Today I rescued an Okidata Microline 395 dot matrix printer from the e-cycling bin at work. Coworkers just tilted their heads and asked “why?”

Why do I like old technology? A tad bit is nostalgia. I grew up with the classic colorful iMac, so I keep one at my house, but it’s more than that. In the case of this dot matrix printer, I’m attracted to its sturdy, reliable construction. The thing’s a tank. It’s been printing medical documents for who knows how many years without crapping out. Maybe it’s that all of the garbage hardware from the past was already thrown in the garbage, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the old technology we still have is great old techology.

Another aspect of old technology that I appreciate is its simplicity and predictability. It behaves like a tool, waiting for the command of the user, rather than auto-downloading questionable firmware updates over the air while the user sleeps.

Simplicity + sturdiness affords repairability. This printer looks like something that’s meant to be disassembled and reassembled, contrary to a typical HP ink eater. I joked about passing it on to my grandkids or putting it in a museum someday, and I was only half-kidding.