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First post, by jasa1063

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I have been asked that question more times than I can count. People look at me funny and don't seem to get what someone would do with an old computer, to them it is just an outdated piece of junk. It is not until I ask them would they say the same thing for someone who works on old cars or collects antiques. For most of us that do this it is a combination of nostalgia and passion. That is true for me plus I have been in IT since 1983. A lot of us also do this to preserve that part of our history so it is not lost to time and I let others know that too. When explaining it that way 9 out of 10 people nod their head in agreement. The one 1 out of 10 probably runs a recycling company...🤣

Please share your experiences as well. I would love to hear a few stories!

Reply 1 of 9, by Claris

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Only once surprisingly, and it was by my own mother at a family gathering. She actually lived through all the "retro" years of computing and was very tech savvy for the time. Her parents ran a decent sized business and ended up getting an IBM5150 that she spent alot of time on. That started her tech-fascination and she just kinda kept up with it ever since. She even remembers Doom when it was oven-fresh, but wasn't a huge gamer so it didn't stick too well.

I guess nowadays as an older retired person, She just doesn't understand why someone of my generation would want to go back to less-developed times. We have it so easy these days with computers. No spending hours setting up config.sys, standardization among hardware, information a tap away, friendly user interfaces. To her i suppose its a luxury you never would want to go back from. Ironically whenever i bring up my hobby to other people of my age (20+), i see quiet the opposite. Alot of people seem to really be fascinated with these older games. Maybe its all the burn from the current state of the AAA games industry.

Reply 2 of 9, by BitWrangler

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Comebacks...

My therapist encourages it as being one of my closer to normal interests.

Yes, I'm really, REALLY into retro computers, come and see my Amiga Chan body pillow.

I used to collect donuts but then my brother's ant farm escaped.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 3 of 9, by cyclone3d

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BitWrangler wrote on 2021-12-17, 20:34:
Comebacks... […]
Show full quote

Comebacks...

My therapist encourages it as being one of my closer to normal interests.

Yes, I'm really, REALLY into retro computers, come and see my Amiga Chan body pillow.

I used to collect donuts but then my brother's ant farm escaped.

Mind if I use that last line in my sig? heh

And yeah, most people wonder why I would want to keep all this old "junk".

It people are like.. .why not just use DOSBOX?

They just don't understand.

Newer tech is just boring as far as variety goes, especially when thinking about sound and music.

The vast majority of newer games have lame gameplay. Doesn't matter how good the graphics are.

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Reply 4 of 9, by keenmaster486

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Most people think it's cool if you're not cringey about it (i.e. acting like an overexcited 8 year old as a grown man)

I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.
World's foremost 486 enjoyer.

Reply 5 of 9, by creepingnet

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Back in the old days of 2001, for all I know I'm the first to be doing this stuff, I got attacked for it even if I mentioned it in passing. "What are you going to do with that old Boat Anchor? Play Pong? Doorstop for your home "Office"? C'mon, you have a Jurrasic Park full of old "dinosaurs"? GET A REAL PC!"

These days I literally don't get any bad looks at all, actually, at work as of late, I've been having almost daily conversations about old hardware and software....486s and the like. Like it's a regular thing today, for the most part. I still get the occasional "why not use DOSbox" or "get a Raspberry Pi" answer. I'll get into that more in a minute.

Back in the day, my reasoning was that that I could not afford a new PC. I literally could not. My whole "quest" was just to get ANY semblance of computing power capable of internet access without financial help from my parents. This meant digging around thrift shops, pawn shops, curbsides, dumpsters, closets, anywhere people had some old 486 socket x whatever laying around, and then take the best parts, and frankenstein it together with a handful of newer parts to make it more capable than it was when it was new. It meant hustling for odd jobs, which then the computer, gave me skills for access to better income. I owe a LOT to this "old crap" for my I.T. career.

Today, my reasoning is that it's way more fiddly for me to mess with "DOSbox" or a "RetroPie". On vintage hardware, I spend maybe, 5-10-15 minutes setting it up, or I can just run the file-copy while I'm at work or over night and then run the setup and I'm done in like, 2 actual minutes of interaction with the computer. In the case of DOSbox or RetroPie though, I end up spending a large sum of my time opening plaintext files to tune and tweak. The worst is RetroPie, I don't think that darned thing EVER runs right. Every update, I end up ripping through text configuration files aplenty, lots of installing and uninstalling various emulators to find the best one that does not run like crap, sometimes having to resort to having 2-3 installed because some software runs with one but not the other.....this is ESPECIALLY relevant when it comes to classic x86 PC software. I spend more time tuning and tweaking and updating and fixing the darned thing than I do actually playng games on it. No 8088-80486 based PC I have ever owned has even been a 100th this amount of trouble to get setup and going. Don't even get me started on input latency on the pie.....there's a reason I own CRT TV's and CRT Monitors for my old consoles and computers.

And a secret bit I'm tempted to mess with is the idea of FreeDOS as a daily driver O/S for certain things. It's so darned close for everything I Do that if there was a DPMI enabled DAW for DOS, and someone updated and fixed some video goofiness with FLMail and it's ability to utilize modern security protocols like Links does, I honestly could live comfortably with a 486 running FreeDOS as my main machine in 2021.

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Reply 6 of 9, by darry

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I get the feeling that people around me think of me as something like the stereotypical "cat lady" of retro computing/hoarding . I don't mind .

I'm actually thinking of having a t-shirt made with "Please ask me about old computers/hardware (at your own risk)." on it or something wittier .

Come to think of it, what would you folks think of a Vogons themed t-shirt concept ?

Reply 7 of 9, by BitWrangler

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cyclone3d wrote on 2021-12-17, 20:46:
BitWrangler wrote on 2021-12-17, 20:34:
Comebacks... […]
Show full quote

Comebacks...

My therapist encourages it as being one of my closer to normal interests.

Yes, I'm really, REALLY into retro computers, come and see my Amiga Chan body pillow.

I used to collect donuts but then my brother's ant farm escaped.

Mind if I use that last line in my sig? heh

Feel free.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 8 of 9, by chinny22

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My best mate didn't get it, even though he got into Star wars Lego, so was on a bit of a nostalgia trip himself I was surprised he didn't as he got back into records for a brief time and told him its the same thing. modern hardware while technically better isn't 100% accurate.

My old neighbor/landlord gave me funny looks at the start but showed a passing interest by the end when I explained what each PC did different.

But then my wife's best friend and her husband came round once and I was surprised he showed alot of interest when he saw them, don't think he is a gamer or anything.

Most people even the under 30's think its cool if a bit mad at work when I tell them i'm not into modern gaming, just eh old school stuff and have voodoo cards and the like.

I think the retro console scene has mainstreamed this hobby slightly.

By far my worst critic is the wife but she likes everything new no matter what it is. Mostly though I think its because the space it takes up and doesn't look pretty

Reply 9 of 9, by Errius

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Everybody knows old PCs are valuable now so the strange looks have gone. (Same with vinyl records.)

“I like to dissect PCs. Don't you know I'm utterly insane?"