Never hoard old technology

I am in the process of moving out of my old apartment and am just astonished by the amount of old gadgets that I have to either dispose of or donate.

I have three old computers (two were my roommates): a 2002 iBook, a 2003 Powerbook and an Eee PC. The iBook has never been turned since 2006. The Powerbook has a broken hinge. The Eee PC is still functioning but no one has used it for a long time.

I have lost the power cables for both the iBook and the Powerbook and, thus, I can no longer power them on to erase the data in them. I had to spend several hours dismantling (not an easy task, mind you, because the used rather weird screws: a combination of Torx-8, Allen Key and Phillips screwdriver) the machines to remove the hard disk drive so that no one could recover the data when I threw the machines away.

Another example. I found my old Palm Tungsten from 2003. Fortunately, I found the old charging cradle and managed to plug it in. I even have the fold-up keyboard accessory. After a few hours of charging, everything was still working – even the touch screen and the stylus. However, this is now a defunct piece of technology because Palm no longer makes the software and it is now impossible to get the data in/out of the gadget.

I ended up donating it to the local goodwill but I am not sure whether anyone would be able to benefit from it. It seems much more convenient (and still cost-effective) to purchase a new smartphone.

Which brings me to the point of this post. I have now learned a rather painful lesson – do not hoard old technology. When you purchase a new gadget, it is so convenient to just say “Oh, let me keep that old gadget, I never know when I will ever need to use it again”.


It is very unlikely that you will ever use that old gadget again. Purchase an iPhone/iPod touch? You will never use that old iPod again. Purchased a faster and lighter laptop? You will never use your old laptop as much anymore.

Best to sell the old gadget immediately or donate it to a friend/family member. If you sell it when it is still recent enough, you might be able to get some money back. If you give it away while it is still in trend, some friend or family member would be able to make use of it and be happy. However, hoard it for just a few more years and it will be completely worthless. The company making the gadget might go bankrupt, the software might be outdated, the device might fail, etc.

So this post is just an explicit reminder to myself to never hoard old technology. The inconvenience caused – the wasted storage space, the wasted time trying to destroy data – just isn’t worth the “I might need this sometime” that you trick yourself into believing.

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