What Classic Computer are All About - A Lovers View

From: Tony Duell <ard_at_p850ug1.demon.co.uk>
Date: Fri Jul 11 18:31:14 1997

In message <Pine.SOL.3.95.970710191732.26431A-100000_at_typhoon> classiccmp_at_u.washington.edu writes:
> First - if you don't want to hear my opinion - stop now! I am going to
> get pretty detailed about what the list is/should be about. I may hurt
> some feelings - but well hell - that's life!

Is it time to start a classic computers meta-list to discuss what should be
on the classic computers list ?

> Currently, this list is set on the aquistion of hardware. One reason
> is to get it before it's GONE. Another, is the ECONOMY of collecting.
> (I buy it for 10 and sell it for 15 Sam 8-) The point being, in two
> years, if we did nothing - you may NEVER be able to buy it because
> someone junked it! Nothing wrong with making hay while the sun shines.

Absolutely. In some cases, the number of remaining machines of a particular
type can be counted on the fingers of one hand - in unary :-). If we don't
grab them when we can, then information on these machines will be lost for

> The history of computing doesn't lend itself to the IMMEDIACY of hardware.
> The history of computing IS. There is no cost in learning it,
> understanding it, and aquiring it.

I think I disagree here. It's a lot easier to figure out the history of a
machine while the people who used it for real work (and even better the
people who designed/built it) are still alive, and can still remember the
machine. So there's some urgency here, but less than the 'Here's a 1-off
prototype that will go in the skip if you don't get it today' type of thing.

A lot of computer history, particularly over the last 20 or so years has not
(IMHO) been adequately recorded. What I'd love to see would be complete
documentation on all the classic computers - how the hardware worked, how the
software worked, when it was introduced, why it was introduced, what went
wrong, what should have been done differently, what was good about it, etc.
But to do that for just _one_ machine would be a major undertaking (I've
tried writing some hardware docs, and it takes a long time!).

But some of that info is likely to die with the _designers_, not with the
machines, alas.

> I would probably die if someone wanted to give me the Intellec MDS that
> Gary wrote CPM on. That is too much to hope for in this world 8-)

Aside : It's probably possible to find a similar machine (although not
_THE_ one) if you hunt for long enough. I've found an CS8i and an MDS800

> I also get a little perturbed when people state "This Weekends Haul".

The main reason I get little from these messages is that the situation is
very different in different countries (Acorn machines are lot easier to
find in the UK than in the States, while CoCo3's are almost unknown over
here). And of coure prices are very different as well.

> BC

Received on Fri Jul 11 1997 - 18:31:14 BST

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