'Home' computer: Definition

From: Allison J Parent <allisonp_at_world.std.com>
Date: Thu Jul 3 17:08:35 1997

> In fact, the TI community is shrinking, and as the members of the
> community observe it shrinking, some are inclined to bail out ("rats
> abandoning a sinking ship"). Given that trend, the community will

The attrition may be due to limited software or simple the machines
failing. Likely the users have found other platforms (older cheaper PCs)
or even new ones. Also it may be more difficult to use older machine
from the point and click mindset.

Don't forget peer pressure "Your still using that?".

> Of course, while my main loyalties are to the TI-99/4A, I recognize al
> the other "home computers" suffer from the same conditions, and I was
> hoping to create a dialog for HOW to do this, particularly strategies t

True but some suffer deeper. The more useful and more common software is
the more likely it is to be still in use. Hence the commodors/trs80s/cpm
machines. A quick survey of archive sites will show the common machines
based on software available.

> So what I was fishing for was the thoughts of those people who read thi
> List and understand the dilemma. In a Wintel-dominated world, is it
> even FEASIBLE to try to attract other people to choose from the
> abundance of small computer systems, otherwise destined for the landfil
> or recyclers?

Depends on their needs and how important compatability is to them. I
have a PC becuase I have to not because it's all that great. Some or a
lot of the world is PC based and I have to be compatable with them.

> My previous remarks about mainframes, which were interpreted as saying
> that they are not "home computers", were made from the point of view
> (and perhaps in ignorance) that, while C64s, Atari 8-bitters, TIs,
> CoCos, and other "home computers" that were sold FOR THAT PURPOSE in
> K-Mart and other department stores DO (or at least did) have a user
> community, sharing programs, encouraging other users, forming User
> Groups, publishing Newsletters, etc.,

> other machines (such as the
> PDP class of mains, minis, etc. and maybe Altairs and S-100 bus
> computers) do NOT have this aspect to their existence.

Excuse me? not so! Many of the s100 systems had very active user groupd
though they were more often segmented by OS rather than bus.

> I guess I
> do know about DECUS; don't know if something like that existed for
> PDP-11 owners or not, or even if professionally-oriented thing like
> DECUS would be applicable here. I certainly did not mean to imply tha

There are several groups for the PDP-8/10/11/vax other than decus but
decus goes back to day one.

What you forget is the intersil 6100 chip (pdp8! and the desktop version
the DECMATE) and closed PDP-11 systems (PDT11/150 and PRO350) were sold
in the same space and had very seperate communities outside of DECUS.

It's not as cut and dried as your words picture it. Personal computing
as adjunct to commercial computing was and is largely driven by cost,
capability and software. Many amazingly poor machines did well not for
the hardware but an abundance of software.

Food for thought, The ti9900 chip is nearly as old as the 8080 and it was
a 16bit design based on the TI990 minicomputer. Wouldn't you want that
machine? FYI it was not that large (comparable to a PDP-11/20.). Yet
the ti99/4a was year later...why? No support from TI, they figured you
get the mini and devlope applications using the chip so support was
limited. FYI, the ti9900 chip is a fairly high performance CCPU compared
to the 8080!

Received on Thu Jul 03 1997 - 17:08:35 BST

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