Office clearout – a few gems

marc-clearout-2.jpgAlthough Dec 31st 2007 is my last official day at the OU (I’m retiring from academic life!), I’m clearing out my office by November 30th — I have a small amount of accumulated unused leave time and other things happening during December.

I have a lovely office that I’ve really enjoyed over the years [after all, KMi is pretty much custom-designed by its occupants, modified to fit in an award-winning building], but boy is it full of junk. This photo is just the tip of the iceberg. The four big green crates are stuffed with junk from the last time I moved office (within KMi that is) many years ago. I haven’t even peeked inside since them, so I figure if I couldn’t be bothered to look originally, I should really just throw everything out without investigating further. Of course I’ll peek a little, but right now I’m just chucking everything, with three caveats: I’m filling recycling bags with recyclable stuff (mostly paper and cardboard); I’m trying to give away some old computers to the Computing Museum at Bletchley Park; and most of my books are going into the KMi Library – some personal favourites including Newell & Simon’s 1972 classic Human Problem Solving, a signed copy of John Anderson’s The Architecture of Cognition, etc. I’ll probably keep about 10 out of hundreds – who’s got the room or the time – I’m no longer interested!

Also, forget the original model Newton, Psion 3a, Apple PowerBook 170, and other relics in that photo: the real gems are the Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 Portable Computer (top of pile), including Bill Gates’ very own Basic Interpreter in ROM, and a Psion Organiser II (lower left, on top of the Newton) – with an alphabetic A-B-C keypad, two line display, ‘Pocket Spreadsheet’ plug-in ROM, and the world’s worst user interface ever. The Computer Museum already has a lot of this stuff, but I’m checking with them to see what else they may need. The TRS-80, which hit the market in 1984, still runs perfectly on 4 AA batteries! I’ll do a better shot with all the technology ‘lined up’ and visible in a later entry. [Update: there IS no ‘later’ as far as tuning these items is concerned 😉 ].

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