I should have known better than to ask my wife ‘What would you like to do today?’.
Like any self-respecting tech who has a lot of PCs, and is often called upon to sort friends & relatives PC’s out when they decide to throw a wobbler, I’ve been known to keep a fair number of spares around. Ok, so maybe a lot of spares. It’s something my wife ‘suggests’ we do something about fairly regularly, but I’m not a naturally spatially organised person and the thought of sorting through all of it triggered almost instant catatonia. And as I always say, you never know when some piece of equipment will go ‘pop’ and release the magic blue genie smoke, and that’s when all this
crap resource comes in handy. Just recently the fact that I happened to hold onto some old PCI network cards, despite every machine I knew having them on the motherboard now, was vindicated by the fact that Marie’s parents wanted to get broadband, and their PC didn’t have a LAN connection. And recently when Marie’s video card blew, a quick rummage in the ‘silicon mountain’ brought forth a saviour in her hour of need. And when our home office server started to have problems and I found enough bits in my pile to almost build a complete replacement for nothing (Linux doesn’t need state of the art after all). Oh, how I gloated about all these instances in the face of being challenged to downsize.
However, it was inevitable that sometime I’d have to prune it, and so by giving my better half carte blanche to choose the afternoon’s activities, I stepped right into the trap. The picture on the right shows just some of the stuff I’ve ended up chucking out, from old slot-based Pentium 2 motherboards to SCSI cards, sound cards, hard drives, keyboards, 12 types of heatsink, memory, you name it. I’ve only kept spares for my most important machines, and graphics cards (which can always come in handy for testing). I was actually slightly disappointed that I hadn’t kept as many as I’d hoped - I think I’ve been too generous in giving them away to good causes, so now I don’t have that good a library of cards to test with. But I did locate my original 3dfx Voodoo (and Voodoo 2), much to my delight, together with the external passthrough cable you had to use to pipe the output via your main video card. Class. Not that I really expect to support them anymore, they’re just a great piece of nostalgia and I can’t bear to throw them away. You never forget your first hardware accelerated triangle.