my objection to recent postings

From: Bill Yakowenko <>
Date: Sat Apr 11 17:24:14 1998

Sometimes advertising annoys me too. But when I think about it,
maybe I'd rather have those ads than not. Someday maybe I'll get
something I want from one of them if prices stay within reach.

More recently, I've created a related dillemna of my own. I've
been talking with a recycler, trying to convince him to offer whole
boards or computers for sale, rather than just a few chips that he
pulls from them. In doing so, I pointed out that an Altair sold for
so much money recently. Of course, I also pointed out that that
particular sale may have been a fluke, and he shouldn't necessarily
expect that.

The dillemna is this: these are exactly the kind of guys that will
annoy me most. They have no inherent interest in preserving old
machinery, and would have no remorse in melting down an Altair for
twenty-three cents worth of metal. They will more than happy to
behave as kidnappers, demanding ransom with rare artifacts at stake,
happily driving prices up as high as they can.

Of course, the obvious reply is about free-market economics, prices
adjusting to meet demand, and all that. What I'm thinking is, maybe
we should be glad that there is not yet a well-entrenched market for
this old stuff, with guide-books establishing fair pricing and such.
When that happens, scarcity will force all the old machines into the
hands of rich know-nothing collectors, and out of the reach of the
hackers who would cherish them for what they are.

But how do we discourage that from happening, while at the same time
trying to divert machinery from the acid-bath? The only argument
that recyclers seem likely to listen to is about making money. But
each time that argument gets used, it nudges us toward the day when
all of our old computers lie decaying in display cabinets of the
affluent, rather than living and working happily in our own basements.


Received on Sat Apr 11 1998 - 17:24:14 BST

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