I often find that I have older technology readily available to me. Part of it comes from working at a High School, part of comes from just collecting everything I see. Often, I never get around to using it… But sometimes, there are some good ways to make use of them. Here are some of my favorites.
- A backup/file server – Stick a 250 gig usb drive onto a network capable older PC, install some linux, and wha-la, you have a perfect network attached storage solution, great for backups. Also great for hosting all those Music files you downloaded from itunes.
- A router/firewall – Most people don’t realize this, but if you add a second network card to any pc, you can use it as a router/firewall, and most of the time, a dang good one. Even an old 100 Mghz machine can keep all those pesky hackers out. Look into Arno’s IP Table firewall script if you need some help building one.
- Secondary Displays – Older monitors, despite being bulky, often make great secondary monitors… Something you don’t want to look at every minute of every day, but someplace you can drag your buddy list over to, or put whatever movie your watching on while you work. I actually use a television, but older monitors work just as well if not better.
- Building a game server – Another thing most people don’t realize is that many of todays modern games, have corresponding server software out there that can run on a much weaker machine. Hosting your own server can sometimes get you out of monthly fees, not to mention allow you to continue playing when the public servers go offline.
- Network Monitor – Stick ethereal on an old PC with a network card, and you can monitor all the traffic flowing on your network. Great if you have a sibling or parent you want to spy on, or if you want to learn how the networking protocol for your Nintendo DS works.
- A classic arcade machine – If you can get tv out on your graphics card, and a retro gamepad, you can often find emulators for some of your favorite systems out there online. It can be hard to do legally though, so I don’t overly recommend this.
Those are just some of my favorite uses for older equipment. What are yours?