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.

You can’t do inno­va­tion without an idea of what’s come before,” said Hopper, as she showed off archaic Apple II com­puters, and lap­tops loaded with long-​​obsolete ver­sions of Microsoft Corp.’s Win­dows oper­ating system. Stu­dents entering com­puter sci­ence “have no clue what all this stuff is,” she said.

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.

Read the article at The Boston Globe →