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Have an unused computer? Pond may just take it
The Back Forty
By Roger Pond

A recent column by Ellen Goodman reminded me of my computer battles. Goodman’s column derides the modern trend toward making things more complicated by adding features most of us don’t need or want. She calls it “feature creep.”

That’s how we get coffeemakers that play music and cell phones that do math and take photos. Nothing just does what we want anymore.

That’s what I thought when my computer went gunnysack this winter. I told the computer guy, “All I want to do is write and keep my records.

“We have another computer for e-mail and shopping. All this one does is write and keep records.”

The repairman said the computer’s power supply was bad, and unfortunately they don’t make that type of power supply anymore. (I found another repairman who has a basement full of them.)

“This is kind of fun,” the computer guy said. “It’s neat to see someone is still using DOS and this old software. I haven’t seen this stuff in years.”

Maybe this fellow was pulling my leg? I don’t know.

What I do know is I don’t need any mice or pads, and I don’t need a million megabytes of memory. All I want to do is write and keep my records.

I remember back during the Y2K scare in the 1990s, I wrote a column stating that I was buying a new computer - just in case this one went bonkers on New Year’s Eve. That column elicited a letter from a man in Wilkinson, Ind.

“Don’t toss out your old computer as long as it still works,” he wrote. “If nothing else it beats typewriters and word processors that don’t do anything else.”

This fellow said he prefers DOS over Windows and explained how to avoid any Y2K problems, if there happened to be such a thing. He was right. After I bought my new computer, I found it wouldn’t run my old software. All of the computer experts said it would, but none of them can make it do so.

A few months later a friend gave me his old computer, and I loaded my software on it. I still use that computer, as well as the one I bought in 1993.

Several years later one of my printers went haywire - and the same friend gave me his old printer. That one works great for invoices and mailing labels.

This winter’s crash got me to worrying, though. “What if all of my stuff quits at once? I’m out of business!”

So I started collecting. I bought two old printers for $20 each. My daughter gave me her old computer she was planning to throw away. I bought another one for $35, and got a third for free.

Now I have one old computer under my desk in the barn office - along with a printer. There’s another computer and a printer in the back room of the barn.

I have two working computers in my house office and one in the barn office. Oh yes, there’s an extra printer under this desk, too. When I updated my equipment inventory at tax time I could see I had quite a bit of stuff. But the whole works is only valued at $268.

This farm news was published in the June 21, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.

6/21/2006