back to article STRIPPED DOWN and EXPOSED: Business kit from the good old days

A staple of radio phone-ins is to invite listeners to share their stories about funny things they found when moving into a new property. There are some tales that everyone can share, such as front doors fitted with a letterbox so small that you’d struggle to fit a postcard through without having to fold it in half. There are …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

So the big question is

Can any of those bits of kit tell you the number of the local skip-hire company... EIther that or theres some ebaying to be done!

2
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

About six months ago my ex-colleagues and I hired a skip or two and got rid of years (a couple of decades worth pretty much) of tat and crap. Unopened boxes of Borland Builder, books extolling the virtues of Lotus-123. The hardware front was mostly just old PCs but we also disposed of a rack mounted RAID box we'd been gifted.

What shocked us was estimating the cost at time of purchase. We reckoned we binned nearly half a million quid of stuff. None of it the slightest use any longer.

What saddened me was the software though. I remember buying it in high anticipation and now it's all just superseded crap. Some of it led to greater things but so much of it just stopped being relevant and was nearly forgotten.

There's a moral to this story but I'm not sure what it is. Except that three months after we filled the skips the office was closed down and most of us made redundant. Apparently my time hasn't yet come though as within a month I was back at work. So for now at least it appears that after 25 years programming I've not yet been superseded. I just have to survive another 8 years until I'm 55 :)

8
0
Silver badge

>So for now at least it appears that after 25 years programming I've not yet been superseded.

Well, at least the density of human neurons hasn't doubled every eighteen months since AndrueC left the fab, and his architects were smart enough not to specify him with EPROMs.

7
0
Bronze badge

I've still got a stack of 5 inchers with Harvard Graphics on them. I'd still rather see folks use them than Powerpoint.

3
0
Bronze badge

Re: There's a moral to this story but I'm not sure what it is

I think the lesson for all of us in the computer industry, whether specialising in hardware or software, is that those who live by obsolescence die by obsolescence. Less painful than swords I suppose.

2
0
Silver badge

a couple of decades worth ... of tat and crap.

Should have sold it to this place: http://www.weirdstuff.com/

they even have a webcam.

A true nostalgia-fest, well worth a vist if you're in the Sunnyvale area anytime.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: There's a moral to this story but I'm not sure what it is

The moral is that it's still easier to address envelopes with a typewriter than a Google Chromey tThingy (tm) using Interwed print to the cloud full of iUnicorns.

Yes I have just tried to get a chromebook to print to a wifi printer 6 feet away - which seems to have failed because of a problem in a server on another continent.

7
0
Silver badge
Coat

"I've still got a stack of 5 inchers with Harvard Graphics on them"

If you've only got a 5-incher then I have bad news for you - you've definitely been superseded.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

I'm obviously missing something...

what are the "notorious typewriter ram-raids" mentioned in tfa?

0
0

Re: I'm obviously missing something...

For the sake of sanity, I'll assume you're serious.

A ram raid is when someone uses a vehicle to break into premises to steal something.

In this case the author has cleverly used the non-existence of said ram raids for the article in question (type-writers) to mock the squirrelling away of many of these articles instead of, for example, putting them in the bin or some other central location. (like a skip, tip, charity shop or E-bay)

I assume the word notorious was used to highlight the utter non-existence of type-writer theft or associated coverage.

I think that's pretty much killed that joke. Sorry Mr Dabbs.

10
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm obviously missing something...

Thanks. sorry for idiocy, my brain's on holiday today.

0
0
Silver badge
Joke

Re: I'm obviously missing something...

I thought a RAM-raid was when you arrived early at work, with a screwdriver, and nearly simultaneously downgraded the amount of RAM in a co-worker's machine, while upgrading the amount in yours.

37
0
Joke

Re: I'm obviously missing something...

For an instant, what sprang into my mind was the way that the carraige-return always managed to "ram-raid" the nearest cup of tea!

7
0
Silver badge

Re: I'm obviously missing something...

Is it reference to the incidences in the early nineties (when RAM prices were very high) of thieves breaking into premises to steal RAM from computers? The left of the computers were left in place.

No one would break into a business to steal typewriter ribbons... though they might ink-jet cartridges.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: I'm obviously missing something...

Typewriter theft may not currently be high on the to do list for modern thieves but I remember in the '70s in South London a couple of local likely lads putting on white coats then strolling in to the BT office building and visiting several floors of the building with a purloined tea trolley.

They proceeded to take away enough of the old 'IBM Golfball' typewriters to fill the trolley saying the machines were going away for servicing.

IIRC one of these machines in those days was a couple of hundred quid and very desirable on the second hand market.

I was making about 75 quid a week in those days so a trolley full was not a bad haul.

1
0
Silver badge

Until about ten years ago, a member of my family used an Imperial typewriter, c1930, for typing out invoices on carbon paper. This was eventually replaced by an Epsom dot-matrix printer, under the control of Sage on XP (don't know about their migration plans!) The typewriter looked like this one: http://gallery.nen.gov.uk/assets/0802/0000/0143/ict_equipment16_mid.jpg

Bits of kit I've found in a new workplace: a large data tape machine (not cassette) shoved under the desk of a NHS mailroom.

In another workplace, a box of compact cassettes with Dyno labels, marking them out as containing instructions for a CNC machine.

0
0
Silver badge

Epsom dot-matrix printer

I've heard that they go through the print queue like a dose of salts.

13
0
Bronze badge

Gas masks? Pah! We unearthed a huge purple dildo hibernating in a support stocking after breaking into the locked desk drawer of a recently medically retired product manager.

5
0
Anonymous Coward

Er, let me know when you put it on Ebay <cough>

3
0

Yikes, you've stumbled into...

a terrorist cell. No way of tracking down letters from those typewriters. The bedding and gas mask is a hint as to what they were planning. Please leave the office, lock the door and report to your nearest police station.

8
0

Re: Yikes, you've stumbled into...

I think Alistair will find the safe is for the typewriter ribbon I notice is conspicuously absent in the photo. Perhaps Alistair has lighted on a subsidiary of GCHQ. I'd suggest he leave the country at once, but don't tell anyone where you're going.

1
0
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Yikes, you've stumbled into...

"No way of tracking down letters from those typewriters."

Actually, you can. You can even tell who typed it if it's a manual typewriter. Especially if your name is Detective Colombo, Homicide. Or Jessica Fletcher.

Yes, the dirty mac --------------->

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Gas masks

I know I'm paranoid, but during the Icelandic volcano incident I bought a pair of suitable gas masks. For those who don't know, occasionally sulphur-laden plumes from volcanoes can hit the ground, and when they do, anybody in the vicinity can die or suffer serious lung damage.

Several years later they have been well used, during gloss painting (which used to give me severe catarrh), working with epoxy and spraying wood with preservative. They turned out to be a rather useful investment.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Gas masks

Are you my mummy?

14
0
Bronze badge

Re: Gas masks

This isn't a crazy idea, and modern gas mask filters are proof against some pretty nasty chemicals, but getting the correct respirator and using within-expiry-date filters may be a better bet than a surplus gas mask. I'd be wary of the usable life of the filter, after the seals are broken, and the cost of replacement.

I see on eBay several lots of used filters going dirt cheap. Don't expect them to work. They might be OK for use in a film, rather than break the seal on a new filter, but that's all. Gas masks aren't a wrong answer, but it is important to get the details right.

0
0
Silver badge
Gimp

Sir

I really want to know what's in the safe now.

12
0

Re: Sir

Indeed. Mr Dabbs. Please acquire the key and open the safe and report back. Please.

4
0
Gold badge
Happy

Re: Sir

Oi! Dabbsie! Don't take the money. Open the box!

If there's something scary in there, we'll be right behind you. Several miles behind you...

8
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Please acquire the key and open the safe and report back.

or perhaps a live stream of the opening ceremony as his SFTweekend contribution next week would be better. About in time for my 2pm cuppa please...

2
0
Bronze badge

Re: Sir

Can't help you, I'm afraid, at least not yet. The best I can offer is a photo of the offending item: http://pic.twitter.com/PEVO3CbuGh

It's about four feet high. I would dearly love to use it as a drinks cabinet. But until I get the right to open it, it remains a large piece of junk that occupies space I'd like to use for something else... such as a drinks cabinet.

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: Sir

Right to open it?

Why haven't you/why is it even there still then??

1
0

Drinks cabinet (was: Re: Sir)

If you're planning to use the safe as a drinks cabinet, just watch out for Indio and his gang...

0
0
Gold badge
Happy

Re: Sir

Alistair Dabbs,

Just call Special Branch, and tell them that you've found a bunch of gas masks and a mysteriously locked safe. I'm sure they'll pop round right quick and open it for you.

You may wish to take the precaution of moving all your valuables to a safe distance first...

5
0
Silver badge

Re: Sir

Well when you do, you'll have to do another post. Us busybodies are all in a buzz about it now!

1
0
Silver badge
Devil

Re: Sir

Considering some of the other stuff found I'm wondering if it's an old BOFH lair?

0
0
Bronze badge

Return to the Titanic (2014)

Given Hollywood's penchant fro remakes you could make an hour long documentary* on opening of the safe, raising all the speculation here

*Reference is to the 1987 1 hour doco dramatic opening of the Assistant Pursers' safe assumed to contain a small fortune in jewelery that went down with the Titanic - had a single diamond bracelet (I misremembered that it was empty) - I note the video of the original is available on youtube

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Sir

I don't know how old the safe is, but from the colour of the flex on that extension cable, it pre-dates the wheel ...

1
0
Silver badge

@ Alistair Dabbs

Just pick the fucking lock, for gawdess's sake.

It ain't exactly rocket science. See the MIT locksmith's guide if you are clueless.

0
1
Bronze badge

The key is in the pocket

The pocket of the suit worn by the corpse in the safe.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

those typewriters have monetery value dont you know...

They are historic items and back in demand...

2
0
Silver badge

Re: those typewriters have monetery value dont you know...

Exactly. Rather difficult for the likes of GCHQ/NSA and Google to slurp data from a typewriter.

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: those typewriters have monetery value dont you know...

Rather difficult for the likes of GCHQ/NSA and Google to slurp data from a typewriter.

It's actually very easy, especially with single strike ribbons - unroll the ribbon and you can read off everything it has typed directly. No one ever thought about that when throwing out used ribbons.

2
0
Bronze badge

Re: those typewriters have monetery value dont you know...

"No one ever thought about that when throwing out used ribbons."

when i worked, briefly, for the military industrial complex (industrial division) every typewriter ribbon used in the facility was collected and securely destroyed whether used for classified work or not.

and, as to monetary value - there are still too many places on this mismanaged planet that don't exactly have reliable electricity. if you only have electricity for a few hours/day and not always contiguous hours there is a real advantage to being able to keep working and not wait to reboot and fire up the printer hoping to get through the job. there is, last i checked, a good market for working or repairable manual typewriters. you might check with an NGO to see if they're interested.

3
0

Those gas masks look (to my untrained eye) like the stuff the Soviets used. Obviously, this place was an equipment dump for a Cold War Spetnaz group. Be careful opening any heavy boxes :-)

5
0

Any chance, Mr Dabbs, of my acquiring some of those gas masks? Please contact me on johnaaronroseatgmaildotcom

1
0
Gold badge
Black Helicopters

Don't listen to him! He's an FBI agent provocateur!

0
0
Bronze badge

Gas masks

I have learnt that the boss bought the sack of gas masks in the wake of the 7/7 bombings in London. Remember the bus on Hackney Road that didn't explode? That was just outside the office.

Unfortunately, I have also learnt that the gas masks were a job lot from that dodgy supplier rejected by the Israeli military, i.e. they probably don't work.

2
0
Silver badge

Re: Gas masks

The one in the picture also doesn't appear to have a filter, so its only effect would be to give you a sweaty face whilst you choke to death.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: Gas masks

" johnaaronroseatgmaildotcom"

I don't know why but every time I re-read this I keep expecting to see the word 'goat' in there. Weird.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: Gas masks

"I keep expecting to see the word 'goat' in there"

I thought there was a 'goatse'. Our brains taking shortcuts, as usual. :-)

1
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums