Northeastern University lecturer Mary Hopper thinks she’s found the perfect way to recycle 30-year-old computers: Switch them on, boot them up, and use them to teach a new generation about the history of digital technology.
Hopper’s new venture, Digital Den, aims to provide a hands-on introduction to personal computing history. It’s a remarkable collection of hardware and software, ranging from late-1970s desktop computers to the latest Xbox 360 game console. For now, all the gear is wedged into a cramped storage room in a Cambridge warehouse, but Hopper plans to raise money through the online crowdfunding service Indiegogo to pay for larger quarters and a larger collection of classic machines.
Hopper was inspired by the Living Computer Museum in Seattle. Backed by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, the Seattle museum features a collection of massive computers like the 360, which made IBM Corp. the world’s dominant computer firm from the 1960s to the 1980s. These giant machines still work.
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