Classic Computer Rescue Squad

From: Carl R. Friend <>
Date: Sat Nov 8 08:59:08 1997

   On Fri, 7 Nov 1997 18:23:51 -0800 (PST), Mr. Ismail remarked:

> Ok, first of all I'm pretty amazed at the 3rd grade level of
> mentality being demonstrated by the whiners complaining about my
> "foul" language.

   You seem to hint that I was whining about the language, which is
simply not the case. The way one uses language states a lot about who
they are - and yes, sometimes this requires profanity. However, let's
save the "heavy language" for times when we really need it (like when
you drop a mini on your foot :-) ).

> Perhaps I should have been more specific and stated that from a
> mass-consumer marketing standpoint, the Nova is not significant.

   In this case, the man has a valid point - from one perspective.
If one takes that perspective to an extreme, however, we find that
ENIAC wasn't relevant (only one ever built), none of the Zuse
machines amounted to anything, the ABC was meaningless, and the
IBM 360 was unimportant.

   There's more to a machine that makes it historically important
than how many were sold or produced. Was the STRETCH important (a
half dozen or so)? How about the PDP-10 (under a thousand)? Mass
marketing is not the gauge of importance, especially in a social
context. Remember - the individuals who designed the machines that
_were_ mass marketed were brought up knowing about computers, and
those machines most certainly weren't mass-market devices.

> At any rate, why is there concern that the Nova will never be wanted
> until some newspaper runs an article on it? The argument is
> pointless.

   Whether Novas are "wanted" is immaterial to the argument. Folks are
now virtually unaware of a piece of history, and an important one at
that. It's also a piece of history that's fast disappearing, which is
a rotten shame.

> So there's no market for it. Boo hoo.

   Do multi-thousand dollar speculative prices on Altairs make them
more "historic" or "valuable" than a PDP-5 (predecessor of the -8)?
There's more to be calculated into a "value" than the current market
price, which all too frequently is out of line with reality.

> Nobody required Tim to take on 5000 lbs worth of stuff [...]

   Nope. Nobody did. That's one of the reasons I have respect for
the man. He knows machines worth saving, and is willing to take the
time and (not incosiderable) effort to do so.

> If Tim was realistic he'd realize the practical implications involved
> in hauling a ton of equipment ANYWHERE on the continent, let alone
> across national borders.

  He is realistic about it - I've chatted with him about it privately.
He realises fully what moving that amount of gear means. So do I and
another chap out East who are moving a good quarter-ton all the way
across a continent.

> If the majority of kids in America had a picture of a Nova tacked to
> their wall, the newspapers might have run a story on one.

   Do you know who I'm speaking of? Hint: he designed one of the early
mass-market computers that you prize so highly.

> So Carl, why did you just mention the most popular of personal
> computers?

   Put bluntly - shock value. I used that list as a calculated way of
getting folks' attention, and perhaps, just perhaps, of getting them
to "smell the coffee". To reiterate - it takes more to make a machine
important than how many copies were sold.


| | |
| Carl Richard Friend (UNIX Sysadmin) | West Boylston |
| Minicomputer Collector / Enthusiast | Massachusetts, USA |
| | |
| | ICBM: N42:22 W71:47 |
Received on Sat Nov 08 1997 - 08:59:08 GMT

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