I Keep My Old Tech

I keep and use my tech devices for as long as I possibly can. I tend to keep this tech even after I’m forced to upgrade or replace a device. I store old phones, tablets, computers, game consoles, and I even have CD-ROMs for games that may be available via download. I’ve been called a hoarder for keeping all these things, but is it really that bad?

Phones

I use my phones until they no longer function, or I change service providers and am forced to switch. I’m not so irresponsible with my money that I want or need to have the latest and greatest phone. I may have upgraded my phone once, and that was only because I was experiencing problems with the one I was currently using and there was a great deal to get a new one nearly for free.

When I finally replace a phone, I still keep the old one because I’ve got a lot of information on it. It’s not just the passwords, pics, text messages and chats. I’ve written entire books on a couple of phones and I don’t want anyone to steal that intellectual property.

Yes, you can factory reset the phone. However, just like formatting a hard drive or “deleting” something on your PC, that only deletes the data-links stored in the memory, not the data itself.

I want to be absolutely certain my information is gone completely. Since I can’t toss the thing into the nearest star or black hole, I keep my phones hidden away until that one day in the future I completely disassemble and destroy the memory as though I’m reenacting the Butlerian Jihad[1]. I’ve already destroyed one phone, but haven’t gotten around to destroying the others…

There’s one phone that I’ll keep forever, and that’s my Windows phone from around 2010. Despite being over a decade old, that phone’s battery still lasts an entire week before needing to be recharged. It has a radio function which has saved me several times. The last time I needed to use that phone was during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. I was able to listen to news and music while the power was out, which was almost a week. 

Tablet

I only have 1 tablet and it’s a Kindle Fire HD 7″ my grandmother gave me for Christmas in 2012. It is probably the best present I’ve been given in my entire life, because it helped springboard my reading. Because of this one device, I’ve been able to read over 600 books (both Kindle-edition and audiobook). It still works well and I take it on camping trips to read or watch downloaded movies.

I don’t have a need for any other tablet until the sad day this one dies.

Computers

I have 6 computers that I will never part with unless they die completely, and can’t be repaired.

  1. I have my 15-year-old PC with Windows XP that I use at my vacation house to play old video games and watch movies.
  2. My 2nd boyfriend gave me his Windows ME computer (which is now 20-years-old). I only use it to play a few games my other computers are too powerful to run. My favorite game to play on this PC, which also happens to be the very first game I ever bought, is Star Trek: Birth of the Federation.
  3. A laptop I bought from Office Depot 11 years ago. I only use this PC to store stuff, organize files on my various hard drives, and because it has a non-subscription version of Microsoft Office… just in case I need to use it.
  4. I have an Alienware PC that may have burned itself out because of pet dander a month or two after Hurricane Harvey. The thing cost me over a thousand bucks, so I keep it in the closet just in case I want to fix it one of these days.
  5. Following the death of the Alienware PC, I got a replacement Corsair gaming PC for Christmas. It’s VR-ready, but I’ve never actually used it for that. I use it to play first person shooters (FPS) and turned-based strategy (TBS) games about equally.
  6. I bought a new Dell laptop just before Covid-19 caused shortages across several industries, including computer chips. I use it almost every day for writing and I play a few TBS games on it when traveling. I hate the keyboard layout, because I keep hitting the “pg up” and “pg dn” buttons when editing while typing. Another painfully annoying error that keeps happening most of the time is the Ctrl+Shift+Arrow functions don’t… function. And several keys don’t register the keystrokes while typing which is frustrating. I’ve fixed these problems by using an external keyboard, which happens to be ergonomic and probably better for me anyways. Anyways, I don’t think I’m getting a Dell again in the future.

Once these computers die and I can’t or won’t repair them, I’ll take the hard drives out and destroy them.

Game CD-ROMs

I keep all the CD-ROMs for my games, and even have most of the boxes they were sold in. Most of these games are available via download on Steam or the developer (EA, Ubisoft, Microsoft). I may or may not have re-purchased them out of convenience, when they were on sale. I keep them because they can still be used on my older PCs.

Plus, there’s no telling what may happen to Steam or GOG in the future. We buy these games (and other digital property) by digital download with the understanding the games are ours forever. But, what happens if these companies go bankrupt? What assurances do we really have there are plans to ensure consumers have access to our property should something like that happen?

None. We’d be up shit’s creek without a paddle, or back up versions of the games we love. I’m happy giving up an entire drawer in my dresser for that piece of mind, and entertainment at my vacation house.

I must have somewhere between 50-100 games stored in the house. I think the newest game I have a physical disc of is Civilization V. And the oldest games I’ve kept over the years are: Star Trek: Birth of the Federation, Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares, and Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi. Wing Commander II is actually the oldest game in my possession, but I purchased it at a flea market a few years ago and never actually played it. It still has the instruction manual, and all the 3.5” floppy discs[2].

Game Systems

I have several game systems at home too. I have a PlayStation 2, that I’ll power up once every 2 years to play some of my PS1 and PS2 games. I love dusting off and playing old titles like: Colony Wars, Final Fantasy VII and VIII, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Dark Cloud.

I have an Xbox One, which I have fond memories of playing Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag and Ryse: Son of Rome… that’s it. Those are the only games worth playing on a console because it’s way, way, way, WAY easier to hit something on PC (I had to get a “PC is better” jab in this story somehow).

I recently acquired a Nintendo Switch and have been enjoying all those games that can only be played using a Nintendo product. I bought the typical games everyone should buy for the Switch: Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! (remake), The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (remake). I deeply regret wasting money on Animal Crossing, which is just a glorified mobile phone game, akin to Facebook games around 2010.

Yes, I said it! ;-P

Now that I’ve explained why I keep my old tech, is it truly that bad? I still use most of my devices, and keep them stored away when they’re not being used. And for those devices I can’t use anymore, I have legitimate security concerns for holding onto them until I can destroy them completely… one day.


[1] Butlerian Jihad is a literary reference from Frank Herbert’s Dune universe, and brought to life in the Butlerian Jihad trilogy written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.

[2] For those who don’t know what a 3.5” floppy disc is, it looks like the “Save” symbol on most productivity applications like MS: Word, Excel, etc.

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