Hack Chat Transcript, Page 1

A event log for The Hoarder's Dilemma Hack Chat

Better to have it and not need it -- or is it?

tom-nardiTom Nardi 12/06/2023 at 21:171 Comment
Dan Maloney  3:00 PM
OK, time to kick things off officially. I'm Dan, I'm modding today along with Dusan as we welcome Gabe Emerson to the Hack Chat
Dan Maloney  3:00 PM
Welcome one and all!
Saveitforparts  3:00 PM
Hi everyone! This is my first Hack Chat, thank you to Dan for inviting me!
Dan Maloney  3:01 PM
My pleasure! Maybe you can start us off with a brief bit about yourself?
Dan Maloney  3:01 PM
Like that bit about growing up in Alaska -- sound "formative"
Saveitforparts  3:02 PM
Sure, as a quick bio: I grew up in a ghost town, on an island in Alaska, and the closest store was a 3hr boat trip. We tended not to throw stuff away unless it was completely and totally useless, and we were always fixing, recycling, and re-purposing things.
Thomas Shaddack  3:02 PM
HER OS? the one that runs garbage collection and storage defragmentation in the way you are left with dangling pointers to places where the stuff desired is not anymore?
Saveitforparts  3:02 PM
Now that I live in a city, and in a pretty small house, my hoarding tendencies can be a liability. I'm also a bit ADHD and jump around between hobbies a lot. I started the Youtube channel as an excuse and motivation to finish some projects and use some of the junk I collect.
Mark Fraser  3:02 PM
ADHD plus too many hobbies. Still have RTL ICs from Mike Quinn Electronics in Oakland, 1962. Just found a Speedscript Cartridge for C64, that I entered and burned myself. Cluttered with CNC machines, some of them functional, several cubic feet of Arduino and projects, 3d printers, small laser burner, clock/watchmaker tools, and as I often don't finish projects, my wife is grateful I'm not a plumber.
Patrick Hickey  3:02 PM
Hello I am Patrick, LED addict/ hoarder, it’s been about 6 weeks since my last purchase…(HPDL2416 starburst displays)
Dan Maloney  3:03 PM
Mark J Hughes  3:03 PM
Hi Patrick!
Mark Fraser  3:03 PM
At 82, trying to fix and liquidate "stuff" so my kids don't toss it all in the dumpster.
Dag Spicer  3:03 PM
Dusan, sounds like your frontier experiences has really shaped your approach to 'hoarding?'
Mark J Hughes  3:04 PM
@Mark Fraser If you plan on leaving your kids money/property, think of the other stuff as the work they need to do to earn it.
Saveitforparts  3:04 PM
That's always a tough one, they say one person's trash is another's treasure, but sometimes our own "treasure" isn't as valued by friends/family
Dag Spicer  3:04 PM
I.e. nothing is wasted; "I know I'll need this [insert component here] someday!"
jed  3:05 PM
but after 20+ years, are you going to use that ISA MDA? nobody else even knows what that means!
Thomas Shaddack  3:05 PM
also, the tendency to see a random piece of whatever and immediately come with a half dozen of uses.
Mark Fraser  3:05 PM
The corollary to "I might need it..." is "the day after I junk it....."
Thomas Shaddack  3:05 PM
ISA MDA? that's a museum piece!
Dag Spicer  3:06 PM
One is reminded of Spock's ability to build a transmitter "in this zinc-plated vaccum tube culture!"
jed  3:06 PM
my wife wants me to start that museum
jed  3:06 PM
no "stone knives and bear skins"
Matthew Trowbridge  3:06 PM
Hello all. One can only buy so many organizers before those organizer need organizers. It's at that point I realized I need a new system for what deserves the time, space, and material to be kept around. Even free things aren't kept for free...
Saveitforparts  3:06 PM
I've definitely had to push myself to sunset some older hoarded stuff. I keep a few museum PCs but I can't store all the 90s-era hard drives and video cards forever!
Dag Spicer  3:07 PM
Sometimes it's hard to accept that you'll never need that Selenium rectifier stack...
jed  3:07 PM
The monitor I'm using has an IBM AT as a monitor stand - I'
Dan Maloney  3:07 PM
Just gonna put this out there -- back in 2016, getting ready to move my family across the country, filled three 20-yard dumpsters with stuff we'd accumulated over the last 20 years. Most painful (and most regretted afterward) was my parts cabinet from my childhood electronics experimenter's days, filled with chips with date codes in the 70s...
Saveitforparts  3:07 PM
I also have to push myself to re-organize my storage / work areas at least once a year, or it devolves into piles and I forget what's in there. If I go through it semi-regularly, I can just about keep an inventory in my head.
Mark Fraser  3:07 PM
Matthew Trowbridge There was a wonderful article in the Economist back in the 90s, mentioning the "volcano" filing system.
jed  3:07 PM
I'm thinking of cleaning up
john dewitt  3:08 PM
Hello, do you use any computerized inventory tracking system to remember where various things are?
Saveitforparts  3:08 PM
I also try to keep similar things together, so even if I don't remember *which* pocket PCs I have, I at least know which box they're in!
Thomas Shaddack  3:08 PM
the problem with inventory tracking is the growing discrepancy between inventory and tracking.
ap-tech  3:08 PM
Every time I walk past a skip filled with electronic waste I'm always stopped in my tracks but now I just keep the stuff I may need in the future like 8650 batteries.
Saveitforparts  3:08 PM
I don't have a computerized system, I just try hard to label everything!
john dewitt  3:09 PM
cool! may i ask what kind of labels, just text?
Matthew Trowbridge  3:09 PM
@john dewitt I'd go mad if I tried that. Best I manage is using a label maker with lots of boxes, shelves, and drawers.
Saveitforparts  3:09 PM
I've found it very hard to keep on top of an inventory list. My partner and I have tried that with the pantry / freezer and we still fail. We call the freezer the place where food goes to die.
CIAndy  3:09 PM
Sorry, this is my first HackChat. Is it this chat here or is there also some talk going on which I didn't find yet?
Mark Fraser  3:09 PM
My wife is grateful that I gave up on hobby cars, and took up clock and tool "acquiring".
Saveitforparts  3:09 PM
I use a combo of label maker in the house and masking tape in the garage.
jed  3:10 PM
yes, boxes labeled Arduino or electronic goldmine or stepper or rockets or 3D printer or sterling or...
Dan Maloney  3:10 PM
@CIAndy - this is it, just text
Mark J Hughes  3:10 PM
Gabe -- if you ever want to get rid of one of those old folding satellite dishes, remember your old buddy Mark has an acre property it can live on and be happy.
Sam Freeman  3:10 PM
What's the volcano filing system?
john dewitt  3:10 PM
thanks, very relatable, the added effort of updating a database is just one more thing above even "just organizing"
jed  3:10 PM
yes, volcano?
Saveitforparts  3:11 PM
I once found a bunch of surplus hardware store display bins for my small parts, which is a huge help! I have those set up in the garage and labeled. Not necessarily *accurately* labeled, but close enough that I can pull out the bin-o-springs or bin of cleats or "whatever those little dinguses are" when I know I need one
ap-tech  3:11 PM
I saw this trick once where they put stuff in these transparent tupperware like big boxes, That way you can just see what you need.
Patrick Hickey  3:11 PM
i was shocked to find out that anti static foam can decompose over the years and corrodes pins, any ideas for alternative ways to store lots of LEDs / ICs? An array of ZIF sockets?
Saveitforparts  3:11 PM
My small parts garage bins are clear, that plus labels definitley helps for tiny stuff
Steve M Potter  3:12 PM
Yes @ap-tech...all clear drawers, boxes, containers!
Dan Maloney  3:12 PM
As for inventory and part reuse, this is one approach:
CJ Keithley  3:12 PM
@ap-tech - I use Container Store clear shoeboxes
Dan Maloney  3:12 PM
CIAndy  3:12 PM
Corrosive foam: I bought a lot of sheets of one that I thought was good and checked it every year or so.
Mark J Hughes  3:12 PM
Patrick -- there are new foam formulas that aren't as crappy. The decomposing stuff is from the mid-century. Just replace it with new stuff every few decades.
Sam Freeman  3:13 PM
Transparent bins are great. For hardware, you can glue a sample part to the drawer as a label.
Matthew Trowbridge  3:13 PM
@ap-tech I have bought around 100 of those 6-quart shoebox-sized clear Sterilite boxes over the last few years - no regrets. I absolutely love those things. I don't trust them with my pis, beaglebones, etc for anti-static reason but for most other things they are wonderful. Using labels is a great combo. Most boards./parts can put placed in an anti-static bag inside them. Whatever doesn't fit in my sliding bin shelves (Akro-Mils) goes in to Sterilites
Saveitforparts  3:13 PM
Mark Fraser  3:13 PM
Sam Freeman: Volcano - desk or workbench, never file or store anything, it all builds up in a conical pile, stuff slides off, like a caldera, but the method requires a "visual" talent. Example: Last month's hydro bill is about 10 o'clock, 2/3 of the way up the pile, close to the yellow 2-for-1 pizza offer that expired 3 months ago.
Sam Freeman  3:14 PM
I love it!
Dan Maloney  3:14 PM
What's the angle of repose of a pile of 555s?
CIAndy  3:14 PM
Another storing issue with all Lithium batteries. Storing is a problem, they need constant care. Any good solution to that? Meanwhile I really fear the number of batches which come with a LIPO battery.
Mark J Hughes  3:14 PM
@Mark Fraser I know that one! I'm good at that one!
Chris Sullivan  3:14 PM
Does anybody have or can recommend a DB to track where comonents are stored? I have labelled all my shelves, draws, trays and am building a spreadsheet
CIAndy  3:15 PM
Should be a DB supporting pictures. I'm interested in that, too...
Thomas Shaddack  3:15 PM
does anybody have an idea how to maintain the coherence of state between the reality and the database/spreadsheet?
jed  3:15 PM
Like "ugly desk" theory - important and recent material tends to rise to the top
Patrick Hickey  3:15 PM
@Mark J Hughes thanks i might try the pink stuff, the black foam i had lasted about 10 years, i think it condenses humidity. maybe i’ll pack with a silica gel sachet and vacuum seal.
Todd  3:15 PM
I keep track off all my stuff in OneNote... not very organized, but searchable at least
Mark Fraser  3:15 PM
According to the Economist article, Chris Sullivan is the antithesis of the volcano-dependent person.
CIAndy  3:15 PM
RF handheld scanner, but I never got to writing the SW for it.
Thomas Shaddack  3:16 PM
UHF RFID. experimenting with that.
Chris Sullivan  3:16 PM
i have heard of a system that someone made that has qrcode that points to a web page that accesses the DB and tells you whats in that box/draw/whatever
Thomas Shaddack  3:16 PM
can see through a pile of clothes.
Dan Maloney  3:16 PM
@Thomas Shaddack -- I have to maintain inventory on my kid's insulin, I just go through once a year and do a physical inventory to reconcile any differences with the spreadsheet totals
Saveitforparts  3:16 PM
I've seen some projects online with QR-code boxes and a webcam that tracks where you put it.
Thomas Shaddack  3:17 PM
qrcodes are handy. print a lot of unique ones that point to a database, then have some always handy to assign the meaning later. could be also handy with augmented reality.
Mark Fraser  3:18 PM
My top desk drawer has a label: "LOTS OF STUFF"
jed  3:18 PM
no drawer of mine NEEDS that label - assumed
Saveitforparts  3:19 PM
While I have a pretty big garage, it's always running pretty close to full (including stuff hung from the ceiling). My partner keeps saying we need a warehouse somewhere but I think we'd just lose things that way! She also likes to hoard stuff so we definitely enable eachother.
Chris Sullivan  3:19 PM
@Thomas Shaddack right with a + and - button to add or subtract the amount of that component in that storage.
Chris Sullivan  3:19 PM
without having to access the DB
Dan Maloney  3:19 PM
Four-drawer file cabinet at the theater I worked in during college had labels "MISC", "ASST'D", "WHAT-NOTS", and "STUFF"
Thomas Shaddack  3:20 PM
yup. qrcodes with virtual controls popping over them.
CJ Keithley  3:20 PM
Saveitforparts  3:20 PM
As I said, I've been trying to actively use stuff and finish projects vs hoarding it forever. I've seen too many barns / yards full of "treasure" that end up being rusty trash full of mice and racoons, so I try not to just let stuff rot if I can help it. I do actively purge things when I get too cramped, or I get tired of looking at it, or I break it while trying to make it into something else.
Saveitforparts  3:21 PM
One thing that I was doing before Covid was to have a garage sale about once a year. It would be all the stuff I didn't want, but couldn't stand to throw out. I'd drop prices throughout the day, until it was free. If no one took it from the free pile, I felt more comfortable pitching the leftovers in the trash.
CJ Keithley  3:21 PM
Someone (wish I remember who) 3D printed replacements for the fronts of component bins.
Thomas Shaddack  3:21 PM
a useful trick is a "cache box/bin". some of the often used stuff goes there, most is stored in some box. so the m3 screws or usb connectors are always on hand.
ap-tech  3:21 PM
@CJ Keithley Those boxes look awesome.
jed  3:21 PM
I've 3D printed replacement drawers when just one in a set was "lost"
CJ Keithley  3:22 PM
Not mine… my comment wasn’t attached to the photo for some reason
Sam Freeman  3:22 PM
The garage sale sounds like a perfect way of filtering out sentiment
Thomas Shaddack  3:22 PM
3d printing is a good way to not have to hoard all kinds of random plastic components. (now i just hoard filaments.)
Dan Maloney  3:22 PM
@CJ Keithley -- I think that was Zack Freedman
Mark Fraser  3:23 PM
I have several "cache box/bins", spanning several years. Many years. Last time I labeled boxes and bins was 22 years ago when we moved.
Dan Maloney  3:23 PM
CJ Keithley  3:23 PM
Yep! Thanks for the reminder.. it was Zach
Tom Nardi  3:23 PM
Dan Maloney  3:23 PM
I knew we covered it...
Saveitforparts  3:23 PM
I also have to admit to having a thing for milk crates. They're a standard size, stackable, you can kind of see into them, and they're convenient to stash and organize certain sizes of stuff.
Saveitforparts  3:24 PM
dcollins  3:24 PM
Any thoughts on carefully disassembling things and organizing them versus leaving them on a pile and scavenging for a part when you need it?
Saveitforparts  3:24 PM
Yep, I definitely break down bulky / broken stuff into spare parts sometimes (hence Saveitforparts)
SimonAllen  3:25 PM
Also, there is the issue that you know you've got a part somewhere, but you can't find it so you end up buying it anyway.
Saveitforparts  3:25 PM
When I was a kid I turned several VCRs into boxes of motors and gears... which may or may not have ever been used.
Dan Maloney  3:25 PM
Containerized cargo is a thing for a reason. Milk crates are just small-scale shipping containers
Thomas Shaddack  3:25 PM
leaving on piles. you never know how big subassembly you will need.
CIAndy  3:26 PM
The cache box doesn't work for me. There are just too many different electronic parts.
Steve M Potter  3:26 PM
The hours I spent desoldering parts as a teenager in the 80s have been replaced by hours shopping on Aliexpress!
CJ Keithley  3:26 PM
My “store room”
CJ Keithley  3:26 PM
CJ Keithley  3:27 PM
Thomas Shaddack  3:27 PM
i still have quite some of my teenager components. and regret i was talked into throwing out that box of vacuum tubes.
jed  3:28 PM
Just gave away my tubes at last local hamfest
Saveitforparts  3:28 PM
CJ, those are great! We have a bunch of those same shelves and some bins like that in the basement
Sam Freeman  3:28 PM
CJ - well done. Metro carts are fantastic
Steve M Potter  3:28 PM
I used my collection of old vacuum tubes as a shooting gallery for my pellet rifle in college. Messy fun!
Saveitforparts  3:28 PM
The downside is they're just slippery enough for rampaging cats to easily kick the bins off the shelves
what do yall do about the sprawl of stuff when you're working on huge projects where you have almost all of your tools/parts bins out at once?
jed  3:29 PM
work on big projects in driveway
oh the driveway is already full of it yeah
jed  3:30 PM
move cars to street
Saveitforparts  3:30 PM
I also tend to spread out into the driveway / garage floor / office floor
and the garage, and the office, living room, back room, and now starting to fill up the bedroom
Steve M Potter  3:30 PM
@SimplifyAndAddCoffee When I begin tripping over tools and parts during a huge project, it is time for a mid-project clean-up.


boni canovas wrote 12/08/2023 at 14:00 point

To Mark, Yes!!! "I might need it..." is "the day after I junk it....." it has happened many times!!! LOL

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