retro computing

What started as a hobby is fast becoming an obsession to thousands worldwide. Picture a bunch of old geezers gathered around old equipment, talking excitedly about restoring and rebuilding a computer from 1979. But having said that, there is a new breed of contemporary IT professionals who are becoming passionate about retro-computing.

So, just what is retro-computing, and how did it become so popular?

Retro-computing buffs use old (some would say vintage) computers together with obsolete hardware and software.

In this post, you will learn what retro-computing is and why it has caught on with so many globally.

The New York Times reports that old impractical computers plus their components and parts are highly sought-after items on auction sites such as eBay.  There is also a substantial amount of trade in these items on forums and even fairs which enthusiasts cross the world to attend. These events draw people in droves to observe, talk, buy and sell computer equipment from the 1970s and 1980s.

A Brief History

Let’s take a very brief history lesson to give you an idea.

First there were mainframes (which were huge) with card readers in the 1970s. Computing took place by punching holes in cards using Boolean logic of 0 or 1. The punched cards were then fed into the mainframe which had card readers. There were no monitors or keyboards. Then came personal computers (PCs) with monitors and keyboards driven by Disk Operating System or DOS in the early 1980s.

DOS was followed by Windows-based software thanks to the likes of Microsoft around the mid 1980s. This was the start of personal computing as we now know it. Then came the World Wide Web.

The New Boom

With the rise of retro-computing, there are now very active forums, specialist publications and sites together with a growing number of international fairs. Enthusiasts loving restoring old parts and equipment. Many enjoy playing old 8-bit video games from them 1980s while others enjoy tinkering with old word processors such as Wordstar or XyWrite. There is a huge body of hobbyists out there who love tinkering and playing the live casino online offers on older tech. Now, many hobbyists are also taking up retro-computing work in the computer industry.

Is This Just Nostalgia?

Old computers and software are also being used by contemporary IT professionals. Many believe these old systems are stable and help to understand computer architecture in an easy way. These systems are also seen as comprehensible when the tech world did not move as fast as it does today. And you could learn most of what you needed in an afternoon or day at most. If not, you turned to bulky manuals.

Respected publications such as the 40-year-old PC Mag feature lots of news and features on retro-computing, as does the likes of Reddit.

So, if you hark back to the days of floppy drives or stiffies (forget about CD-ROMs, those were still coming), be careful, you may just catch the retro-computing bug.