'Home' computer: Definition

From: Paul E Coad <pcoad_at_crl.com>
Date: Fri Jul 4 01:41:34 1997

On Thu, 3 Jul 1997, Sam Ismail wrote:

> On Thu, 3 Jul 1997, DAVID L. ORMAND wrote:
> > For a computer to survive as anything more than a relic, it has to have
> > a user community. Now, I suppose I could use my TI for "typical home
> > computing tasks" with the software I already have whether there was
> > anyone else in the world using a TI or not. And I suppose I would, too.
> > But for other jobs I wanted done that my computer COULD do (even if
> > being a Web browser is NOT one of them), I would either have to program
> > it myself, or find someone else to do it. And if I did it myself, most
> > of the fun is sharing it with other TI users. And part of the fun of
> > having this old computer is that there are other people bucking the
> > trend along with me. In other words, we have a TI computer user
> > community, and that is a very hefty reason for sticking with the TI
> > computer.
> >
> > 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
> > waste away to a few hardcores unless there is new life added, either in
> > exciting new "modern applications" or attracting new people to adopt a
> > simple machine that can perform "common everyday household computing
> > tasks" that they DON'T need a Pentium to do.
> All this (and I'm not just picking on you David) is just so much
> techno ludditism. That's like arguing that the Model T is still a usable
> car and we must keep driving it to keep it viable? Why? Sure it's still
> usable in that you can still drive around in one, but technology moves
> on. If you want to keep it viable, more power to you. But don't expect
> people to follow suit. Most people would rather use the latest and greatest.

Any community based on unsupported technology will eventually shrink to
a few hardcores. Attracting new people will be difficult at best. Old
people will drop out, occasionally a new one will be bitten by the bug.
Use your TI because it is useful to you. Write new applications because
it makes you happy and impresses the other hardcores. You may not be
able to attract many new members, but you can support the ones who are
are already there. You said above that one of the reasons for using
TIs is because there are others doing the same. If you want to sustain
the TI community, give it a reason to exist. Start a collaborative
project, publish a newsletter about TIs crosspost to a.f.c, be visible in
the TI newsgroup.

> I collect the old stuff for a number of reasons. I like to boot them up
> once in a while and use them, but I can't possibly make it a point of
> using all of them.

As a broad collector it is difficult to use all of your machines. Just
collecting a wide range of machines sucks up huge amounts of time. Some
people are a little more focused and actually collect partly to use
the machines.

> I can see even if you have just one system that you still use all the
> time (I used my Apple //e up until about 1992) but there comes a point
> where you have to just move on, for some at least (me).

Just because one buys a new machine does not mean that one is moving
on. It is possible to use several machines for different purposes.
Sam, you haven't really moved on completely. You still have your Apple.
You still fire it up once in a while. You may not feel responsible
for keeping the Apple II flame alive, but by using, answering
questions, and by reminiscing about it you help stretch the useful life
of the machines.

> > So what I was fishing for was the thoughts of those people who read this
> > 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 landfill
> > or recyclers?
> Not likely. There's no money in it. Why spend all your time and energy
> writing non-saleable TI apps when you can be writing million dollar
> peecee games?

I'll agree with Sam on part of this. You may not be able to attract new
users, but you can help sustain those who are already using the machines.
You can also try to find those who have used the machines in the past
and might be attracted to using them again if it seems like there are
others around for support. You may even find a few others who are are
using TIs and thought they were the last one.

Not everything everyone does is to make money. Some of us do things
because they are fun, help others, kill time, impress women (or men), etc.
Why spend all of your time and energy collecting old computers when you can
be writing million dollar peecee games?

Keep the flame,

Saved From The Dumpster Collection: http://www.crl.com/~pcoad/machines.html
Received on Fri Jul 04 1997 - 01:41:34 BST

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