Classic Computer Rescue Squad

From: Allison J Parent <>
Date: Sat Nov 8 10:53:23 1997

<> 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.

Sam, it's not a big thing but there are a few women and I for one really
don't like it. I'm no prude and there are time I can turn the air blue
but I try to avoid it unless there is pain associated with it.

< 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.

I for one see the imporant machine as those that influenced the direction
of computing. This could be by putting computers where they werent before
or by introducing/solidifying a concept.

 IE: altair was importnat because it was relatively cheap.

 IE: the PC was impostant be cause IBMs entry in to the market that was
     dominated by TRS-80, APPLE and friends somehow ligitemized destop
     sized computer to the masses.

< 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.

That is the point!

< 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.

People miss the Mark-8 (8008 based) that preceeded it by nearly a year.

< 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.

Right! To make a point there are few machines with much value other
than history. Those that collect are like archiologists, few will
discover the missing link but the rest will flesh out history
surrounding it. It's that history, the society, hackers, scientists
that are important.

<> 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.

What's missed is many Novas were used in places like malls to make T-shirts
with pictures on them (at least in the northeast). They were there on the
bottom shelf doing it. This was at a time when altair, Imsai and apples
were the thing.

The altair... I have one. My opinion of the design is simple, it can
serve well as an example of how not to do it.

Received on Sat Nov 08 1997 - 10:53:23 GMT

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