When people find out just how many “things” I have accumulated over the years, sometimes they ask me “at what point do you get rid of something?” (Often times it’s friends and family who are asking.) Many of the things I have are old, useless, or broken; typically an item has to be in at least two of those categories (and sometimes all three) before I’ll get rid of it.
Take, for example, this giant 2400 baud modem:
I bought this Codex MX-2400 modem at an auction for $1. I bought it because, both then and now, it was the largest modem I had personally ever seen. When I got the modem home and plugged it in, it did nothing. No pop, no smoke, no nothing. From the moment I bought it, it was already old, useless and broken.
I still kept it for several years. I kept it because when computer friends of mine would come over I could say, “Would you like to see the biggest modem you’ve ever seen?” If they answered yes I would pull this modem out of the closet and show it to them. Eventually though, everybody I knew had seen the modem and the joke got old.
I kept it for several more years because of it’s power. How powerful was it, you ask?
It was so powerful that, in ads for the modem, it was referred to as “The Power”. That’s powerful! This ad came from a 1979 issue of Computerworld, at a time when most people owned neither a modem nor a personal computer. The modems that people did own back then were either 110 or 300 baud. (At 300 baud, the pictures on this page would have taken hours to load.)
So even though “The Power” finally made its way to that big recycling bin in the sky, its memory will now live on here at The Retroist!