A trip down tech’s memory lane: 7 IT relics I miss

As I walked out of my local big-box electronics store this weekend, I found myself thinking of the IT glory days. My memories and that nostalgic feeling were the catalyst for sharing the following list with you: a list of those IT relics I still hold dear.

1. Old school computer magazines

In the 80s growing up, I can remember over those old computer magazines containing source codes for my Commodore 64 and other machines of the period. I couldn’t wait for our hour trip to the closest mall where I would buy a handful of the latest editions.

2. Computer stores for computers, not the gadget big box

It was a treat to walk in my town’s corner computer store and scour the shelves for custom cases, system boards, or the most recent video card. Nowadays, I can’t seem to find these items because the only computer stores available are the big box variety in which electronic subtopics are suspended from the ceiling on big blue signs. If I want to buy a new motherboard, I have to consult the Internet. For me, it’s just not the same.

3. Cases that were really the desktop variety

Tower cases are ok, but I can remember the true desktop cases in which I could easily plug my removable storage device or media. These were right there, accessible. I know, I can still do these things with the modern tower or all in one monitors, but there’s something to be said for functionality, even if it’s not so economic on space.

4. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore

My brother just purchased a new mouse for his home computer. Not to poke fun, but his selection of pink polka dots (to please the wife and little girls) would not be my choice. No, it’s not the design that irritates me so much. It’s the lack of durability- the quality of today’s products seems to have taken a nosedive. Why do the mice and keyboards I find on the store shelf all seem so flimsy? I miss the old IBM, Commodore, and Apple keyboards that weighed about as much as today’s monitor screens. They were solid in my hand, the keys fit my fingers, and I felt like I was actually getting my money’s worth.

5. Hello? Is anybody there?

When the hourglass or the colorful spinning ball refuse to go away, I am reminiscent of the old school help desk. In the old days, a person knocked at your cubicle and helped you out with your computer ills. I was able to get to know all the faces and personalities with whom I worked. Now, I remotely connect with the site’s help tech. I know, it makes the department more productive. They can help so many more people. But, I miss the real-people side. The real deal.

6. No installation necessary

I can remember when the program I needed to use would run from a disk. Insert the removable media, use as you need it, and store in a protective sleeve until the next time. No need to install programs, taking up precious space on your hard drive. Games that were like this could easily be stuffed in my overnight bag and taken to friends’ houses to play on their computers. Sigh.

7. Code manipulation

Back in the glory days of the 1980s, I could boot up my Commodore 64 and make changes to the software’s code as I saw fit. As an amateur programmer, this presented a continual challenge to make the machine do what I wanted: a challenge that led me to do what I do today. I pity the kids of this decade, but then again, they have their own app creation challenges…