back to article The hoarder's dilemma: 'Why can't I throw anything away?'

Alistair Dabbs is unwell this week. This column is a repeat publication of something we found, er, at the back of the cupboard. It's actually not that musty (it's from 2012). I like my house zen. Unfortunately, I am a hoarder, so it’s not. My half-life wife has been trying to educate me by making me watch TV programmes with …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Bronze badge

eBay

That Walkman does look valuable.

Why don't you put it onto eBay for a £100 and see if anyone bites.

It would justify your hoarding and both annoy and please the missus simultaneously.

5
0
Thumb Up

Platters as mug mats

Thumbs up to a kindred spirit. I'm resting my three o'clock cuppa on one now.

9
0
Bronze badge

Re: Platters as mug mats

I'll second that. But i am getting better.

but the wife would disagree. I refuse to remove a AA shell, that is immensely un-useful but awesome to have :D

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Platters as mug mats

That's just the pace of modern progress isn't it? We used to use 3 1/2" floppy disks as mug mats and these days nothing less than a multi-Gb coaster will do the job.

12
0
Thumb Up

Re: Platters as mug mats

I use a couple as mirrors for when I'm camping. They work very well for that.

2
0
Gold badge

Re: Platters as mug mats

I never used floppies as coasters. It was always AOL CDs. Of which I had many. Multitude upon multitude of the bloody things! Why are astronomers wasting their time looking for dark matter, when we know that 10% of the mass of the universe is made up of unused AOL discs?

25
0
Bronze badge

@I ain't Spartacus

well the Dark Matter should be about 75% of the mass of the universe.

I suspect that the rest is floppy drives and reel-to-reel tape decks

3
0

Cables

I'm moving house next week.

Sorted out 3 boxes of cables a couple of days ago.

Putting the unwanted ones in the "dump" pile.

So now I'm down to 2 boxes of cables I will never use.

Progress!

21
0
Gold badge

Re: Cables

Don't do it!!!

I moved house under 2 years ago. I can remember dumping my parallel printer cables, because I remember reading a piece or a comment on El Reg about 2 weeks later, about someone looking for some.

I'm trying to clear the box room now, where all the crap got/gets dumped. I came to this huge box, that I could barely lift, and assumed it must be full of books that didn't make the shelves. But no, it was totally full of cables. And had a twin, which had cables, plus the odd 8 speed internal CD player, unused joystick and my copy of Elite for DOS, that I didn't have the heart to throw away when all the other crap went. Like my copies of Windows 3.1 and DOS 5 on floppy, plus manuals for same.

I looked through it, and was there a SCART lead that my Mum needed? Nope. That'll only come out of hiding when I'm looking for an HDMI cable in a few weeks/months time, and can't find one of those... So I've boxed it all up, paid a removal company to take it away and store it for a couple of months, had them deliver it once I'd bought somewhere, humped it into the box-room, fallen over it a few times, and still not used any of the stuff inside it! Though I've probably chucked some stuff away, and shoved the cables into it, 'just in case'...

3
0
Silver badge

@Spartacus

Like most of us reading this, I have a collection of odds and ends, 99% of which I'll never use. From time to time I'll dispose of some of it I feel has crossed the 100% threshold, but damned if I don't always seem to find a totally unexpected need for something I just threw out weeks ago.

Not for the intended purpose of what I threw out, mind you, but some unintended purpose I realize I could have put it to if only I had realized it at the time.

6
0
Silver badge

Re: Elite for DOS

Possibly worth sticking on eBay. I sold mine (original CGA version, not the later Elite Plus) a few years back. Prompted a brief bidding war up to £50 quid. That only actually stopped when one of the bidders realised that he not only didn't want to pay the price it had got to and would prefer a dodgy download, but also started listing copies of that illegal copy for sale. Still not sure if I should have reported his listings, or if that would have got him banned and wiped his bids out on my listing (dropping it to a much lower price).

0
0
Bronze badge

Get well soon

Hope it's nothing serious.

13
0
Bronze badge
Childcatcher

Re: Get well soon

We earnestly hope that Vulture Towers has done the right thing and sent our beloved Dabbsy to Harley Street for thorough examination.

2
0
Silver badge

Re: Get well soon

Surely he should be undergoing the patented beer and bacon diet at the el'reg own private clinic

4
0
Gold badge

Re: Get well soon

Surely he should be undergoing the patented beer and bacon diet at the el'reg own private clinic

I thought that unwell was journalist euphemism for him having spent the last week doing just that...

Although I suppose there's no harm trying a bit of the hair of the pig that bit you, the morning after. Talking of which, I've got some nice rolls and bacon at home. That's tomorrow's brekkie to look forward to.

4
0
Bronze badge
Joke

Re: Get well soon

I have it on good authority that Mr Dabbs is not so much sick as missing, presumed lost in the attic. He may or may not have been last heard saying, "Look dude! I *know* there's a spare c64 tape drive just beyond that pile of ever useful NES, megadrive and 3DO controllers."

He was last spotted passing beyond the milk crates full of cable off-cuts (did you know if you plant 'em in the garden they grow into full-sized coax cables?), striding confidently towards the mountain of empty VHS tape cases (you never know when you'll need one, or four hundred). Sadly, like the crew of the Mary Celeste, our intrepid Mr Dabbs may never be heard from again.

8
0
Unhappy

BBC Micro

Sent mine to the dump nearly 15 years ago. Still regret it. Not sure what happened to my Spectrum.

I won't make the same mistake again though!

2
0
Silver badge
Happy

Re: BBC Micro

Which is where I actually found one.

Plugged it in, switched it on and heard the polyphonic beep. After which I went to dig up a composite (no, not composted) monitor. And found one, in my not-at-all zen junk pile spare parts storage.

Working fine, it is.

1
0
Flame

In a remarkable co-incidence I just stumbled across a mutual solution to two weighty matters.

The 'Milestones' museum in Basingstoke has excellent exhibits covering the last century of history, and I'm sure they'd appreciate a donation of well cared-for 80s and 90s tech. They have displays featuring toys and gizmos from every decade since 1900. They've even got a ZX Spectrum in there. In return, I wonder if they'd be so kind as to let you chuck that copy of Tim Langdell's book next to it through a wood-chipper?

2
0
Silver badge

Get well soon Dabsy.

This particular reprint lacks the frustration and anger of your more recent pieces.

8
0
Silver badge

What goes around ...

> This column is a repeat publication

We know that TV "stops" (well, stops broadcasting anything worthwhile) during the summer ... and for the month or two over christmas ... and at weekends and various random times throughout the year when the american broadcasters go for a lie down and screen sports instead of entertainment - and we have to stop too, in case we accidentally see something good first.

So in the spirit of repeats, let's have a few commentards repeat some tardy comments.

Here's a possibly prescient offering from October 2007: (filed under Olympic ticketing system crashes under demand)

and in 4 years time ....

... what's the betting we'll see this exact same story again, only with a different country in the frame?

4
0
Silver badge

Athlon XP 2400 PC

Athlon XP 2400 Thoroughbred overclocked to 2.4ghz

Asus A7N8X Deluxe mobo

1gb of DDR400 RAM (as the mobo can't handle more than that at 200Mhz, IIRC - it'll take 1.5gb at 166mhz)

ATI X1650 Pro GPU

2 x Samsung Spinpoint 120gb HDDs in RAID 0

CoolerMaster Aero7 fan with rear mounted controller

4x 80mm fans with front mounted controller.

Built when those parts were newly available retail - so a solid ten years by now surely?

I still have to fire that machine up and check what data needs recovering from it.

And that's just one of the bits, bats and boxes that I need to sort out.

Also, how the hell did I remember all that exact spec without having to think about it? Terrifying. I can't even remember what I had for dinner on Monday night.

I think half of my house move a couple of months ago was toss like the above....

I'm not a hoarder, er, honest.

Steven R

4
0
Bronze badge

Re: Athlon XP 2400 PC

Would probably work fine as a firewall or file server for the house

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Athlon XP 2400 PC

Had an almost identically-specced machine ten years ago, except for an XP2500+ CPU. Did you have to bridge several tiny points on the chip with conductive paint on the 2400 to overclock it? That's my most abiding memory of those chips...

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Athlon XP 2400 PC

I spent a lot of time trying to keep a system with Thoroughbred XP2600+ system running! The thing would work fine at full speed, then start to crash but would start working again if I underclocked it. Few weeks later, it would start crashing again, so underclock it a bit more. Was not the memory or the MoBo.

Finally give up, and scoured Ebay for another Thoroughbred, and repeat the cycle. And again. Then completely give up on the machine!

If you got good results overclocking a Thoroughbred, then you had better luck than me!

Must finally get round to chucking the thing out. It's still in my not-quite-dead PC stack, kept only because it had a retail (not OEM) XP license on it.

0
0
Silver badge
Meh

Re: Athlon XP 2400 PC

"2 x Samsung Spinpoint 120gb HDDs in RAID 0

....

I still have to fire that machine up and check what data needs recovering from it."

Given it's two very old HDDs in RAID 0, I wouldn't hold my breath. Although I've still got a 16 year old 4GB drive that still works, so you never know.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Athlon XP 2400 PC

Re the Thoroughbred, never had to gate it - it just worked. I think the pencil trick was only if you wanted to try to unlock the (binned) cache. I didn't care TBH, I was after better single threaded performance.

Remember the days when single threaded performance wasn't a thing, it was just what you wanted? :-D

As for the HDDs, well, fingers crossed. Worst case scenario I'll have to try to use a Linux based program that understands Sili RAID 0 patterns...

Nothing too important on there, just some very early SLR photography work and some dutch progressive media ;)

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Athlon XP 2400 PC

"Would probably work fine as a firewall or file server for the house"

It might do, but it will be cheaper in terms of electricity and reliability to just get a modern box to do it. It'll be quieter and take up less space too.

BTDT - the old 'large microwave' sized PC that served as a firewall was replaced by something the size of a small paperback book.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Athlon XP 2400 PC

"some dutch progressive media ;)"

And the pr0n is probably on a torrent site somewhere.

0
0

Re: Athlon XP 2400 PC

Nice familiar configuration!

It's almost exactly like my previous file server i decommissioned about a year ago...

I changed it only to save (a lot!) of electricity, it was working perfectly and more than powerful enough.

All parts were sold on ebay, mind you!

0
0
Gav

Re: Athlon XP 2400 PC

This is the dilemma of all old kit. It still works fine. It cost a fortune at the time. But now, five years later, it's out of date and everything you could use it for can be done faster/cheaper/quieter/more efficiently by something new, occupying a fraction of the space.

But it still seems such a shame and a waste to throw it out. Hence, my attic....

0
0
Childcatcher

Sentiment value?

I hoard quite a bit and also still hang on to a late 90's Macintosh SE/30 that is fully functional as well as a working Apple Newton and a working Diamond Multimedia RIO MP3 player

I often wonder if it's the sentimental value or just how much those things cost me way back when?

It's also nice to show them off to the youngsters of today and show them the comparison of how technology has moved along over the past three decades.

Yes, in essence I do hoard, it's hard to throw things away that function but have no use...

</sad>

0
0
Facepalm

It still runs!

I have a Quadra 650 (upgraded to 128 MB of RAM!) and it still runs. Ok, it takes three different adapters stacked on top of each other to connect up to a monitor but still, it's never died in me. And the metal case makes a great stepping stone when I need to reach a high shelf.

Now, about the TI-99/4A that still runs...

0
0
Silver badge
Facepalm

A Cautionary Tale

To begin at the beginning...

Get well soon Dabbsy

Just built a new pc - 8 cores 32gig of ram, water cooled; the full schlemiel.

(it's fucking great btw)

But there is not space in 'the pit' for more than 2 pc's one of the old ones had to go...

both specced pretty much the same

all user data resides on external drives

not much in it really

I'd do eeny-meeny, but that's frowned on these days.

in the end tossed a coin (they can't touch you for it!)

not wanting to throw too much crap away, went through the old box, removed mobo & chip. ram, dvd recorder, old hdd. (well you never know!!!)

then with nary a thought chucked the old case and PSU into the bin.

that was Tuesday

our bins are emptied on Wednesday

the psu on my old machine went bang on Thursday

I'll never throw anything away ever again!

9
0
Gold badge
Happy

Re: A Cautionary Tale

You killed its twin. You were punished.

Who says there ain't no justice...

5
0
Silver badge

Re: A Cautionary Tale

True i did.

but i respected the old machines dying wished and it's bit's were taken out to help others live*

in this instance 'live' is defined as gather dust in a drawer with it's amd 300mhz (ffs!) predecessor.

sniff.

1
0
Bronze badge
Pint

What timing!

Great timing for this article! We are moving the little boy into a new room, the old office! Guess what I found, rather the missus spotted as garbage.

1x iMac G3 Dark blue

2x 15’ G4 Powerbooks

1x 12 G4 Powerbook

1x 14’ G3 iBook

2x 15’ Acer Ferrari don’t remember the model number

2x HP\Compaq - Compaq/HP desktops one with SUSE12.x the other Win 7 Pro

To be relocated after the boy takes his new room:

Still in service, a headless 13” White MacBook pre-unibody as Mavericks server and the old G5 Powermac or is it a MacPro, serving all the media to the house.

Plus all the boxes of cables, cards, HD’s, RAM etc, all nicely labeled.

Hoarding you say? Nonsense my boy, it’s the beginning of a Museum!

Get well Mr. Dabbs

Fine weekend all!

2
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Re: What timing!

it's the beginning of a Museum

That's what I say to my missus!

0
0
Bronze badge
Linux

Get better Dabsy.

It is toward the end of spring and the outdoors parts are more or less under control, and the SO is once again utterly certain I'm going to end up like an old cat lady hoarder with computer bits. Honestly I'm running out of spots in the house to hide the stuff that I just KNOW I'll need to fix some computer next week. Gonna have to start taking to the rafters in the basement to hide the bits.

It is (at least in my neck o the woods) faaaaaaaaar to nice a day outside to be stuck in the troll pit in the basement on a WFH day. Now, i have that weatherproof patch block and about 60 extra feet of ethernet cable somewhere. I see an evening project. (yeah wifi sure, but ethernet is just plain more stable. Especially with my neighbour's modern microwave in use by the herd of 'tweens hanging out at their house)

1
0
Bronze badge

CAT-5e cables.

Buy a 1000 ft reel of CAT-5e (£30), a crimp tool (£4) and a bag of 100 RJ connectors (£6) to fit.

2
0
Bronze badge
Megaphone

Unheeded Warnings

I did warn management last week what would happen, if the hours in The Register Footer Department weren't reduced

Now look what's happened :o(

I can only hope - for the sake of us all - that some one (still sober - I note the time in the UK) has changed all staff passwords as a precaution

... No one ever listens to me (or sends me a T-Shirt)

Happy weekend Reggers ... get well soon Mr Dabbs ;-)

1
0

You've just thrown out a PlayStation 3?

Amateur, I only just threw out my original PlayStation.

1
0

I still have my old Sega Saturn, cost at the time: £250. What a crock of shit that was, sega too. Then they faceplanted with the Dreamcast and good bloody riddance!

It's got a CD lid override switch for playing shady CDRs and the AV lead SCART plug has a stereo 1/4in TRS socket hanging out of it. We've kept the old CRT TV/VCR around for it so we can play light gun games and Wipeout 2097.

0
0
GBE

I've got an Osborne-1 that still works

I've got an Osborne 1 "portable" computer in the garage that still works.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osborne_1

I booted it up last summer and fired up wordstar to show it to my teenage

nephews who were a bit astonished by it.

0
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Recovery

Yup. Big time hoarder here. G/f is the same. But we're in recovery.

Two weeks ago, we held a stall at Redfern Park (just down the road), and made a profit of over $200. We sold an old Apple keyboard for $1, gave away MS laser mice (of which I still have plenty), sold an unused IP WiFi camera for $50.

And just yesterday, I put together another two full tubs of gear to take to market next month.

It makes me feel so much better looking atop my cupboard and seeing the wall, and not a pile of boxes and tubs full of ... one person's trash is another's treasure.

0
1
Bronze badge
FAIL

Re: Recovery

. "one person's trash is another's treasure."

But mostly I'm afraid it's the other way round.

0
0

Why is it the junk that hangs on?

I still have all five Atari-800s (courtesy of Garage-cleaning friends), but have not seen my box of Magneto-restrictive delay lines (Surplus from RADAR MTI units) in years. Just went looking for a miniUSB cable, with which the house was once infested. None to be found. Worse is running across my "spare" BSA Goldstar transmission, about 15 years after selling the Goldstar. No, you can't have it. Gave it and a Panther engine to a fellow who actually wanted them, a year or so later.

BTW: Best use of AOL CDs? A friend made himself a plausible "Fish scale" suit of armor from them.

2
0
Bronze badge

Re: Why is it the junk that hangs on?

I was quite sad to sell the Atari 800 along with a pile of peripherals and manuals a couple of years ago. A magnificent micro.

But I'd never actually use it again, so...

0
0

Put it in a black plastic bag, if you don't open the bag in 2 years , throw it away.

You will never know what you missed.

Now what should I do with my palm pilot…..

1
1

Palm PDAs

I have an old Palm E running Coreplayer pumping out ambient "seashore" noise to a pair of cheap speakers at the head of my bed. Helps me get off to sleep at night.

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums