How many computers do you have?

19. That's how many computers I currently have. 16 of them are in mom's living room, along with 9 printers, 4 monitors, and a number of mice, keyboards, dead hard-drives and a bunch of other computer related peripherals.

2 of those computers run CP/M, they're old Kaypro 2Xs, purchased back in the mid-1980s; one was used in dad's bookkeeping/tax preparations business for many years, the other was used by my sister through grad school. The most recent software they ran was WordStar 4.0, a very good wordprocessing program which dominated the CP/M world, but was sabatoged by the marketdroids when they transferred to PC-DOS; rather than properly develope and support their existing program, they chose to purchase others work and relabel it as WordStar, stabbing their loyal followers in the back. WordStar 7 for DOS wasn't bad, but the atrocity that was WordStar for Windows, meh, horrorshow, no wonder folks switched to WordPerfect and Word, Microstar took long enough to produce a DOS program that their dominance was lost, and then they put out crap.

Then there's a PS/2, and we're not talking about video game consoles here; this one was an old machine gifted by a friend when she upgraded, haven't actually used it or found a home for it, it's just gathered dust. Ditto the ZEOS 386 tower, which is the heaviest of the lot, truly an awkward machine, begging for the installation of wheels and handles. There are at least 2 486's, one of them a laptop running Win95, an old IBM Thinkpad, the model with the butterfly keyboard. One NextGen 586, which was a non-pin compatible alternative to the Pentium; nice machine, actually, but no upgrade path, and there was the periodic problem of programs properly identifying the hardware. 2 Pentiums, Compaq DeskPros, a P95 and a P115 I think, bought used at Stuff, the P95 came with built-in SCSI support.

The remaining 11 computers are all AMDs of different vintages, mainly with Win98 installed; this computer runs Windows 7, the next most recent operating system is WinMe, I'm thinking of installing WinXP on a secondary hard-drive on this machine so I can run computer games which choke on Windows Vista and Windows 7, which is the main reason why I have the WinMe and the most modern Win98SE machine up here and not with the rest in the living room; the problem with those machines is that the sound seems to have cut out, which is a drag when playing games, and for some games a critical failure problem. If I get a new hard-drive to install as my back-up drive, I can then use the current back-up drive as an alternate OS drive, and have sound with my games; I'd also need to get a USB joy stick, as they no longer provide MIDI/Game Ports on computers and that takes care of my old joy stick. Of course, I could also check to see if my games would play with Wine, and if so I could look at installing a Linux distro. Pity my WinXP computer died, seems to be motherboard as well as the hard-drive being toast, that forced me to my current machine, at least no boot activity with a new hard-drive, which sure makes it look like toast to me, it should at least POST if the motherboard was still good.

It's going to take a couple of trips to run them all over to Free Geek, which is a local organization which will first attempt to make computers function as Linux systems, and failing that recycle them properly; if you bring in more than a couple of systems at a time they do charge, but it's minimal, and they'll try to utilize everything they can prior to sending to recycling, and given my not wanting to toss these puppies into a landfill but instead have them properly disposed of we'll find the funds for their fees.

And it's interesting being able to access my second bedroom again, it was full of dead computers. Now, the really painful part was tossing all the old software, several thousands of dollars worth that have no value now, expensive wordprocessing programs, OSs, games, etc., none of which will run on anything modern, or if you can get them to run you can't get them to print, as they're using DOS printer drivers, printer specific drivers written for each program. The great thing with Windows is that the printer has one driver for the OS, and programs talk to the OS; previously printer drivers were program specific, so each program required their own printer drivers, and once the program ceased being supported you were toast once you could no longer purchase supported printers. With Windows so long as the program can properly talk to the current version of Windows you can use any modern printer, and this, to me, is much more significant than the GUI, and is one of the things which forces OS upgrading, the need to be able to print with modern printers, as it's not cost effective to maintain old printers. Now, the thing that drove my upgrading to WinXP was that it was the minimum required to run TurboTax a couple of years ago, and that was the final straw for Win98SE, no longer running modern tax software when it was time to do my mother's taxes.

OK, my mind is starting to drift, time for afternoon meds and then food, I guess.

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