Damn fools (was Re: Dell "Oldest PC" winner on zdnet)

From: William Donzelli <aw288_at_osfn.org>
Date: Sat Aug 21 19:40:31 1999

There seem to be some foolish people on this list, judging from two of
today's posts. Kai made some great points a while back in his rant, so I
will not repeat them, but I would like to add one - that of "public
relations". The two awful posts in question show that there is a problem

The two posts were basically concerned with dealing with those people
outside of this list. The first post was about the zdnet Altair possibly
going into "corperate hands and from there it can be lost, damaged, ...".
It seems this person (along with quite a few others) does not think too
highly of corporate institutions, even though quite a few have established
(or at least made an honest effort) museums and protection for their
historic holdings. In places where politics plays serious games -
basically most corporations - badmouthing can cause a great deal of long
term damage. Why should a Vice President of some company bend over
backwards to some amateur computer historian that just ripped the name of
the company into shreds? The dumpster is kind of close, and some goodies
may get tossed extra hard, just for spite. Likewise, some surplus cash at
the company could be used for new paperclips, rather than a donation to a
local old computer group.

There are corporate heads that do care a great deal, and some probably
listen in on this list. I know for a fact that some of the higher echelon,
including the President, of ANS (my former employer) were quite interested
in the fates of some of the old NSFnet gear. If I had made some less than
friendly remarks about ANS to this list (or anywhere public, really), I
think the supply of old networking goodies that RCS was being given would
have dried up in an instant. Now I do not know what kind of corporate
support VCF gets, if any, but it could go away instantly as well, with
just a few short posts. Of course, with all of the Microsoft and IBM
bashing that goes on here, it would be a miracle if any support ever came
from that pair ever again.

The other troublesome comment was about the recyclers: "That's pretty much
what my local scrapper does . [tomb raiding for gold]. . .". Now these
people are by no means a source of cash or prestige for any historical
groups or individuals, but they are a source of artifacts. If you keep
slamming them about, they will have no problem scrapping out that next
rare 1960s machine they get. Good relations with scrappers go a long way
- I know several that will _not_ scrap an oldie out without consulting a
collector now. At least one now actually saves the really good bits for
himself. Now if you go into a scrapyard screaming "bloody murderer", you
can bet that the PDP-8/e you have been eyeing will be loaded into the
Taiwan bound container first, probably on its face. Once again, just for

Yes, this is politics. Just remember that its a good idea to have friends
in high places. Having enemies up there does no good to anyone, but with
a little responsibility, is easily avoided.

William Donzelli
Received on Sat Aug 21 1999 - 19:40:31 BST

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