back to article BOFH: Come on down to the dunge– erm … basement

BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns "And what was it you wanted to show me?" the Boss asks. "It's just round this corner," I reply, listening to him wheezing his way behind me. "And then down a short passageway." In horror-movie-land, this is just the sort of poorly lit alcove where all the eviscerations would occur, and …

  1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Coat

    8" Floppies

    I still have an original CP/M 2.0 installation disc in that format. Collectors item, so definitely NOT junk!!

    Nor is the old Iomega ZIPdrive with SCSI connector junk

    Or the ISA-bus exposure controller for video camera I once designed and soldered together. I haven't got said camera anymore, but it is definitely not junk (has anybody got a Loral Fairchild CCD-5000/1 in working order)

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: 8" Floppies

      Exactly! The collection the BOFH has in amazing and at the very least, a lucrative pension plan if the prices the retro IT collectors community is prepared to pay is anything to go by. :-)

      And anyway, it's THE LAW that anything you throw away will immediately be the thing you most need 5 minutes after the bin man has emptied the bin into the back of the lorry.

    2. deadlockvictim

      Re: 8" Floppies

      As somebody with a house, 77-ish old Macs dating back to 1985 (some of which work, too!), many, many SCSI devices, boxes and cables and so on, I can safely say that other people's collections are a symptom of a sick mind while my ho... collection is perfect sensible. Even more so when I learn how to recap motherboards with some competence.

  2. Korev Silver badge
    Pirate

    Am I the only one who was expecting the Boss' imminent death and was surprised he made it to the end?

    I have a feeling the BOFH and PFI have some killer robots still roaming the basement too...

    1. b0llchit Silver badge
      Happy

      I expected the Boss to be shown the skeletons of some of his predecessors and being told his body was attracted to the hoardinium and his memory would become ignoble worthy in due time.

      <door closes><lock engaged>

      1. Philo T Farnsworth Bronze badge

        Poe.

        I have to admit I expected a variation on "The Cask of Amontillado" myself.

        Though being entombed alive in the catacombs is probably preferable to sharing space with a VAX 11/750.

        "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge. . ."

    2. Bebu Silver badge
      Windows

      "Am I the only one who was expecting the Boss' imminent death and was surprised he made it to the end?"

      No. I could see the roll of tatty carpet and suspicious hole in the floor of the basement.

      "I have a feeling the BOFH and PFI have some killer robots still roaming the basement too.."

      Cloister Wraiths. :)

    3. stiine Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      I did not see that coming, either. I'm sure my across the street neighbors heard me laugh at the delivery line...

      I hope they are also installing AC in the Boss's office.

      1. theDeathOfRats

        Locked at near-permafrost level.

  3. Korev Silver badge
    Joke

    "Then why did you bring me here?"

    "Oh, I just needed you out of your office while the PFY took delivery of two Vax 11/780s.

    A Vax? I guess the office will be very clean...

    1. simonlb Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      That sucks.

  4. Bebu Silver badge
    Windows

    And I thought....

    Simon was having some of what Elon was having and had completely lost it.

    A transuranium element Hoardonium with a nucleus of an infinite (actually strictly finite but steadily increasing), and infinite (chemical) valence - I can perceive a nod to discworld's Narrativium and Octarine.*

    Then I thought he was having a lend of the boss while leading him to a roll of old carpet and a shallow grave in the basement.

    Distracting the boss while installing two VAXs in the boss' office is a pearler. These things weren't exactly the anorexics of the minicomputer world. Not exactly quiet either.

    I wonder if Simon is going to run VMS. Could be a pretty secure set up with DECnet, and native DEC terminal and printer hardware. :)

    It wasn't too many years ago I was asked to recover a file from a vms backup (long, long after the vax involved had transformed into ewaste or hoardonium and long before my time.) So keeping some of this ancient hardware operational does have a purpose. About that time a project was reading old 1/2" tapes containing astronomical observations made in the 1970s to looks for phenomena they didn't know of in the '70s.

    Tomorrow is the glorious 15th of May.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And I thought....

      Either this comment has slipped through from a different universe to the roundworld, my calendars broken or somebody can't count but it looks to me like tomorrow is the 25th ;)

      1. UCAP Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: And I thought....

        And the day after tomorrow is my birthday!

        1. Anonymous Anti-ANC South African Coward Bronze badge
          Pint

          Re: And I thought....

          Mine too! 1969...

          ====> for our enjoyment

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: And I thought....

      "A transuranium element Hoardonium"

      Transuranic heavy elements may not be used where there is life. Medium atomic weights are available: Gold, Lead, Copper, Jet, Diamond, Radium, Sapphire, Silver and Steel. Sapphire and Steel have been assigned.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: And I thought....

        I remember that. Loved it as a kid. Blooody stupid final episode.

  5. a cynic writes...

    We're all agreed, right...

    We never let our bosses or other halves (same thing) read this.

    They suspect, obviously, but we can't let them know for certain.

    1. Flightmode

      Re: We're all agreed, right...

      Now that you mention it, the Boss sounds an awful lot like my wife.

      1. Dave K

        Re: We're all agreed, right...

        I'm actually allowed to horde IT kit to some degree by my wife. She grumbled initially, but then had to accept it when my hording of old kit saved her bacon.

        She's a university professor with several labs of expensive but often quite old kit, one item of which was a motion tracking system (Optotrak 3020) from the 1990s.

        Around 12 years ago, she needed a PC capable of running Windows XP and a sufficiently modern version of Matlab, but it had to have an ISA slot for a proprietary controller card used to drive the Optotrak system. Guess who was able to dig through a few boxes of spares to put together an early P3 system, find 1GB of compatible RAM, an 80GB IDE drive and a suitable AGP graphics card to get her up and running?

        She never complained again...

        1. Mark 85
          Boffin

          Re: We're all agreed, right...

          A former boss who I'm still in touch with (emails at this point) has two old VAX's he uses as end tables in his rec room. He wife likes them also. I guess a reminder of happier times in the world.

          1. Denarius Silver badge

            Re: We're all agreed, right...

            bit of history here. When Dennis R went under the floor of his old computer room and retrieved stashed tapes of original source code for very early unix for ancient VAX . A tape drive was needed to read them. A bloke in Canberra, Oz, had a working VAX and drives to read off the tapes. Recompiled that early code I believe. Reference: Story on old ElReg.

            However I now know why my shed has such a strong pull toward it and why it is so hard to reduce the piles of IT stuff on shelves. Anyone need a working 300 MB SCSI disk from a CDC or a HVD DLT1 tape drive ? Do piles of dead SCSI and IDE drives kept for the magnets cause climate change or Earths magnetic field to wonder ?

        2. Shooter
          Boffin

          Re: We're all agreed, right...

          Not all heroes wear capes!

    2. BenDwire Silver badge

      Re: We're all agreed, right...

      Wife? She's long gone, but the hordinium remains ...

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: We're all agreed, right...

        Have you checked the piles of your horde? She may just have become affected by pull of the Hordinium

        1. BenDwire Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: We're all agreed, right...

          I can assure you that the piles are still there. Every time I sit down I am reminded how much of a PITA she could be ...

          Time for my medication. Nurse!

  6. Flightmode

    "It's just round this corner," I reply, listening to him wheezing his way behind me. "And then down a short passageway."

    In horror-movie-land, this is just the sort of poorly lit alcove where all the eviscerations would occur, and I can tell the Boss isn't overly happy being here.

    I was half expecting a room with goats.

    1. Vincent Ballard

      For sacrifices when installing Windows updates on the domain controller?

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        That's where I was getting it wrong! I always used chickens!

        1. UCAP Silver badge

          I always used a PHB. Didn't always work, but was a lot of fun.

          1. Bill Gray

            If you do in a PHB, it's not really a sacrifice.

      2. Terje

        For that you need black cockrells. And make sure the candles are proper VAX candles as well and none of that modern stuff!

    2. Chloe Cresswell Silver badge

      Memories of asr now...

      "SCSI is *not* magic. There are fundamental technical reasons why it is necessary to sacrifice a young goat to your SCSI chain now and then."

      "But if it is a differential SCSI chain, you need two goats, one black and one white, and two ceremonies: kill the black goat at high noon and the white one at midnight. Same silver knife for both, of course.

      Otherwise, the chain will be unbalanced and things just get worse from there as all the drives do the "washing machine dance"....

      Self-terminating devices merely need to be left with sufficient livestock and they'll take care of the rest."

      1. Jay 2
        Terminator

        Am now getting PTSD flashbacks regarding differential/single-ended SCSI and terminators etc!

        1. Chloe Cresswell Silver badge

          Better then flashbacks to the goats! ;)

        2. ShortLegs

          I am SCSI-Al, SCSI was easy. If it went wrong, or didnt work, you were not doing it right.

          Cheap SCA-68pin adaptors? Thats a user error, not a SCSI issue

          Forgot to remove the term resistors on a HBA when adding external devices? Thats a user error, not a SCSI issue

          Adding narrow devices in the middle of a wide change? Thats a user error, not a SCSI issue

          Adding narrow devcies at the end of a wide chain and not terminating the high byte on the adaptor?

          Need a I go on? Every single system I built for me, with one exception, from 1996 onwards, was SCSI. The protocol of God

          Adaptec 2940UW, 9GB UW Seagate Barracuda, Matrox Millenium II gfx... those were the days.

        3. Denarius Silver badge

          worse. HVD and LVD SCSI controllers and devices. HP stuff was HVD which fried everyone elses kit.

  7. Andy Taylor

    I feel seen

    Has Simon been visiting the storage warehouse for TNMOC?! His description is uncannily accurate.

  8. mikecoppicegreen

    And there was me expecting some dark matter....

    Obviously, the packing material that all this hoardinium was originally supplied in (with due respect to Douglas Adams)

  9. jonsg

    The main reason for the delay

    "Right, I'm going back there this instant!"

    "Ah. I'm afraid that's not possible right now."

    "You can't keep me out of my office!"

    "No, it's not that."

    "What...what...WHY?"

    "Well, the electricians are in at the moment, and no-one's allowed in until they're finished. Health and Safety, you know?"

    "Why do I need electricians?"

    "The RP05 and RP06 disk units need a three-phase supply."

    "There isn't a three phase supply on that floor. Wait, what's that hellish racket?"

    "The builders, drilling through the floors to bring it up from the basement. Trust me, you're safest here. Can I interest you in an RSTS/E Quick Reference Guide?"

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: The main reason for the delay

      Um. Is there a PDP11 in there as well (and I'm not talking about the console front-end LSI11 for one of the VAXes). I'm pretty certain RSTS/E was a PDP11 only OS.

      RSX11 though....

      1. jonsg

        Re: The main reason for the delay

        Oh, sweet summer child! In that dusty room, the VAX kit is some of the more modern of its contents...

        It's rumoured that in one corner there are two racks of a Manchester Mark 1, but they're hidden behind several ominously wobbling ceiling-height stacks of IBM 650 manuals no-one, not even the BOFH, dares disturb.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: The main reason for the delay

      What about the reinforced floors? Whose office is below the Boss'?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: The main reason for the delay

        The beancounters. I hope :-)

        Is this article a set up for a future massacre of the accounts dept?

  10. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    VAXen everywhere!

    What a throwback!

    I remember the original BOFH stories, and there was LOTS of VAX related stories.

    Interesting that Simon still proclaims that the BOFH still has some bits of the systems. Classic.

    1. stiine Silver badge

      Re: VAXen everywhere!

      Some guy on youtube had a vax 11/780 delivered last month, i believe.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: VAXen everywhere!

        Jake has a Youtube channel? :-)

  11. Luiz Abdala
    Coat

    Somebody call LGR - Lazy Game Reviews

    Dude is an actual museum curator now. And he collects old PCs.

    This is the kind of treasure trove he actually digs in. When an old computer store went bust, they opened the warehouse to anyone that found anything useful at all. It was EXACTLY like that.

  12. Locomotion69
    Go

    VAX Macro Manuals

    As an intern at DEC I used to program using VAX Macro.

    Those were the days!

    1. Andy E
      Thumb Up

      Re: VAX Macro Manuals

      They were the days! I cut my teeth on a VAX 11/780. First with Macro and then with Bliss32. I then joined DEC as a VMS consultant.

      To this very day I maintain that DCL was the best command line environment ever invented.

      1. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: VAX Macro Manuals

        >>To this very day I maintain that DCL was the best command line environment ever invented.

        Hear, Hear!

        Those who know, know. Those who don't should fire up a VAX Emulator and run OpenVMS on it (whichever version you can these days...)

        Have a pint

        1. Tim_the_Unenchanter

          Re: VAX Macro Manuals

          Or get a hobbyist license and run OpenVMS on an X86-64 box…

          No emulator required

      2. F. Frederick Skitty Silver badge

        Re: VAX Macro Manuals

        I did an evening course at the local technical college where we were let loose on terminals connected to a huge Vax machine. I spent many hours writing macros in DCL to see if I could make a Bourne shell like environment. I succeeded, but by that point I felt DCL was far more elegant and consistent than any Unix shell.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ZX Spectrum with original monitor?

    25 comments in and nobody else has picked up that the ZX Spectrum has extra RAM and the "original monitor"? You mean the family telly, until Dad wanted to watch the 6 o'clock news, right? Cos that's how I remember it.

    The fact that even Simon couldn't be arsed to hoard Microdrives is absolutely believable, mind.

    1. Pete Sdev Bronze badge
      Windows

      Re: ZX Spectrum with original monitor?

      Yes, AFAIK there was no official original monitor. Having only now read the story, I was about to make the same comment as you.

      A small portable telly, colour if you were lucky, was the 'monitor' of choice.

      1. mike.dee

        Re: ZX Spectrum with original monitor?

        The 128K version had a RGB monitor port. I'm not sure if it was the same pinout of the sinclair QL one, in that case the Sinclair-branded monitor was usable with the toastrack.

        I had an old black and white TV set as "monitor", then I bought a Philips BM 7502 and used a DIN-RCA cable sold for tape recorders.

    2. PB90210 Bronze badge

      Re: ZX Spectrum with original monitor?

      "Dad wanted to watch Top Of The Pops", surely...

      (to keep up with the latest beats combos...)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    20 years of disk drives

    My last employer didn’t like the cost of proper hard disk destruction. So I kept them all. 20 years worth of desktop, removable, and countless SAS drives.

    They’re really not going to like it next time anyone pulls up the floor tiles in the server room.

    1. PB90210 Bronze badge

      Re: 20 years of disk drives

      "My last employer didn’t like the cost of proper hard disk destruction"

      Not even for a small lump hammer?

  15. Dizzy Dwarf Bronze badge
    Coat

    Bit of a rubbish episode

    (sorry)

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Bit of a rubbish episode

      Don't be sorry... Just wait for the trashy remake.

  16. Kevin Johnston

    A bit modern but...

    Just checked the box beside my desk and I still have the IBM PC-AT Guide to Operations in it's cover/boxfile with both of the 5 1/4 floppies, I have the BASIC manual in another box somewhere along with a couple of Six Pack Plus cards and a Sound Blaster Pro

    1. F. Frederick Skitty Silver badge

      Re: A bit modern but...

      I've been tempted to buy a set of manuals for the original IBM PC, since a mint condition and working 5150 is sat on the desk to my left. While on the right is my beloved Atari ST with the largest model of monochrome monitor that Atari offered.

      The hoarding has long gone though, but at one point I had all the following at the same time:

      DEC Alpha workstation

      DEC DNARD "Shark"

      DEC 4000VLC VaxStation

      DEC 3100/90 MicroVax

      DEC PDP-11 (the exact model I don't recall)

      Sun SparcStation 5

      SGI Indy

      Commodore A600 Amiga

      Commodore 64

      Commodore PET

      Sinclair Spectrum 48K

      Apple Macintosh SE/30

      Next Turbo Color "slab"

      And I came very close to having a HP machine with a PA-RISC processor, but the sysadmin at the company who owned it made off with it instead.

  17. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Pint

    I was getting

    cask of Amontillado vibes all through this.... until the boss is shoved into an alcove and the aforemention VAXs are put in front of it sealing him away forever. who knows what deed he did to the BoFH to gain such a fate, in fact its best to not to guess, but let us not disturb the BoFH, lest he employs the bane again.

    But my boss is a horder(and not just of money).... cue an example rant from yours truely while searching for some stuff the other day

    "What the hell....... boss.. this robot was scrapped 7 years ago..... we dont need the manuals or spare motor drive.... and this customer went bust 16 years ago when his product was banned under arms limitations treaties... it also been declared a war crime if anyone uses it again.. so why we have 300 drawings and 34 tooling setups... jeez... never thought I'd see a real steam engine for powering a compressor... its rusted solid.. its not a backup in case the power goes out........ but here we are... the hidden home brew kit.... you first, just in case it makes someone blind....."

  18. ShortLegs

    Plot error alert

    So BOFH has his save games from 30 years ago stored on disk... checks out.

    BIFH was using 8" floppies in 1994.... no way.

    The 5.25" drive was ubiquitous by 1984, and the 3.5" drive started making inroads in 1985 on the Amiga/ST

    No way was a BOFH using 8" in 1994. Nope. No way. Nada.

    OTOH, Im looking at the 3 DL380s, the DL360, the Gen10, three Synologies, 2004 Mac Pro, 2009 Mac Pro, 2013 Mac Pro, Sun Blade 2500, shevles full of PCI-64bit / PCI-X RAID cards, a few 32bit PCI cards, a VL-Bus SVGA card.... floppy cables, HDs, even a 5.25" (half height) 20MB disk drive... and thinking "Do I have too much junk?"

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Plot error alert

      > So BOFH has his save games from 30 years ago stored on disk... checks out.

      > BIFH was using 8" floppies in 1994.... no way.

      But but but 1980 was only 20 years ago, right? Right? (see icon)

    2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Plot error alert

      "BIFH was using 8" floppies in 1994.... no way.

      The 5.25" drive was ubiquitous by 1984, and the 3.5" drive started making inroads in 1985 on the Amiga/ST"

      The infinite mass of the Hoardinium clearly causes a time dilation effect wherein ancient technology continues to be used long past the point that it ought to have been discarded.

      QED.

    3. stiine Silver badge

      Re: Plot error alert

      Even I was using 8" floppies in 1994, in fact, up until we shut down the system in January 2000.

    4. PhilipN Silver badge

      2009 Mac Pro Not junk!

      I have two, one running 24/7. Both for backup. Wouldn't want that new-fangled stuff for such a critical item.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Plot error alert

      There's also no chance that the machine on which those floppies were created would still have been in use in 2004. Except...

      A continuation of a twenty-year-old joke, perhaps.

    6. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

      Re: Plot error alert

      You, umm, do realize that once something is made, it can be used forever past the build date until it breaks, right? Just because the world moves on does not mean everyone must move with it. My mother still has an 8 track stereo sysyem from the 1960s that would work it anyone was willing to tear it down and rebuild the drive section, which moves slowly making the music sound distorted. She keeps it because it's also a very nice looking piece of furniture and uses it for decoration. When she passes away, I suspect that unit will be about the only thing my brother and I might argue over. If I am the one who gets it, I'll be tearing it apart to refurbish the electronics and will convert the AUX slot to play a USB stick.

    7. F. Frederick Skitty Silver badge

      Re: Plot error alert

      The UK's Defence Evaluation and Research Agency was still using 8" floppy drives until at least the early 1990s. This was on HP machines attached to huge and hideously expensive scientific equipment.

    8. FeRDNYC

      Re: Plot error alert

      OTOH, Im looking at the 3 DL380s, the DL360, the Gen10, three Synologies, 2004 Mac Pro, 2009 Mac Pro, 2013 Mac Pro, Sun Blade 2500, shevles full of PCI-64bit / PCI-X RAID cards, a few 32bit PCI cards, a VL-Bus SVGA card.... floppy cables, HDs, even a 5.25" (half height) 20MB disk drive... and thinking "Do I have too much junk?"

      Sounds like you definitely have too many associated controllers, for your relative scarcity of tiny storage! Never mind "where are you going to plug all those PCI-X cards into?", but even if you found compatible motherboards, what would you possibly RAID with them?

    9. The other JJ

      Re: Plot error alert

      The VAX 780 incorporated a DEC RX01 or RX02 8" floppy drive and was shipped until at least 1984 and still in use well into the 1990s.

  19. nullroute

    *Glances nervously at the vax in the corner*

  20. Marty McFly Silver badge
    Pint

    Worked too hard...

    .....back in my younger years to buy my Apple //c. It, and its peripherals, represent several summers of teenage manual labor. Cannot bear to let it go, despite not having seen a power socket since ~1994.

    And, while not being a bunch of saved games, the hundreds of pirated 5 1/4 floppies represents a sizable time investment for a misspent youth.

    1. mike.dee

      Re: Worked too hard...

      Does the power supply have the dreaded Rifa capacitors that plagued the Apple IIe and early Macintoshes? They probably were made of explodium and tended to release their magic smoke if left unpowered for a lot of time. Electrolytic capacitors have some problem if left unpowered for a lot of time.

  21. Mjolnir

    Well at least so far my collection is limited to microvax machines. Don't look at all the Commodore, Atari, Kaypro and Televideo computers......

  22. robert lindsay
    Black Helicopters

    Of COURSE he's installing VMS,you think they'll let that bastard Ultrix out?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. Blackjack Silver badge

    I have floppies I can't use, I admit, I should really throw them away.

  24. G7mzh

    That sounds suspiciously like my spare room!

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. Snowy Silver badge
    Coat

    Miss read the end.

    "Oh, I just needed you out of your office while the PFY took delivery of two Vax 11/780s. One of them has a memory expansion! I think there's still room in there for your desk and chair though …"

    I miss-read that as … I think there is room in here for your desk and chair though …

    Implying the boss was ready for the scrap heap.

  27. ske1fr
    Windows

    Schrödinger's tat

    Yes, I have some old stuff like that, but whether or not any of if it will still work is a moot point, not to mention that the time available to do anything with it is vanishingly small. I had a lot more spare time before I retired...

  28. Grunchy Silver badge

    Predicted by Turing

    Virtualization and emulation are essentially practical implementations of “Turing machines.” So emulated environments are perfect, as far as I care. Yes, I’ve got the old C64 & C128, some DL380Ps and IBM x3850s. Yet pretty much everything I’ve got is running virtualized: Proxmox, Qemu, Linux containers, Android. FPGAs. MAME collections, exoDOS, Wine.

    Beyond hoardinium, though, is the amount of irony I’ve also collected. You see, virtualization was originally invented so as to make possible “time sharing” schemes, in which multiple users can simultaneously access virtual “slices” of the same, single, computing resource. What happened is the complete opposite!! Now I’ve got dozens of computing devices ganged together into Proxmox clusters, and all serving one single user: myself. Not to mention hyperthreading, multiple cores, and multiple sockets, oy vey.

    Do not all of our cups run over excessively?

  29. Spanners Silver badge

    An entirely different matter of scale from me.

    I have a USB floppy drive, a USB Zip drive and a load of discs.

    In comparison, I don't count.

  30. kneedragon

    Resemble

    Oi! I resemble that!

    As a 62 year old Linux neck-beard, who has DosBox in his Linux Mint, so I can play Umoria (from the 1985 edition) and I have about 18 saved games ~

    If I turn to my left and look over my shoulder, there's a stack of 4 plastic milk-crates, filled to overflowing with computer hardware bits of indeterminate age and functional status. Many many cables ~

    I'm pretty sure there's no five and a quarter inch floppies here, but there's sure to be a few 3.5s.

    Painful lesson of long experience, messing with computers, the moment you decide something is junk, and get rid of it, because it's collecting dust, it will become the one object you need in a life & death situation. That flat ribbon hard drive / floppy drive / cd-rom ATA cable? The day you ditch it, the next day, you're going to need it. Fifty years that thing can sit in a box, looking malevolent, but the day you toss it will become the day it became life & death critical.

    "WHAT ON EARTH POSSESSED YOU TO THROW THAT OUT? DON'T YOU KNOW THOSE THINGS ARE MADE FROM UNICORN SEMEN?"

    1. FeRDNYC

      Re: Resemble

      Painful lesson of long experience, messing with computers, the moment you decide something is junk, and get rid of it, because it's collecting dust, it will become the one object you need in a life & death situation. That flat ribbon hard drive / floppy drive / cd-rom ATA cable? The day you ditch it, the next day, you're going to need it. Fifty years that thing can sit in a box, looking malevolent, but the day you toss it will become the day it became life & death critical.

      Well, sure. That's why I keep one of everything that might possibly ever again be of some use. Generally, the "best" one, by whatever criteria seem sensible at the time. I still have my best (read: longest) floppy ribbon cable, my best (read: thickest jacketing) parallel cable, my best (read: ...best) PCI sound card, etc.

      But ONLY ONE of each. All the others get sent to that great parts bin in the sky.

  31. Chairman of the Bored

    Brilliant

    Too bad the manager isn't a collector, I was half expecting a Call of Amontillado style ending.

    The sign of the trowel! Hearts beating under floorboards! Poe was a BOFH before electronic computers existed.

  32. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

    The Gravity of Hoardinium

    I got an excited call one day from a tech friend, who told me he had a line on a free VAX. All we had to do was haul it away and it was ours. He wanted my help moving it. I said, "Sure!" He came to my place driving a borrowed pickup truck, I got in, and we motored down to the relevant business.

    Some other BOFHs had got there ahead of us and made off with the prize!

  33. FeRDNYC

    Thirty years ago was 1995. Who the hell was still using 8" floppies in 1995!? Hell, by that time 5¼-inch floppies were already practically extinct!

  34. Bigkahoona

    Sinclair ZX Spectrum

    "A ZX Spectrum – in its original box – with a third-party disk drive, extra RAM, plus the original monitor. In running condition."

    I'll take that. It was my first computer (luxurious 48k version) and I taught myself coding Basic on its wobbly rubber keys in the middle of the night with only the eery glow of the monitor (which was actually a small repurposed B&W TV) when I was 11 years old so my mom wouldn't catch me, because of course I had to be in school the next day. That was more than 40 years ago and today I am a happy IT professional. I'll never forget that little box.

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