Switch 'Obsolete' Tech Into Fun Home Assist

Among the first Apple-1 computers ever made sold for $671,400 in May at a auction in Germany. That is a good deal of cash, especially for a computer with much less processing power than a cheap digital wristwatch and that doesn’t even have a keyboard or monitor.

The computer was initially bought in 1976 for $700. It arrived with — then and now — a letter personally signed by Apple cofounder Steve Jobs. But here’s the best part: It functions. As stated by the man who sold it, there are just six working Apple-1s left on the planet.

The auction price was the highest ever paid for the Apple-1. But the going rate remains in the thousands and thousands of dollars. Two additional Apple-1s sold at auction last year, one for $640,000 and the other for $375,000.

The Apple-1 is especially beneficial for many different reasons, including the fact that the cofounders were personally involved in its construction, that it had been the precursor to the first real personal computer (the Apple-2) and also because Apple went on to become kind of a big deal.

Historical Tech Gadgets as Modern Helpers

Other iconic but obsolete technology products make fantastic functional art objects in the home.

From “functional,” I suggest that sometimes you want some narrow-purpose apparatus — say, a way to leave notes to different members of their family members or to keep a shopping list, a diary or a to-do list. And you want that device to take a seat somewhere specific, like on a kitchen counter, bedside table or even the coffee table. Historical gadgets are a interesting alternative for this use. Best of all, iconic computers rise in value over time. In 10, 20 or even 50 decades, they may be priceless.

A Surprise Bonus

Many obsolete computers have one benefit over contemporary computers: security. The chances that your Internet-connected Mac or Windows PC is infected by malware or vulnerable to hacking is extremely close to 100 percent. It is potential for ethically challenged coders out there to hijack your machine with bots running in the background without your knowledge to harvest data out of your system or lead to some distributed attack — and also turn on the computer camera to spy on you and your family. Additionally, it is possible that none of this will occur to you. It is hard to tell these days.

In the event that you truly want great security for storing passwords, financial data and private journals, there’s no substitute for an obsolete computer not on the Internet.

Where to locate Old Gadgets

Look anywhere used products are sold: eBay, Craigslist, yard sales — you name it. Shopping for old tech is like antiquing — except a “classic” in Internet time is anything older than ten decades. Here are some fun and inexpensive ways to combine history, nostalgia, beauty and operate through the acquisition of obsolete but still practical technology.

Among those easiest-to-find and many iconic parts of obsolete technologies is that the original “toaster” Apple Macintosh. With its small screen, high keyboard and boxy mouse, the first Mac remains a goofy pleasure to use.

You can often buy Macs with a stack of original application disks — that the Mac was the first computer to utilize 31/2-inch “floppies.” Or you could buy them. A Mac is not only a conversation piece, but also a fully functional personal computer for basic word processing.

You can normally locate these for about $250 on eBay. You might also pay a whole lot more or much less, depending on the version and condition of the personal computer. Someone even sold one of their very first 1984 Macintoshes still in its original, unopened box on eBay for a bit over $3,500 — a deal, if you ask me.

You can also find peripherals on eBay, such as Mac-compatible old-school printers for making hard copies of your shopping lists.

One of the wonderful ironies of contemporary gaming is that despite the sophistication of super-high-resolution screens on everything from phones to TVs, despite the monster computer power in dedicated game consoles, the most popular type of gaming is “casual gaming” — comparatively simple games that may be played in moments, rather than over hours, days and months.

Among the most well-known subgenres of this casual gaming world is “classic” arcade games like Asteroids, Battlezone, Centipede, Lunar Lander, Missile Command and the original arcade game: Pong. These could be played on websites and in mobile programs.

But to gain the full Atari experience, why not get an old Atari-2600 console? They are frequently available for far less than $100 and often arrive with many different game cartridges.

Long before the Apple iPad, before the iPhone and even well before the iPod, Apple’s most famous foray into mobile tablet computing was known as the Apple Newton MessagePad.

Big, bulky and low-res by the current standards, the 1993 MessagePad was created to comprehend handwriting. In the beginning the apparatus gained a poor reputation because of issues with the handwriting recognition, but afterwards it got pretty good for the moment.

Today if you’re able to get a Newton in good working order, it can serve as a kitchen gadget for fast shopping lists or note taking. It runs on AA batteries. Rates are all over the map, but for the rare and highly coveted version with a clear case, assembled for workers and programmers, expect to pay roughly $1,000.

These are only some examples of the sorts of iconic tech of yesteryear that may adorn your home and bring history, enjoyable and fascination into your life. The best obsolete gadget, of course, is that the one you have the fondest private memories of. Because it is not obsolete if you still love it.

Photo by Grant Hutchinson

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