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Weird Stuff - the other Silicon Valley tech museum

The Computer History Museum at Shoreline & 101 is pretty cool. If you're in the area and haven't been it's worth a visit. Seeing all the old electronics and panels covered with switches delivers a strong shot of nostalgia mixed with awe at the rate of progress computing hardware has made over the years. They've got the guidance computer from the nose-cone of an old Minuteman nuclear missle, a Dec-10, an Enigma machine, an IBM 360, lots more great stuff. And the place has that distinctive smell of old electronics. The smell of vacuum tubes and bakelite. :)

But there is another, unofficial, computer history museum, about five minutes away in Sunnyvale. Weird Stuff, a surplus equipment store. If you want to take some of the artifacts of the old Valley home with you, this is the place.

I bought an old working 1U server for $65, a rack for $50, some crazy old line tester thing with a hundred switches for $10, and a mechanical typewriter for a few bucks (it didn't have a price on it, and the checkout dude said "how much do you want to pay for it? ok.")

They get batches of semi-newish equipment too, so it's a great place for deals on telco racks, routers, switches, laser printers, patch panels, etc.

But I go there to see artifacts of the old valley. Half the crazy old devices on their shelves were someone's startup dream at some point. An old 1U firewall box that originally sold for 10's of $k, in a stack for $25/each. Telebit trailblazer uucp modems. Apple II's. Incomprehensible test equipment.

At least old hardware gets to rust on a shelf in a warehouse for a while after its life is up. Old software just goes >poof<, and is gone...

The Ark could be in here somewhere.

Comments (1)

This is awesome.

There was a place like this called Skycraft (http://www.skycraftsurplus.com/) near where I lived in Florida, but I never bothered to find a similar shop after I moved out here. Now I know where to go to get the random thing that has nowhere else to be.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 3, 2007 8:27 AM.

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