Spring Cleaning

by Jinryu

So, we have an old computer, named Athlon, which I decided to put to rest. It’s 12+ years old parts would become part of Dell (a Dell stock box, probably also around 10 years old… it could barely Warcraft 3: Frozen Throne back in the day) and Jaranda (a computer given to me by [Zanshin] which is just a few years old.

First part: making use of old sticks of RAM. I pulled one out and was like… wtf. 128MB???

Are you serious? My cellphone has that much RAM I think. [CM]’s new smartphone has about five times the amount of ram.

For me, doing some spring cleaning on the computers is always like a trip down memory lane. You see all these old things in old computers: processors that were cutting edge at the time, yet weren’t even hot enough to warrant a fan. Just a heatsink was good enough. And wow, look at that mess of IDE cables…

You even see little improovements, and not even on a hardware or software level– just the basic design of a modern tower, for example. Jacaranda is a 5 year old or so computer I think– and there’s a lot of work to make the boxes basically screwless. You don’t have to manually mount drives into the bays with screws anymore– there’s a slider mechanism that just pins the drives in place! Even the rear bays, you can just snap a locking mechanism in place, no screwing around. And the casing itself? No more giant, noisy u-shaped panel that you have to strip off the entire box, when ll you want is one side of the mobo anyhow– there’s a quick release latch, just the one panel comes off, and if you really want to secure it beyond that, you can use the thumbscrews.

I guess the technology itself fascinates me on one level, in terms of raw computing power’s growth over the years– but what I find more interesting are additions of function. So.. sure I made some of the computers faster today, and that was fun to see through the whole process. But I was more fascinated by the physical internals– because all this covenience stuff really feels like better mousetraps.

I may pay a bit of attention if a computer can beat me at Jeorpardy, but if you can invent a computer box that I don’t ever need to find my small screwdriver set for ever again, then you’ve impressed me.