What's with all the moaning ?
As I started to read this, I thought it was going to be about some old tech he'd found. As it is, it seems to be props for a photo shoot of the futuristic tech our boss keeps telling us will be invented some time !
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 …
Other than the respirators being useless without the active filter that attaches to the hole on the front...
I don't suppose you found some loose doors stacked up in the same room as the drawers with the respirators in, when you've pretty obvious you've got a full complement attached in the relevant doorways, possibly unfilled sandbags and definitely pamphlets labelled "Protect and Survive"?
When I joined the current employer I inherited several iMACs (we'd been a Windows site for a couple of years), several firewall boxes, all redundant (it appears a former external support person would sell the company another one when he was short of beer money) and various other kit. Later on when we moved a remote plant I also inherited two spare complete phone systems but managed to junk a load of CRTs.
On movign into our current head office I gained an entire room complete with Chubb safe door. Getting the cabling in through the 6" reinforced concrete ceiling was interesting but if anyone wants to pinch my servers they'll have an interesting time!
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.
When I moved into my current house the previous owners left a mountain of tat behind. This included an enormous piss soaked dog kennel in a summer house at the bottom of the garden (I hadn't even known about the summer house before moving in, as it was hidden behind a row of trees). In the loft I found a folder full of business cards for bars and clubs in France, all with multi-coloured flag logos and many with the phrase "hairy bears" written in French. I Googled the phrase, and then wished I hadn't.
You're sitting on a goldmine there.
- The eMac will sell itself on eBay to one of the many Apple hoarders.
- The typewriter - at a wedding show recently we were quoted 50 quid to hire a typewriter, like the one there with a bit of plastic ivy glued to it. The 'retro' wedding craze is in full swing and is an absolute cashcow to those in the know.
- The filing cabinets - used car dealers love these for storing V5s, MOTs, dodgy stamped service history books etc. - can't do that with a computer!
your office is actually the Government's 'hi-tech' COBRA war-room
Don't even joke about that - it's closer to the truth than you realise. I recall reading a news feature on Cobra a couple of years ago. It's where the nuclear button is kept.
It's a Telex machine.
As a spotty work-experience lad in the late 1980s working for a company making milling equipment, someone pried open a locked cupboard door and found a hoard of candles, drinking water and ancient packs of Walker's ready salted crisps, apparently stored up during the 1973 3-day week. We all went home with boxes of huge white candles, but nobody was very interested in the water or crisps (I guess nobody liked ready salted!)
At school we were taught to type on ancient Olympia and Silver Reed typewriters similar to those pictured. The teacher was of a similar vintage and looked like she had stepped straight out of a 1950s office, including perm and Dame Edna glasses. The smell of the fluid she used to clean the typewriters was intoxicating. It was sad when she retired and the new broom junked all the machines the old teacher had so lovingly cared for over the years and replaced them with electronic daisywheels.
I'd be surprised if they were Walkers. Back in 1973, the major brands in the UK were Smiths and Golden Wonder and Tudor.
If I remember correctly, Walkers crisps (which appear to actually be another brand of the same company that produced Smiths crisps) started appearing nationwide around 1978/79, and caused much confusion because prior to Walkers, everybody had Salt and Vinegar crisps in blue bags and Cheese and Onion in green.
Interestingly, Golden Wonder are back in the shops, still with the old colours for the flavours.
Some years back the educational support team I was helping to run deperately needed networking and collaborative sharing of documents etc.
As IT co-ordinator I made a strong business case, which was agreed.
I expected them to get us a server, or at least network the exisitng PCs and give us a shared drive.
But no. Someone higher up decided he needed a new network for his office, or something.
So we got sent the newly redundant Unix box, and a bunch of dumb terminals, with nice glowing orange screens - and some inbuilt software that no one working there had any idea how to use and had no compatibility with our existing stuff ( Windows/Office etc) or the software the schools we worked with were using. They then spent a fortune on cabling but couldn't get it to work properly. It just took up valuable desk space next to our Windows boxes.
Eventually they agreed it was no good, and said they'd take it back, so I disconnected it all and stacked it in pile a corner to be collected: Every year on the anniversary of the pile I printed a little plaque. Usually just before one of the high-ups made his annual visit.
Eventually I think we skipped it all ourselves.
The cabling remained in place, all round the building, mixed in with phone wires, alarm cables, and who knows what else, causing intense confusion for anyone trying to do any work on the building and sometimes trailling on the floor and tripping people up..
As this is a 1980's office and I was an office manager part of the '80's, I'm surprised at the absence of word processors. Sounds so silly now, doesn't it?!? Then, "word processor" was a big piece of hardware; now "word processor" is software. Also, from this long view, it seems likewise comically-ironic and unbelievable one of the leading word-processor vendors was a subsidiary of...Exxon!?!
Alistair ... congrats! ... the article is excellent ... Spring Cleaning ? ... a good example of why not! On the good side ... you might just make money on these old items ... some of them MUST be unique and there is always a market for the most unlikely things!
Thanks for making my day!
If you think vertical filing makes an unwieldy database, you should consider its predecessors: flat filing, chapbooks, and pidgeonholes. The last especially produced some real data-retrieval nightmares, like the Wooton Patent Desk.
JoAnne Yates' Control Through Communication includes an excellent study of the evolution of filing methods through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and their effects on how business was conducted. She has some useful things to say about the typewriter, too.
And hey - I had one of those Olympia typewriters, in that same style of case. It had been my mother's college typewriter. First typewriter I ever used; as a young lad (around 6 or 7) I would copy pages from my favorite novels out with it. I was perhaps a bit monkish.
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