Thursday, May 6, 2010

In Which I dismantle some Old Computers before tossing them.

Wrapping up the Great Basement Cleanout, I ran into a few things that are poignantly obsolete. Things like VHS tape rewinders (tape decks tended to wear out and be the first part of a VCR to break, so this little machine would save them some stress), VCR head cleaners (special VHS tapes that cleaned the tape decks), cassingles (pretty much exactly what it sounds like; one of the amusing album covers below is a cassingle), dot-matrix printer paper (which came in big, long reams that you had to tear apart; I wish I had a picture to explain this better), and these guys:

Man, do you kids even know what these things are?

These are backup disks for our very first computer that ever had a hard drive. I have no idea what's on any of them, so we couldn't really toss them. I'd gone through a lot of trouble taking our old computers apart and squirreling their hard disks away. (
Yes, computerS. They retired to the basement and appeared to have multiplied) :

Dude, I dissected a Dell!

Wait for it...
Wait for it.....
Dude, I dissected a Dell.
(Really, nobody? Huh. Oh well, I didn't think it was funny ever.)
These are the "guts" (all except the hard drive, which would have fit into that empty space occupied by wires and stuff) of a Dell PC from the late 1990's. This was the youngest computer I had to dismantle. I saved the oldest for last:

Apple IIGS

Wa-hahaha... oh wow. (I apologize for the fuzzy photos, but I was taking them in a hurry while juggling my trusty screwdriver and pliers.)
This is our old Apple IIGS (Apple 2: Graphics and Sound), the very first computer my family ever owned. You can read more information about this baby at Wikipedia.
I want to point out the objects in the lower-left, because I'm sure some younger people are looking at them and thinking, "what?" Those are floppy disk drives. The smaller one near the middle was for 3.5 Floppies, the same kinds of floppy disks I showed earlier. They were called 3.5s because they were the then-remarkably tiny size of... three and a half inches. For the record, this kind of disk just went extinct very recently (I think I read that a major manufacturer just shut down production of them last week.) They were the dominant storage medium of the late '80s-well into the 1990's. Unfortunately, their capacity wasn't very large. Generally speaking, if you had a document that was more than 500 K, you were pretty screwed.
The larger disk drive is more hilarious/heartwarming to me. This was for a 5.25 inch floppy disk. These disks were actually floppy in that the namesake floppy disk was protected by thin sheets of just-barely-less-floppy plastic. Their capacity usually ranged just over 100 K, but they could be double-sided. Even so, you often had to stick in a veritable conga line of these disks just to get one program running. A modern desktop may take a while to boot up, but it's cake and ice cream compared to this.
So what does it look like inside?

Apple 5.25 Floppy Disk Drive guts

Fascinating. The green piece (which I've saved and kinda want to frame because it's pwetty) fits over the front part of the drive. This was as far as I could dismantle this drive (I couldn't even crack the 3.5 drive.)
Inside the CPU...

Apple IIGS CPU guts

There's a lot more empty space in here than there is in modern computers! I'm assuming that large object on the left is a fan or something. I have a great love for the "TRON" landscapes inside old computers.

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Sketch Crazy Found Art of the Day! Here, have some funny cassette tape cover art:

Cassette and cassingle with amusing art.

Not sure who the band on the right is, but thanks to this cover, I think I like them even if it turns out they are responsible for all the songs I've ever hated.

4 comments:

Zach said...

Hey, our first computer was an Apple II GS, too! I played a lot of Carmen Sandiego on that thing. Adventure, too. Have you ever played that? With slime worms? So awesome.

Trish said...

Actually, the name of the slime worms game was "Think Quick", and it was from the same publisher as "Reader Rabbit". Very weird, but fun. I found the complete original box for that game... but no game disk. Wah.

Sal said...

The band on the right is Mindless Self Indulgence.

Trish said...

^ Ah, thanks; that's it.