November 5, 2003

Dr. Packrat and Mr. Hyde

I am an admitted packrat. I’m always keeping anything and everything that might possibly have the smallest value at some point in the future. And that carries over to my job, too. I am loathe to throw out or donate any piece of computer equipment, no matter how junky or outdated, on the theory that I might find some use for it. That can cause some problems, particularly space issues, since my storage closet isn’t really all that big. It’s not so bad when things are slow and there isn’t much upgrading going on. But lately I’ve been getting serious into buying new computers, ones in the gigahertz ranges, to replace the old Pentium 200s at the lower end of the fleet. But what do I do with those old 200s? Do I donate them, or make some effort to get them out of the building and out where they can do some good? No, of course not. I keep them, line them up on top of the filing cabinets, and dream about how if I knew what I was doing I could build a killer Linux server farm.

Give me a break. No, seriously.

But every now and then there is something buried deep and dark inside of me that comes out. It’s the anti-packrat side of me, the one who wants to shitcan anything that isn’t of immediate use. And that’s the side of me that has emerged this week. And because it’s been repressed for so long, it is angry and it is out for vengence. So that’s the side of me that is currently ransacking the storage closet here at work. There is actually very little in that closet that I really need; most of it is of no value to the company and will never be used here again. So I’ve been working on pulling out all the stuff that is still workable, like the old 14″ monitors, the Pentium 200 computers, the HP laser printers that jam on every other page, and I’m lining those up to be donated to ComputerCorps. I’m taking the few things that are still good, legitimate spare parts, and arranging those nicely on the shelves. And then I’m going through the rest and tossing it in the dumpster. This is the fun part. This is where I get to rummage through the shelves, find something with half an inch of dust on it, shout, “Why do we still have this!?” and chuck it across the room. 5.25″ disk drives? Trash. Old 10mbit hubs that don’t even work anymore? Trash. SyJet drives? Sy-Freaking-Jet? Traaaaash.

This is so much fun, and such a release, that I’m almost glad I’m a packrat the rest of the time. If I was constantly throwing things out in a sensible manner, I’d never accumulate piles of junk. And then I’d never get to enjoy these periods of intense shitcanning. And what fun would that be?

Filed under The Computer Vet Weblog

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