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Ask Slashdot: Old Technology Coexisting With New? 338

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 raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @04:06PM (#42207477) Journal
    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.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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
  • 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.

  • 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?

  • Re:Apple ][+ (Score:4, Interesting)

    by drkim ( 1559875 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @09:14PM (#42211265)

    Dude, you need a better hobby.

    I dunno. There's people making candles and reenacting the Civil War.

    An Apple ][+ is fairly modern.

  • 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...

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"