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Silicon Valley's Island of Misfit Tech

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the purpletooth-device dept.

Games 134

harrymcc writes "For more than 20 years, Sunnyvale's cavernous, aptly-named Weird Stuff Warehouse has sold an amazing array of salvage and surplus computer products. It's like a tech museum where everything's for sale at bargain-basement prices — from shrinkwrapped Atari 1040ST software to used BetaMAX tapes to 1GB hard drives to mysterious printed circuit boards to Selectric typewriters. I paid a visit to this legendary geek temple and snapped photos of some of the fascinating stuff I came across."

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Probe Card (5, Informative)

mjvvjm (1003135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31116672)

Round circuit board is a needle Probe card. (For testing IC's) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probe_card [wikipedia.org]

Re:Probe Card (1, Interesting)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117152)

Ah cool! I was wondering what the hell that was.

Re:Probe Card (-1, Offtopic)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31119218)

Gee thanks for modding me down for that asshole. Maybe you could troll rate this one.

Re:Probe Card (2, Funny)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 4 years ago | (#31119346)

I was amused that the article's author ("Harry McCracken" is credited) states that when he saw the round circuit boards, he felt that he "wasn't quite smart enough to understand them."

Me: "You know what a circuit board is, right?"
Harry: "Sure."
Me: "It's just a board with electrical components connected together."
Harry: "Yup."
Me: "So, this is the same thing with a round shape."
Harry: "Hold on. You lost me there."

Re:Probe Card (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31120594)

We also used to use round circuit boards (stacked) inside a jack-in cylindrical PLC used in all sorts of industrial panels. The devices had to pass very specific standards on encapsulation since they were used in environments where a single small spark could blow up a substantial chunk of real estate.

It's easier and safer to seal a circular opening.

Used BetaMax?!? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31116682)

Porn?

Porn - back in the day before cow udder sized fake tits and shaved vaginas - back when the women looked like women and not like tweens with two malignant tumors on their chests.

great (2, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31116688)

Oh great, slides of the family vacation. Fine. I'm going to the kitchen.. I'll be back glassy eyed and with a bowl of popcorn in a few!

OP missed the golden age... (3, Interesting)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117174)

When WeirdStuff had satellite solar panels (when they were still at Syncamore Drive in Milpitas) ... or 4 platter 8 inch 20MB Hard Disk with spindle motor running off AC ...

Re:OP missed the golden age... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117706)

Yup wierdstuff used to get lots of really good tech. Nowdays they simply look like a trashbin of useless junk at premium prices. They really have missed their heyday.

Re:OP missed the golden age... (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 4 years ago | (#31119162)

Yup wierdstuff used to get lots of really good tech. Nowdays they simply look like a trashbin of useless junk at premium prices.

Must admit I was expecting a bit more from the article. The problem is that a lot of that stuff is from the 90s (or pretty common stuff from the 80s). 1990s PC tech is mostly old enough to be very dated by modern standards, but it's still way past the early days of computing. By that time a lot of stuff had been standardised (not least the world finally settling on the "IBM PC compatible" as a standard). It really just comes across as crappier and more dated versions of what we have now.

Maybe it's just me, but old PCs always felt like just... crappy old PCs. While particular aspects of the technology may be interesting, the systems as a whole generally don't have any particular charm when they get old. Probably because beige box PCs didn't have much charm to begin with.

Re:OP missed the golden age... (2, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117722)

When WeirdStuff had satellite solar panels (when they were still at Syncamore Drive in Milpitas) ... or 4 platter 8 inch 20MB Hard Disk with spindle motor running off AC ...

I think I'm going to have a drink everytime someone mentions something made before I was born on this thread...

Re:OP missed the golden age... (1)

secondhand_Buddah (906643) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117940)

Good plan. I'll join you :-)

Re:OP missed the golden age... (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31118162)

Good plan. I'll join you :-)

This ends well...

Re:OP missed the golden age... (1)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 4 years ago | (#31120346)

Devices I've owned that were probably made before you were born:

Atari 2600
Atari 800
Intellivision
Commodore 64
TRS-80 Model IV
Macintosh (the 1984 model)
Mac IIsi
Pong

Lemme know if you need some more to plastered.

Re:OP missed the golden age... (1)

rcrodgers (1233228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31120510)

Atari 2600
Atari 800XL (with 64KB RAM!!)
Texas Instruments digital calculator, complete with multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction!
Magnavox VHS VCR, circa 1984 (just missed BetaMax iirc)
Numerous table top video games such as Donkey Kong that came in portable home versions of arcade game housings.

God I feel old...

Re:OP missed the golden age... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31119332)

When WeirdStuff had satellite solar panels (when they were still at Syncamore Drive in Milpitas) ... or 4 platter 8 inch 20MB Hard Disk with spindle motor running off AC ...

I think I'm going to have a drink everytime someone mentions something made before I was born on this thread...

Oh, relax -- I'm over 65 and AC was invented before I was born.

Re:OP missed the golden age... (1)

enigmatichmachine (214829) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117878)

I bought my first monitor from Weird stuff. it was vga, but had a 2 row EGA connector and it took forever to make an adapter cable, as apparently the monitor was for some Japanese standard. the screen would turn brown ever so often and I had to hit it as hard as I could on the left side to set it straight again.

but the truly weird stuff i've found there? a CO2 cutting laser, Used glass wafer masks left over from some fab(wouldn't these be secret?) and a Degauss machine so strong it ripped the IC's off hard drives.

Traffic lights (1)

Tmack (593755) | more than 4 years ago | (#31116690)

They had bins full of LED traffic lights last time I was there (right around the corner from my office). Interesting place, great for dirt cheap keyboards and mice.

tm

Re:Traffic lights (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 4 years ago | (#31119204)

They had bins full of LED traffic lights last time I was there

I thought such things only got common in the past five years or so? Maybe they have newer stuff too?

Re:Traffic lights (1)

TJamieson (218336) | more than 4 years ago | (#31120686)

They did get common in the past few years, but since they don't melt snow like good ol' incandescent, colder northern climates are probably dumping them cheap :)

Interesting thing about this... (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 4 years ago | (#31116714)

Used to be across the road from the first Fry's Electronics.

Re:Interesting thing about this... (1)

Hades- (16878) | more than 4 years ago | (#31116972)

Was that down by where Sports Basement is now? (I was under the assumption that SB is in the building where Frys originally was.) I remember walking into Weird Stuff the first time and seeing the row of old networking equipment and just being giddy.

that's the place, but... (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 4 years ago | (#31120012)

It was in where the Grainger is now. Fry's was where Sports Basement is. But Weird Stuff was on that side of the road before Fry's, I think. Fry's used to be one street east, on Lakeside Drive. Maybe you can still see the "Fry's parking only" stencil on the parking spots just on the other side of the row of trees forming the east side of the parking lot St. John's is in.

What was the name of the computer/electronics store that moved in after Weird Stuff? It was an import from another country. They sure jumped into a battle, with NCA and Fry's already running huge component sales, they were eaten alive quickly.

Re:that's the place, but... (1)

Brett Johnson (649584) | more than 4 years ago | (#31120506)

Was it Disk Drive Warehouse? I think that was around there.

Re:that's the place, but... (1)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 4 years ago | (#31120700)

T-Zone was the outfit that moved in.

Re:Interesting thing about this... (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 4 years ago | (#31120164)

I honestly have no clue :( - I don't live around there anymore.

Re:Interesting thing about this... (1)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 4 years ago | (#31118354)

Even better, you had the first Fry's, Weird Stuff across one street from that, and across the other street you had a branch of Computer Literacy books, and a Togo's. Hit Fry's and Weird Stuff, then go pick up a magazine or book at Computer Literacy, and grab a large hot #7 at Togo's and eat it while reading the book or magazine.

Proof that there is no God: Togo's only has one location in Washington (where I live now), so my sandwich needs have to be met by Subway and Quizno's, neither of which comes within an order of magnitude of the goodness that is Togo's.

Re:Interesting thing about this... (1)

MWoody (222806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31119572)

God, I remember that. Used to get my Dad to take me to Fry's, marvel at all the stuff I could never hope to afford, then hop across the road and spend my allowance on shareware floppies.

Circular circuit board (1, Informative)

dtmos (447842) | more than 4 years ago | (#31116730)

It's hard to tell from the photograph, but I think the circular circuit board is a probe ring for an automated integrated circuit tester. The chip is placed in the hole in the center of the circuit board. Probe pins, like these [computerhistory.org] , are placed on the gold area around the hole in the center to contact the pads of the IC under test. The other side of the pins are connected to the inner ring of contact points on the circuit board (just outside the gold area), which are, in turn, connected to the rows of contact points at the periphery of the board. These points are big enough for human beings to connect test equipment cables to.

It's an example of the transition needed from the micro- (or even nano-) world of integrated circuits to the human-scale physical world.

Re:Circular circuit board (1)

Black Cardinal (19996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31116874)

Yes, we call these "wafer probe cards" at my work place because they are used for probing circuits directly on wafers and die.

Re:Circular circuit board (1)

erexx23 (935832) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117324)

They make nice analog clocks after they are done being used.

Goodwill Computer Store (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#31116754)

Reminds me of the Goodwill computer store, but bigger.

Wonder if Slashdot would run a story on me checking out a flea market?

Re:Goodwill Computer Store (2, Interesting)

hguorbray (967940) | more than 4 years ago | (#31118438)

it's a little better than that -the backroom (3/4 of a huge warehouse) has dozens of telco racks, lots of old token ring and even stranger networking gear as well as lots of cabling equipment.

In the front area you can buy old sgis and sparcstations for a pittance and they also have a cool looking touchpad linux barebones (no case) for ~$200 iirc

definitely geek heaven for sili valley -others mentioned Halted or Haltec, but that is more of a parts emporium although they do have some weird stuff too.

-I'm just sayin'

Nice picture of a LaserJet... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31116756)

My desk is an island of misfit tech :)

Some things are still work perfectly: I'm not trading my four (!) LaserJets 4M+ (and 4+ modded to 4M+ and mem-maxed) for any of today's cheapo crap (ok, ok, in the article it's a LaserJet IIP but still).

These were semi-professional printers and they're outlasting any non-professional printer that you can buy today. There's a reason why a good, low page count, 4M+ still goes on for $100 on eBay. These are indestructible devices of an age where quality in the U.S. was the norm.

Still use on of them daily and I regularly "round robbin" them :)

My desk at home is : LaserJet 4M+ and IBM Model M hooked to a Core 2 Duo + 24" Samsung screen. Pretty cool to have a 16 years old printer and a 21 years old keyboard (times four, just in case) that still work perfectly and that are still used on a daily basis.

Quality I tell ya.

Re:Nice picture of a LaserJet... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117176)

>>> These are indestructible devices of an age where quality in the U.S. was the norm

Oh jeez. Next you're going to tell us about how records really DO sound better the Super Audio CDs or DVD Audio discs. Or that an old 1950s car is better built than a modern car that squeezes-out 40 miles per gallon of gasoline. ;-) - I had one of those laserjets given to me by my employer, and it worked okay, but not as good as my 2000s-era Samsung which can print in color, copy various forms, and do double-sided printing... all for less than $200 brand new.

Re:Nice picture of a LaserJet... (1)

mrdoogee (1179081) | more than 4 years ago | (#31118290)

If you need that stuff, that's great. However my shop prints nothing but single sided database reports on single sided legal paper. Many other offices are similar. I have a fancy pants color laser that does 40PPM and double sided here, however the HP LJ4000 is what sits on my desk because its reliable, rock solid and if the toner gets streaky, I just pull the cartridge, give it a hearty shake, and *POW* like magic, the printer prints just fine for hundreds more pages.

Re:Nice picture of a LaserJet... (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 4 years ago | (#31119344)

Records sound good, but I could not tell you how they compare to SACD or DVDA becasue I do not have a player for them. However, most of the time records sound better than regular CDs. While CD as a medium is high quality and probably higher quality than the record (especially dynamic range) current CDs are so compressed that they sound horrible. Old records were made before the loudness war escalated to the level it is at today.

What I do not like about modern cars is their look and complexity. Yes, the car is very aerodynamic and such, but the difference probably is only evident only when you are going 200km/h, in which case you will still pay more to the police officer when he stops you for speeding (max speed in my country is 130km/h). Complexity is also bad, for example, a car that can only be unlocked by remote control is not much more protected than a regular car but has one more point of failure.

As for other old tech it is usually better built, using more durable materials (for example metal instead of plastic) and/or making the parts thicker.

btw, I have an old printer (HP Professional Color 2500CM) and I like it - ink can be easily refilled and it is cheap. The printer itself is better built than current inkjet printers.

Re:Nice picture of a LaserJet... (1)

Tuidjy (321055) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117200)

Hell yeah :-) My desk sports a LasetJet5 made in May 1996, a modem M made in April 1997, and a Hitachi 24" CRT made in March 1995.
The monitor takes a few minutes to warm up, but the rest is rock solid.

Re:Nice picture of a LaserJet... (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117226)

I came here to post about the same thing.

When my wife's old college-era printer died, I bought a LaserJet 4M+ from Discount Electronics in Austin. This was in 2003 or 2004, and for $99 I got a printer with 10baseT JetDirect card and all the toner in its cartridge.

Six or seven years later, I haven't spent a dime more on anything besides paper, and I still have a durable, fully-functional, networked printer. I'd be hard-pressed to believe that printers made in 2003 or 2004 would be in such good shape today.

Re:Nice picture of a LaserJet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31117846)

21 years old keyboard

Yeah buddy! No "windows" keys!

Re:Nice picture of a LaserJet... (1)

mrdoogee (1179081) | more than 4 years ago | (#31118180)

Mine aren't as old, but I have about 5 Laserjet 4000s that they can have when they pry them from my cold, dead hands.

I've always found it odd that HP used to make printers that got thousands of pages per $80 cartridge, that you could literally drop on the floor and they'd keep on chugging happily away, but now the P2015dn set I've got now gets less than 3000 pages per $150, loses network connectivity randomly, and flat out refuses to run once the chip decides I'm "out" of toner.

Many of my non IT co-workers wonder why I always paw through the e-waste trash heap before it goes to the recyclers, but I've managed to bring 2 old workhorse laser printers back from the dead that way.

Re:Nice picture of a LaserJet... (1)

donatzsky (91033) | more than 4 years ago | (#31120862)

and flat out refuses to run once the chip decides I'm "out" of toner.

You can probably turn that "feature" off. On my CP1515n it's called Auto Continue and is found under System Setup in the web interface. On the CP1515n the default threshold is set to 6%.

Re:Nice picture of a LaserJet... (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31120964)

lol, i used to get LJ 5 printers for our office right up til last year when we sold out :)
One of them was dropped by UPS (from a rooftop apparently) and came in with 23 pieces of plastic broken...of course it still prints fine once you put back the piece that trips a sensor and put the display back where it belongs :) Our original LJ5 was at 700,000 pages last i saw, why change?

Now if only someone near by had an actual monochrome monitor and a 10MB hard drive i could rebuild these 2 other old Compaq :( Trade ya 2 17" SVGA CRT for one amber hercules compatible....

I think i just fixed my old 386 laptop using a 64mb CF card and an adapter if only i could get the darn keyboard connector back on :/

Does anyone else here have a Hard Drive that weighs more than they do? I kept our old Wang minicomputer we retired in the mid-90's after 15 years in use...175 pounds to store a massive 80MB...oh, you need the 35 pound disk controller box too :O

If only i knew enough to mod one of the wang keyboards for a PC :(

Long live dead computer tech

Re:Nice picture of a LaserJet... (1)

Crazy Brian (657840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31118784)

I still run a LaserJet4+ and have a spare in the basement. Toner is dirt cheap, and it still prints great. Mine has the duplexer on it too. Got the whole unit at a state surplus auction for $30, full of toner, and it has the large capacity paper tray too, and a JetDirect card! Then when I wanted color, I got a Tektronics 740 color laser networked printer at a university auction for $15...works great from the multi purpose tray...normal tray doesn't work. A few months later, I got a full set of toner and other consumables for it for $40. That will probably last me the next 10 years, and I don't have to worry about the ink drying out. For copies, I have a ScanJet 5p on SCSI.

something similar in Seattle (4, Informative)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#31116770)

RePC. There's one in Seattle south of the stadiums, plus it has a computer history museum inside of it with lots of seriously old machines on display. There is another RePC (sans museum) in Tukwila, south of Seattle.

Never seen traffic walk signs there before, but I've seen basically everything else shown here on sale at RePC, though the prices seem better than at RePC.

I picked up a C64C with some floppy drives, some monitors to go with old 8-bit machines, an Apple //GS, and some other stuff. Those machines are seriously cheap nowadays.

Re:something similar in Seattle (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 4 years ago | (#31120560)

Yea, I visited there too.

Old crap (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 4 years ago | (#31116774)

Sounds like a place I could donate my AOL 1.0 diskette and vintage 2400 baud modem to.

Re:Old crap (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117216)

Or sell it on Ebay. I sold my old Quantum Link disk (think AOL 0.9) for $10. My old 1200 baud Commodore modem went for $1. (The buyers also paid postage on top of that.) One man's junk is another man's prized possession.

Not that weird (2, Interesting)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31116840)

90% of it is at least partially compatible with modern hardware. I was expecting something legitimately odd.

Analytical Engines expected any day now since 1834 (1)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117142)

In other words, the Duke Nukem Forever of Steampunk. ;-)
Not coming to a Weird Stuff Warehouse near you anytime soon.

It's little sibling (not a general purpose computer) is actually working since they did build it to 19th-century specifications: http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/objects/computing_and_data_processing/1992-556.aspx [sciencemuseum.org.uk]

Texas has stores like this too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31116844)

The Dallas/Fort Worth area has at least two such places:

Goodwill Computer Works in Fort Worth and a commercial used-Electronics store in Arlington. They are also home to the First and Third Saturday sidewalk sales under the bridge in Dallas's West End area.

Goodwill also operates Computer Works and ComputerWorks stores in other cities including Austin, Houston, and elsewhere in and out of Texas, including California.

Some of these stores have museums associated with them.

Long Live the Surplus Store. (3, Informative)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31116862)

Between the racks I got from Weird Stuff [weirdstuff.com] , the tube radio I got at Electronics Flea Market [electronic...market.com] , the wiring and connectors, and components I get from Halted [halted.com] and Al Lasher's Electronics [allashers.com] , (I still miss Quinn's Electronics [imsai.net] , though...), I almost don't need to go to Fry's or order from Digi-Key.

Not that I don't go to Fry's, Digi-Key, or even eBay, but it's nice to still be able to get parts 'n' stuff on a Saturday for $5 in gas and a pleasant drive, rather than a $5 shipping charge and a three-day wait. (I don't mind paying $5 for a $1 connector, but if I gotta go that route, I'll be damned if I'm gonna wait for it :)

Alas, the surplus store memorial [bluefeathertech.com] list gets longer with every passing year.

But that covers a few places I know of in the Bay Area. Where are your surplus stores?

Re:Long Live the Surplus Store. (1)

Temkin (112574) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117062)

Last I heard, Vinnie had resurrected Quinn's, or at least attempted to. I no longer live in the area to check. I grew up near by, and got to meet Mike only once.

Here in Austin we have M.C. Howard Electronics. Perhaps not the legend that was Quinn's or the big three in the south bay, but not bad. We have a great Goodwill Computer Works for more run-of-the-mill computer stuff.

Re:Long Live the Surplus Store. (1)

atomicthumbs (824207) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117108)

I went to Al Lasher's and asked, while buying some high-voltage capacitors, how much a lead-acid battery like one he had was. He said I could have it for free. He's a really nice guy.

Re:Long Live the Surplus Store. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31119846)

But that covers a few places I know of in the Bay Area. Where are your surplus stores?

I live in the SF Bay area, but my son took me to a truly amazing place when I visited him in Florida. Allow at least a couple of hours if you go there.

Pictures are at

and its gone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31116892)

did not take long to slashdot that site...

22. PAGES. (1)

rarel (697734) | more than 4 years ago | (#31116894)

These are not hi-res pics, they're from your iPhone. What's wrong with putting everything on ONE page? Geez.

Re:22. PAGES. (2, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117080)

because he gets ad revenue from each page's banners, 22 in all.

Re:22. PAGES. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31117146)

Ads? What ads?

Re:22. PAGES. (1)

mrdoogee (1179081) | more than 4 years ago | (#31118376)

It's funny, I've been running adblock+ so long that just yesterday I was wondering to myself why modern web pages have so much unused whitespace nowdays, took me a minute to realize that thats where the ads would go.

Re:22. PAGES. (2, Funny)

rarel (697734) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117904)

Yeah, it was a rethorical question.

He didn't get much from me. I closed the damn thing at the third pic/page. Starting with old wrapped boxes, expecting to bait users to see more? Hmf, booooring. Stupid start, stupid article, and stupid scheme.

Why not one page (1)

Jim Efaw (3484) | more than 4 years ago | (#31118204)

These are not hi-res pics, they're from your iPhone. What's wrong with putting everything on ONE page? Geez.

Because, even with the overhead of the HTML, it isn't worth the server and bandwidth hit to send 22 pictures to people who might not care after the first 2 or 3, especially if the site is getting Slashdotted.

Slashdot'ed already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31116916)

Damn you slashdot! ;)

There used to be a place like that in MN (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31116928)

A long time ago in a galaxy far away there was a store called "Dexis" in Eden Prairie MN. They had a retail storefront but the fun was in the back rooms. All sorts of odd stuff was for sale back there; much of it sold "best offer / as-is". I found many things back there that I didn't know (before going in) that I needed. Unfortunately for the consumer they found that they could sell that stuff for more money on ebay. Then they eventually folded up completely. Now dexis.com is a dental x-ray business. RIP Dexis.

Boring (2, Interesting)

bit9 (1702770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31116954)

They should rename this place to Boring Stuff Bonanza.

I can, to some degree, understand people being a little nostalgic for the old days of computer tech. I'm not all that nostalgic about it myself, but if I ever did decide to get nostalgic about it, those are not the items I would pick. Windows 3.1 and Windows 95??? Good riddance to those crappy operating systems! A broken down P-133 with 16MB RAM??? A Betamax tape? WTF?

If you're going to be nostalgic about old computing stuff, at least pick stuff that was actually cool at the time. Like maybe a Commodore 64 or even an Apple IIe. Or maybe an old copy of Zork. Heck, even things like the Mac Plus, or Turbo Pascal would be more interesting than a shrink-wrapped copy of Windows 3.1.

Yes, I'm sure they've got all those things and more at Weird Stuff Warehouse, but TFA sure picked the wrong items to be nostalgic about.

Re:Boring (2, Interesting)

azmodean+1 (1328653) | more than 4 years ago | (#31118170)

I agree, the article writer picked some rather unimpressive offerings, but how about a pair of 1U dual-Xeon systems for $200? there is also a steady stream of other rackmount parts and accessories, along with misc memory, CPUs, and periphials. I understand that only a small fraction of the inventory makes it to the webpage, so I probably don't even see the good stuff :P

Nostalgia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31118688)

It's about the feelings of freedom we had back then. The control over what was ours. The nostalgia like an old photo of what tech meant to our lives as well as the time periods in general. The WOW! of novelty. Pleasant memories seen through rose colored glasses for some.

I recognize picture 19 (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 4 years ago | (#31116956)

I still have my Dell P-133 machine at home but I upgraded it to a whopping 64 mb ram a long time ago. It does a good job of running the various V for Victory games and storing long ago porn which can no longer be found anywhere (how is that possible?).

Like my basement - but bigger (1)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 4 years ago | (#31116966)

When I was in Silicon Valley last year of course I had to stop by this place to check it out. Well I knew it was a good sign when there was just a box of free stuff outside (mostly broken crap and old software). Inside there's the show room area but then there's just the whole back full of isles of stuff that most geeks have in their basement (err bedroom).

One of the nice things was they had an area you could take stuff to test if it worked before buying it. For a lot of the stuff that would be important to do as I don't think they're in the business of doing returns.

Brought to mind by an overdose of retro computing: (2, Funny)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 4 years ago | (#31116974)

White Lion lyrics [magistrix.de] as old as much of the Weird stock:

what we have become
just look what we have done
all that we destroyed
you must build again

Those were the days... <sigh>
Your mission, if you dare to accept it, is to solder a C64 back to life tonight. ;-)

atari 1040 (4, Interesting)

mikeabbott420 (744514) | more than 4 years ago | (#31116978)

I learned 68000 assembler on a Atari 1040 later I remember having a C programming environment in a 400K ramdisk (sozobon?).

It ended up being used as a serial terminal on 386/486 unix systems when I started programming professionally.

This article may be the first time I've thought of it in a decade.

Ah, to be young and enthusiastic again.
Nostalgia by Veidt.

nostalgia (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#31120828)

I learned 68000 assembler on a Atari 1040 later I remember having a C programming environment in a 400K ramdisk (sozobon?).

Atari ST sucks! Amiga Forever!

(just getting into the spirit of things... :)

Not very exciting (1)

networkzombie (921324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31116990)

I have most of the same stuff in my garage. If you like this stuff go to the computer swap meet in Tustin at Edinger and Grand. It's where the geeks sell have to their stuff when they get married.

For those in the Portland, OR area . . . (1)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117012)

There's a quite acceptable substitute in Hillsboro:

Surplus Gizmos, located on Cornelius Pass road, about a half mile north of Route 26. West side of the road, in an office park.

another good shop (1)

Resident Netizen (769536) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117016)

Hal-Ted (now HSC) has been around for a lot longer.

http://www.halted.com/ [halted.com]

I seem to remember another electronic junque shop called Hal-Tec (or Tech?). Maybe my misty memories are too foggy.

lawn, off, etc.

Re:another good shop (1)

kbob88 (951258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117088)

I haven't been to Weird Stuff, but I hit Halted / HSC every few months. From the pictures, it seems like Weird Stuff has more old junk. HSC has plenty of old stuff, but most of it is still usable, and someone probably will eventually buy it. Not sure why anyone wants a copy of early 90s era MS Word though; good luck getting rid of some of that stuff.

I don't know about that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31118214)

Of everything in the photos, I'm tempted by the early word. It will do the basics and it's hard to bloat an app that comes on a few floppies...

Go to he... (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117038)

Just as an FYI, I've been hearing the phrase, "why am I such a misfit, i am not just a nit wit, just because my nose glows, why don't I fit in?"

Grrrrr!

(Cool picture by the way!)

Re:Go to he... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31119538)

I think you need to see a dentist.

Clickfest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31117186)

*groan* Another 20+ page clickfest... anyone got a single-page mirror?

Orlando, FL (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31117210)

If you are already on vacation in Orlando, convince your family to go to Skycraft Parts & Surplus.

http://skycraftsurplus.com/ [skycraftsurplus.com]

They are off of I-4 and Fairbanks near downtown, you can't miss the giant UFO on the roof.

They get a lot of old NASA/Lockheed gear, plus everything from de-soldered 74-series DIPs to Oscilloscopes to Electric Motors.

I miss it terribly (2, Interesting)

ender- (42944) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117410)

I used to love going into Weirdstuff in the mid-late 90's. I had just moved to Silicon Valley and was in awe of the incredible stuff they had. This was back when they had a location further down in Sunnyvale, right across the street from the old Sunnyvale Fry's location. At the time I worked for NCA down the block. They were a small competitor to Fry's. I think it was on Lawrence Expressway.

Anyway, I remember going in there and they had an old phone company switch board from back in the days when the operators physically connected the two phone lines by hand. It was awesome!

I'm in the DFW area now, and the closest thing I've found is Electronic Discount Sales in Arlington, TX. It's fairly cool but not nearly as awesome as Weirdstuff. And they over-price too much of their used parts.

Re:I miss it terribly (1)

zitsky (303560) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117484)

Yes I miss it too. I'm across the country now and there is nothing like Weirdstuff or Fry's around here in North Carolina. I used to go to Weirdstuff and just browse. A lot of times I wouldn't buy something but every so often you'd find something really neat. It was fun looking at all the old tech, old Apple II's, IRIX workstations, etc.

"A shrink-wrapped copy of Windows 3.1" (2, Funny)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117464)

Luke: "Are you all right? What's wrong?"
Obi-Wan: "I felt a great disturbance in the Force... as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror..."

For more bad memories, (for older readers like me), there's a photo of a boxed set Win95 'upgrade'.

Re:"A shrink-wrapped copy of Windows 3.1" (1)

spikeb (966663) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117650)

haha

Re:"A shrink-wrapped copy of Windows 3.1" (1)

dunezone (899268) | more than 4 years ago | (#31119996)

My father brought home from his work a plastic bag full of floppy disks for the Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 upgrade.

So on New Years Eve 1997(almost two years after release), I sat down with my Packard Bell 486 and started the upgrade. I think I got to disk 17 or 18 before it bombed out reading the disk. So my dad brought home another bag of floppies several weeks later and it did it again, this happened several more time before it finally succeeded.

The amazing part is that after each time it bombed out it would recover to back to Windows 3.1

Sell it on eBay (2, Interesting)

oycob (1742138) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117530)

They could obviously sell all this stuff on ebay (or the like) with thousands of potential buyers who would never swing by this warehouse and pick something up. And probably at higher prices, at least on average. How come they aren't? Does anyone know if there's someone behind this store funding it? Or are they actually making good money with this store?

The last picture reminded me... (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117670)

I still have my Palm Pilot III along with its 56k modem add-on. Man, what a fucking waste that modem was. The amount of time I was actually out of my house and could use someone's phone socket to plugin and surf the net could be counted on one hand. I knew tis at the time but I had to buy the modem add-on and I felt almost like a god being able to surf the net on my Palm in my own home on my dial up modem. It's sad looking back on it now but damn that was awesome at the time.

Any places like this in the DC/Baltimore area? (1)

BlueScreenOfTOM (939766) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117782)

I'm sad that my recent trip to Silicon Valley did not include a trip to this place, although I know I could not have carried much back with me. There's always a next time. Anyways, anyone know of any places like this in the Washington, DC - Baltimore MD areas?

Re:Any places like this in the DC/Baltimore area? (1)

idiolect (256895) | more than 4 years ago | (#31118314)

In the late 90s, at least, DC Computer Service in Tenleytown, DC, had an absolutely massive basement full of old computers, odds and ends, etc. I went down there on several occasions to hunt through boxes of obscure cables - I remember buying a bunch of Atari ST components off them. I would call up and see if they'll still let you rummage around, the unremarkable upstairs shop suggests nothing of all the loot they had below ground. http://www.cccits.com/ [cccits.com] .

Action Surplus (1)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117990)

I miss Action Surplus. They had computer and A/V cables at non-ripoff prices. Anyone know if they just moved or are they truly gone?

I also bought a cheap luggage set from there that has survived 10 years of traveling and I am still using today.

Also, remember Fry's had three locations in Sunnyvale. The first was on the east side of Lawrence, then the building painted to look like a microchip, then the current giant building which was an old manufacturing facility (can't remember which company.)

In the beginning, Frys had more of an even mix of electronics components and computer systems. I remember seeing an Amiga there for the first time and being blown away. Through the years I owned just about every model of Amiga ever made after upgrading from the C64 and 128.

keep your day job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31118040)

comedic funny man.

The real cool stuff is in warehouse 13 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31118084)

The real cool stuff is in warehouse 13 as well as the arc......... but the stargate is not there that is in ch,,,,,,,,rresggrs

shop, play, donate back (1)

korntron (1744262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31118634)

Been shopping here for years. Many times using the gear for a few years and then donating it back. Picked up a decent SUN when the dot.com era was kicking in. Got quite a bit of old Apple II parts at one time. Even came across a shrink wrap copy of VisiCalc one day. Great place for nostalgia.

Looks a Lot like my basement (1)

Gim Tom (716904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31118656)

Damn, I must be old! I remember when ALL of that stuff (including the typewriter) was brand new! I KNOW I have a box of two of DOS and Win 3.1 software on 5 inch disks down there some where, and lurking in the corner is a single board computer with an RCA CDP1802 processor. Oh, did I forget to mention the boxes of Byte magazines. Not quite back to Vol 1 No.1, but close and for many years thereafter. Too bad this place is all the way across the country, maybe I could find more stuff or maybe they would want some of what I have got!

Gotta love... (1)

coolgeek (140561) | more than 4 years ago | (#31118908)

...the turquoise Selectric.

ACTIVE SURPLUS TORONTO CANADA (0, Redundant)

CPE1704TKS (995414) | more than 4 years ago | (#31120432)

'Nuff said.

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