drive.

    I've also got a couple decade-and-a-half-old P2 and P3 machines running firewalls, NMS, DHCP, etc.

    Several old flatbed scanners I haven't taken apart (yet)

    STACKS of non-working floppy drives, CD-ROM drives, other old elect
  • by fantomas (94850) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @04:26PM (#42207785)

    Stable technology (and the desk! :-) ) - Using the hand tools my dad gave me, some of them were his grandfather's (e.g. the chisels), to build the desk I work on with my laptop. Can't see me passing down any of my electronic equipment to grandkids for them to use day-to-day. Nice to be using tools that have worked for generations.

    • Hand tools are a pretty mature technology - hence old equipment can still be very useful. Electronic technology is very new, hence very little is stable.
  • I have a MS sidewinder forcefeedback joystick. Best joystick I've ever used, but it requires a gameport. I wish someone would make a USB-Gameport adapter that would work, but sadly I have to use a Soundblaster Live card on my new PC. I also prefer using a quality ball mouse for FPS games.
  • not today but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by readin (838620) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @04:38PM (#42207967)
    My parents got a color TV in 1976. They kept that thing for 29 years. It worked with one of the early Pong games. It worked with an Atari 2600. It worked with an Atari 800. Later it was connected to cable TV (with remote control that was connected by wire to a box on top of the TV). It worked with VCRs and DVD players. Near the end of its life it was using satellite TV. That old thing went through a lot. Halfway through its life the channel changers on it were largely forgotten. That was a good television.

    When I bought my first VCR I bought the same brand assuming that they made good stuff. I had to replace it within a couple months and ended up buying a Japanese brand :P
  • A project of mine (https://github.com/dandroid88/webmote) attempts to serve as a bridge for some less connected, older technologies to be controlled by newer things like my smartphone. For instance, my home entertainment system, a hodge podge of new and old responds to IR (each with their own remote). My project allows one to control any of these devices from any device with internet connectivity and a browser so that I can turn off Glee (my fiance's fav) from the bathroom, lol. Its a plugin architectur
  • I have a ton of old computers that still run. C64's, C128, Atari 1040ST, TRS-80 4p, Amiga's, Mac's.

    One of them currently has a CF board for it (Apple II's).

    Rest of them are getting some sort of modern interface improvement. Also, I use a MacSE to network the Apple IIgs. Only thing the MacSE does, connects 2 networks together.

    Now the Amiga's aren't that hard to get networked (remember PARnet?) or modern storage adaptors. Oh, one of the Amiga's in an Amiga 1000.

    While Commodore computers have had the par

  • by Vrtigo1 (1303147)
    I think you mean AT. ATX is a type of motherboard form factor, AT is a type of keyboard connector.
  • by laffer1 (701823)

    I've got a nextstation that still works. It's got 10baseT ethernet and I've had it on the network. I've found ssh binaries for it and even installed bash on it. It's grayscale, but it's still fun to poke around on lynx or world wide web on it just to see what things looked like in the old days. In many ways, it still acts like it's modern counterpart OS X.

    I've also got two sun netra servers in the basement that work. I threw BSD on them and they're actually pretty decent for their age. Power draw is t

  • A 1950's double oven, A 1970's microwave, a pinball table, 1980's - 90's computers and game consoles... All running on knob and tube electrical wires from the 1930's, yes they're safe and up to code for existing residences. I have an Osborne-1's parallel port hooked to a custom made IR board, and serial port connected to a GNU/Linux Media Center Edition box. I get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I press "movie mode" button on my Android phone (wireless / local web interface to "Remote" app on Debian Serve

  • Ethernet over 9600 baud RS232 via a T1 TDM microwave channel. If you follow this entire path end-to-end you would traverse CWDM fiber and a DS3 SONET ring, all the way down to a hand-built addressable serial bridge. Also running 2400 baud serial over ethernet (yes the reverse) using a cell phone at the remote location as the modem.
  • stacked adapters to go from ATX to PS/2, and PS/2 to USB

    Ditto. My PS/2 to USB adapter comes with connectors for the keyboard and mouse. The connector for the mouse dangles un-used. I prefer my laptop's trackpad to a map. The keyboard is a vintage Acer with a "fat" enter key and NO WINDOWS KEYS, which I never liked. I understand there are some shortcuts that might be nice with proprietary metakeys, but I never learned them, don't miss them, and get royally peeved when I hit them by accident.

    As an adde

  • My model M outweighs the macbook air it is attached too by far.

    I value lightness in a laptop, but if I am going to be at my desk I like a good keyboard.

  • At work I keep a couple of old Toshiba 8086-based laptops around for programming 1980s-era radio equipment. That's not really old co-existing with the new, though.

    I do have some software I wrote to transfer samples on a modern PC to the strangely-formatted Ensoniq Mirage 3.5" floppy disks, which I guess counts. My favourite though is my PDP11/23 which has a blown serial port on the CPU card. So with the aid of the service manual for the CPU I tracked down the fault to a blown level shifter. I haven't go

  • Photography (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RDW (41497) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @06:24PM (#42209531)

    I have a lens made for a 1930s Leica which, using an adapter they started making in the 50s (when the current bayonet mount was introduced), will work happily with any of their later rangefinder cameras, including the latest 2012 digital model (if I could afford it). As a bit of a long shot, I emailed the company a few years ago with a technical query about this lens, and got a prompt response with a request for the serial number so they could check their records! The standard flash/accessory shoe used today is also the same size as the one Leica was using as early as the 1920s, as is the 35mm cassette (so you can stick modern film in that antique Leica).

    35mm itself (packaged differently) is basically a 19th century movie film standard, and we're also in the third century of several other common tech standards - the D cell battery goes back to 1898, the 1/4 inch audio jack is a 19th century phone switchboard plug, and the Edison screw lightbulb dates from the same era. Any others?

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday December 07, 2012 @06:51AM (#42213865) Homepage Journal

    You don't have an ATX keyboard. ATX is a standard for motherboards. They're an XT keyboard, or an AT keyboard, but they're not an ATX keyboard.

  • by 6Yankee (597075) on Friday December 07, 2012 @08:29AM (#42214163)

    Last year, my employer spent half a million euros on a new X-ray source for protein crystallography. Imagine our surprise when we discovered that there was a 3.5" floppy drive in the middle of it, holding some critical piece of code that needed updating. The service engineer's laptop didn't have a floppy drive; fortunately, we have some ancient kit elsewhere that does... ...but man, it makes you feel old when you have to show your sysadmin how to format a floppy. Kids these days...

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