Life

The Cavern of Obsolete Technology

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We’ve been living in this house for something close to 17 ½ years now. We came to it with two small children and added a third a month after we moved.

As the kids have grown older, changed habits, gone to school, and I’ve changed jobs, locations… well, there have been lots of changes. There was a time when we parked a car in the garage. That, combined with a bit of storage, was a sort of standard garage, I think.

But slowly, the garage became a dumping ground for everything that wouldn’t fit in the house. That got worse when we turned the basement into an apartment for our oldest last year. Eventually, it was more or less full. We’d have a nice big yard sale, we promised ourselves. Repeatedly. For several years.

Yeah, that never happened. And then along came COVID. Even if I wanted to have a yard sale in the middle of a global pandemic, I’m sure there are rules against it. Or there better be.

But with the “extra” time, I supposedly have due to the shutdown, I’ve been poking at the garage, slowly creating usable space by compressing, organizing, and bagging for removal.

And then we kicked it up a notch.

Delivered on Wednesday last, we rented a dumpster and I’ve been filling it. In fact, other than the most basic version of housework (food preparation and clean up, animal maintenance and vacuuming up the spring shed), basic novel editing targets, and much shorter than normal COVID workouts, it’s the only thing on my to-do list that I’ve been working on since a day or so before it got here.

That dresser we’ve had since before we got married, picked up at an estate sale half a province away and that no child from this house is possibly going to want when they leave home? Dumpster.

The mattress we replaced just before this happened and haven’t been able to take to the dump? Dumpster.

Miscellaneous crap and beat up toys that kids haven’t played with for ten years? Dumpster.

The home gym setup that hasn’t had space to be put together in at least a decade? Dumpster.

Ancient camping equipment, purchased when children were small, when the only camping we’ve done has been in a cottage for at least seven years? Dumpster.

Oh, a few things are getting posted in the online versions of yard sales. Things that would have been yard sale fodder are getting put at the end of the driveway. But a lot of things are reaching the dumpster. It’s been surprisingly easy to fill.

But in among those, there have been hidden treasure. Things dear to various family members from childhood, certain bits of lego or toys thought long lost. And in among those, bits of lost technology from days gone by.

For example, the image attached to this post is an item that gave me tremendous joy in the early days of the internet, pre World Wide Web, even. It isn’t the first modem we ever had – that was a 2400 Baud internal modem that I had to partially take apart the computer to install – but it’s the oldest one I still have. The same box held a 28,800 modem and my first ever digital camera (an Olympus circa 1998 that could manage, hold on now, 850 kilo-pixels), among other things. More images may follow over the next few days.

I think there may be a display somewhere in my future.

Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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Learning from his children how to follow his dreams again, Lance has long since allowed his writing to slip over the border into obsession, and typically has too many projects in progress. Dividing his time between traditional and independent publishing, he still finds time for spirited discussions with the technology around him,

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