Would it surprise you to learn that I am a pack rat? When it comes to things like books and printed material about type, this can be a good thing, as it gives me a rich resource library I can tap whenever the need arises (and it frequently does). When it comes to other things, like old computer software, it is a complete waste of time and space.
It’s not hard to see how it happens. When it is new, software is not cheap (it didn’t used to be, anyway). So, even if you are not actively using it, it feels like it still has value. And how can you tell exactly when a piece of software is no longer useful and the chances of ever running it again are nil? It’s easier to just put it on a shelf and forget about it.
Well, time passes and it becomes much easier to see how little it’s worth to you. But then the question becomes: What to do with it all? I couldn’t bear to chuck it all in the trash (it’s a sickness, I know). Surely there must be somebody somewhere who would be happy to take it off my hands? And so there is: Dan’s 20th Century Abandonware (a.k.a., D2CA). Update: That site is gone now, but the collection can now be seen at Daniel’s Legacy Computer Collections. Same guy.
A few weeks ago, I shipped eight cartons of old Mac software to Dan as a donation. Some of it dates back to the first year of the Mac’s existence (Andrew Tobias’ Managing Your Money). Some of it I bought with high hopes, but never really used (Think Pascal). But most of it simply went obsolete (TOPS networking software).
As he promised, Dan posted a formal thank you on his home page—complete with photos and a listing of everything I sent. Now, if I ever feel a pang of regret, I can go to Dan’s site and still see all my old stuff, comforted that it has found a loving home, instead of an existence of guilty, dusty neglect in my basement. My hat (if I had one) is off to Dan for graciously and willingly accepting my donation.
Of course, this was just the stuff I don’t need any more.