Old Computer Challenge Days 5 to 7- In Which Life Interrupts


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Well, life happens. I had a family emergency which took up almost all of my free time for the remainder of the OCC week. I did still use my OCC setup to just check my email at night when I got home.

However, during the day between being with family, travelling, shopping and keeping house I had no time for casual computer use. I did need to use my phone’s web browser a few times to lookup things like store operating hours which was necessarily more important than sticking to the challenge.

So while cut short, I did enjoy the challenge. It was worth the effort to see what it would take to use older hardware and see how well it could replace my current everyday Linux system. Overall antiX worked well to do basic email, listening to music, some web browsing and and alternate Mastodon web interface. I also did these blog updates with git and hugo using my normal process. The IRC channel was also fun to join as other were participating in the callenge.

One thing that did not work well was bringing over my Keepass database for passwords. It took about 45 seconds just to decrypt and open which is understandable with older limited CPU speeds. This could be a major inconvenience if trying to use all the various online sites I do. Also I did not even attempt to port over my finincial tracking software and did use my regular PC a few times for that and online banking.

If I were to participate again next year I think I would try to eschew any attempt at using a modern OS and instead pick older operating systems matched with their contemprary hardware. For example maybe a Windows XP or Windows 2000 machine on a Pentium 4. Or maybe even BeOS and dig up my old software archives. In this attempt I think it would be a forgone assumption that I wouldn’t use any modern websites at all. There’s just no way an old Mosaic, Netscape or early Firefox would have the technology to properly render many websites. I think I would focus more on just enjoying some basic websites, gemini, gopher and old applications.

Also this challenge has inspired me to try out old games again. I just started playing the King’s Quest series from the beginning which before I did not get into until KQ IV I think. Also I download the Gabriel Knight I demo which brought back memories of that series.

Thanks to many of the participants of this challenge for blogging about it and joining IRC to chat and offer help to others. It was fun for the few days I was able to participate.