netcurmudgeon (netcurmudgeon) wrote,

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Today saw a kind of changing of the guards at the House of Hum.

I finished loading OS and software on a previously idle Dell PIII and got it running with the new scanner (an HP ScanJet 8200, which arrived Thursday). The old Compaq PII that had run the old scanner is in the midst of a minor refurb (more RAM, bigger disk) as it goes from Win95 to Win2K. The old scanner (a 1996-vintage ScanJet 1600c) has been demolished (the optical pickup went on it; so after ten years, it was well and truly done). By demolished, I mean that there's a pile of all of the metal parts in the "metal recycling" crate, and all of the plastic bits are in a big bag bound for the trash. BTW, an axe is the best tool for shattering plastic cases. A sledge hammer works too, but it's slower and the parts tend to bounce around more than break. Important safety tip for rendering big plastic things into little plastic shards: wear eye protection.

Any way, after the scanner demolition I "partsed-out" the two oldest PCs in the inventory. Both were 166MHz Pentium MMXs. One of the chassis I've had since 1989 (it started life with a 20Mhz 80386DX motherboard); the other has been around since '96 (actually, the original rig I used to drive that ScanJet 1600c). The hollowed-out carcasses are sitting on top of the scanner bits in the metal recycling crate. An aside (like this entire post hasn't been riddled with parentheticals and side-comments): using a corded (not cordless) power drill for yanking screws is rather a lot of fun. Very fast. Puts my 14.4v cordless at work to shame.

With these retirements, the Pentium era at the House of Hum is done. Everything that's in 'production' is either a PIII or P4. The two PIIs are now just test machines or spares. There is, of course, Wingnut – but he's a special case.*

It still irks me to throw out machines that still technically work. But, there are no jobs for them to do, and there are newer machines (which are still obsolete) hanging around to soak up the "I need a test box to try this thing out on..." moments. The scanner did not bother me; we got ten years out of it, and it gave fair warning before it died. I just hope that ten years isn't some magic number -- I have no desire to replace our ten year-old HP LaserJet 6mp any time soon!

* Wingnut is a vintage IBM ThinkPad 360c, with a 33MHz 80486DX CPU, 32MB of RAM (including 16MB on a PCMCIA card), and a 1.4GB aftermarket hard disk. He's running Windows 95, and has a permanent place in the household's electronic menagerie for reasons as much sentimental as practical. Still the best keyboard of any laptop I've ever owned. And, based on a comment by also_huey, he's getting all new batteries (primary and secondary CMOS batteries, and a new main battery (which will be a 4 Amp-Hour battery instead of the factory 3.6 AH battery, so I can run even longer with that rockin' 486 power!)).

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