One from the 'believe it or not' file...

From: James Willing <>
Date: Sun Nov 16 10:40:43 1997

You know, I always hate these moral dilemmas...

In the last few days the collection received an AT&T UNIX PC (aka 7300,
3b1) in extremely good condition. It arrived with all of the original
docs, software, and mouse. The docs were unwrapped , and the mouse was in
its original foam packing. "Kind of nice when someone packs things away
properly" I thought.

Well, its been a bit busy around the garage the last couple of weeks, so I
put the unit and its associated stuff on the shelf and covered it up for a

Last night, while I was working on a notebook (yes, one of those 'modern'
things) for one of my wife's friends, I decided to have another look at the
UNIX PC while I was waiting for a disk scan to finish...

Found a spot for it on the bench, made a cursory check of the unit (nothing
loose, nothing rattling...) and powered it up. It hummed and beeped
happily and started drawing little boxes on the screen as I recalled it
doing when it was starting up...

However, about 3-4 minutes and 4-5 lines of little boxes later, it starts
to dawn on me that it should not be taking quite this long to get a prompt
of some kind. So, I move the keyboard to have a look at the floppy drive
(it hides behind the keyboard you see) and sure enough the machine is
looking for a floppy.

Fine... so, I grab the binder containing the software distribution, open it

All of the disks are still sealed! At this point it starts to dawn on me,
that this machine has never been run! A comment flashes back to mind; made
by the person who gave me the machine... "My father bought it for his
company, read the manuals and realized that he had no idea what he was

I find myself wondering... Back around 1985 when this thing was released
(and about $10k+), who could have afforded to buy one of these things, open
the manuals, decide that they were in over their heads, and just put it on
the shelf without even loading the software??? EEK!

And so, the dilemma... do I open the disks and crank this critter up? Or
just pack it all away as another classic 'artifact'? (or leave it until I
have a fair amount of time to spend with it)

No flame wars please, just the random philosophical question...


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Received on Sun Nov 16 1997 - 10:40:43 GMT

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